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Common Name: Greater Celandine | Scientific Name: Chelidonium Majus

Family Name: Papaveraceae


Notes from the Eclectic Physicians

Notes from the Eclectic Physicians

1874: Scudder
Among the remedies used by the school of Rademacher , Chelidonium held an important place. It was used for its specific influence upon the liver, thought its action undoubtedly extended to the entire chylopoietic viscera. It has also been employed by French and German physicians to a limited extent, and is a remedy valued by Grauvogl, though not much used by the mass of Homoeophaths.

I have been experimenting with it for the past year, and its action has been so satisfactory in some cases, that I am inclined to believe it will prove a valuable addition to our materia medica. I have used the Terman tincture thus far, in the proportion of 3j. to 3ij. to water 3iv.; a teaspoonful every three or four hours. I propose, however, to have a tincture prepared from our American plant as soon as possible, and test it; and I would recommend to any of my readers who know the plant – “Great Celandine, or Tetterwort” – to prepare a tincture from the fresh herb and root, and test it.

I believe I can say that it acts on all the organs supplied from the solar plexus of nerves. In the olden time the liver was deemed the most important of these organs, and all diseases of the chylopoietic viscera were referred to it, hence the remedy was said to act specially upon the liver.

The cases in which it has seemed to me to exert the greatest incluence, presented the following symptoms: The tongue much enlarged, and somewhat pale; mucous membranes full and enfeebled; skin full and sallow, sometimes gree4nish; fulness in hyupochondria; tumid abdomen; light colored feces; no abdominal pain; urine pale but cloudy, and of high specific gravity.

I have seen three cases of chronic disease presenting these symptoms, with the addition of oedema of the feet and legs, in two of which the influence of the Chelidonium was seemingly direct and curative. In one, it is associated with other means, and a sufficient time has not yet elapsed to determine the success, yet thus far it is beneficial. In one case of enlarged spleen, with confirmed dyspepsia, the influence was marked from the first, and in three weeks the patient concluded to dispense with medicine, and let nature complete the cure (because nature makes no charge for medicine).

I do not wish to introduce the Chelidonium as a remedy that has been thoroughly studied, though it has a record in this direction of nearly one hundred years. But from my experience I think it is one that may be tested with advantage.

1895: Watkins: CHELIDONIUM, SP MED:
Full, pale, sallow tongue and mucous membranes; skin pale and sallow, sometimes greenish; jaundice, torpid liver, cough with pain in region of liver, sense of weight in stomach, indigestion, melancholy. One to ten drops of the tincture three times a day.

1898: Webster
Chelidonium is the remedy for jaundice when the condition depends upon a congestive state of the liver or on catarrh of the biliary ducts dependent thereon, resulting in obstruction to the free flow of bile. With some practitioners it is a favorite routine remedy for jaundice, without reference to the pathological condition, and it usually proves effective. I would suggest it where there is pain in the right hypochondrium and right shoulder, the pain in the hypochondriac region being full and tensive or throbbing.

It has proven effective in the treatment of gall-stones and in bilious dyspepsia, with severe headaches. It somewhat resembles nux vomica in its action on the liver, having, however, a more marked effect on the circulation.

Inflammation of the liver, both acute and chronic, jaundice from obstruction of the biliary ducts, and other hepatic disorders are amenable to the action of this remedy.

Form for Administration- The specific medicine.

Dose- From the fraction of a drop to ten drops.

1905: Peterson
Properties: drastic purgative in moderate or large doses.

Indications: Full, pale, sallow tongue and mucous membrane, skin pale, doughy, sometimes even greenish. Slow pulse, dull pain or heaviness in the region of the liver, sense of weight in the stomach;dull, stretchy, tired feeling, cold extremities, frontal headache, dull sick headache, vertigo, irregularity of the bowels, melancholy, pain under angle of right shoulder blade: all or any of the above indications the result of sluggish portal circulation and impaired function o the glandular organs of the abdominal cavity.

Use: In jaundice due to obstruction from swelling of mucous membrane that lines the biliary ducts; caused by catarrhal inflammation. In general catarrhal condition of the biliary ducts. Corrects tendency to formation of gall stones. In conditions where no bile is secreted by the liver and in consewuentce white or gray colored stools result it is the remedy; in such cases urine may be pale. Also, where there is obstruction of the biliary ducts from catarrhal conditions. In diseases of the liver and digestive apparatus, the result of sluggish portal circulation and funcitonal inactivey of the glandular organs of the abdominal cavity, it is a valuable remedy. It has been recomended for hydrcele internally. Locally of great value in ringworm and tetter. In inflammation of the liver, it is our best remedy if alternaed or assocaited with other indicated remedies. Chelidonium is claimed for sometine. Claimed to be of value in varicose veins and to have some aphrodisiac power.

