This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Chelibonia rotundifolia minor C. B. Ranunculus Ficaria Linn. Pilewort: a small plant, with roundish, smooth, shining green leaves, set on long pedicles; and slender procumbent stalks, bearing bright gold-coloured solitary flowers, of eight or nine petala, which stand in three-leaved cups, and are followed by clutters of naked seeds: the root consists of slender fibres, with a number of tubercles or little knobs among them. It is perennial, grows wild in hedges and moist meadows, and flowers in April.
The leaves of pilewort are ranked among the antiscorbutics, but do not promise to be of much virtue: they have no smell, and only an herbaceous taste, which, on chewing consider-able quantities of them for some time, is followed by a very slight pungency. The roots are celebrated as a specific against the piles: they have been sometimes given inwardly, but chiefly applied externally, in the form of a cataplasm, lotion, or unguent. Boerhaave relates, that he cured an atrabiliary person who was troubled with the piles, by using daily a decoction of two ounces of this root, after sundry other medicines had been tried in vain. Perhaps the pile-wort root acts, in these cases, little otherwise than as a simple emollient: it has a soft sweetish taste, and yields with water a large proportion of a mucilaginous extract.