The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce

Botanical Name: Podophyllum peltatum

Common Names and Synonyms: Podophyllum, May Apple, Wild lemon, Raccoon-berry

Background: Mandrake is a drastic purgative used mostly for bowel and liver complaints.  Due to its toxic action, it is used sparingly and usually in combinations with other herbs.  Commonly known as mayapple, the chief constituents of this plant are a neutral crystalline substance,  podo-phyllotoxin and podophylloresin, both purgatives. Growing in patches in the woodlands,  mayapple is 6 to 8 inches high.  The creeping rhizome is thin, and sometimes grows to six feet long.  A single forked stem with two large, dark green umbrella-like leaves with a solitary white flower appears in May.  The yellow fruit, resembling a rosehip, appears in Autumn, and  is the only part of the plant that is non-poisonous.  The powerful resin extracted from the dried rhizome is used for medicines.

Mandrake in the Cayce Readings
  • Mandrake (also known as podophyllum and may apple) was recommended by Edgar Cayce as a laxative and liver stimulant.
  • Mandrake was usually recommended with other substances in a compound. Although a wide diversity of  formulas were given, the most common substances mentioned in the same readings with mandrake were as follows:
      Tolu 110 readings
      Buchu Leaves 106 readings
      Sarsaparilla 96 readings
      Yellow Dock 94 readings
      Wild Cherry 87 readings
      Burdock Root 59 readings
      Elder Flower 51 readings
      Calisaya 44 readings
      Sanguinaria 42 readings
      Prickly Ash 36 readings 
Cayce Quotes on Mandrake

... enlivening the liver through that of the Mandrake ...

... enlivening the liver through that of the Mandrake and forces of the kidneys and bladder and the excretory system ...

    In the formation of this, as given, we would supply then that of the Mandrake Root in the form of the podophyllin ...

Then take MAYAPPLE root, or Mandrake Root ...
(Q)  Would it be advisable to give body enemas, or what is suggested to keep the proper eliminations?
(A)  If what has just been given is studied they will see that the better part of this is cared for, IF the diets are watched closely.  What is Podophyllum [Mandrake] FOR?

    As is also the Mandrake Root, and it - with the Buchu - is specifically active with the hepatic circulation.  Mandrake, of course, is of the Podophyllum activity, or another name for the same, and is productive towards the increased secretions through the alimentary canal ...

    Also the quantity of Podophyllum (though in the form here it is combined in the root extract itself - Mandrake Root, see?) is to make for a stimulation through the alimentary canal, and especially in the gall duct area, and will PURIFY the blood stream BY assisting (in this quantity) the eliminations; so as not to purge but to produce a laxative throughout the body.

    First, it should REST at least three to five weeks, and first we would begin by CLEANSING the system, or alimentary canal especially, thoroughly.  We would use that of a combination of Senna, Ragweed, and Podophyllum.  These in minute quantities, that will act MOSTLY with the liver and its functioning.  The Ragweed, especially, to PREVENT the strain on the lacteal ducts, as cause the activity of the pancreas - but with the Podophyllum - that will enliven the GLANDS, or the gall ducts and glands in liver TO activity.

    Be very mindful that eliminations are kept above the normal.  Use BOTH the Podophyllum and the Calomel as a base for eliminants, at various times; not together; but under the direction of the physician.  While these would not be used under most circumstances for a child, these would be the better in this case - because of the poisons from so much area covered with the burn, and the shock to the system, as well as the kind of poisons to be eliminated, and the need for the excess lymph.

    ALSO giving plenty of the oil, that, that as is begun by the action of Podophyllum and Senna may be kept in the activity of the liver.

    However, when laxatives are necessary, use rather the vegetable than the mineral compounds; such as Inner Clean, or those that carry small quantities of Podophyllum, or those compounds that carry a little strychnine - as phenolphthalein, Alophen - these as we find would be preferable (Parke, Davis, see?).  These as we find are the preferable types when necessary to be taken. Preferably use enemas than too much of these.

(Q)  What laxative for eliminations would be best?
(A)  Rather those carrying the Podophyllum are better for this body.  To be sure, the Podophyllum would be in very small quantities, or a very small portion of such compounds.  But the more PREFERABLE manner for correct eliminations is to alter the diet as indicated.
(Q)  Which compounds would be best, containing Podophyllum?
(A)  Podophyllum is a base from which MANY are made.  Choose any of these that are desired by the body.

... PREFERABLY taking the GREEN Mandrake Root - for it BEING at the season when it will be most active WITH the physical forces of the body.


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