Mandrake: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dosage, Warnings?


MANDRAKE: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dosage, Warnings?

The Mandrake or Mandragora officinale ( Mandragora officinarum ) is a herbaceous plant perennial , from countries around the Mediterranean , belonging to the family Solanaceae , near the belladonna . This plant is rich in alkaloids properties hallucinogens , is surrounded by many legends , elders assigning virtues magical extraordinary.

Summary [ hide ]
1 Names
1.1 Scientific name
1.2 Etymology
1.3 Synonyms
2 Properties
2.1 Description
2.2 Distribution
2.3 Culture
2.4 Pharmacological properties
3 The Mandrake in culture
3.1 History of beliefs
3.1.1 Ancient Egypt and the Near East
3.1.2 Antiquity
3.1.3 Western Middle Ages
3.1.4 Beginning of the modern era
4 Miscellaneous
5 Bibliography
6 See also
6.1 In the arts
6.2 Related articles
6.3 External Links
7 Notes
8 References
Names [ change | change the code ]
Scientific name [ change | change the code ]
In the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753 , Linnaeus only recognizes a species he called Mandrake Mandragora officinarum . But in subsequent publications (1759, 1762), because of its resemblance to belladonna ( Atropa belladonna ), he changes his mind and denominates Atropa mandragora 1 . The xix th century and beginning of the xx th century , botanists have multiplied the descriptions of new species and subspecies of the genus Mandragora . The trend was reversed after 1950 and culminated in 1998 with the revision of the genus Mandragora proposed Ungricht et al. 1 , a genus comprising only three species: Mandragora officinale ( M. officinarum L.) Sino-Himalayan mandrake ( M. caulescens CB Clarke) and very limited in Turkmenistan mandrake Mandragora turcomanica Mizg.

Etymology [ edit | edit the code ]
The French term "mandrake" comes from Latin mandragoras pulled himself from the Greek μανδραγόρας (mandragoras). All three terms refer to the same plant in these languages. The etymology of the Greek word is obscure. For some, the Greek "mandragoras" comes from the name of the mandrake in Assyrian nam. tar. go morphologically "drugs (male) of Namta" Namta being a pestilential demon causing diseases 2 . For others, the origin comes from the Sanskrit Mandros meaning "sleep" and agora meaning "substance 1 ".

Synonyms [ change | change the code ]
See also Wikispecies .
Atropa mandragora L., 1759 name. illeg. Mandragora foemina Garsault 1764.
Mandragora mas Garsault 1764. Mandragora acaulis Gaertn., 1791.
Atropa humilis Salisb., 1796. Atropa acaulis Stokes, 1812.
Mandragora autumnalis Bertol., 1820. Mandragora vernalis Bertol., 1824.
Mandragora praecox Sweet, 1827. Mandragora neglecta G. Don ex Loudon, 1830.
Mandragora microcarpa Bertol., 1835. Mandragora haussknechtii Heldr. In 1886.
Mandragora × hybrida Hausskn. & Heldr. In 1886. Mandragora hispanica Vierh. in ÖSTERR. In 1915.
Properties [ change | change the code ]
Description [ change | change the code ]

Mediterranean mandrake has a high contrast between the clump and the root . The plant, high thirty centimeters, has a very strong odor. It is a common herb with virtually no stem.

The root , brown on the outside, white on the inside, is the type swivel , often woody and can reach after several years of impressive size (up to 60 to 80 centimeters and kilograms). Its shape often anthropomorphic (ramifications giving it a human wave appearance, with a trunk , legs and even - by being imaginative - a head and sex ) is the source of many legends . We used to speak of roots " male "and" female "but this does not correspond to a botanical reality, the plant is not dioecious . Old trees may penetrate more than a meter into the ground and are difficult to remove.

The leaves are large (up to 45 cm long), elliptic to obovate , soft, shape and size vary. They have a blade entire sinuous edge, spreading rosette on the ground 3 .

The flower has a corolla consists of five petals fused at the base (Bluebell) of 12- 65mm long, greenish white, blue or purple. The stamens 5 are fixed to the lower part of the corolla. Flowering occurs from September to April, according to the abundance of rain. For Ungricht et al 1 . "It is clear that there is really a stretch of reproductive activity from autumn to spring period. In fact, it is only during the warmer summer months that the cycle stops. When conditions are favorable, the same individual can bloom twice a year, as evidenced annotations herbaria, especially grown in botanical gardens' forms. He must give up the distinction made ​​by Sprengel in 1825 between spring mandrake ( M. vernalis ) and another fall ( M. autumnalis ).

