Tag Archives: mandrake

European Mandrake



European Mandrake
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


European Mandrake
Mandragora officinarum [ Plantae: Solanaceae: Mandragora officinarum ]

Common Names: Alraunwurzel, Mandrake, Satan’s Apple, mandragora, love apple, Circe’s plant, Dudaim.

Localities:
European Mandrake is native to southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and especially Greece and Italy. Found often in uncultivated fields and stoney wastelands.

Species:

Description:
A stemless plant that hosts a short brown thick massive root grouping spreading downwards of 3-4 feet deep similar looking like parsnip. The short stem is topped by ovate leaves, blossoming with small greenish-yellow or purple bell-shaped flowers off 3-4″ stalks bearing fruit of orange color fleshy berries. Its often confused with the American Mandrake (may apple), which it has no relation to, except similar fleshy yellow-orange fruits. The roots are often forked look like a human body shape with head, arms, and legs.

Cultivation:
Can be grown from seed in deep planters. Seeds usually germinate within 14 days. Does best in deep well drained soil and full or partial sun exposure.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:
In Israel the fruits are used to make alcohol.

Medicinal Uses:
European Mandrake is considered one of the most magical herbs in the apothecary. It is an soporific, anesthetic, emetic, anodyne, Parasympathetic depressant, hallucinogen, hypnotic, and a poison. It is used as a narcotic and a pain reliever. It eases rheumatism. It is used often for sex and fertility magick. European Mandrake is used to treat melancholy, as an emetic, and an anesthetic. It is also very poisonous. The fruits are known to increase sperm count, treat impotence, and as a sex enhancer. Popular anesthetic during the Middles Ages and as a narcotic during the Elizabethan period.

Magical Uses:
In Israel the fruits are made into a aphrodisiac and to boost fertility. Known to heighten female interest in sex. European Mandrake is also used to expel demons. A mandrake root placed in the home will protect it from evil spirits. Money stored near European Mandrake will increase its abundance and increases prosperity. Also used for healing, inducing love, facilitating pregnancy, and restful sleep. It enhances creativity, psychic awareness and abilities. THe root carved into amulets of protection, love attraction, aura purity, and as a emblem of magick. Used to create “Moon Water” by taking a piece of the root under moonlight to be submerged into a chalice of water.

Folklore and History:Because of the anthropomorphic shape of the root, much belief in the root being a humanoid spirit is found in the magical repertoires that if one uprooted it from the ground it would shriek and screams so intense it would cause death unto those who heard it or make them go insane. Many collectors would loosen the soil around the root, attach a cord to the collar of a dog, and have the dog pull the root from the ground otherwise collected in moonlight with a proper prayer and ritual. Believed human hands should not come in contact with he plant. It is used to invoke Circe, Diana, and Saturn. It is related to the element of fire and the planet Mercury.


European Mandrake
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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American Mandrake



American Mandrake
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

American Mandrake

Podophyllum peltatum [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Core eudicots: Caryophyllales: Amaranthaceae: Amaranthus: Podophyllum peltatum ]

Common Names:
Mayapple, Devil’s Apple, Hog-apple, Indian Apple, American Mandrake, American May Apple, Racoonberry, Wild Lemon, Witches Umbrella

Localities:
Eastern North America – Southern Maine to Florida, west to Texas and Minnesota.

Description:
American Mandrake, while confused for European Mandrake because of its humanoid root form, is a barberry rather than a nightshade so doesn’t contain tropanes. Some describe it as looking like a small umbrella rising out of the floor of the forest. There could be upwards of thousands of stems in the colonies resembling mini forests since they branch out from the same root system are genetically identical as from a single plant. But it is still beneficial yet deadly. Easy to identify because of its single stem and umbrella-like leaf arrangements. It grows wild in damp North American woodlands. Its a perrenial native that grows in moist soils in rich woods, thickets, and pastures. American Mandrake grows upwards of 18 inches high with the stem separating into 2 large dark green long stemmed palmate lobed leaves that look like umbrellas that are protecting the large white flower that is on a short peduncle that grows right in between the leaves flowering from April to May. Spring flowers of the American Mandrake turn into crab apple sized edible fruits that are gathered in late summer when fully ripe. May Apple colonies do not flower until it is 12 years old, then display blossoms resembling small satellite dishes followed by the fruit. The colonies grow very slowly averaging 4 inches a year. Mandrake roots are in humanoid shape, dark brown, fibrous, and jointed.

Cultivation:
American Mandrake is fairly easy to grow using seedling transplans or seeds sown in the fall and prefers rich well drained soil and partial shade. Roots are usually gathered after the foliage dies back and then dried for later use.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:
Its ripe fruit is edible, but the rest of the plant (especially the root) contains a powerful cytotoxin (cell killer). Fruit is eaten when fully ripe either raw, cooked, or made into jams, jellies, marmalades, and pies. May apple is very aromatic and has a sweet flavor. The seeds and rinds are poisonous and not edible.

Medicinal Uses:
This plant is currently used in chemotherapy against cancer. Most of the plant contains a powerful cytotoxin (cell killer), especially he root. Root and plant contain Quercetic, Kaempferol, Podophyllin, Isorhamnetin, Gallic acid, Berberine, and Alpha-peltatin; all of which are utilized in healing and anticancer remedies. It is also used for skin cancer treatment. The root is the most medicinal part of the plant as it is antibilious, cathartic, cytostatic, hydrogogue and purgative. Resin from the root is used in the treatment of warts. The herb produces nausea and vomiting, inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and can be fatal. Even in moderate doses it is a drastic purgative with cholagogue action. Native Americans used the plant for a powerful laxative, treating intestinal worms, as a cure for warts, snakebite, and insecticide for their crops. It was also used commonly to committ suicide. Pioneers made an extract from the roots as a cathartic and cure for constipation. Reports from pharmaceutical workers describe severe skin sores and eye inflammations just from handling the poisonous root. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems the plant as “unsafe”.

Magical Uses:
An extremely magical plant, Mandrake (American or European) is utilized in much spellcraft because its root takes on a humanoid form and good to use in sympathetic and contact magic. It is ruled by Saturn.

Folklore and History:
The plant is extensively used by Native Americans. American witches have and still use the plant as a poison, cure, and medicine. Just as its European counterpart, its often nicknamed Manroot (mandrake) for its shape, and believed to be alive screaming when pulled from the ground would render a man permanently insane.

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