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Home :: Mayapple :: Herbs

Mayapple Herb - Uses And Side Effects

Mayapple Root, also called Duck's Foot, Ground Lemon, Hog Apple, American Mandrake, and Racoon Berry, is native to northeastern North America and has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Mayapple is sometimes referred to as umbrella plant, because it looks like a closed umbrella when it first appears each Spring.

Mayapple fruit is an ingredient in some drinks, marmalades, and jellies. Herbal mayapple preparations come from extracts of the rhizomes (underground stems) of Podophyllum pelt alum. This perennial herb grows wild in North American forests. Don't confuse it with Mandragora officinarum, also called "mandrake," which is native to the Mediterranean area and causes different effects.

Description

A patch of mayapple is easily distinguished from afar by the smooth, dark-green foliage and the even stand, which makes it conspicuous in the woodland. It is an erect plant about 1 foot in height with only two leaves, which are circular in outline but with five to seven lobes, the latter being two cleft. The leaves, which are sometimes a foot in diameter, are borne on long leafstalks which are fixed to the center of the leaves, giving them an umbrella-like appearance. The waxy white flower, about 2 inches in diameter, is produced in May on a short stout stalk between the two leaves. The fruit which follows is about 2 inches in length, lemon shaped, green at first, then yellow.

Common doses of mayapple

Mayapple comes as:

  • dried root
  • prescription-only resinous extract (0.5 % podophyllotox in in alcohol)
concentrated tincture (5% to 25% solution in alcohol or compound benzoin tincture).

Some experts recommend the following doses:

  • As a powdered root, 10 to 30 grains taken orally daily.
  • As a tincture, 1 to 10 drops taken orally once or twice daily.
  • As 5% to 25% solution in alcohol or compound benzoin tincture, apply to warts once a week. Leave on for 1 to 6 hours, then wash off. If symptoms don't improve after 4 weeks, consider other treatment.
  • As a resin, apply to warts twice daily for 3 days in a row. Don't wash the resin off. Repeat application at weekly intervals for up to 5 weeks. Treat a small number of warts at one time.

Uses of mayapple

Mayapple root is used as a medicinal herb, it is antibilious, cathartic, cytostatic, hydrogogue and purgative, it should only be used by professional Herbalists. It is a most powerful and useful alternative medicine

  • Cancer
  • Genital and anal warts
  • Liver congestion
  • Plantar warts
  • To cause bowel evacuation
  • To induce vomiting
  • Tumors

Side effects of mayapple

Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of mayapple:

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness when rising from a sitting or lying position (from low blood pressure)
  • irritation of the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes (when using the resin)
  • nausea
  • nervous system effects, such as acute psychotic reactions, poor muscle coordination, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, muscle weakness, seizures, and stupor
  • numbness, prickling, or tingling in the arms and legs .
  • rapid pulse
  • vomiting.

This herb also can cause:

  • breathing stoppage
  • coma
  • decreased reflexes
  • kidney failure
  • liver damage
  • low blood cell counts
  • urine retention.

Except for the ripe fruits, the entire mayapple plant is toxic. Eating the herb or putting it on your skin may lead to severe systemic poisoning. Applying the resin to wide spread skin lesions can cause serious nervous system problems and even death.

Interactions

Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you're taking.

Important points to remember

  • Don't use mayapple if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Avoid this herb if you have diabetes or poor circulation or if you use steroids.
  • Don't put the resin on a crumbly or bleeding wart, an unusual wart with hair growing from it, or on a recently biopsied wart, mole, or birthmark.
  • Know that mayapple can cause extremely violent laxative and nervous system effects.
  • Be aware that mayapple resin and tincture are for external use only. Consult your health care practitioner before using them.
  • Keep the resin away from your eyes.
  • Immediately report unusual bruising, bleeding, or infection.
  • Keep mayapple products out of reach of children and pets.

What the research shows

Researchers have documented mayapple's ability to stop cell division. Consequently, this herb has many established uses,
such as in treating tumors and venereal warts. However, the ability to stop cell division also contributes to the herb's toxicity. Other therapeutic claims for mayapple, including its use as a liver remedy, remain unproven.

Other names for mayapple : -

Other names for mayapple include devil's-apple, hog apple, Indian apple, mandrake, umbrella plant, and wild lemon.

Products containing mayapple are sold under such names as Condylox, podocon-25, Podofilm, Warix, and Wartec.


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