Podophyllum. Rhizomes with podophyllum roots

Podophyllum. Rhizomes with podophyllum roots

Podophyllum. Rhizomes with podophyllum roots

Specification & Spread

Rhizomes with podophyllum roots — rhizomata cum radicibus podophylli
Podophyllum — podophyllum peltatum l.
Himalayan podophyllum – podophyllum hexandrum royle
Barberry family — berberidaceae

Podophyllum is a perennial herbaceous plant with a knotty horizontal rhizome up to 1 m long, 1.5 cm in diameter, reddish-brown on the outside and white on a fracture. Numerous fleshy adventitious roots with a length of up to 35 cm and a thickness of up to 5 mm depart from the rhizome.
The stems are erect, up to 50 cm in height and up to 1.5 cm in diameter, pinkish on the outside, hollow inside, at its base there are 1-3 membranous vaginal sheets, and in the upper part there are 2 falsely opposed green leaves. The shoot ends with a single drooping flower on a long stalk.
The leaves are on long petioles, rounded in outline, thyroid, up to 20 cm in diameter, palchiform, 7-9 bilobed lobes, unequal-toothed along the edge. The flower is white, drooping, large, up to 7 cm in diameter, fragrant (the scent resembles the smell of a melon), with a double perianth consisting of 3-6 sepals and 6-9 petals, numerous stamens and pistil with an upper ovary and sessile lobed stigma.
The fruit is a round or ovate lemon yellow berry up to 7 cm long, with fragrant sour-sweet, fleshy edible pulp and numerous wrinkled light brown seeds. It blooms in June, the fruits ripen in August – September.
Himalayan podophyllum is a plant up to 60 cm tall.
The rhizome vertical, short, up to 4 cm long and 2 cm thick. The adventitious roots are fleshy, cordlike, up to 9 cm long and 0.6 cm thick.
The leaves are rounded in outline, up to 30 cm in diameter, dissected into 3 whole, trifoliate or tripartite segments, toothed-serrate along the edge.
The flower is upright, pale pink. The fruit is an oblong bright red berry up to 11 cm long.

It blooms in May, the fruits ripen in August – September.

Spreading. The native country of podophyllum – the eastern part of North America. Himalayan podophyllum is an East Asian species common in the mountain forests of the Himalayas.

Habitat. Both species grow on moist fertile soils under the forest canopy, near springs and streams. Podophyllum is bred by amateurs, including in our country, as the original ornamental plants with completely edible and even tasty berries. As a medicinal plant, both species are cultivated in the Leningrad (Russia) and Lviv (Ukraine) regions. Industrial plantations are located in the Lviv region.


The chemical composition of podophyllum
In the rhizomes with roots of podophyllum contains:

  • up to 8% of resin – podophyllin, the main components of which are lignans:
  • podophyllotoxin (up to 40%),
  • peltatins (alpha-peltatin, beta-peltatin)
  • flavonoids.

Glycosylated derivatives of podophyllotoxin and peltatins were also found.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The raw materials are harvested from 3-5 year old plantations in early spring or autumn. The raw materials are shaken off the ground, washed and cut transversely to pieces up to 10 cm long.

Drying. The raw materials are slightly dried in air or under a canopy, dried in a dryer at a temperature not higher than 40 ºС.

Storage. It is stored in warehouses, the raw materials are stored in a dry, well-ventilated area as potent raw materials.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Cytostatic, laxative and choleretic agent.
The pharmacological properties of podophyllum

The extracts from rhizomes with podophyllum roots have long been used in folk medicine as:

  • laxatives
  • gag and
  • antihelminthic preparations.

Until recently, podophylline was known as a reliable laxative that has a local irritant effect on the intestinal mucosa, which reflexively increases peristalsis and leads to rapid emptying of the intestines.
Currently due to toxicity for this purpose is not used.

It is established that extracts from rhizomes with podophyllum roots possess:

  • cytostatic activity and block mitoses at the metaphase stage, resembling the action of colchicine.

Podophyllin has been used as an antitumor agent.
It is used in the treatment of papillomas – laryngeal papillomatosis and bladder papillomas.

Application of podophyllum

The rhizomes with podophyllum roots serve as the starting material for the main preparation, podophyllum resin (Resina Podophylli), often called podophylline.
Currently, podophylline is approved for use in Russian scientific medicine as an adjuvant used in the treatment of:

  • papillomatosis of the larynx,
  • some forms of warts and lymphangiomas,
  • as well as bladder papillomas.

The application of podophylline was effective after surgical removal of papillomas from the bladder to prevent their recurrences.

Do not use during pregnancy, feeding, with a weakened immunity, recurrent herpes, do not put drugs on bleeding wounds and inflamed warts. The surface area covered by the preparation should not exceed 25 cm².