Podophyllum is an herbaceous perennial plant in the family Berberidaceae, described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753. In the past, several species were included in the genus, but all but one have been transferred to other genera (Dysosma, Pilea, and Sinopodophyllum). The one remaining species is Podophyllum peltatum, with common names mayapple, American mandrake, wild mandrake, and ground lemon. It is widespread across most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.
Mayapple has been used by American Indians as an emetic, cathartic, and antihelmintic agent. They also boiled the poisonous root, and used the water to cure stomach aches. The rhizome of the mayapple has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, originally by indigenous inhabitants and later by other settlers.
Mayapple can be also used topically for warts, and two of its derivatives, etoposide and teniposide, have shown promise in treating some malignant neoplasms.
Podophyllum is highly poisonous when taken by mouth. Nevertheless, some people take it orally for yellowed skin (jaundice), liver ailments, fever, syphilis, hearing loss, and cancer. Podophyllum is also used to empty the bowels, kill parasitic worms in the intestine, and counteract snakebite. Some women take it to cause an abortion.
Podophyllum has been used as a laxative. (It was an ingredient in Carter’s Little LiverPills.) But it has been removed from the market due to safety concerns.
Podophyllum is applied directly to the skin for removal of warts, including plantar wartsand sexually transmitted (venereal) warts. It is also used topically for treating pre-cancerous white patches on the tongue and mouth (oral hairy leukoplakia).
Intravaginally, podophyllum is used to treat gynecologic infections.
When applied by medical professionals in low concentration to unbroken skin, podophyllum is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people. It should be washed off within 4 to 6 hours. Podophyllum should not be used in higher concentrations or over large areas of the body. It is absorbed through the skin and can cause the same serious harmful effects as taking podophyllum by mouth. Podophyllotoxin, a chemical found in podophyllum, is safer and has largely replaced podophyllum as a treatment.
Podophyllum is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in higher concentrations over large areas of the body. It is poisonous. It may cause nausea,vomiting, dizziness, headache, spasms, fever, visual changes and hallucinations, low blood pressure, bone marrow problems, paralysis, coma, liver problems, and kidney problems. It can take up to 13 hours for symptoms of poisoning to appear. Some deaths after taking podophyllum by mouth or applying it to the skin in large amounts have been reported. Podophyllum poisoning has been successfully treated in some cases by using activated charcoal.
None are recorded.
American Mandrake, Citron Sauvage, Citronnier, Devil’s Apple, Duck’s Foot, Ground Lemon, Himalayan Mayapple, Hog Apple, Indian Apple, Indian Podophyllum, Ipécacuanha de la Caroline, Mandrake, Mayapple, Pa Giao Lian, Pied de Canard, Podófilo, Podophyllin, Podophyll Pelati Rhizoma/Resina, Podophylle, Podophylle en Bouclier, Podophylle à Feuilles Peltées, Podophylle Indien, Podophylle Pelté, Podophyllum emodi, Podophyllum hexandrum, Podophyllum peltatum, Pomme de Mai, Raccoon Berry, Sinopodophyllum emodi, Umbrella Plant, Vegetable Calomel, Vegetable Mercury, Wild Lemon, Wild Mandrake
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podophyllum#Medicinal_use