Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mayapple(podophyllum peltatum)

Mayapple aka American Mandrake
from "Peterson Guide to Eastern/Central Medicinal Herbs"
Perennnial; 12-18 in. Leaves Smooth, paired , umbrella like; distinctive. A single white flower, to 1 in. across, droops down from crotch of leaves: April-June. Fruit is globe shaped to egg shaped, about 2 in. long; edible but relished by rodents who collect as soon as ripe, robbing humans of a wild food ( me: heaven forbid they should do that, have we robbed them? sarcasm)July, -August, woods, clearings S. ME to FLA; Texas to Minn.
Uses: American Indians and early settlers used roots a a strong purgative, "liver cleanser", emetic, worm repellant; for jaundice, constipation,hepatitus, fevers, and syphilis. Resin from root, podophyllin ( highly allergic) used to treat venerial warts. Extract active against herpes,influenza, and vaccina viruses.
Podophyllotoxin, an important lignan from the root has anti-cancer and anti-malarial activity. Two semisynthetic derivatives, etoposide and teniposide are used in chemotherapy against several cancer types. Sales of the compounds exceed 200 million per year; etoposide is used in combination with other compounds for testicular cancers and as a primary treatment for small lung cell cancer. Also for various forms of leukemia. Teniposide is used for certain childhood leukemias. Fruits edible. Warning: Tiny amounts of root or leavess. Powdered root and resin can cause skin and eye problems.

Mayapple is everywhere in these Appalachian foothills and I am so very happy to be back here where the medicine plants are starting to come back and thrive again. Kinda like we herbalists and folks who choose to "Heal Ourselves", we are starting to remember what our ancestors knew.

"The Cherokees believed that every tree shrub and herb, down even to the grasses and mosses, agreed to furnish a cure for some one of the diseases". Sarah H. Hill from
"Weaving New Worlds"

Me , I believe in the HMO: Herbal Medicine Only.
Here is a simple liver tonic from Rosemary Gladstar( my personal herb goddess):
or Search Rosemary Gladstar
Blessed Liver Tea Blend:
3 parts Nettle Leaf
2 parts Dandelion leaf,
1 part Alfalfa
1 part Chamomile flowers
2 parts Red Clover
2 parts Lemon Balm
pinch of Stevia for taste
Boil water
put all herbs into a glass container and steep
As a general rule: Leaves are for steeping, roots are for simmering ( at least 30 minutes)
This is all a part of The Simpler Method of Herbal Medicine
Peace and Happy healing, Annie B.

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