Also known as the Himalayan mayapple, Podophyllum hexandrum is a succulent erect herb, glabrous, up to 30 cm tall with creeping long knotty rhizome. The plant produces podophyllotoxin, an anticancer metabolite, and hence can also be used for the treatment of cancer. The roots have also reported anticancer lignans, including podophyllotoxin and berberine. The root is harvested in the autumn and either dried for later use or the resin is extracted. Due to the plant has been overexploited due to medicinal properties and is now enlisted as an endangered species. Therefore, there is a need to grow this plant at a greater scale so as to utilize its medicinal potential to the fullest. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to grow the pant in vitro. Hence, this problem needs to be countered and methods to increase the metabolite production by the plants are also needed in order to maximize the utilization of its medicinal properties. This review focuses on providing solutions to the researchers to develop new techniques to grow the plant in vitro as well as ex situ and also gives an insight on the various methods that have been proved fruitful for increasing the production of podophyllotoxin in P. hexandrum.
Part of the book: Endangered Plants