In our wish to extend the warmth of summer a little longer, we’ve decided to feature a herbaceous plant whose little yellow flowers dotted the city throughout the summer. If you look around carefully, you can still find a few late bloomers along the sidewalks and railroad tracks! The first frost is just around the corner so this is your last chance to see the pretty little flower before the winter sets in.
Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) has an illustrious history that reaches back to antiquity, and it never fails to impress any hands-on observers who quickly discover that a broken stem excretes an incredibly bright orange latex. This latex is loaded with useful toxins and, in alternative medicine, is used to get rid of warts (much like fig latex). In European herbalism, celandine also has a long history of use against liver and gallbladder ailments.
In recent years, celandine has become better known in connection with its possible cancer-fighting properties. In fact, the drug Ukrain reportedly uses compounds from celandine to fight several types of cancer including lung, kidney, breast, pancreatic, and skin cancer. Still, the drug remains controversial and is not approved for use in the US or in most European countries (although celandine is on the Commission E – Germany’s regulatory agency for herbs – list of approved herbs).