Early spring has a certain amount of anticipation for the herbalist, with the better weather suggesting harvests of herbs to come. So it is with delight that the firstpilewort yellow flowers of the Lesser Celandine burst open on a sunny day. The first herb of the year to flower!

Its popular old common name “Pilewort” will give you a strong clue as to its use, and the whole plant is considered a specific for haemorrhoids. It can be taken internally and made into an ointment for topical application and its astringent properties make short work of this irritating condition. Culpepper in the 17th century wrote “It is certain by good experience that the decoction of the leaves and roots doth wonderfully help piles and haemorrhoids”. And today it is still the number one herb for the condition.

It is a beautiful sunny spring morning here in the Peak District and I’m off to collect some!

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