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Celandine

Celandine
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Price: $5.99
Availability: 15
Model: Chelidonium majus
Average Rating: Not Rated

Greater celandine has an erect habit, and may reach 30 to 120 cm high. The leaves are deeply divided, 30-cm long, and crenate. The sap is bright opaque yellow. The flowers comprise four yellow petals, each about 1 cm long, with two sepals. The flowers appear from May to July. The seeds are small and black, and possess an elaiosome, which attracts ants to disperse the seeds (myrmecochory). A double-flowered variety, a naturally occurring mutation, also exists. It is considered an aggressive invasive plant in natural areas (both woods and fields). Control is mainly via pulling or spraying the plant before seed dispersal.

The whole plant is toxic in moderate doses as it contains a range of isoquinoline alkaloids but there are numerous therapeutic uses when used at the correct dosage. The main alkaloid present in the herb and root is coptisine. Other alkaloids present include berberine, chelidonine, sanguinarine and chelerythrine. Sanguinarine is particularly toxic with a lethal dose of only 18 mg per kg body weight. Despite this acute toxicity, sanguinarine is present in such small quantities that the LD50 dose would require >50g of raw herb to be ingested. Caffeic acid derivatives are also present. 

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