Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 28.11.2022

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Chelidonii herbae; chellidonium majus; Common shellebore; Goldenroot; Goldweed; Wart-weed

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The celandine (Chelidonium majus) is a widespread, deciduous herbaceous plant species of the genus Chelidonium of the poppy family (Papaveraceae), originally native to the temperate and warm-temperate regions of Eurasia and the Mediterranean, but now also established in North America. The plant reaches a height of up to 70 centimetres and forms a branched rhizome. Its milky sap is yellow-orange and it flowers from May to October.
When the hairy stems are broken or the leaves are torn, a yellow-orange, poisonous milky sap comes out.
Celandine is the parent plant of Chelidonii herbae (officinal - Ph.Eur.8, Commission E), the whole or cut aerial parts of the plant collected and dried during the flowering season.

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Chelidoni herbae contains numerous alkaloids including berberin, chelerythrin, chellidonin, coptisin, spartein, chellidoxanthin and sanguinarin. The alkaloids are present both in the above-ground parts of the plant and in the root.
Celandine extracts have in vitro toxic effects on viruses, bacteria, fungi and weakly cytotoxic effects on human cells (the cause is the content of chellidonin, coptisin and protopin). Chelerythrin and Sanguinarin represent the irritant toxic principle of the plant. Both also have a cytotoxic effect.

Spectrum of action
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Slightly spasmolytic in the upper digestive tract, choleretic, cholekinetic, antiphlogistic, analgesic, central depressant, antimicrobial, cyotoxic.

Internal: component of liver and bile teas. Mean daily dose 2-5g of the drug or.12-30mg total alkaloids, calculated as chelidomine.
Externally: In folk medicine, the milk juice of the plant is used externally for skin diseases such as warts, either native or as an ointment.

The native juice is applied to a wart 1x a day for several days. The efficiency of the therapy has been proven several times.

In cosmetics Chelidonium majus extract (INCI) is used as an anti-dandruff agent.

Undesirable effects
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In case of oral intake: Alkaloid poisoning with vomiting and diarrhea. Local irritation of the skin.
In case of exceeding the daily dose (alkaloids over 20 mg) possibly increase of liver values, bilirubin concentration, possibly toxic hepatitis.

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History or manifest liver disease, concomitant administration of other preparations toxic to the liver, pregnancy and lactation, children << 12 years of age.

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  7. Commissiion E: Chelidoni herbae.
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  9. https://arzneipflanzenlexikon.info/schoellkraut.php