PILEWORT for…..yes that’s right, PILES!
Or Lesser Celendine
(Ranunculus ficaria) Ranunculaceae or Buttercup family
This is one of the early spring flowers to lift the spirits after winter along with snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, helebores, winter aconite and windflowers. Spring is really on the move now with some citings of medicinal plants such as coltsfoot flowers, violets, primroses, lesser periwinkle, ground ivy, dandelions, daisies etc.
Lesser celendine is also a medicinal plant. It’s therapeutic action is that of a straight forward Astringent, specifically used for the treatment externally of Haemorrhoids or Piles or indeed varicose veins. The whole plant can be used but there is more of a reputation for the root being used. It’s use in this respect can be traced back to Culpeper and Gerard when the doctrine of signatures was still prevalent in Medieval Britain. If you unearth a bit of the root you will see that they do bear a lot of resemblance!
You can make an ointment or for the die-hards, suppositories out of the fresh root but care must be taken to ensure prolonged heating of the fresh plant as it contains protoanemonin ( a vesicant or blistering agent). Many plants of the Ranunculacea or Buttercup family contain this. However, with the heating or drying process it is converted to the more stable anemonin.