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Herbs & Plants

Chelidonium majus

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Botanical Name : Chelidonium majus
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus:    Chelidonium
Species: C. majus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Ranunculales

Synonyms: Common Celandine. Garden Celandine.

Common Names: Greater celandine; Tetterwort,  Sanguinaria canadensis, Nipplewort, Swallowwort
Habitat:  Chelidonium majus is native to Europe and western Asia and introduced widely in North America. Found by old walls, on waste ground and in hedges, nearly always in the neighbourhood of human habitations.

Description:
Chelidonium majus is a perennial herb with an erect habit, and reaches 30 to 120 cm high. The leaves are pinnate with lobed and wavy-edged margins, 30 cm long. When injured, the plant exudes a yellow to orange latex.
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The flowers consist of four yellow petals, each about 1 cm long, with two sepals. A double-flowered variety occurs naturally. The flowers appear from late spring to summer in umbelliform cymes of about 4 flowers.

The seeds are small and black, borne in a long capsule. Each has an elaiosome, which attracts ants to disperse the seeds (myrmecochory).

It is considered an aggressive invasive plant in natural areas (both woods and fields). Control is obtained mainly via pulling or spraying the plant before seed.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The whole herb, collected in the wild state, from May to July, when in flower, and dried. Likewise, the fresh juice.

Constituents: The alkaloids Chelidonine and Chelerythrin, the latter narcotic and poisonous, also the two nearly allied alkaloids, Homochelidonine A, and Homocheli donine B. In addition, Protopine and Sanguinarine, and a body named Chelidoxanthin, a neutral bitter principle.

Alterative, diuretic, purgative. It is used in jaundice, eczema, scrofulous diseases, etc., the infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses. The infusion is a cordial and greatly promotes perspiration. The addition of a few aniseeds in making a decoction of the herb in wine has been held to increase its efficacy in removing obstructions of the liver and gall. Chelidonium majus has traditionally been used for treatment of various inflammatory diseases including atopic dermatitis. It is also traditionally used in the treatment of gallstones and dyspepsia.

Greater celandine acts as a mild sedative, relaxing the muscles of the bronchial tubes, intestines, and other organs.  In both Western and Chinese herbal traditions, it has been used to treat bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma.  The herb’s antispasmodic effect also extends to the gallbladder, where it helps to improve bile flow.  This would partly account for its use in treating jaundice, gallstones, and gallbladder pain, as well as its longstanding reputation as a detoxifying herb.  The tincture or infusion of the leaf will stimulate and clean the liver.  In one study, researchers gave tablets containing chelidonine to 60 people with symptoms of gallstones for six weeks.  Doctors reported a significant reduction in symptoms.  Greater celandine’s sedative action does not, however, extend to the uterusit causes the muscles of this organ to contract.  Externally the salve has been used to clear eczema, scrofula and herpes.  The juice applied to the eyes will clear the vision, and applied to wounds will promote healing.   The fresh juice is dabbed two or three times a day on warts, ringworm and corns. (Do not allow it to touch other parts of the skin.)  The fresh juice mixed with milk is used to help remove cataracts and the white spots that form on the cornea.  An ointment of the roots and leaves boiled in oil or lard is an excellent treatment for hemorrhoids.  Only the dried herb should be taken internally.  The fluid extract is made with the fresh herb.   Ukrain, a derivate of celandine, is used for solid tumors such as breast, lung, and colon, as opposed to leukemia and myeloma, It can be beneficial even when used in combination with Taxol plus supporting the liver function.

A fluid extract is also prepared, the dose being 1/2 to 1 drachm. Eight to 10 drops of the tincture made from the whole herb, or of the fresh juice, given as a dose three times a day in sweetened water, is considered excellent for overcoming torpid conditions of the liver. In the treatment of the worst forms of scurvy it has been given with benefit.

The orange-coloured, acrid juice is commonly used fresh to cure warts, ringworm and corns, but should not be allowed to come into contact with any other part of the skin.

In milk, it is employed as an eye-lotion, to remove the white, opaque spots on the cornea. Mixed with sulphur, it was formerly used to cure the itch.

An ointment made of the roots and lard boiled together, also of the leaves and flowers, has been used with advantage for piles.

Celandine is a very popular medicine in Russia, where it is said to have proved effective in cases of cancer.

It is still used in Suffolk as a fomentation for toothache.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelidonium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/celgre43.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Categories
News on Health & Science

How Simple Water Keeps Elderly Healthy

A year ago, 88-year-old Jean Lavender used to find walking any distance a struggle.

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Jean Lavender has been drinking more water under the scheme

Now she is keen to get outside for a walk most days.

And she puts the transformation down to the most simple of medicines – water.

She is one of a group of residents at a care home in Suffolk who have been encouraged to increase their intake of water.

And they have all reported dramatic results.

Jean says she feels 20 years younger.

“I feel more alert – more cheerful too. I’m not a miserable person, but it’s added a sort of zest.”

Staff at The Martins care home in Bury St Edmunds started a “water club” for their residents last summer.

Residents were encouraged to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day, water coolers were installed, and they were each given a jug for their room.

They report significant improvements in health as a result – many fewer falls, fewer GP call-outs, a cut in the use of laxatives and in urinary infections, better quality of sleep, and lower rates of agitation among residents with dementia.

Dehydration

Doctors have long highlighted the risks of dehydration for elderly people. It can cause dizziness and potentially serious falls, constipation, and confusion.

While most people’s systems can adjust to insufficient water, frail old people are far less equipped to cope.

So when Wendy Tomlinson, a former nurse, took over the management of the charity-run home, she suspected that drinking more water might help the residents feel better.

Even she has been surprised by how much difference it’s made, though.

“It’s been fantastic,” she said. “The whole home buzzes now; there isn’t that period after lunch when everyone goes off to sleep.”

For Baroness Greengross, a cross-bench peer, it reinforces a conviction she has had for some time now – that many old people simply are not drinking enough, and it is harming their health.

She wants to see tougher regulations in care homes across the UK, so that staff have to make sure residents drink enough.

“We hear a great deal about malnutrition among old people,” she says.

“But we forget about the need for them to have enough water. It shouldn’t be very difficult to change the habits of care staff.”

Sources: BBC NEWS:June 23Rd. ’08