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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington



PODOPHYLLUM PELTATUM

(podo)

Podophyllum peltatum is the mandrake or May-apple; it also is a member of the order Berberidaceae. It is a plant that grows to the height of some two or three feet, with leaves spread out like an open hand. It is found mostly on the borders of woods. The parts used in medicine are the roots and the fruit of the plant. When applied externally, Podophyllum produces a rawness of the skin, resembling intertrigo. If the powdered plant gets into the eyes it produces an inflammation of the eyes, and even a perforating ulcer of the cornea.

The central point of attack of the drug, however, is in the abdomen. Shortly after it is taken, there follow diarrhoea, colicky pains, the well-known morning stool pouring out like water from a hydrant, preceded by retching and vomiting, spasmodic contraction of the stomach making the child scream out; diarrhoea which makes us think of SULPHUR, DIOSCOREA, BRYONIA, NATRUM SULPH., and a few other remedies.

In addition to its intestinal action we find it acting on the liver, and here is the main use that is made of the remedy. In the torpid or chronically congested liver, it is indicated. The liver is swollen and sensitive, and friction over the right hypochondrium relieves this sensation. The face and sclerotica become tinged yellow. There is bad taste in the mouth, evidently arising from the degeneration of food in the intestinal tract. The tongue is coated yellow or white, and takes the imprint of the teeth. The bile may become inspissated in the gall bladder, forming gall-stones ; thus we find Podophyllum indicated in that tormenting disease, bilious colic. The stools are as already mentioned ; or they are constipated and clay-colored, showing the absence of bile. These symptoms of Podophyllum much resemble those of Mercurius. They have won for the drug the name of vegetable mercury. It is much less injurious, however, than is mercury.

Of the remedies producing the symptom, the tongue takes the imprint of the teeth, MERCURIUS stands at the head of the list. Next to that we have PODOPHYLLUM, and then YUCCA FILAMENTOSA, and, finally, RHUS, STRAMONIUM and ARSENICUM METALLICUM.

Podophyllum also produces prolapsus recti with the diarrhoea. The rectum protrudes with each stool, especially in the morning. Podophyllum also seems to have the power of producing and curing prolapsus of the uterus with the attendant symptoms of bearing down with numbness in the left ovary, extending down the thigh, backache, and often coexisting with these, prolapsus recti.

As concordant remedies to Podophyllum in this prolapsus we have NUX VOMICA and SEPIA.

Podophyllum is a valuable remedy during dentition. It does not seem to act on the brain, yet it causes reflex cerebral irritation, whether this be from the abdominal symptoms alone or from the teeth. The symptoms which indicate it in addition to the gastric symptoms, are moaning and whining during sleep (not crying out with a sharp, sudden noise, as under Belladonna, but a sick cry); the child grates its teeth; the head is thrown back and rolled from side to side.

Next we find Podophyllum indicated in fevers, usually of a remittent type, particularly in bilious remittent fever. During the chfll the drug does not produce many characteristic symptoms; but during the fever the patient is sleepy and sometimes delirious.

For the remainder of the hour I will speak of a drug which is not botanically related to either of the drugs I have been speaking of, and that is Spigelia.