Lesser Celandine



COMMON NAME  : Pilewort, Lesser Celandine, Figwort

FAMILY  :        Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)


Found in moist corners of fields, near watersides. One of the few plants thriving beneath the shade of trees.

PARTS USED : whole herb.


Pilewort was the favourite flower of Wordsworth  and was carved on his tomb. The flowers close before rain,

do not open until about 9am and close by about  5pm at night. The plant’s Celtic name “Grian” , meaning the

sun, refers to this.

The juice can be used to eradicate warts. An extract of the dried herb is usually used in an ointment (made with

lard traditionally) and applied to haemorrhoids. Pilewort is also astringent and has counter-irritant properties.

When the plant withers, the roots swell and if the plant is dug up the tubers hang in a bunch. Some authors claim that it was called figwort because fig was slang for piles. Others claim that the tuber resembles a bunch of figs. Earlier in Celtic Britain, the tubers were thought to resemble a cow’s udder and were hung up in the milking

parlour to encourage flow.

Pilewort is astringent and anti-inflammatory. Internally it is considered astringent and soothing to the lower bowel and therefore helpful for treating inflammation of the rectum.


Little is known about the constituents but it probably contains traces of an acrid principle resembling or identical

to anemonin.