What is Podophyllin?
Podophyllin is a resinous powder obtained by precipitating an alcoholic tincture of the rhizome of American Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) or Podophyllum emodi by means of water acidified with hydrochloric acid. It varies in color from grayish to bright yellow or greenish-brown, the first-named being the purest. It was once commonly used against HPV-induced genital warts because it contains antiwart lignans. Podofilox, a purified form of the main active ingredient, is currently recommended instead due to its higher efficacy and safety.
The powder is soluble in alcohol and strong solutions of alkalis, such as ammonia. Its composition is somewhat complex. There are certainly at least two resins in the powder (which is known officially as Podophylli resina), one of them being soluble and the other insoluble in ether. Each of these contains an active substance, which can be obtained in crystalline form, and is known as podophyllotoxin. It is soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform and boiling water.