Feb 19, 2014
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MANDRAKE, AMERICAN

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Podophyllum peltatum. N.O. Berberidaceae.

Synonym ► May Apple, Racoonberry, Wild Lemon.

Habitat ► A common plant in the United States and Canada, the root is imported into this country in large quantities for medicinal purposes.

Features ► The rhizome (as the part used should more strictly be termed) is reddish- brown in colour, fairly smooth, and has knotty joints at distances of about two inches. The fracture shows whitish and mealy.

American Mandrake is an entirely different plant from White Bryony or English Mandrake, dealt with elsewhere. Preparations of the rhizome of the American Mandrake are found in practice to be much more effective than those of the resin. This is one of the many confirmations of one of the basic postulates of herbal medicine—the nearer we can get to natural conditions the better the results. Therapeutic principles are never the same when taken from their proper environment.

Podophyllum is a very valuable hepatic, and a thorough but slow-acting purgative. Correctly compounded with other herbs it is wonderfully effective in congested conditions of the liver, and has a salutary influence on other parts of the system, the glands in particular being helped to normal functioning. Although apparently unrecognised in Coffin’s day, the modern natural healer highly appreciates the virtues of this medicine and has many uses for it.

As American Mandrake is so powerful in certain of its actions, and needs such skillful combination with other herbs, it should not be used by the public without the advice of one experienced in prescribing it to

individual needs.

Article Categories:
Herbal Manual

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