Lesser celandine, Ranunculus ficaria, is a plant that you will find everywhere where I live at the moment. This plant appearing is one of the early signs of spring. It’s a very small and unassuming plant in appearance. However, the things you can do with it are pretty amazing. Lesser celandine is one of the plants that can provide you with food all year round. In early spring by means the leaves and the rest of the year by means of the tubers.
The medicinal properties of this plant are unknown to many. However, our ancestors knew very well that lesser celandine, among other things, was excellent to use against diseases of the blood vessels. Lesser celandine has a fairly specific but nonetheless powerful effect. Haemorrhoids and varicose veins in particular can be treated well with this herb.
In terms of magical properties, celandine is also an excellent plant. Some of its reputed uses are providing protection in general and against conditions that compromise milk production specifically. It also brings happiness and wards off gloomy thoughts, amongst other things.
Lesser celandine is a modest plant, reaching a maximum height of 30 cm, but usually staying lower to the ground. The plant grows on a rhizome with tubers (bulbils) at the top. The stem is horizontal or upright with stalked, glossy, succulent leaves, which are cordate – or, in the case of the upper leaves, palmatifid.
The flowers are deep yellow and have 8 to 12 petals and 3 green sepals.
Lesser celandine owes its Dutch name, speenkruid, to the shape of the breeding tubers, which look like a small udder. One of its English folknames, pilewort, has to do with its medicinal properties.
The leaves of lesser celandine contain a lot of vitamin C and were therefore used against scurvy in the past.
With the dried, older leaves you can make a poison that used to be applied to arrow points, for example.