Gathering Ranunculus ficaria, Known With Good Reason as Pilewort

Ranunculus ficaria is also known as Pilewort

With the warm Spring weather it is very cheering to see the beautiful yellow stars of  Ranunculus ficaria popping up everywhere.  Its common names are Lesser Celandine and Pilewort, this last because it is a very effective treatment for piles or haemorrhoids.  Here is an example where the Doctrine of Signatures is logical.  The tubers of Pilewort are reminiscent of a rather nasty case of piles. 

I gather Pilewort in early Spring when it is in flower.  I like to get in a good supply to last me until the following Spring.  I use the whole plant, although some people prefer to use only the root.  I always get pretty damp during the washing procedure so it is definitely a job for a sunny day.  The plants are washed repeatedly in many changes of water until they are perfectly clean, they are then laid out on trays to dry off before being put into the dehydrator.   Once dried I can use the herb in tincture, creams, ointments or capsules.  

The plants are washed in many changes of water and I always seem to get pretty wet!

Piles are an annoying fact of life for many patients, they may pop up during pregnancy when the body is under more strain than usual, or they can develop as a messenger from a liver complaining of congestion.  Not only does a congested liver create venous ‘back pressure’ but it is also likely to bring with it a tendency to constipation and the resulting straining doesn’t help matters if you are prone to piles.

When patients tell me that they have piles I want to establish the root cause of the problem so that a lasting solution is obtained.  Each case is different because each person I see is unique.  A person may need herbs such as Agrimony to help blood circulation in the liver or they may need herbs to help increase the flow of bile such as Dandelion and Boldo.  Where venous integrity is a problem herbs such as Witch Hazel and Horse Chestnut will play their part and sometimes the circulation in general needs support with herbs such as Ginger and Prickly Ash.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach but having said that Pilewort is a very valuable part of the treatment because it is so effective at shrinking piles quickly.

Sometimes results are dramatic.  A protuberance the size of a duck egg down to a ‘peanut’ in a matter of days, much to the relief of the patient concerned.  It is not nice when you can’t sit down.

Washed Pilewort spread out to dry.

Pilewort – it definitely does what its name says.  I wouldn’t be without it in my dispensary and I am so glad that I am able to gather it plentifully from my garden.

If you are suffering from haemorrhoids why not get to the bottom of the problem (if you’ll pardon the pun)?  If the root cause is treated they won’t come back!


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About myrobalanclinic

I am a registered medical herbalist who uses a unique approach combining Tibetan Medicine with Western Herbal Medicine. I love my job - it is so rewarding seeing people taking control of their health and feeling healthier and more positive. I like to think that I help people get more out of life.
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