Himalayan Mayapple (Podophyllum hexandrum), Uses, Research, Side Effects

Giriparpati- Podophyllum hexandrum is a small herb used for the Ayurvedic treatment of warts, skin diseases, tumors and has anti- cancerous property. 

Latin name- Podophyllum hexandrum Royle.
Family- Breberidaceae

Sinopodophyllum hexandrum is used synonymously as the Latin name of the plant.

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Pari, Bakrachimaka, Bhananbakra
English name- Indian Podophyllum, Himalayan mayapple, Sinopodophyllum
Bengali name- Papra
Gujarati name- Venivel
Marathi name- Patvel
Punjabi name- Vana kakari

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit Synonyms of Giri Parpati:
Vana vrintaka


Morphology of Podophyllum hexandrum:
It is a small herb growing to a height of 20-60 cm and found in the Himalayan regions of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir as an under growth or in the open meadows. Leaves are 2 or 3 in numer, orbicular-reniform, 6-15 x 3.5-10 cm, palmate, bi-lobed in nature. Flowers are solitary, cup shaped, white or pink. Berries are oblong-ovoid, 2.5-5 x 2-3 cm, orange or red in color. Seeds are numerous, enveloped in pulp, obovoid or sub-orbicular, 2-3 mm in diameter. The rhizome of the plant is collected and dried for its medicinal property. Flowers are seen between the month of April to July while the fruits are seen between May to October. The plant is listed under ‘The endangered species’ and hence banned for export from India.

Caution: The plant is poisonous. The rhizome of the plant contains a resin, known generally and commercially as Indian Podophyllum Resin, which can be processed to extract podophyllin (podophyllotoxin), a neurotoxin.

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal properties of Himalayan Mayapple:
Rasa (Taste) – Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Teekshna (Strong in nature)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Pittahara (reduces vitiated pitta dosha), Rechaka (purgative)

Sinopodophyllum Part used- Root, Dried resin

Gum resin- 125 to 250 g
Root powder- 250 mg to 500 mg

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Podophyllum hexandrum:
The main lignin is podophyllo- toxin. Podophyllum hexandrum contains similar lignans with the exception of alpha and beta peltatins,which are reportedly absent; the concentration of podophyllotoxin is up to 4.3%. P. peltatum contains about 0.25% and the Taiwanese species P. pleianthum 0.1% podophyllotoxin. (Podophyllotoxin is a valuable lignin, as it is used for the synthesis of chemically administered cytostatic etoposide and tenoposide.)

Uses of Giriparpati

  • The paste prepared from the root of Giriparpati is used effectively for external application over warts. Care should be taken that the healthy skin and tissue around the wart are not touched with the paste of the herb as it can damage the healthy skin.
  • Gum resin of Podophyllum hexandrum is given in a dose of 100-150 mg mixed with hot water to cause purgation and beneficial in patients suffering from severe constipation and intestinal worms.
  • In condition of severe skin allergy leading to thickening of skin and depigmentation, the paste of the root of Podophyllum hexandrum is applied over the affected area. This leads to localized irritation and damage to the skin leading to regrowth of healthy tissue.
  • Patients suffering from hypo tension can be given the root of this plant in a dose of 250-500 mg to increase the heart rate.

Side effects

Himalayan mayapple side effects:
The resin is toxic and hence should be used under medical supervision. It can cause severe purgation, burning of the skin and damage to the local tissues if not administered properly. Patients suffering from any cardio- vascular disease should not take this herb in any form.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.


Research articles related to Podophyllum hexandrum:
Anti- oxidant activity: The present study was designed to separate and identify the biochemical composition and antioxidant capacity of extracts from Phexandrumrhizome. The rhizome extracts had greater antioxidant capacity than the petiole extracts in DPPH and FRAP assays. About 16 kinds of main reactive oxygen components were identified in the extracts. Components of PADE (Phthalic acid, di-isobutyl ester), BADE (1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-isoctyl ester), Polyneuridine, PODD (Podophyllotoxin, deoxy), β-Sitosterol and POD (Podophyllotoxin) showed the antioxidant capacity in some degree.

Anti- cancerous property: The plant has anti-cancerous property and used in the treatment of certain types of cancer and tumors.

Anti- fungal action: Podophyllum hexandrum and Rheum emodi were investigated for their antimicrobial properties against pure cultures of clinical isolates of Aspergillus niger ATCC 1197 and Candida albicans ATCC 10231. Disc diffusion methods were used in determining the antifungal activities of the different plant extracts on the test organisms. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extracts on the test organisms was 16.66 mg/ml for Aspergillus niger in case of Podophyllum hexandrum rhizome extract and 50 mg/ml in case of Rheum emodi rhizome extract. In case of Candida albicans it was 25 mg/ml for Podophyllum hexandrum rhizome extract and 16.66 mg /ml in case of Rheum emodi rhizome extract. 

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Sinopodophyllum

Author: Dr.BK Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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