Other names: Adam’s head, Male root, Sleepy potion, Umbilical, Shishkarnik, Pustosel, Cuckoo’s boots, Grass-pokrik.

Diseases and effects: Gastrointestinal diseases, muscular, joint and neuralgic pains, hardening of the glands, tumors, edema, vitiligo, airsickness.

Active substances: Hyoscyamine, scopolamine, mandragorine, atropine.

Collection time:  August – October


\r\rMandragora is a genus of herbaceous plant in the nightshade family. Perennial stemless or very short-stemmed grass with a thick, straight, sometimes resembling a human figure, root. Due to the unconventional shape of the root, the plant was called planta semihominis (half-human grass) and anJrwpomorjh (human-like plant) in ancient times.\r

\rThe leaves are large, curly, entire, up to 80 cm long, in a dense basal rosette. Usually oval or lanceolate. Flowers solitary, consisting of a five-parted large calyx, a five-lobed bell-shaped corolla, five stamens and a pistil, with a single-celled multi-seeded ovary; greenish white, blue or purple. Blooms in July-August. The fruit is a large orange or yellow berry.\r

\rThere are five or six species growing in the Mediterranean, Western and Central Asia, in the Himalayas:\r\r-  Mandragora (Atropa mandragora);\r- Medicinal  Mandragora (Mandragora officinarum L.);\r-  Spring Mandragora (Mandragora vernalis ); \r-  Autumn Mandragora (Mandragora autumnalis Spreng);\r-  Turkmen Mandragora (Mandragora turcomanica).\r

\rThe Turkmen mandrake is the least studied species. This is a perennial plant with a thick, spindle-shaped root, reaching 60 cm. The flowers are greenish-white, the fruit is a spherical yellow berry 2-3 cm in diameter, it is quite edible. It is listed in the international Red Book. It has amazing survivability: in isolation from the ground, the ability to grow throughout the year is preserved.\r

\rThe roots are harvested in autumn. Sometimes they collect leaves, bark and fruits. The plant is poisonous, roots, fruits and seeds contain alkaloids: \r- hyoscyamine;\r- scopolamine;\r- mandragorine;\r- atropine and others.\r

\rAccording to homeopathic beliefs – external features indicate a healing power – the root of the mandrake until the New Age was considered as a universal healing agent that carries a “divine sign”.\r

Application in medicine

\r\rMandrake has analgesic, sedative, hypnotic and cholagenic effects. Liquefies mucus. In terms of pharmacological activity, mandrake root extracts are close to belladonna, henbane, and dope. The roots are used for the preparation of analgesics and antispasmodics for gastrointestinal diseases, as well as for muscle, joint and neuralgic pains.\r

\r Tincture: crushed mandrake root insist on alcohol (in a ratio of 1:4) for 15 days, filter. Take 3-10 drops as an analgesic and sleeping pill for rheumatism, gout.\r

\r Oil: interior fat is mixed with mandrake tincture (1:5). Used as an external pain reliever for rheumatism and gout.\r

\rCrushed fresh mandrake plant together with milk and honey is used in the form of dressings as a softening agent for gland seals, tumors and edema.\r

\rMandrake tincture is part of medicines against vitiligo (a disease from the group of skin dyschromias) and airborne disease (a temporary painful condition of a person in flight caused by prolonged irritation of the vestibular apparatus).\r

Pharmacological features

\r\rSigns of poisoning are: nausea, vomiting spasms, muscle weakness (feeling “wobbly”), drowsiness, hallucinations. There is a possibility of falling into a coma.\r

History reference

\r\rAbout the mandrake is mentioned in many sources – in ancient Egyptian scrolls, in the works of Greek healers. Mandragora was well known in Asia as well.\r

\rIn the Egyptian Ebers papyrus, mandrake is described as a sensual aphrodisiac. A special “love drink” was made from the fruits of the mandrake.\r

\rThe Assyrians used the mandrake as a sleeping pill and pain reliever.\r

\rThe Greek physician Dioscorides identified the mandrake with “circe”, or Circe’s plant. It is mentioned in the Odyssey: “The root was black, the color was like whiteness of milk, … it is dangerous for people to tear it out of the ground with its root, but everything is possible for the gods.” Dioscorides used the soporific properties of the mandrake for surgical operations in the army of Nero.\r

\rHippocrates, the most famous healer of antiquity, carefully studied the effects of mandrake and came to the conclusion that in small doses it is an effective remedy for fear, melancholy and depression, and in larger doses it has a sedative effect.\r

\rThe Roman physician Galen noted the amusing qualities of mandrake wine. It was brought to the imperial capital in large quantities.\r