1909: Felter and Lloyd: CHELIDONIUM (U.S.P.) – CHELIDONIUM
History -Celandine is a pale-green, fleshy herb, indigenous to Europe , and naturalized in this country; it grows along fences, by roadsides, in waste places, etc., and flowers from May to October. When the plant is wounded, a bright-yellow, offensive juice exudes, which has a persistent, nauseous, bitter taste, with a biting sensation in the mouth and fauces. The root is the most intensely bitter part of the plant, and is more commonly preferred. Drying diminishes its activity. It yields its virtues to alcohol or water. The plant should be collected while in bloom.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – Stimulant, acrid, alterative, diuretic, diaphoretic, purgative, and vulnerary. As a drastic hydragogue it is fully equal to gamboge. The juiice, when applied to the skin, produces inflammation, and even vesication, and has long been known as a caustic for the removal of warts; also applied to indolent ulcers, fungous growths, etc., and is useful in removing specks of opacities of the cornea, and in curing ringworms. Celandine is superior to arnica as a vulnerary; an alcoholic tincture of the root (3 ounces to 1 pint), will be found an unrivaled external application to prevent or subdue traumatic inflammations. Used internally in decoction or tincture, and externally in poultice or ointment, for scrofula, cutaneous diseases, and piles. Likewise useful in hepatic affections, and is supposed to exert a special influence on the spleen. It is a remedy influencing the parts supplied with nerve force from the branches of the solar plexus, and with blood from the hepatic artery, and to some extent by the splenic artery. Both acute and subacute forms of inflammation of the liver, when suppurative action has not set in, are benefited by chelidonium. Nigraine, bilious headaches, supraorbital neuralgia, bilious dyspepsia, with headache, and other gastric and intestinal disturbances, due to faulty action of the liver, are well treated with it. It is a remedy for so-called “liver coughs”. Hemorrhoids, hepatic and splenic congestion, and gastro-intestinal disorders, due to capillary engorgement of the viscera, are conditions for its exhibition. It is one of the best of remedies for biliary catarrh the result of hepatic congestion, and for jaundice, due to obstruction of the bile ducts, the mucous membranes of which are swollen from the subacute inflammation present. Full, tensive, or throbbing pain in the right hypochondrium, and pain extending to beneath the right scapula, are the guides to its use in these hepatic disorders. Prof. Scudder, who conceived a very favorable opinion of this remedy, favored the use of small doses of chelidonium where the tongue was somewhat pallid and enlarged, the skin sallow, full, and occasionally tinged greenish-yellow, the mucous membranes enfeebled and full, right hypochondrium full, abdomen tumid, feces light in color, and urine of high specific gravity, an dpale, but cloudy. As a rule there is no general abdominal pain. Oedema of the extremities is sometimes an added indication. The remedy has acted favorably in biliary calculi, and in the small dose (1/20 to 1/10 drop, every 2 or 3 hours) the extravagant claim of having radically cured hydrocele, has been made by some leading Homoeopaths. Dose of the powdered root, from 1/2 to 1 drachm; of the fresh juice, from 30 to 40 drops, in some bland liquid; of the tincture, from 1 to 2 fluid drachms; of the aqueous extract, from 5 to 10 grains. The foregoing doses represent its gross action, but for the specific purposes for which it is now employed, the dose should be small, preferably from 1 to 15 drops of specific chelidonium. Prof. Scudder preferred it as follows: Specific chelidonium, gtt. x; aqua, fl3iv. Mix. A tablespoonful every 3 or 4 hours.

Specific Indications and Uses – “Full, pale, sallow tongue and mucous membranes; skin pale and sallow, sometimes greenish;” hepatic congestion; jaundice, due to swollen bile ducts; sluggish hepatic action; cough, with hepatic pain; fullness, with tensive or throbbing pain in the right hypochondrium, and pain extending to right shoulder; melancholia, headaches, and gastric disorders, dependent upon faulty action of the liver.

1911: Fyfe
Skin pale and sallow, full, pale, and sallow tonue and mucous membranes, greenish yellow skin, pain unde right shoulder blade, bloating in the region of the liver, with pain on pressure, stools slimmy and light coloredor scybalous. In diseases of the liver and digestive organs, chelidonium is a remedy of decided merit. Chelidonium majus is stimulant, alterative, diuretic, diaphoretic, and cathartic.

Synonym – Great Celandine, Garden Celandine, Tetterwort.

Constituents – A bitter principle, and the alkaloids chelidonine, sanguinarine, protopine and chelerythrine. It also contains chelidonic an dchelidoninic acids and chlorophyll.

