All about Celandine (Chelidonium Majus) – History, Meaning, Facts, Care & More

Facts about Celandine

Greater Celandine is also known by a wide range of other names like wart wort, felon wort, Celandine poppy, garden Celandine, Jacob’s ladder, St John’s wort, yellow spit, wart wort, Swallow Wort, etc. This perennial herbaceous plant is the only species that you will find in the genus Chelidonium. The Celandine plant is a native to Europe and western Asia; later it was widely introduced in North America as well.

Greater Celandine is a plant that belongs to the poppy family. However, the other variant – the lesser Celandine – belongs to the buttercup family. The genus name of the plant is derived from the Greek word, Chelidon. While the plant is toxic to humans, it has been a part of medical treatment for years now. It is known to be an effective remedy for removing warts, thereby landing with names like swallow wart and wart weed.


History of Celandine

The plant was used as a drug plant in the Middle Ages; it has also been mentioned by Pliny, who termed the Greek word, Chelidon. The meaning of Chelidon is a swallow because it comes into a flower when the swallow lands and fades away once they depart. Pliny states that its acrid juice was employed with much success for removing the films from the eye’s cornea, which was discovered originally by swallows. Pliny states that this is another reason why the plant has been named as such.

Celandine is also one of the 24 herbs that are mentioned in Herbal, by Mercer. In the 14th century, Celandine juice was tested for the first time and it was immediately concluded that it is good for the blood. Celebrated Dutch botanist, Clusious, stated that the juice, when dropped into small wounds, accelerated the cure; additionally, it also stopped incipient suffusions and removed specks from the eye when dropped in the eye.


Characteristic of Celandine

The Celandine plant is an herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to a maximum height of 120cms. The plant is mostly found close to human habitations like dry woods, roadsides, thickets, waste places, hedgerows, banks, damp ground, and rubble.

The plant grows in soil that is rich and of a woodland nature; however, it can also grow in other types of soils, except if it is not under boggy conditions. The plant has a fleshy and thick root along with a round, slender, weak, and slightly hairy stem that can grow up to a maximum height of three feet.

The leaves of the plant are pinnately-divided, deeply-lobed, and alternate, with wavy or edged margins. When injured the Celandine plant will exude orange or yellow latex that can stain your hand very strongly. The latex also has a nauseous and persistent taste with a disagreeable and strong smell.

The flowers of the Celandine plant consist of four yellow-colored petals that can grow up to 1cm long; each petal has two sepals. Normally, the flowering season takes place from April through October. Additionally, you will also see a cylindrical and long capsule that splits open when ripe to release black-colored, glabrous, and small seeds.


Use of Celandine

Since Celandine is slightly poisonous, it is not normally used in the kitchen. Also, the taste of the plant is extremely bad. But, it is used as a medicinal herb. Mostly, the Celandine plant is used as a treatment remedy against skin problems like corns and warts. Previously, the herb was also used for treating cramps in the upper digestive tract; it was offered to patients in the form of tea.

Celandine plant is a strong-acting medicinal plant that can prove to be quite toxic if taken in high dosage. Since the root contains a high proportion of alkaloids that are toxic, the resulting juice is also poisonous. However, the plant loses its toxicity once it starts drying up.

The toxicity of the Celandine plant is very controversial; while it has been warned against internal use, there are some that consume large quantities of the juice. The level of toxicity depends on the plant, time, and location. Additionally, humans have different tolerance levels to poison. Hence, the toxicity of the plant may vary.

When applied to your skin, Celandine plant juice can cause allergies and irritate the applied area. If your skin can bear it, then there is no danger of using the Celandine plant externally. Once dried, the plant is harmless and can be drunk as tea blends. Even if the form of fresh juice, the plant is harmless; however, you should not dose is too high.


Celandine Flower Meaning

Celandine is a component of fear and is for people who fear their spiritual side. Most of us have put up, maybe unwittingly, a mental block between ourselves and the source of our existence. This mostly happens because of the logical mind that does not want to accept the dimensions of reality, more than once, that is cannot understand. This fear of the non-physical can produce a lot of different problems.

You might fear anything that has to do with the psychic dimensions of life, like death. This sort of fear might reveal themselves as tortured or tangled personalities. Some might even be self-hating and bitter or might want others to learn about the philosophy of materialism. This might be because they see themselves as enlightened people who expose others with conflicting views, no matter how genuine.

The flower of the Celandine encourages us to delve deeper into our consciousness, to help discover what we really are.


How to Care For Celandine

The Celandine plant can grow on almost any type of soil, except for waterlogged ones, but it does prefer a reasonable amount of water. Ideally, you should place the plant in an area that receives both full sunlight and shade as well. The plant preferably needs to grow on rich woodland soil with a decent moisture supply. Perhaps, some of the best places to grow the Celandine plant are in a rock garden or shaded walls. While it is short-lived, the plant will spread its seed in suitable locations, at times too aggressively as well.