Sunday, May 13, 2018

Es Schellgraut - Greater Celandine

Flower of Schellgraut

The orange latex or “juice” of Schellgraut (en: Greater Celandine; tax: Cheliodonium majus) has been used in traditional Deitsch remedies for centuries. Among the most common are as a poultice for ringworm, warts, bunions, and corns. The fresh juice may also be applied directly to a wart. Additional uses include lymphatic troubles and piles, though by far the most common use is the treatment of warts.


Lick & Brendle (Plant Names and Plant Lore Among the Pennsylvania Germans, p. 215) cite also that wearing part of the leaf in the shoe will cure jaundice, which to me echoes the Doctrine of Signatures relating the color of the latex to the color one takes on with jaundice. This notion is echoed by Christopher Sauer, who provides a recipe (p. 89) of Greater Celandine, Rue, vinegar, and salt to get rubbed into the soles of the feet to prevent jaundice.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational and discussion purposes only. Nothing in these posts is intended to constitute, or should be considered, medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider. Feverfew may thin the blood, so people on blood thinners should be careful with its use. Also, as the herb is used in inducing menstruation, pregnant women should avoid using this herb. As always, your health is your responsibility. Consult with a doctor before using any herbal remedy or preventative.

Although there are traditional uses internally for jaundice and for gallbladder issues, the plant’s potential toxicity to the liver make it so that it should only be used under the supervision of a medical professional. The plant should be avoided during pregnancy and when breast-feeding.

Orange latex or "juice" of Schellgraut
In animals, it is recorded that Pliny and Dioscorides wrote that swallows used the latex of Greater Celandine to sharpen the eyesight of their young. This is echoed in later German and even Deitsch folklore that field swallows use the latex to cause the eyes of their fledglings to open.

Sauer (p. 89) provides a similar use for Greater Celandine as an eyewash for cataracts in horses.

The latex of the plant may also be applied to the skin to treat poison ivy.

The plant is often used both in sympathetic remedies and in hexes to serve as a stand-in for “wolf’s milk” (pdc: Wolfmillich) which typically serves to drive away enemies or harmful entities or energies or to harm or weaken adversarial entities or energies.

Despite the potential danger of interacting with a mother wolf, whom many may associate with darker energies, the plant is also considered to be warm and dry, and, perhaps due to the color of its latex, it has some association with brightness and daylight. As such, the plant is developing an association with the goddess Helling in Urglaawe practice.

Schellkraut seed pods

This plant, which is native to Europe but naturalized throughout much of the eastern US, is often considered to be simply a nuisance “weed,” but it is actually quite useful and is often a willing ally, medicinally, spiritually, and magically.


Brendle, Thomas R. and Claude W. Unger. Folk Medicine of the Pennsylvania Germans. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society 45. Norristown, PA, 1935.

Weaver, William Woys. "Sauer's Herbal Cures: America's First Book of Botanic Healing." New York: Routledge, 2001.

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