This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Chelidonium Majus vulgare C. B. & Linn. Celandine: a plant with longish leaves divided to the rib into roundish indented portions, of which those at the extremities are much larger than the others, of a bright green colour on the upper side, bluish green underneath, full of a gold coloured juice, as are like-wife the stalks: from the bosoms of the leaves issue long pedicles, bearing clusters of tetrape-talous yellow flowers, which are followed by brownish pods containing flattish shining black seeds: the root is pretty thick at top, with a number of fibres at bottom, externally brownish, internally of a deep yellowish red or saffron colour. It is perennial, grows wild in hedges and shady waste places, and flowers in May and June.
The leaves and roots of celandine have a faint unpleasant smell, and a bitterish, very acrid, and very durable taste, which is considerably stronger in the roots than in the leaves. Both water and rectified spirit extract nearly the whole of their pungent matter; the leaves, notwithstanding the yellow juice which issues so plentifully from a slight wound, and in which their activity appears to reside, give to rectified spirit a green tincture: the roots, which yield a copious saffron red juice, tinge the same men-struum of a brownish yellow. The pungency of this plant is not of the volatile kind, little or nothing of it rising in distillation, with water, any more than with spirit: it is nevertheless greatly abated by drying the plant itself, or by infpiffting, with a gentle heat, the spirituous or watery infusions. The smell of the herb is wholly dissipated in drying.
This acrid plant stands recommended as a powerful aperient and attenuant, in obstinate jaundices when not accompanied with inflammatory symptoms, in cachexies, chloroses, dropsies, and other diseases. Half a dram or a dram of the dry root in powder; or an infu-sion, in wine or water, of a dram or a dram and a half of the fresh root; or three or four drops of its saffron-coloured juice, in any convenient vehicle; are directed for a dose. Great caution is requisite in the internal use of a medicine so acrimonious and irritating; more particularly in acute distempers, in which infusions of it, made in vinegar, have by some been recommended as a sudorific. Among us, it is employed chiefly by the common people for some external purposes; as the destroying of warts, cleansing foul fores, removing some cutaneous defedations, and clouds and beginning suffusions of the eyes: for this last intention, the juice is diluted largely with milk, being of itself much too sharp to be applied with safety to so tender an organ.