If you have lesser celandine in your garden, you probably have to dig it out from time to time, and you’ll know why one of its common names is ‘pilewort’.
Back in the Middle Ages, doctors thought that God had given us clues as to what a plant’s healing powers might be, in its shape or colour or scent. Sadly, though, the Doctrine of Signatures – as it is called – doesn’t really hold up.
There are plant healing powers to be found still today.
While it’s true that the daisy – or ‘day’s eye’ – can be used for eye troubles, or lungwort for congested airways, it’s also true that there are other, more effective remedies to hand. Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is not much used these days, for piles or any other ailment. Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) on the other hand, though no relation at all, could well be included in a prescription for piles. Its bitterness stimulates the liver to work better and gives it a laxative quality, which straight away eases pressure in the colon and so helps piles to heal.
On the whole, there is more mileage in taking something to regulate your digestion than simply applying an ointment, though of course that can give symptomatic relief. And what about divining what a plant might be good for from its appearance? That could get you into deep trouble.
Be very wary of some types of mushrooms!
There is a mushroom, for example, called the stinkhorn. Its Latin name is Phallus impudicus, which tells you all you need to know. Sadly, however, it is not an aphrodisiac but a poison. Don’t try it!
Editor: Su is very happy to answer your questions via email on her blog .