Perennial; 12 to 18 inches. Leaves smooth, paired, umbrella-like; distinctive. A single waxy white flower, to 2 inches across, droops form crotch of leaves. The odor of the flower is nauseous. When it falls Mandrake flower
off, the fruit that develops swells to the size and shape of the common rosehip, being 1 to 2 inches long. It is yellow and pulpy. It is sweet, though slightly acid and is edible. The leaves and roots are poisonous.
Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry family)
Other Names: May Apple, Hog apple, American mandrake, Indian apple,
Raccoonberry, Wild lemon
Flowers: April – June
Parts Used: Roots
Habitat: Woods; clearings. South Maine to Florida; Texas to Minnesota.
Cultivation: It grows in warm sheltered spots, such as partially shaded borders, woods, and marshes, with a preference for light, loamy soil. It requires no other culture than to be kept clear of weeds, and is so hardy as to be seldom injured by frost.
Propagation: Propagate by sowing seeds in sandy soil, or by root division (which works best). It propagates so fast by its creeping roots. Every part of the root will grow. Divide either in autumn, when the leaves decay, or in spring, just before the roots begin to shoot, (preferably in spring).
Constituents: Podophyllotoxin, podophylloresin, picro-podophyllin, quercetin, sugar, starch, fat; etc.
Properties: Cathartic, Hydragogue, Purgative, Hepatic, Tonic, Emetic.
Main Uses: 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.
Mandrake is a powerful medicine, exercising an influence on every part of the system, stimulating the glands to healthy action. It is highly valuable in dropsy, biliousness, dyspepsia, liver and other disorders. Its most beneficial action is obtained by the use of small doses frequently given. In such circumstances, it acts admirably upon all the secretions removing obstructions, and producing a healthy condition of all the organs in the system. In still smaller doses, it is a valuable remedy in skin diseases.
It may be given in infusion, decoction, or tincture, but it is not to be given warm.
Caution Caution: In large doses, Mandrake causes nausea and vomiting, and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Powdered root and resin can cause skin and eye problems. Never use when pregnant; it can cause miscarriage and birth defects.
Preparation And Dosages:
Root Tincture: (1:5), 95% alcohol, 10 to 20 drops. Use carefully.