Greater Celandine is a perennial plant. It has a short rhizome and a thick, branched, columnar root, red-brown on the outside and yellow-orange on the inside. The stem of the plant is grooved, 90-110 cm tall, branched at the top, straight, bare or slightly branched at the bottom, with leaves.
At the root, the leaves are on short petioles, often lowered, the upper ones are successive, sessile. There are sap glands in the middle of the stem, root and rhizome, which, when the plant is broken or cut, begin to release a yellow-orange juice.
Flowers are collected in 4-8 pieces, in a simple shield inflorescence. Flowers golden yellow with four petals, regular shape, length 8-16mm. The greater Celandine blooms in May and June, but often blooms can continue well into September. The fruits ripen from August to October.
Fruit - a multi-seeded, pod-like box, up to 5 cm long. Seeds, black-brown or shiny black, egg-shaped, small (1-2 mm), with a white appendage.
The greater Celandine is able to change its usual appearance, directly related to the place where it grows.
Good to know! The plant is poisonous!
For medicinal purposes, the entire above-ground part of the sedge is used, which is harvested during flowering. When harvesting the plant, cut the upper part of the plant, without coarse stems. The plant needs to be dried quickly, in well-ventilated rooms, or in forced dryers at a temperature of 50-60C. During drying, the drugs are stirred from time to time.
In many countries of the world, the greater Celandine is an official plant recognized in medicine.
Many pharmacology factories use the root or juice of the plant by pressing and fermenting it. Under good climatic conditions, the plant can be harvested 2-3 times during the season.
The greater Celandine contains alkaloids (about 20), 1-2% in the above-ground part, 2-4% in the rhizome. Among the alkaloids, helidonine, homochelidonine, protopine, oxychelidonine, berberine, methoxychelidonine, sanguinarine, sparteine, helilutine and chelerythrine stand out.
Saponins, flavonoids, organic acids (helidonic acid, citric acid, succinic acid), vitamin A (carotene), ascorbic acid, essential oil are also found in the plant.
Alkaloids, terpenoids and vegetable fats (up to 40%) are found in the juice; the seeds contain 40-80% vegetable fat and lipase enzyme.
The main effect of greater Celandine is its anti-inflammatory (bactericidal) property. When using pus preparations, itching disappears, epithelization of eroded surfaces is promoted, and infiltration in damaged areas of the skin decreases.
The alkaloids of celandine have pharmacological properties. Helidonin has an antispasmodic, pain-relieving, sedative, hypotensive and bradycardic effect, causes a decrease in heart rate and lowers arterial blood pressure.
The alkaloid sanguinarine has a weak psychotropic effect, equivalent to strychnine, by its pharmacological properties, causing nervous system excitement, but in large doses it causes paralysis of the nervous system, increases intestinal peristalsis and saliva secretion, locally causes irritation with a subsequent anesthetic effect.
Homochelidonine and protopine produce morphine-like and anesthetic effects. By the way, homochelidonin is a febrile poison that causes excitement and fever.
Protopin reduces the response of the autonomic nervous system and has a tonic effect on the smooth muscles of the uterus. Chelerythrin produces a local irritant effect.
Preparations containing greater Celandine are able to suppress the herpes virus and encephalitis due to the fact that protein synthesis in the virus cortex is blocked. The alkaloids present in the plant are more effective than some pharmaceutical antibiotics. Homochelidonin and chelerethrin have a bacteriostatic effect against Staphylococcus aureus and reduce the development of the tubercle bacillus. Sanguinarin acts on staphylococcus and some gram-positive bacteria, helidonin acts on staphylococcus aureus and some forms of anthrax.
The alkaloids of celandine are taken as a basis for creating combined preparations with bacteriostatic effect on gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, yeasts and trichomonas, which are also used to treat stomatitis, stomatitis with herpes ulcers, alveolar pyorrhea, long non-healing wounds and ulcers, trichomonas colpitis, erosion of the cervix, as well as to treat disorders of the nervous system associated with diseases or injuries (polio, cerebral palsy in children).
Helerethrin and protopine have anti-inflammatory activity and inhibit liver alanine aminotransferase activity.
Antitumor properties are often attributed to the plant, but these are highly controversial. Helidonine, homochelidonine and methoxychelidonine are capable of arresting cell division, similar to colchicine. The antitumor effect of the plant is usually justified by this, that it slows down the growth rate of tumors.
Alkaloid berberine has analgesic and antimicrobial effects, increases uterine contraction, lowers arterial blood pressure and increases bile secretion. Also, berberine has antitumor activity based on inhibition of respiratory chain enzymes.
The biological activity of the greater Celandine is associated with enzymes - lipase, protease and peroxidase. Protease produces a healing effect to treat skin warts. Goiter preparations have a tonic effect thanks to flavonoids and vitamins.
Externally, the settlement and decoction of fresh greater Celandine is used for applications, compresses and baths.
Fresh pus juice can be applied to carps and they will disappear in time.
In folk medicine, for many hundreds of years, the juice and rhizomes of the plant have been used to treat psoriasis, eczema, itching, skin tuberculosis, lupus, and hard-to-heal wounds. Fresh plant juice is a common remedy to get rid of warts, blisters, pigmentation spots, benign tumors, and is also used to treat skin cancer. Goiter preparations are used in rheumatism, herpes and skin diseases.
At present, medicine mainly uses greater Celandine for the treatment of various liver diseases, gall bladder and stomach ulcers. Plant preparations are used to treat periodontitis, hypertrophic gingivitis, some eye diseases (corneal clouding, conjunctivitis). The setting of the greater Celandine is also used as a laxative, diuretic, pain-relieving and diaphoretic agent.