apple root can be toxic and should only be used by experienced herbalists.
May Apple Description
May Apple is a
perennial native herb found growing in moist soils in rich woods, thickets and
pastures Eastern N. America to Southern Maine to Florida, west to Texas and
Minnesota. May Apple grows to about 18 inches high, the stem separates into
two large, dark green, long stemmed, palmate, lobed, leaves. Looking almost like
umbrellas to protect the large white flower on a short peduncle, growing right
in-between the leaves, flowers bloom in April to May. May apple flowers turn
into crab apple size edible fruits, gather in early summer when fully ripe. May
Apple roots are dark brown, fibrous and jointed, gather roots after foliage dies
back, dry for later herb use.
May Apple Cultivation
May apple is easy using to grow using seedling transplants or
seed sown in fall. Prefers rich well drained soil and partial to deep shade.
May Apple Herb Uses and
American Mandrake, or May
Apple, is medicinal and edible (fruit), used extensively by Native Americans.
The fully ripe fruit is eaten raw, cooked or made into jams, jellies,
marmalades, and pies. It is very aromatic, and has a sweet peculiar but
agreeable flavor. May Apple seeds and rind are not edible, said to be poisonous.
The root and plant contain valuable constituents Quercetin, Kaempferol,
Podophyllin, Isorhamnetin, Gallic-acid, Berberine, Alpha-peltatin, that are
being studied for their healing, anticancer and other properties. The root is
used as a medicinal herb, it is antibilious, cathartic, cytostatic, hydrogogue
and purgative, it should only be used by professional Herbalists. It is a
most powerful and useful alternative medicine. A possible treatment for cancer
is being tested as it contains podophyllin, which has an antimiotic effect (it
interferes with cell division and can thus prevent the growth of cells).
The resin of May Apple, which is obtained from
the root, is used in the treatment of warts. The whole plant, apart from the
ripe fruit, is highly poisonous in large doses. American Mandrake herb
produces nausea and vomiting, and even inflammation of the stomach and
intestines, which has been known to prove fatal. In moderate doses, it is a
drastic purgative with some cholagogue action. Do not use wile pregnant,
nursing or trying to conceive.
May Apple Folklore
May Apple was once
called the witches umbrella and thought to be employed by them as a poison,
which may not be untrue! The English version of this plant has much lore told of
it, being called Manroot (mandrake) believed to be alive and its screams when
pulled from the ground would render a man permanently insane.
May Apple Recipe
Jelly or sweet relish:
Peel and deseed the ripe
fruit and use your favorite jelly making skills with it.
Also good fresh,
but use in moderation.
All parts except the fruit are