Herbal Therapies Used by People Living With HIV: Greater Celandine
Part of A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for People Living With HIV
Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) is a flowering plant native to Europe, some parts of Asia and eastern Canada. It is most often used as a treatment for indigestion and other digestive upsets. Its flowers are its primary medicinal component, but its root also may have anti-cancer effects and be useful for people with Kaposi's sarcoma. Celandine's anti-tumour effects may be due to its influence on the immune system. It may also have immune modulating effects that are beneficial to HIV-positive people.
Studies of the Chinese version of celandine done on animals, and at least one study involving humans, have shown a benefit against solid tumours. Ukrain, an injectable treatment derived from celandine, has been used in one tiny study by its manufacturers to treat Kaposi's sarcoma. In this study of two patients, lesions shrank and T-cell counts increased.
Dried celandine flowers may be available from herbalists and Chinese medicine practitioners. They usually come in the form of a tincture, decoction or infusion. When the herb is taken in modest doses, it is not known to cause side effects. Overdoses, however, may cause nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Many people get rashes when the fresh herb comes in contact with their skin. One source suggests that celandine may alter the metabolism of other treatments. In light of these possibilities, it is probably wise that people who wish to use celandine work closely with an herbalist experienced in treating people with HIV.
This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.