Ozark Encyclopedia – M – Mayapple

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Mayapple, American Mandrake – Podophyllum peltatum

Parts used: root, fruit

Traditional uses: Poisonous. Root soaked in whiskey and taken for rheumatism and as a purgative. Boiled root eaten as a purgative. Powdered root used on ulcers and sores. Fruit used for food.

“Podophyllum is a medicine of most extensive service; its greatest power lies in its action upon the liver and bowels. It is a gastro-intestinal irritant, a powerful hepatic and intestinal stimulant. In congested states of the liver, it is employed with the greatest benefit, and for all hepatic complaints it is eminently suitable, and the beneficial results can hardly be exaggerated. In large doses it produces nausea and vomiting, and even inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which has been known to prove fatal. In moderate doses, it is a drastic purgative with some cholagogue action. Like many other hepatic stimulants, it does not increase the secretion…

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