Spain’s Natural Remedy
If you walk the Camino de Santiago in Spring you will see the hills of Galicia scattered with small yellow flowers. These plants are called Lesser Celandine. They bloom in late February with the flowers opening in the morning and closing as the sun goes down. These wild flowers are part of the Buttercup family. Their arrival reminds us Spring is upon us, but also the plant also holds herbal remedies.
This plant has numerous herbal remedies. Lesser Celandine is also called Pilewort. This is because the plant was first known to be a natural remedy for piles. The dried root of the plant is modified into an ointment for this ailment. Many home remedy guides still advise applying an ointment of the raw Pilewort leaves to an affected area.
Now, the flower is poisonous when fresh. However, when the flower is dried and heated, the process turns the toxin into an ointment to help with muscle spasm and pain. All of which are experienced during one’s Camino walk into Santiago de Compostela!
The root can be dried and has been utilised by herbalists. The dried form of this plant has been used for medicinal purposes dating back as far back as the Middle Ages.
The fresh leaves of this plant contains a toxin if digested internally. Cooking eliminates the plant’s toxicity. These dried leaves are incorporated in to diets or herbal medicine. It can even be eaten: ground for flour or consumed as a vegetable.
According to some articles, the plant is sold in pharmacies as a dried herb in Russia. Furthermore, it is thought that the plant may have antibacterial characteristics if used externally. Researchers are not clear of the chemical make-up of Lesser Celandine. It is thought to contain lactones, triterpenoids, tannin and Vitamin C.
If you are out and about walking during the Spring, keep an eye out for the beauty of these flowers and bear in mind the potential remedies given to us through nature. If you do seek a remedy within this plant, do consult a health care professional. Buen Camino!