Mandrake gives rise to berries yellow or red when ripe, three to five centimeters in diameter, globose to ellipsoid. These juicy fruits are edible in moderation 4 . Seeds of 2.5 to 6 mm long, are reniform, yellow to light brown.

Distribution [ change | change the code ]
The mandrake is native to the Mediterranean basin 1 : North Africa ( Algeria , Morocco , Tunisia ), Southern Europe ( Italy , Greece , former Yugoslavia , Spain , Portugal ) and Middle East ( Palestine , Israel , Jordan , Lebanon , Syria , Turkey , Cyprus ). It is found either in mainland France or Corsica.

It grows in open woods, olive groves, fallow land, roadsides and ruins.

This plant has become very rare even in its native range. Populations are scattered in the area and some are vulnerable, such as those in northern Italy.

Culture [ change | change the code ]
Mandrake request to develop a deep, non-stony, cool but not too wet. The soil should be very rich, composted leaves and highly decomposed manure for example. The exhibition is to be sunny.

The seedlings are in the fall, in high enough pots or in the ground, the substrate must remain fresh, and germination , not always easy, takes place in March the following year. The plant goes dormant in June and July, when all the leaves disappear (it is imperative to mark the location of the plants in the case of a plantation in the ground).

An effective way to germinate seeds is to stratify , by simply placing them in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator three days before planting. This also allows the plant earlier this year with almost 100% germination.

Pharmacological properties [ change | change the code ]
Analyzes five different parts of the Mediterranean gave mandrake:

the tropane alkaloids
Alkaloids are mostly a tropanique esters alcohol and an acid. Tropanique The alcohol can be: or the scopanol tropanol (= scopoline) an epoxidized tropanol i.e. d with an oxygen bridge. These alkaloids have the property of being easily converted into each other.

It was found: R, S-hyoscyamine ( atropine ), 0.2%, the highest concentration of atropine is found in the root during flowering (Bekkouche at al 1994), hyoscyamine , norhyoscyamine, apotropine , belladonnines (present in dry but not detected in the fresh root) root, scopolamine (hyoscine or L-), scopanol, tigloyloxytropine-3α, 3,6-ditigloyloxytropane, calystégines A3, A5, B1, B2, B3, B4, C1 (more concentrated in leaves than in roots)

other alkaloids
cuscohygrine (= mandragorine) compound present in datura, belladonna and the coca leaf

herniarin, umbelliferone , angelicin, scopoletin, scopoline, chlorogenic acid

fruit volatiles
22% ethyl butyrate (pineapple odor), hexanol 9% (the grassy flavor), hexyl acetate 7% (fruity odor, herbs), sulfur compounds, 7%

Tropane alkaloids OF MANDRAGORE
Name Formula Description
(-) - Hyoscyamine Hyoscyamine1.png Ester of tropane-3-α-ol and (-) acid - tropic
Norhyoscyamine Norhyoscyamine.svg Ester of 3-α-nortropane and tropic acid
Apotropine Apoatropine.png Ester tropane-3-α-ol and apotropique acid
Scopolamine L-Scopolamin.svg Ester scopanol and tropic acid
Belladonnine Belladonnine1.png
Another alkaloid
Cuscohygrine Cuscohygrine hr.png 2-Propanone, 1,3-bis (1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinyl) -, (R *, S *) -
The plant is rich in alkaloids psychotropic (about 0.4% of total alkaloids) and other components harmful . These substances parasympatholytics result including mydriasis and hallucinations followed by narcosis . This is of atropine , of scopolamine (first truth serum), and especially of hyoscyamine . In theory, these molecules can be at the origin of a poisoning fatal.

Various presentations are described for the use of this plant. The juice is extracted from the stem, leaves and fruit; the root is cut into slices and presented in the form of alcoholate in the wine of honey ; Fruits can be eaten dried.

Many virtues therapeutic assigned. By its chemical composition, it is particularly sedative , antispasmodic , anti-inflammatory (in poultice ), hypnotic and hallucinogenic . It would also have properties aphrodisiacs giving it a fertilizing virtue.

