Large celandine

Other Names: Yellow Grass, Golden Grass, Cleansing Grass, Swallow Grass, Devil’s Milk, Witch Grass, Wart Grass.

Diseases and effects: skin diseases, difficult to heal wounds, lupus, skin tumors, nasal polyps, scrofula.

Active substances: alkaloids, berberine, protopine, chelidonine, homochelidonine, coptisine, stylopine, chelerythrine, sanguinarine, saponins, flavonoids, coumarins.

Collection time:  May – September

plant description


Great celandine is a perennial herbaceous plant of the poppy family, containing orange milky juice in all parts. The root is taproot, branched, with a short rhizome. The stem is erect, branched, covered with sparse hairs or almost glabrous, 25-100 cm high. The leaves are green, glaucous below, pinnatipartite with almost opposite, set aside pairs of leaflets. The flowers are yellow, collected at the ends of the stem with umbrellas.\r

The fruit is a pod-shaped single-celled bivalve box 3-6 cm long, 2-3 mm wide.\r

It blooms from May to September, the fruits ripen in June-September, depending on the growing zone. Greater celandine herb is used as a medicinal raw material.\r

Habitats. Spreading


Greater celandine is widely distributed throughout the European part of the country, except for the regions of the Far North, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Far East, and is less common in Central Asia. Inhabits broad-leaved, coniferous-small-leaved, fir-spruce and larch-birch forests; in the steppe regions it is found mainly in river valleys. In the mountains it rises to the upper border of the forest. Grows on screes, shady rocky slopes and rocks, on pebbles in river valleys and along stream banks, in shrubs, along roads in sparse forests, rarely inhabits clearings and burnt areas, settles near housing, in gardens, kitchen gardens, wastelands, pastures and as a weed. It traditionally grows in small clumps; it rarely forms thickets over large areas.\r

Procurement and quality of raw materials


Celandine grass is harvested during flowering in dry weather, cutting plants with knives or sickles, and in dense standing – mowing with scythes without coarse ground parts.\r

The plant is poisonous, therefore, during the collection of raw materials, one should not touch the face and eyes with the hands; after work, you will need to wash your hands thoroughly.\r

To preserve the thickets, re-harvesting on the same thickets should be carried out no earlier than a year later.\r

Dry the grass in dryers at a temperature of 50-60 ° C, in attics or under sheds with good ventilation, laying it out in a thin layer and periodically turning it over. With slow drying and in those cases when the grass is spread out in a thick layer, it turns brown and rots. The raw material is considered dry if the stems break when bent, and do not bend.\r

Raw materials are packed in bales of fabric with a net weight of up to 40 kg and in bags up to 10-15 kg. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas. Storage period up to 3 years.\r

According to the requirements of the State Pharmacopoeia, cut celandine grass must consist of pieces of leaves, stems, flowers and fruits ranging in size from 4 to 8 mm. Particles larger than 8 mm should be no more than 10%; particles passing through a sieve with a hole diameter of 1 mm, not more than 15%. The smell is peculiar. The taste is bitter-acrid. Humidity is not higher than 14%. In raw materials, no more than 3% of browned and darkened grass, 1% of organic and 0.5% of mineral impurities are allowed. The total ash content should not exceed 15%, and ash insoluble in 10% hydrochloric acid – 2%.\r

Workers packing celandine raw materials should wear wet gauze masks on their faces, as the dust from it causes powerful irritation of the nasal mucosa.\r

Chemical composition


All parts of the plant contain alkaloids (up to 2% in grass, up to 40% in roots). Alkaloids belong to different types of isoquinoline derivatives: berberine, protopine, chelidonine, homochelidonine, coptisine, stylopine, chelerythrine, sanguinarine, etc. In addition to alkaloids, the herb contains saponins, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, vitamin A and organic acids – malic, citric, amber. In fruits – up to 40% fatty oil, coumarins.\r

Application in medicine


Grass, roots and fresh celandine juice have long been used in folk medicine for skin diseases, hard-to-heal wounds, lupus, and skin tumors. In modern medicine, celandine infusion is prescribed as a laxative and diuretic. A decoction of celandine is used to rinse the nasal cavity and pharynx with polyps in the nose. In a decoction of herbs, it is recommended to bathe babies with scrofula and all kinds of skin diseases. It should be remembered: the internal use of celandine products is permissible only as prescribed by a doctor and under his control!

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