Celandine (chelidonium majus), a plant of the order papaveracece, indigenous in Europe, but never wild in this country. It is one or two feet high, bears pinnate leaves and small peduncled umbels of yellow flowers, and when wounded emits a yellow, opaque juice. It contains several peculiar acid and alkaline principles, one of which, chelerethrine, is probably identical with the active principle of bloodroot, a plant to which celandine is botanically allied. Chelerethrine, which receives its name from the intensely red color of its salts, appears to be an acrid narcotic poison. The whole plant is an acrid purgative. The juice is exceedingly irritant, and when applied to the skin produces inflammation and even vesication. It was formerly esteemed in jaundice, in which affection it may have been useful on account of its purgative properties, although it is not improbable that its reputation was largely founded upon the color of its juice. This is applied locally in some skin diseases, and the whole plant is used externally in the south of Europe as a vulnerary.
Its real value is probably not greater than that of many other violent purgatives and irritants.
Celandine (Chelidonium majus).