Although Lesser Celandine sounds similar to Greater Celandine, the two are not similar and Lesser Celandine shouldn’t be considered as anything less valuable when it comes to health benefits. This herb proposes a variety of benefits, particularly for the skin. With its exceptionally high vitamin C content, Lesser Celandine can be applied topically to heal bleeding wounds, swollen joints, warts, scratches, and hemorrhoids.
Botanical Name and Family of Lesser Celandine
Lesser Celandine is known botanically as Ranunculus ficaria. It is a part of the Ranunculaceae or Buttercup family and has been referred to as Pilewort and Figwort.
What Is Lesser Celandine?
Lesser Celandine is a plant belonging to the buttercup family, not to be confused with Greater Celandine which is from the poppy family. This plant has heart-shaped green leaves with shiny yellow petals. It is native to Asia and Europe and is cultivated in North America.
The tubers of the plant are similar to piles and, therefore, traditionally, used to cure hemorrhoids and promote wound healing.
In the Middle Ages, sailors returning from long sea voyages ate this plant to treat scurvy, which is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, which Lesser Celandine has a very high content of.
Health Benefits of Lesser Celandine
Traditionally, Lesser Celandine has been used as an anti-spasmodic and analgesic. It has been used to treat scurvy, swelling of the joints, hemorrhoids, bleeding gums, and wounds. Research suggests this herb possesses antioxidant and antibacterial effects.
Lesser Celandine also contains a high source of vitamin C, which is essential for collagen production in the skin and preventing free radical damage. It has a drying effect on the skin and some researches even suggest that the chemicals in Lesser Celandine might kill or prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus of the skin.
Different Ways to Consume Lesser Celandine
Traditionally, Lesser Celandine has been cooked as a potherb. The leaves, stems, roots, and bulbils are cooked and served with meat. The leaves can also be eaten raw and used in salads.
An ointment can be made from the roots or bulbils of the plant to treat a variety of skin conditions, including corns and warts.
Side Effects of Lesser Celandine
Lesser Celandine is safe when the leaves are consumed as food. However, excessive contact with the skin can cause skin and mucous membrane irritation and blisters. When parts other than the leaf sheath are consumed, Lesser Celandine can cause diarrhea along with irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and the urinary tract. It may also cause liver damage.
How to eradicate Lesser Celandine?
Lesser Celandine is a beautiful plant, but it can be challenging to control or remove. In order to manage the growth of this plant, you would have to pull or dig up the plant and its tubers entirely. If the tuber is left behind, the whole plant will grow back.
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Yilmaz B, Yilmaz B, Aktaş B, Unlu O, Roach EC. Lesser celandine (pilewort) induced acute toxic liver injury: The first case report worldwide. World J Hepatol. 2015 Feb 27;7(2):285-8. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i2.285. PubMed PMID: 25729484; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4342611.
Andrew M, Martine CC, Lubrano C, Robin JR, Fromageot C, Hostettmann K. Clarification of the saponin composition of ranunculus ficaria tubers. Natural Product Communications. 2006; 1(12): 27-32