Another flower I eagerly look forward to seeing is the bright, cheerful flowers of the Lesser Celandine. Its strong, buttercup yellow flowers show up brightly against the rich dark green, heart-shaped leaves letting us all know that spring is finally on its way. Herbalists know this plant as pilewort which gives a good indication of its use.
Like many roots of the buttercup family, pilewort contains tannins which can be use to astringe varicose veins, including those in the anal area where they are known as haemorrhoids or ‘piles’. As pilewort also contains saponins, which can prevent blood clotting, it is best to restrict its use to non-bleeding haemorrhoids. One way around this problem is to make it into an ointment or cream together with a ‘styptic’ herb that will stop bleeding.
“Please ensure that you have correctly identified any wild plants before picking and please pick responsibly so as not to deplete wild stock.”
I usually combine pilewort with either yarrow or plantain in a cream. Applying this twice daily brings great relief to the discomfort of this common condition. I usually wait until the herb has died down and then harvest the roots, which are a
very good example of the Doctrine of Signatures, but the flowering herb can be used as well. Use the fresh herb and cover with vegetable oil – sunflower oil is fine- and heat in a double boiler for several hours.
Strain the oil and add enough melted beeswax to harden the oil to a soft ointment. I find that 10g beeswax will set 150ml oil. Please ensure that you have correctly identified any wild plants before picking and please pick responsibly so as not to deplete wild stock. If you are taking any prescribed medications, are pregnant or breast-feeding, please consult a qualified herbalist before using herbal remedies.
Christine Best is a fully qualified Medical Herbalist practicing at her clinic in Kilflynn. You may contact her at 086 1939217 or through her website at www.kerryherbalist.com