Celandine : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Celandine : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Celandine is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and the plant has been naturalized in North America. The drug comes mainly from imports from Eastern Europe.

The dried above-ground parts of the plant (Chelidonii herba), harvested at the time of flowering, are used for the drug. The roots of the plant are rarely used.

Celandine: special characteristics

Celandine is an approximately 60 cm high, perennial, branched plant with a protruding and hairy stem. The plant bears blue-green pinnate leaves, the edges are partially lobed.

The flowers are golden yellow to orange yellow. The fruits of celandine are narrow, pod-shaped capsules. It is characteristic of celandine that the yellowish, alkaloid-containing milky sap escapes from injured parts of the plant.

Celandine as a medicine

The drug consists of different plant parts of celandine. In addition to hollow, flat, yellow to green-brown stem pieces, there are very crumpled, thin leaf pieces. These are matt blue-green on the upper side and of a clearly lighter, grey-green color on the lower side; the leaf veins are clearly visible.

The flowers break easily; they have two sepals, which fall off when the flower opens, as well as four yellowish leaves, stamens and a narrow ovary.

The drug also contains a few fruits in the form of pod-shaped capsules along with the dark seeds.

smell and taste of celandine

The smell of celandine is unpleasant. Celandine tastes slightly pungent and bitter.

Chives – Application

Celandine is mainly used for spasmodic complaints in the area of ​​the gastrointestinal tract and the bile ducts. In folk medicine, celandine is used to cleanse the gallbladder and stimulate bile flow in  hepatitisjaundice  and gallstones.

Celandine: other uses

Celandine is also used in folk medicine as a spasmolytic (antispasmodic) and for toothache. Due to the antiviral properties of the alkaloids in the plant’s milky sap, it is dabbed on warts to treat warts.

Application in homeopathy

In  homeopathy  , celandine is used to treat stone formation, chronic disorders of the liver-bile system, inflammation of the respiratory organs and pleura, as well as rheumatism and general inflammation.

Ingredients of celandine

So far, 30 different alkaloids have been detected in the plant, with the proportion of alkaloids in the drug being around 0.1-1%. The main components of the alkaloids are again coptisine (with 80-90% the predominant alkaloid), protopine, berberine, cehlidonine (main alkaloid of the subterranean parts of the plant), sanguinarine and chelerythrine.

The exact alkaloid content is very variable and is influenced, for example, by the origin and the time of harvest. Apparently, alkaloid levels are particularly low during flowering, so the pharmacopoeial requirement to harvest parts of the plant during flowering should be corrected.

Other ingredients of the plant are various plant acids (e.g. malic acid), caffeic acid, small amounts of flavonoids and carotenoids.

Chives: indication

The following ailments are possible uses of celandine:

  • cramps
  • stomach cramp
  • gallstones
  • jaundice
  • liver inflammation
  • toothache
  • warts

Celandine – dosage

Celandine is only contained in a few preparations, the dry extract is found in several combination preparations such as cholagogues and gastrointestinal remedies. Celandine should be kept dry and protected from light.

Celandine: what dose?

Unless otherwise prescribed, according to the E Commission, the average daily dose is 2-5 g of the drug or 12-30 mg of the total alkaloids. You can find more about this under “Side effects”.

Celandine: unsuitable as a tea preparation

There is no tea preparation. Since the alkaloid dose is difficult to adjust in one infusion, the Drug Commission of German Pharmacists warns against using it in the form of  tea .


Celandine should not be taken if you are  allergic  to the plant or other poppy plants, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Is celandine dangerous?

Some authors consider celandine to be poisonous due to the many alkaloids it contains. Overdose can cause severe irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, burning, vomiting, stomach cramps, colic and drowsiness.

Some authors also describe a potentially liver-damaging effect.

Chives – synonyms

German plant name: cabbage
German synonyms of the plant: Greater celandine, common celandine, common celandine, greater celandine, wartwort, eyeweed, goldenroot, goldenwort, bloodwort, yellow gallwort, vulvar celandine, hamcress, devil’s milkweed, devil’s milk, swallowwort, heaven’s gift, itchwort, lady’s herb, nailwort
Latin plant name: Chelidonium majus L.
Latin synonyms of the plant: Chelidonium grandiflorum, Chelidonium haematodes, Chelidonium umbelliferum, Chelidonium japonicum, Chelidonium murale, Chelidonium laciniatum, Chelidonium ruderal Chelidonium luteum, Chelidonium maius
German drug name: cabbage
German synonyms of the drug: see above
Latin drug name: Chelidonii herba
Latin synonyms of the drug: Herba Chelidonii, Herba Chelidonii major
English name: Greater celandine, Common celandine, Celandine, Celandine poppy, Garden celandine, Gouwe, Felonwort, Rock Poppy, Swallow wort, Tetter wort, Wart wort
Plant family Latin: Papaveraceae
Plant family German: poppies


Celandine – effect

Berberine and sanguinarine are substances that can destroy DNA sequences and thus have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Furthermore, most alkaloids can interact with receptors in the nervous system and other proteins, giving rise to the antispasmodic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of celandine.

According to experiments, the drug also stimulates bile formation and bile flow.

Celandine: side effects

A hepatoprotective, i.e. liver-protecting, effect and good clinical tolerability of celandine was experimentally demonstrated in a large number of patients. At the same time, however, the Medicines Commission and the German medical profession reported that there was a connection between the intake of celandine and liver damage.

This data was later classified as questionable by other associations, but only preparations with a very low alkaloid content (daily dose below 2.5 µg) are currently classified as safe. Drugs with a daily dose of 2.5 µg to a maximum of 2.5 mg alkaloids must contain appropriate information in the product information.

There are currently no known interactions with other agents.


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