Lesser Celandine

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Celidonia Menor, Éclairette, Épinard des Bûcherons, Faux Bouton d'Or, Ficaire, Ficaire Fausse Renoncule, Ficaria, Figwort, Grenouillette, Herbe au Fic, Herbe aux Hémorroïdes, Oreillette, Petite Chélidoine, Petite Éclaire, Petite Scrofulaire, Pilewort, Pot-au-Beurre, Ranunculus, Ranunculus ficaria, Renoncule Ficaire, Smallwort.


Lesser celandine is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take lesser celandine for scurvy, a condition caused by lack of vitamin C.

Lesser celandine is sometime applied directly to the skin for bleeding wounds and gums, swollen joints, warts, scratches, and hemorrhoids.

In food, fresh leaves of lesser celandine are sometimes used in salads.

Don't confuse lesser celandine with greater celandine (Chelidonium majus). Also, don't confuse lesser celandine with Scrophularia nodosa, since both are sometimes called figwort; or with amaranth and bulbous buttercup, since all three are known as pilewort.

How does it work?

Lesser celandine contains vitamin C. It also has a drying effect, soothes mucous membranes, and contains chemicals that cause skin irritation. Some researchers think that chemicals in lesser celandine might kill or prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus. Other chemicals might help treat hemorrhoids.


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...


  • Scurvy.
  • Other conditions.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lesser celandine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Eating small amounts of fresh leaf sheaths of lesser celandine is POSSIBLY SAFE.

However, lesser celandine is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used on skin. Putting lesser celandine on the skin can cause mucous membrane and skin irritation. The fresh, bruised plant can cause blisters if it is in contact with the skin long enough.

Lesser celandine is LIKELY UNSAFE when plant parts besides the leaf sheaths are taken by mouth. Taking it by mouth can cause side effects such as severe irritation of the stomach and intestines, diarrhea, and irritation of the urinary tract. Liver damage has also been reported.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to take lesser celandine by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Don't use it.

Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) tract problems: Lesser celandine can irritate the GI tract and make GI conditions worse. Don't use lesser celandine if you have a stomach or intestinal problem, especially an infection or a condition that causes swelling (inflammation).


The appropriate dose of lesser celandine depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for lesser celandine. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Cooley, N. M., Holmes, M. G., and Attridge, T. H. Growth and stomatal responses of temperate meadow species to enhanced levels of UV-A and UV-B+A radiation in the natural environment. J Photochem.Photobiol.B 2000;57(2-3):179-185. View abstract.

Strahl S, Ehret V, Dahm HH, Maier KP. [Necrotizing hepatitis after taking herbal medication]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1998;123:1410-4. View abstract.