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Milky Sap of Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus L.) and Anti-Viral Properties



by Joanna Nawrot 1,Małgorzata Wilk-Jędrusik 1,Sylwia Nawrot 1,Krzysztof Nawrot 2,Barbara Wilk 3,Renata Dawid-Pać 1,Maria Urbańska 1Iwona Micek 1,Gerard Nowak 1 andJustyna Gornowicz-Porowska 1,*

1 Department of Medicinal and Cosmetic Natural Products Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Fredry 10, 61-701 Poznań, Poland

2 Institute of Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Farming and Bioengineering, Poznan University of Life Sciences, WojskaPolskiego 28, 60-624 Poznań, Poland

3 Department of Water and Wastewater Technology, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Gdansk University of Technology, 11/12 Narutowicza St., 80-233 Gdansk, Poland


The milky juice of the greater celandine herb has been used in folk medicine and in homeopathy for treatment of viral warts for years. However, classical medicine fails to use properties of celandine herbs in treatment of diseases induced by papilloma viruses. Nevertheless, dermatological outpatient clinics are regularly visited by patients reporting efficacy of milky sap isolated from celandine herb in treatment of their own viral warts. Authors of this report decided to analyze the respective world literature in order to critically evaluate the potential for treatment of viral dermal warts using the milky sap of celandine. Moreover, the case of a 4-year old boy was presented, the parents of whom applied the milky sap of celandine on viral warts on hands. Thus, Ch. majus may be a potential therapeutic modality for skin warts, especially in a young patients, where conventional therapy may be difficult to apply.

Keywords: Chelidonium majusviral wartsalkaloidsanti-viral properties

1. Introduction

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus L. – Papaveraceae) is a perennial plant growing in regions of moderate climate, on the continents of Europe, Asia, North America and in a part of Northwest Africa. In Poland it is found across the entire country. Greater celandine prefers humid soils, rich in nitrogen and calcium [1]. Most frequently it appears as a ruderal weed in shaded sites.

The plant manifests a thick, fusiform, strongly branched root and a thin, forked and sparsely haired stalk, reaching up to 50 cm. The leafage of the celandine herb shows an alternate arrangement. The leaves are pinnate with lobed and wavy-edged margins. Flowers of greater celandine are four-petalled, yellow, radial, in loose corymbs. The phenological period of the blooming phase spans May and September. The fruits manifest the shape of long, cylindrical capsules. All parts of the plant contain a milky sap of yellow-orange color. The flowers are self-pollinating although cross-pollination may also take place. For best cultivation purposes, seeds of greater celandine should best be sown in the autumn [2].

The greater celandine herb is rich in medically valuable natural compounds (Figure 1). Their highest amounts are contained in immature fruits (2.4%) and in roots (4%), while the aerial parts of the plant contain around 0.5% of active compounds. The plant contains, first of all, alkaloids: benzylisoquinolic compounds (0.01%–1%), such as sanguinarine (1), chelidonine (2) and chelerythrine (3) and protoberberines, berberine (4), coptisine (5), protopine (6), allocryptopine (7), stylopine (8). An important group of active compounds involves phenolic acids (caffeic acid (9) and their esters, ferulic acid (10) and p-coumaric acid (11)) as well as chelidonic acid (12) and caffeoyl-malic acid (13) [3,4]



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