Chelidonium majus


Botanical Name: Chelidonium majus
Common name: Celandine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 394), Greater Celandine (Henrich, Barnes, Gibbons & Williamson, 2012, p. 41)
Family: Papaveraceae (Henrich et al., 2012, p. 41)
Parts used: Root, herb (Natural Standard, 2013, p. 3)


  • Alkaloid “chelidone”
  • Isoquinoline alkaloids

(Henrich et al., 2012, p. 41)



  • Anticancer (Natural Standard, 2013)
  • Antidepressant (Iagodina, Nikol’skaia & Faddeeva, 2003, Abstract)
  • Bitter (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 394)
  • Cholagogue (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 504; Henrich et al., 2012, p. 41; Natural Standard, 2013)
  • Stimulant (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 520)
  • Analgesic (Natural Standard, 2013)
  • Antimicrobial (Natural Standard, 201)
  • Immunomodulation (Natural Standard, 2013)


  • Cancer: Human trial focus on the semi-synthetic drug “Ukrain” which contains derivitives of Chelidonium majus L. (Natural Standard, 2013, p. 15) Natural Standard suggested that there is B-grade evidence supporting the herb’s anticancer properties (2013, p. 2).
  • Tonsillitis: As an immune-modulator, one study found that oral administration had immune boosting properties in children with chronic tonsillitis (Natural Standard, 2013, p. 34).
  • Choleretic symptoms: Chelidonium has been seen to both increase the flow of bile and decrease the symptoms of “bilary symptoms” (Natural Standard, 2013, p. 26)
  • Depression: A study involving the active constituents of Chelidonium found antidepressive activities (Iagodina et al., 2003, Abstract).


Preparation & Dosage

Infusion: 1-2 tsp/1 cup water/bid

Tincture: 8-10 drops tds

Dose of 20mg/week of Ukrain was found to have potential anticancer actions used 2 months (Naural Standard, 2013, p. 2).



The herb is considered somewhat toxic, although has a long history of traditional use (Natural Standard, 2013, p. 2). Suggested to posses “selective toxicity” towards malignancy cells, which suggests benefit in the indication of cancer, however current research fails to describe the herb’s mechanism of action (Natural Standard, 2013).



  • Liver Disease (Natural Standard, 2013)
  • Pregnancy (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 394)
  • Known allergy to Papaveraceae (Natural Standard, 2013)



May have contradictory effects when taken with medication such as:

  • Anphetamines
  • Morphine
  • Hexobarbital
  • Seratonergic drugs
  • Radiation Therapy

(Natural Standard, 2013, p. 2)



Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Gibbons, S., and Williamson, E. (2012). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Iagodina, O. V., Nikol’skaia, E. B., & Faddeeva, M. (2003). [Inhibition of liver mitochondrial monoamine oxidase activity by alkaloids isolated from Chelidonium and Macleaya and by their derivative drugs]. Tsitologiia, 45(10), 1032-1037. Retrieved from:

Natural Standard. (2013). Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Retrieved from:

Taborska, E., Bochorakova, H., Dostal, J., Paulova, H. (1995). [The greater celandine (Chelidonium majus L.) review of present knowledge. Ceska.Slov.Farm, 44(2), 71-75. Retrieved from:

Image: Yapici, F. (2006). Chelidonium majus-Kirlangic Otu. Retrieved from:

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