Podophyllum peltatum

The homeopathic remedy podophyllum is prepared using the rhizome of the mayapple, a somewhat woody herb that grows perennially, and is used to treat a number of health conditions, especially digestive problems. Mayapple belongs to the Berberidaceae plant family and usually grows up to a height of 30 cm to 40 cm.

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The plant bears two and sometimes three leaves that are lobed and have the shape of a human palm. Each leaf has a diameter of around 20 cm to 30 cm having five to nine intensely cut lobes on the reproductive parts, or just one umbrella-like (peltate) leaf on the barren individuals. It may be noted that the roots and the leaves of the mayapple plant contain a very potent poison.

The plant produces a single unilateral white flower that is between 3 cm and 5 cm across (having six, very seldom nine petals) that appears at the axil of the two leaves. The flower matures into a golf ball sized fruit having a yellowish-green hue and is 2 cm to 5 cm in length. The fruit is fit for human consumption.

The mayapple plant is found growing extensively in clonal colonies in open forest lands where there is adequate moisture or water supply. Each shoot of the plant is usually connected by the chunky tuber and rhizome systems. Generally, the mayapple plants are susceptible to infections by the rust Puccinia podophylli, which appear in the pattern of honeycomb in orange colonies on the underside of the leaves and in the form of yellow lacerations on the upper surface of the leaves.

Despite the common name of the plant being mayapple, the plant blossoms during the month of May, while the fruit or the 'apple' takes some more time to appear and ripe. While the plant produces the fruit or 'apple' in early summer, it ripens during the end of the summer. Initially, the native tribes of America used the rhizome of this plant for several medicinal purposes.

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Later, the European settlers in North America picked up the practice of the native tribes and begun using the rhizome to treat a variety of health conditions, especially those associated with the digestive system.

People who are known to benefit most from the use of the homeopathic remedy podophyllum are those who have a tendency to be absentminded, especially pertaining to words; are usually in a depressive mood; are generally afraid of dying soon, and suffer from disturbed sleep - they are usually restless when they are sleeping.

The homeopathic remedy podophyllum is most suitable for people who have a bilious temperament. In other words, it is the most appropriate medication for persons who are choleric, passionate as well as ill-tempered. This homeopathic remedy has an influence on the duodenum, liver, small intestines and the rectum. In effect, Podophyllum people often suffer from gastro-enteritis accompanied by bilious vomiting and colicky pain.

They pass copious stool, which is watery containing mucus resembling jelly and experience intense pain while passing stool. The passage of stool, which has an offensive odour, is in a gushing manner. Especially women suffering from this disease experience plenty of problems when they are pregnant.

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They have a pendulous abdomen when they are confined due to pregnancy. In such conditions, some pregnant women may also endure falling of the womb or prolapsus uteri which is indicated by pain in the back and loins, temperature in the vagina, constipation as well as diarrhea. In addition, there may also be painless cholera morbus (a gastrointestinal problem marked by pain in the abdominal region, diarrhea and occasional vomiting).

Other symptoms may include inaction or sluggishness (torpidity) of the liver, portal inflammation with an inclination to hypogastric pain, hemorrhoids, jaundice and swelling of the superficial veins (veins that are close to the body).

In homeopathy, podophyllum is an appropriate remedy for gastroenteritis and is extensively used for this purpose. It is most effective when the lower portion of the digestive tract as well as the liver is affected. The homeopathic medication podophyllum is also useful when an individual loses appetite maybe owing to the fact that all things begin to taste sour or rotten or when the patient starts hating the smell of food.

Such patients usually endure symptoms, such as vomiting, sour belching and/ or diarrhea, especially after drinking or eating anything. In addition, using podophyllum is likely to alleviate cramps in the abdominal region and/ or copious painless diarrhea which is preceded by a raucous rippling. In such instances, diarrhea may come together with a sinking sensation, as though the contents in the pelvic region are going to slip or fall down (prolapse).

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The indigenous tribes of America used mayapple for treating a number of health conditions and later, from the 19th century, European settlers also began using this plant for medicinal purposes. They used the mayapple as a laxative, however, found it to be extremely toxic to the cells afterwards. Presently, scientists across the globe are studying the plant to find out if it could be effective in treating specific types of cancer.

Parts used

The chunky rhizome of the mayapple plant that forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy podophyllum is dug up when the fruits of the plant are completely mature. The freshly removed rhizome is chopped into fine pieces and macerated or pounded in alcohol.