\rAvicenna called the mandrake “y-abruk” – an idol created by nature in the outward likeness of a person. The patient was recommended to give 2 g of juice (tears) of the plant with wine before the operation so that he sleeps soundly and does not feel pain. The same “tears” reduced freckles and bruises. Crushed mandrake root, together with vinegar, was applied to carbuncles, and mixed with oatmeal – to sore joints. Sometimes they were treated with elephantiasis, and used as an abortifacient.\r

Myths and legends

\r\rA halo of mystery has enveloped the mandrake since the beginning of time. Mandrake apples (fruits) are mentioned in the Bible as a means to ensure conception, which was used by Leah and Rachel. In Arabia, there was a belief that the mandrake glowed at night, and therefore it was called the “devil’s candle” or “witch’s flower.” In ancient Greek mythology, the mandrake was used to get rid of a love spell. They carried it with them as a love amulet. In Egypt, it is a sexual stimulant; in Israel as a means of conceiving; in Rome as an aphrodisiac herbal drug.\r

\rIn Germany, the mandrake was used to depict the domestic gods of the Alruns. There were many legends about how especially powerful magicians managed to revive the roots, making them real homunculi (zombies) that can be controlled.\r

\rPractically throughout Europe, it was believed that the mandrake grows from the sperm of the hanged, so sorcerers and witches could often be found under the gallows.\r

Application in magical rites

\r\rMandrake has amazing magical properties, but only true professionals who have all the knowledge on the use of this plant can use them.\r

\rMost often, the mandrake is used as a means of protection against harmful spells, since its root is an accumulator of astral energy, and therefore is considered one of the best amulets plants. These amulets are so strong that they work even without applying any magical signs or symbols to them.\r

\rCarrying a mandrake root with you will relieve the negative influence of any evil energies, because thanks to it a very powerful energy shield is created that can protect against the evil eye, damage, slander and even curses. However, it should be remembered that the mandrake is not suitable for the protection of animals due to its appearance, it is used only for people.\r

\rSince ancient times, it was believed that the mandrake patronizes trade transactions, especially underground, secret and illegal, protecting from disclosure. It is used as a talisman for transactions related to money. In the old days, it was believed that a mandrake placed in a chest of coins doubles their numbers.\r

\rHaving a mandrake in the house is a good sign. Her aura will attract prosperity, wealth and prosperity. As a personal talisman, the mandrake root is able to bestow power on its owner, but on one condition: the owner must not part with the talisman day or night.\r

\rHowever, the mandrake is most in demand in love magic, although the area of ​​​​influence lies more at the physiological level: it has fantastic properties for inciting passion and love desire. For love potions, either the root or a tincture of the roots and leaves is used. It should be borne in mind that it is necessary to bewitch a man with a “female” root, and a woman with a “male” one.\r

\rIn black magic, the mandrake is used as a means to deprive a person of reason or beauty.\r

\rIn small doses, mandrake is used as an antidepressant, and in larger doses it has a sedative and hypnotic effect. It is claimed that the mandrake can make a person invulnerable to melee weapons.\r

\rMandrake is able to help in the search for treasure and in predicting the future.\r


\r\rIn order to extract the mandrake root, the method described by Theophastus (372 – 287 BC) is used.\r

\rYou can pull out a mandrake only in the evening. First of all, the healer must bow in the direction of the setting sun and pay homage to the gods of hell. After that, with an iron sword, never used, it will be necessary to draw three magic circles within the stalk of the mandrake, all the while turning away the face in order to avoid ominous emanations that penetrate the body, swelling it (if you do not take precautions and do not lubricate the body with vegetable oil ). Then it is best not to participate in uprooting the plant, but to tie a dog to the plant and throw him a piece of meat that he could not reach. Reaching for the meat, the dog will tear the root out of the ground, taking on all the negative energy.\r

\rAs a home talisman, the mandrake requires special treatment. A figurine of a person carved from a root must be dressed and stored in a secret place at home, away from prying eyes. During the meal, the figurine is seated in a place of honor, giving a “taste” first to the mandrake, and only later to yourself. On Saturdays, the mandrake man must be bathed in wine, and on the first day of the new lunar month, dressed in new clothes.\r

funny facts

\r\rIn some traditions, according to the type of mandrake root, male and female plants are distinguished and even given their corresponding names: mandrake and womandrake. In old herbals, mandrake roots are depicted as male or female forms, with a bunch of leaves growing out of the head, sometimes with a dog on a chain or an agonizing dog.\r

\rThe name “Mandrake” was given to one of the Linux distributions.\r


\r\r 1.  Korneev A.V. – The magic of plants and animals, 2003\r

\r 2.  K’osev P.A. – Complete reference book of medicinal plants, 2005\r

\r 3.  Great Soviet encyclopedia (30% edition), 1969-1978\r

\r 4.  Brockhaus F.A. , Efron I.A. — Encyclopedic Dictionary.\r

\r 5.  Chirkova T. — Love tears of a mandrake.

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