This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Mandrake, May Apple Root, Podophyllum pel-tatum. Official in eight countries. P. Emodi, Indian Podophyllum, official in Great Britain. There is little difference in the action of the two plants. Average dose, 8 grains; fl., 8 minims.
Podophyllin, resin of podophyllum, is the active principle. Its average dose is stated as 1-10 grain in the U. S. P. VIII, but 1-6 grain in U. S. P. IX. It was discovered by Dr. Wm. S. Merrell in 1847.
Externally irritant. Internally a drastic purgative, causing much irritation of the bowel. Medicinal doses are often nauseating and are slow in action. Classed as a direct and indirect cholagogue. Podophyllotoxin is apt to induce hemorrhage from various organs.
Employed in constipation with hepatic derangement, and in so-called bilious attacks. Valuable in catarrhal and malarial jaundice. Podo-phyllin and belladonna are used in chronic constipation. The resin is the best form for administration; it should not be combined with promptly acting purgatives.
The nicest way to give podophyllin is in the form of the 2X Homeopathic tablet triturates, each containing 1-100 grain. I give one or two every hour for from 4 to 10 doses. In this way the patient gets a full dose but is not apt to be nauseated. Never give in large doses.