The resultant solution is filtered and diluted to desired levels to obtain this homeopathic remedy. Though the roots and leaves of this plant enclose a potent poison, like any other homeopathic remedy, the end product or the homeopathic medicine podophyllum does not retain even the slightest trace of the original substance it is made from.


The efficacy and safety of the homeopathic remedy podophyllum was proved for the first time in the 19th century and, since then, it has been extensively used to treat a number of health conditions, particularly those related to the digestive system. As aforementioned, this homeopathic medication primarily works on the duodenum, liver, the small intestine as well as the rectum.

Homeopathic practitioners prescribe podophyllum to people enduring stomach flu accompanied by colicky pain, bilious vomiting and/ or diarrhea. It is also given to patients whose liver region becomes very sensitive owing to formation of gallbladder stones or inflammation. Individuals who require the homeopathic remedy podophyllum most are those who are prone to scrunch and grind their teeth.

This is an ideal medication for alleviating problematic teething, wherein the symptoms often change, for example from constipation to diarrhea and vice versa.

In homeopathy, podophyllum is the main therapy for biliousness (excessive secretion of bile often causing liver problems). This medication is very effective in treating conditions, such as acidity and dyspepsia (indigestion) accompanied by hot, acerbic belching along with queasiness and vomiting. People suffering from this condition have an intense thirst for large amounts of cold water.

In addition, they have a bad tongue accompanied by a decaying taste in the mouth. Besides experiencing excruciating pain in the region of the liver, they also have a sensation of debility and sinking in the abdomen. Turning to podophyllum, in such instances, helps to cure the conditions fast as well as provide relief from the associated symptoms.

The homeopathic remedy podophyllum is also effective in treating constipation, especially in the instances wherein the stool is clay colored, extremely dry and hard and which is excreted with immense difficulty. It is also given to babies feeding on bottled food when they endure dry disintegrated stool. In addition, this homeopathic remedy is useful for curing piles caused by constipation and prolapsed (sinking or falling out of place) anus. In some patients, the constipation is often altered with diarrhea.

In homeopathy, podophyllum is also useful in curing diarrhea caused after consumption of fruits in summer and during dentition. In such cases, diarrhea starts early in the morning and continues till forenoon, while the stool in the evening is normal. Diarrhea is accompanied by general debility and weariness.

The patients excrete copious, painless, decaying, polychromatic or multi-colored stool, which always gushes out. At time, diarrhea alternates with headaches. In addition to treating the above mentioned conditions and associated symptoms, podophyllum is also an effective remedy for cholera infantum (a fatal form of gastroenteritis occurring in children).

In addition, this homeopathic remedy is also indicated in jaundice and recurrent hepatitis, which is generally accompanied by a blunt throbbing pain in the region of the liver. In such cases, there is an intense fullness, soreness, sour vomiting of the ingested food along with acidic and pungent belching or burps. In addition, the patient also experiences indigestion, queasiness, bilious vomiting and diarrhea.

Owing to the pain and irritability, the patient is found to be continuously rubbing and shaking the liver region with his/ her hands. The homeopathic remedy podophyllum is also effective in treating the prolapsed (sinking or falling from place) of the uterus caused by lifting some heavy object, straining or from constipation.

Women suffering from this condition have a sensation as if something is being dragged down in their right ovary. In such cases, the uterus becomes extremely sensitive to touch and even the slightest brushing of light clothing seems intolerable. Using the homeopathic medication podophyllum helps to cure the main conditions, while alleviating the associated symptoms quickly.

Podophyllum is also an effective remedy for fevers occurring sporadically. Usually, such fevers tend to become very intense at around 7.00 am and the patients become very talkative when the fever prevails. At the same time, they perspire profusely and the sweat has a very disgusting odour. The patients also have an intense thirst of large amounts of cold water while the body temperature remains high.


The mayapple plant whose rhizomes are used to prepare the homeopathic remedy podophyllum is indigenous to the United States as well as Canada. It is a small shrub-like herb that is found growing naturally in damp ground in places where the climatic conditions are cold.

A meagre number of stems grow from the chunky rhizome of the plant and, at the most, they grow up to a height of around 18 inches. Each stem is crowned by two leaves that resemble the duck's foot, which gives the plant its common name. The roots of the plant comprise a number of tubers and rhizomes.

Usually, the plant produces one or two white flowers that have an unpleasant smell and are about two inches in length emerging lower down the plant. The flowers mature into oblong shaped fruits of the size of golf balls and are edible. However, the leaves and the roots of the plant enclose a very potent poison.


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