Greater Celandine

Other Name(s):

Bai Qu Cai, Celandine, Celandine Herb, Celandine Root, Celidonia Mayor, Chelidonii, Chelidonii Herba, Chelidonium majus, Grande Chélidoine, Grande Éclaire, Greater Celandine Above Ground Parts, Greater Celandine Rhizome, Greater Celandine Root, Herbe à Verrues, Herbe aux Verrues, Parties Aériennes de la Grande Chélidoine, Racine de Chélidoine, Racine de Grande Chélidoine, Rhizome de Chélidoine, Rhizome de la Grande Chélidoine, Schollkraut, Tetterwort, Verruguera.


Greater celandine is a plant. The dried above-ground parts, root, and rhizome (underground stem) are used to make medicine. Don't confuse greater celandine with lesser celandine (Family: Ranunculus ficaria).

Greater celandine is used for various problems with the digestive tract including upset stomach, gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, loss of appetite, stomach cancer, intestinal polyps, and liver and gallbladder disorders. Other uses include detoxification, treating menstrual cramps, cough, pain, breast lumps, chest pain (angina), fluid retention (edema), “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis), high blood pressure, asthma, gout, and osteoarthritis.

Some people apply greater celandine directly to the skin for warts, genital warts, rashes, eczema, and scabies; and to the gums for tooth pain and to ease tooth extraction. The fresh root is also chewed to relieve toothache.

How does it work?

The chemicals in greater celandine might slow the growth of cancer cells, but might also be harmful to normal cells. Preliminary research suggests greater celandine might increase the flow of bile. Greater celandine might also have some pain-relieving properties.


Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions See Slideshow

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Upset stomach (dyspepsia). Some research suggests that taking a specific product (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) containing greater celandine, peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, clown's mustard plant, lemon balm, angelica, and milk thistle by mouth for 4 weeks reduces severity of acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Bile disorders. Some early research suggests that taking a specific extract containing greater celandine and turmeric (Cholagogum F Nattermann) by mouth reduces pain in patients with a bile disorder called biliary dyskinesia.
  • Cancer. Early research suggests that injecting a specific greater celandine product (Ukrain) intravenously under medical supervision improves survival in some people with colorectal, bladder, pancreatic, or breast cancer. However, the studies showing this benefit have been criticized because they weren't well designed. Also some research shows that high doses of this product may be poisonous. Still, other early research shows that taking a solution of a greater celandine mixture by mouth for 2 weeks might have antitumor effects in people with cancer of the esophagus.
  • Warts.
  • Blister rashes.
  • Scabies.
  • Pain and swelling (inflammation).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Stomach flu.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Gout.
  • Arthritis.
  • Spasms in the digestive tract.
  • Irregular menstrual periods.
  • Toothache.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of greater celandine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Greater celandine is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. It can cause serious liver problems. When applied to the skin, greater celandine can cause allergic skin rash.

Not enough is known about the safety of giving greater celandine products intravenously.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking greater celandine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Greater celandine might cause the immune system to become more active. This might increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using greater celandine.

Blockage of the bile duct (bile duct obstruction): Some greater celandine extracts appear to increase the flow of bile. There is a concern that this might make bile duct obstruction worse.

Liver disease, including hepatitis: There is some evidence that greater celandine can cause hepatitis. Don't use greater celandine if you have liver disease.


Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Greater celandine might harm the liver. Taking greater celandine along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take greater celandine if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.

Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.

Before taking greater celandine, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Greater celandine might make the immune system more active. Taking greater celandine along with medications that decrease immune system function might decrease the effectiveness of these medications.

Some medications that decrease immune system function include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For upset stomach, 1 mL three times daily of a specific combination product containing greater celandine plus peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, clown's mustard plant, lemon balm, angelica, and milk thistle. (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) over a period of 4 weeks.

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