Useful information

Podophyllum as an ornamental and medicinal plant

Exotic appearance

Podophyll (PodophyllumL.) - a genus of perennial herbaceous plants from the barberry family (recently they are sometimes isolated into a separate family - Podophyllum). These plants are found both in Asia (Himalayan podophyll, or Emoda podophyll) and in North America (thyroid podophyll). Plants of this small genus are very unusual in appearance and justify the literal translation of their Latin name - legleaf, since it seems that the petiole comes out directly from the soil, and the peduncle - as if from the base of the leaf.

Thyroid podophyllum (Podophyllum peltatum)Thyroid podophyllum (Podophyllum peltatum)

Currently, podophyllum is widely grown all over the world in botanical gardens and as an ornamental plant.

Himalayan podophyllum (Podophyllum hexandrum)

Thyroid podophyllum (PodophyllumpeltatumL.) has rather long rhizomes about a centimeter thick, which are located horizontally in the upper soil layer, with filamentous adventitious roots. Stems are erect, smooth, unbranched, solitary with two apical opposite palmate leaves, ending in a white drooping flower 6-8 cm in diameter. The flower has 6 sepals and 6-9 early falling white petals. 12-20 stamens with longitudinally opening anthers are arranged in 2 circles. The fruit is a multi-seeded, edible, yellow and aromatic berry with a sweet and sour taste. It is sometimes used in the cooking of North American countries to make preserves and marmalades. Blossoms in May; fruits ripen in July-August. But, unfortunately, in our Non-Black Earth Region, fruits ripen very rarely - most of the ovaries fall off for various reasons.

As an ornamental plant, the Himalayan podophyll, or Emoda, is often grown.(Podophyllumemodi, syn. P. hexandrum), which is found in the wild in the Himalayas at an altitude of 3000-4000 m. It blooms very early, in the Moscow region, usually in the second decade of May, when most of the plants are just about to start growing and the garden looks rather unprofitable. Later, spectacular red fruits appear, but they are not edible and have a very unpleasant smell. In Asian folk medicine, it is used as a strong laxative, as well as to obtain a medicinal resin - podophyllin.

Non-capricious character ...

As mentioned above, podophiles are very decorative, and thanks not only to early flowers, but also to spectacular fruits. The big plus of this plant is its undemandingness to lighting. Usually on the site there is a problem with the shade-tolerant assortment, while the sunny areas are planned for several years in advance. Flowers in a shady corner look very sophisticated.

The plant prefers humus-rich soils with sufficient moisture. Found in damp shady forests. In natural habitats, it is an ephemeroid. With a sufficient amount of moisture, the podophyll, contrary to its biology, vegetates for a long time, preserving the juicy green of the leaves. The thyroid podophyll spreads, capturing new areas. But the Himalayan podophyll grows as a compact bush.

When growing this plant, soil rich in organic matter, medium in texture, is preferable. It is advisable to add 2-3 buckets of rotted manure or compost per 1 m2 of plantings in the fall. The site is desirable to pick up in partial shade. When grown in the sun, the leaves die off quickly, the plant plunges into a dormant state, and the area with podophyllum looks rather unsightly.

It is propagated vegetatively - by pieces of rhizomes with 1-3 well-developed buds. They are planted in spring or autumn to a depth of about 5 cm. When planting in autumn, it can be a little deeper. The distance between plants is 15-20 cm, between rows - 60 cm.

Thyroid podophyllum (Podophyllum peltatum)

When propagated by seeds, they are sown immediately after collection on a site prepared in advance. In this case, seedlings will appear next spring. And I don’t even bother to extract seeds from the fruit, it’s a very nasty smell.I just press the overripe fruit into the soil with my boot in a secluded corner of the site under the trees. If you sow dry seeds in autumn, then you should wait for seedlings only after a year. Seedlings are planted at the age of 1.5-2 years in a permanent place.

