Plant Family: Berberidaceae

Botanical Name: Podophyllium peltatum 

Common name: Mayapple, American mandrake, wild mandrake, ground lemon, and raccoonberry.

Medicinal Uses: The mandrake rhizome is used in multiple applications, mostly as a gastrointestinal irritate that proves itself useful as a purgative, or laxative. In large doses can produce nausea and vomiting and has been known to be fatal. In more modern applications, two of Podophyllum’s derivatives are being investigated in the treatment of some malignant neoplasms. 

Folklore: Native Americans have even used the resin from dried mandrake root as an antihelminthic (anti-parasitic) and as an insecticide. Additionally, Native Americans and early settlers found use for the extract as a topical ointment for skin diseases and wart. Native Americans also used this plant to commit suicide. 

The powdered root is used in powerful protective magic. Mayapple is extremely irritating to the eyes and Mayapple root is used in spells to keep things (like diaries, books of shadows, etc.) hidden from prying eyes.

Other fun facts: The botanical name Podophyllum peltatum comes from the greek podo and phyllon meaning “foot-shaped leaves” and Peltatum meaning “shield”.

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