Open main menu

Page:Indian Medicinal Plants (Text Part 1).djvu/149

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

extent the plant can be cultivated j with profit. He has summarized the following facts from his experiments:— (1) that Podophyllum can be grown successfully either from seed or from sections of rhizomes of any size down to under 1/4 in. in length, though perhaps this length should be taken as a minimum;
(2) that in either case transplanting can be carried out without danger, though in the case of planting rhizome cuttings it is preferable to plant direct in the forest and not to transplant from nursery beds;
(3) that the development of rhizomes is extremely slow : in the case of plants raised from rhizome cuttings it may possibly take at least 12 years to produce fair sized marketable rhizomes, while in the case of seedling plants the period is likely to be longer.

Mr. Puran Singh, F.C.S., Chemist at the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, in a note on the Resin-value of Podophyllum Emodi and the best season for collecting it, writes:—

"The rhizome should apparently be collected in May about the time when the plant is in flower and not in the autumn as has been suggested.
The Comparative Value of the Indian and the American Drugs.
"It has been admitted that the Indian plant is richer in resin as well as in Podophyllotoxin than the American. From the results of the assay of American Podophyllum given by Dunstan and Henry it is calculated that the percentage of the active principle in the resin of the American plant ranges from 15.29 to 23.74. According to the analysis of a sample of the American drug by Umney, the active principle amounts to 22'9 per cent, of the resin. In a sample of the Indian drug examined by him, in 1892, he found 25 per cent., while in another sample collected after fruiting in 1910, he found 50.3 per cent. The percentage of Podophyllotoxin in the Indian resin varies according to the season of collection from 25 to 50 per cent., and it is safe to assert that an average quality of the Indian plant will contain as a rule twice as much of the active principle as the American."

Part used:—The root.

Use:—"Half a grain of the resin, mixed with a little sugar, produced unmistakable cathartic effects in the course of a few hours. * * As there is such a great resemblance between the Indian and the American species of Podophyllum in their botanical and technical characters, and as the former yields such a large quantity as 10 to 12 per cent of an active principle, it is desirable that attention be drawn to such a promising and useful medicinal agent." (Dymock and Hooper in the Ph J. for Jan. 26th, 1889, p. 585.)