Pilewort is the fresh herb of Ranunculus Ficaria, Linn. (N.O. Ranunculaceae), a very common herbaceous plant. The stem, which is decumbent, produces petiolate, broadly ovate or reniform glabrous leaves, with crenate margin and cordate base. The flowers are supported on long peduncles, and possess three sepals and eight to twelve bright yellow, glossy petals, at the base of each of which is a nectary covered with a small scale. Several of the roots enlarge to oblong, somewhat club-shaped tubercles. The somewhat acrid taste is destroyed by boiling, and the leaves are then edible.
Constituents.—Nothing definite is known concerning the contituents of pilewort, but the fresh plant probably contains traces of an acrid principle resembling, or identical with, anemonin.
Action and Uses.—Pilewort is an old remedy for haemorrhoids, which has recently been re-introduced; it is used in the form of ointment and suppositories. The latter are prepared by melting together 4 parts of pilewort ointment and 1 part of spermaceti, and dividing the mass into suppositories each weighing either 60 or 90 grains.
- Unguentum Ficariae, B.P.C.—PILEWORT OINTMENT. 3 in 10.
- This ointment has been used for haemorrhoids.
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.