When growing, the thyroid podophyll, as already mentioned, spreads greatly, and the most difficult thing is that its superficial rhizomes interfere with weeding and loosening, which greatly complicates the fight against weeds, which have to be patiently pulled out, only slightly pruning at the root. You cannot dig up the soil with a shovel next to the plants. But the salvation here can be herbicides, which are applied to the leaves of perennial weeds, such as sow thistle and dandelion. In addition, the salvation is that the podophil tolerates such shading that many weeds cannot survive. Himalayan podophyll remains compact, and therefore easier to care for.

Care is usual - loosening, weeding, it is desirable in case of drought watering, especially if the plants are planted in the spring of the same year. Can be fed in spring with complex mineral fertilizers.

There are more warnings than recommendations

Wild species on the East Coast of North America podophyllum thyroid(PodophyllumpeltatumL.)... White settlers were faced with the fact that the Indians used a piece of its rhizome as an amulet and carried it with them. In addition, they quite actively used it for worms, as a gastric, choleretic, laxative, antirheumatic agent, and even for hearing loss.

In 1820, the raw material of podophyllum was included in the American, and since 1864 - in the British Pharmacopoeia, as a choleretic and hepatic, as well as a strong laxative.

Podophyllum Himalayan, or Emod (Podophyllum emodi, syn. P. hexandrum)

Himalayan podophyllum, or Emoda (Podophyllumemodi, syn. P. hexandrum), contains 6-20% podophyllin resin. It, in turn, contains about 20% of lignans, in particular podophyllotoxin, α- and β-peltatin, 4-desmethylhydropodophyllotoxin, deoxypodophyllotoxin. Also contains flavones (quercetin), the alkaloid berberine.

It has a choleretic effect and has a depressing effect on the central nervous system. The essence of fresh roots is used in homeopathy.

In addition, podophyllotoxin, a mitotic poison, inhibits the division of tumor cells. Currently, it is used in European countries in the form of a 5-25% alcohol solution (90% alcohol) or an oily suspension of podophyllin or ointment in the treatment of genital warts, to which the drug is applied 1-2 times a week. Semi-synthetic derivatives of this compound (for example Etoposid, Teniposid, Mitopodozid) used as cytostatics for various types of cancer. In our country, the possibility of its use for papillomatosis of the larynx and urinary bladder was studied. But, as a poisonous agent, it can only be used under the direct supervision and supervision of a doctor. Inside, the plant is not consumed on its own, since it is quite poisonous.

Contraindications and warnings: plants are not used during pregnancy, feeding, with weakened immunity, recurrent herpes, do not apply drugs to bleeding wounds and inflamed warts. The area of ​​the surface to be covered with the preparation should not exceed 25 cm 2.

Long-term and systematic use of podophyllin is also excluded. Such restrictions are due to the fact that, in animal experiments, podophyllin shows a strong teratogenic and embryotoxic effect (disrupts the development of the fetus in the womb).

In contact with the skin, it causes burning, inflammation, in some cases - toxic dermatitis and tissue necrosis. With increased absorption by damaged tissues, it can lead to neuropathy and even coma. During the period of treatment, alcohol consumption should be excluded, which enhances the side effects of podophyllin.

Himalayan podophyllum (Podophyllum hexandrum)

It is safer to use podophyllum for warts and some skin diseases externally. Crushed fresh roots are applied to warts and papillomas until they disappear. Sometimes they use a tincture of alcohol.

In homeopathy, podophilus is used in various dilutions for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, diseases of the gallbladder and liver, as well as the female genital area.

They begin to dig up raw materials at 3-4 years of age. At the same time, you can harvest planting material - pieces of rhizomes with 1-2 buds. Rhizomes with roots, collected in the fall after the end of the growing season, or in the spring before the beginning of regrowth, are washed from the ground and dried in the air or in a dryer at temperatures up to 40 degrees. The raw material consists of pieces of rhizomes up to 50 cm long. The outside rhizome is reddish-brown or brownish-brown. At the fracture, it is smooth, yellowish-white or greenish-yellow. On the upper side, depressions or tubercles are clearly visible - traces of stems. The roots are light brown outside, yellowish-white at the break, up to 10 cm long. The smell is specific and unpleasant. The shelf life of raw materials is 3 years.