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This image of celandine comes from De historia stirpium commentarii insigne, a book produced by Leonhart Fuchs in 1542. This book was one of the most celebrated herbals from the sixteenth century, which features over 500 woodcut illustrations, all of which were hand-colored.  This book is available in the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library 

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Celandine is native in parts of Asia, Central and Southern Europe, and has naturalized in North America.  This perennial member of the Poppy family is commonly used in Korean and Chinese medicine (Gilca et al., 2010; Kim et al., 2012; Pantano et al., 2017), but also has a long history of use in Europe.  

Current Use

Clinical data supports the use of celandine to treat liver diseases, gastric ulcer and spasm, oral infections, rheumatic diseases, tuberculosis and jaundice (Deljanin et al., 2016). A limited number of cases of hepatitis from oral administration of celandine have been reported, and toxicity of the plant is still being researched (Moro et al., 2009; Pantano et al., 2017). 

Historical Use

According to Medical botany or Descriptions of the more important plants used in medicine, written by Robert Eglesfield Griffith and published in 1847, celandine is known to be effective in “stimulating and healing old and indolent ulcers.” 

Latest Research


Deljanin, M., Nikolic, M., Baskic, D., Todorovic, D., Djurdjevic, P., Zaric, M., Stankovic, M., Todorovic, M., Avramovic, D., & Popovic, S. (2016). Chelidonium majus crude extract inhibits migration and induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in tumor cell lines. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 190: 362–371. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.06.056 

Gilca, M., Gaman, L., Panait, E., Stoian, I., & Atanasiu, V. (2010). Chelidonium majus–an integrative review: Traditional knowledge versus modern findings. Forschende Komplementarmedizin  17(5): 241–248. doi:10.1159/000321397 

Kim, D.-S., Kim, S.-J., Kim, M.-C., Jeon, Y.-D., Um, J., & Hong, S.-H. (2012). The therapeutic effect of chelidonic acid on ulcerative colitis. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 35(5): 666–671. doi:10.1248/bpb.35.666 

Moro, P. A., Cassetti, F., Giugliano, G., Falce, M. T., Mazzanti, G., Menniti-Ippolito, F., Raschetti, R., & Santuccio, C. (2009). Hepatitis from greater celandine (Chelidonium majus L.): Review of literature and report of a new case. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 124(2): 328–332. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.036 

Pantano, F., Mannocchi, G., Marinelli, E., Gentili, S., Graziano, S., Busardò, F. P., & di Luca, N. M. (2017). Hepatotoxicity induced by greater celandine (Chelidonium majus L.): A review of the literature. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 21(1 Suppl): 46–52.