Preparations – Extractum Chelidonium; Extract of Chelidonium; Extractum Chelidonium fluidum, expressed juice of Chelidonium; succus Chelidonium. Dose, ten to twenty drops. Specific Medicine Chelidonium. Dose, from one-tenth to ten minims.

Physiological Action – Drastic cathartic and violent local irritant, alterative, diuretic, diaphoretic and expectorant.

This agent stimulates the chylopoietic system, favorably influencing all of thos organs which are supplied by the solar plexus of the great sympathetic.

Specific Symptomatology – The conditions to which chelidonium are especially applicable are found in fully developed abdominal plethora, inefficient functional action of the glandular organs of the abdominal cavity, and imperfect, sluggish and deficient circulation of the tissues, glands and organs of this cavity.

This agent operates in harmony with leptandra, podophyllum, iris versicolor, chionanthus and sodium phosphate, in the three following important conditions: Diminished secretion of bile, evidenced by grayish, clay-colored, or very light yellow stools, which will usually float. There may be no evidences of absorption of bile into the blood – no jaundice; or there may be absorption of the bile and jaundice, with its whole train of symptoms, with dark green and fetid stools and colic; or there may be the above grayish, clay-colored stools and jaundice, with bile in the urine, which is dark yellow or red, very acid, charged with an excess of uric acid crystals.

Therapy – Sluggishness of the portal circulation. Defective liver circulation, is the cause of a long train of remote manifestations, among which are slow pulse, frequent palpitations, a feeling of weight, stiffness and swellings of the hands, feet and limbs, cold extremities, pallid and doughy skin, local and general, oedema, dull pain or constant aching in the limbs and muscles, aching in the front head and occiput, vertigo, weariness, irritability, inactivity, irregularity of the bowels – constipation, followed by diarrhoea, erratic colicky pains, sallowness, jaundice and other disorders. Chelidonium is an excellent remedy in a case with these manifestations.

In disease of the spleen, it relives congestion and reduces splenic hypertrophy, acting in harmony with chionanthus and grindelia squarrosa. Its action upon the pancreatic glands is satisfactory, relieving congestion and engorgement and irritation, and inducing a better circulation. It will be found an excellent remedy in combination with helonias in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

This agent was used thirty years ago with eminent success in the treatment of biliary calculi. It is now in use for that purpose among many physicians, who consider it superior to any other agent known in preventing their formation.

Its influence upon the functional activity of the liver induces a thinner and more profuse secretion of the bile, and it is thus useful in promoting the expulsion of gall stones. It is available also in simple biliousness, hepatic congestion, acute or sub-acute inflammation of the liver, jaundice, due to catarrhal conditions of the ducts, or when dropsy depends upon hepatic trouble. When migraine or supraorbital neuralgia depend upon hepatic difficulties this remedy in indicated.

A patient suffering from a headache which began in the occiput before rising in the morning; poor appetite; cold hands and feet; tongue large, thick, pasty, with a grayish white coat; skin of a dusky hue, was materially benefited by chelidonium, five drops of the fluid extract very two hours.

Some of the old writers believe that this agent is superior to arnica or hamamelis, as an external application to bruises and sprains. It prevents the development of local inflammation from traumatic causes.

The specific use externally, is in the application of the juice to warts, corns and epitheliomata, for which it has been widely used, and much evidence accumulated in its favor. In these conditions and in the treatment also of urticaria, eczema and itching eruptions, its careful application, persisted in, cures within a short time.

In the treatment of cancer, Denissenko directs that from twenty-two to seventy-five grains of the extract shall be taken internally, dissolved in distilled water or peppermint water, every day throughout the treatment. Into the substance of the tumor, as close as possible to the boundary between it and the healthy tissue, he throws a number of injections of from two to four drops of a mixture of equal weights of the extract, glycerine and distilled water, not exceeding a syringeful in all. If the tumor is ulcerated, he paints its surface twice a day with a mixture of one or two parts of the extract and one part of glycerine. The painting of the ulcerated surfaces gives rise to a light and transitory burning. In all instances, after the injections, especially after the first one, there was a burning pain at the site of the operation, the patient felt weak, there was a more or less severe chill, and then the temperature rose to between 100 and 102 degrees. These symptoms disappeared on the following day.

As a result of the treatment the sallow hue of the skin disappeared and softening of the tumor set in. After from three to five days there formed at the points of injection, fistulous tracts about which the softening process went on with special rapidity. Other investigators have not been as satisfied with its influence in cancers, but it is doubtless of value and deserves further observation. Iron, quinine and other supporting remedies are employed according to the indications.

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