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Mayapple

What is it?

Mayapple is an herbal medicine that has been used for liver congestion, to induce vomiting (throwing up), and in cancer treatments. It has also been used on the skin for warts.

Other names for Mayapple include: Podophyllum peltatum, Devil's Apple, Hop Apple, Indian Apple, Mandrake, Umbrella Plant, and Wild Lemon.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much Mayapple you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Mayapple. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Warnings:

  • Before taking Mayapple, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Mayapple can be toxic (poisonous) to the liver and kidneys (2)
  • Mayapple can be toxic even if placed on the skin. Do not place large amounts on the skin (1,2)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • See your doctor right away if you have shortness of breath, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and fast heart rate. This may be a sign of poisoning (2)
  • See your doctor right away if you have confusion, dizziness, hallucinations (seeing things that are not there), seizures (uncontrolled shaking), ataxia (problems with walking), and coma (unable to wake). Mayapple has caused psychotic reactions (2).
  • Diarrhea, skin irritations, nausea, urine retention, and vomiting (throwing up) (2)

References:

1. Blumenthal, Busse, Goldberg, et al: The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. The American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998

2. Fetrow C & Avila J: Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999:420-423.


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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