Notable hallucinogenic effects of the plant, as well as the ability of its assets to be able to easily pass through the principles skin and pass into the bloodstream , certainly explains why witches of the Middle Ages , which smeared the mucous membranes and armpits using an ointment mandrake came into trance . The plant was also used by healers, especially to facilitate the delivery , but also against the bites of vipers .

We find from the ix th century in the medical literature describing narcosis by inhalation of a soporific sponge . A series of recipes from the ix th the xvi th century and from different countries were received. Most are found in textbooks of surgery or antidotaries 6 . The oldest known is that of Antidotaire Bamberg Sigerist; it includes opium, mandrake, aquatic hemlock (cicute) and henbane. The xii th century, with the medical school of Salerno , Nicolaus praepositus, as advocated in his Antidotarium the use of a soporific sponge 7 ( spongia soporifera ) in certain surgeries.

In 1680, the mandrake is found in the composition of Tranquile balm (named after the shoemaker who would have invented it) for rheumatism. It is associated with other toxic solanaceous the henbane , the belladonna , the nightshade and jimson weed . The formula has evolved over the centuries, mandrake is no longer present in the version of the codex 1949 8 . properties mandrake however discounts honored in anthroposophic medicine where it appears in an ointment against muscle pain and in Rheumadoron , a homeopathic dilution against rheumatism 9 .

Mandrake in the culture [ change | change the code ]
History beliefs [ change | change the code ]

Male and female mandrakes. Handwritten Dioscurides neapolitanus , Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli , early vii th century .
Due to the vaguely human shape of its root and its psychoactive alkaloid compounds, mandrake has been associated since antiquity to beliefs and magical rituals.

Ancient Egypt and the Middle East [ change | change the code ]
Plant represented on the throne of Tutankhamun could be a mandrake (Hepper 1990) but this plant is not native to Egypt, it would have taken that it be cultivated.

There is also a long tradition, dating back to the Middle Ages of identifying the mandrake plant mentioned in the Bible, as the dudaim 2 . In the thirtieth chapter of Genesis (compiled to -440), mention is made ​​of a plant called Duda'im in the Hebrew text. Leah, Jacob's first wife, had stopped having children. Reuben, the eldest son, says his mother Duda'im . Rachel's sister Leah, second wife and the favorite of Jacob, asked his sister to give him. It accepts in exchange for spending the night with Jacob, what Rachel agrees. Leah conceive that night and later gave birth to Issachar , saying, "God has given me my wages" N 1 , 10 .

The term Duda'im always the problem of translating the hermeneutics; its proximity to DWD, Doud , "beloved" (and David ), led some to propose " Pomme d'amour ".

Antiquity [ change | change the code ]
Greek physicians prescribed mandrake against melancholy and depression. Hippocrates in the fifth century BC. AD advised "For people sad, sick and want to strangle, do take the morning drink the mandrake root at lower dose than it would take to cause delirium" 11 .

The report of his pupil Xenophon , Socrates already talking sedative effects of the plant 12 ; Theophrastus , a pupil 's Aristotle reports that the root treats skin diseases and gout and the leaves are effective to treat wounds. Its sedative properties were known since he says it is good to sleep 13 , 14

In the first century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides , provides a fairly accurate description.

"There is a black female species, which is called tridakias , which has narrower and smaller than lettuce leaves, a stinking smell and strong, lying on the ground, and "apples" similar to the rowan, pale yellow, with a pleasant odor, in which there is a seed similar to pear ... The leaves of the white male species, some call morion , are clear, large, wide and smooth as those the chard. Apples are twice as big, saffron color, emit relatively strong pleasant smell. The shepherds eat and go to sleep for a while. Its root is similar to the previous one, but larger and whiter. It did not stem either ... " 15 .
Pliny the Elder , Roman naturalist, gives a very similar description at this time 16 :

"There are two kinds: white, considered the male mandrake, and black, considered the female, which are narrower than those of lettuce leaves, hairy stems, and two or three reddish roots in white Inside, soft and fleshy, long almost a cubit. Both bear fruit the size of hazelnuts containing a seed as a seed pear. " 17 .
We identified 18 male or white species Mandragora officinarum L. and the female species or black to Mandragora autumnalis Bertol., a species that is now only a possible form of M. officinarum L.

Dioscorides lists many diseases where the mandrake is a great help. A glass of decoction obtained by reducing the root in wine is useful "when you can not sleep, or damping vehement pain, or prior to cauterize or cut a limb, to keep feeling the pain" 19 . The root prepared with vinegar cures inflammations of the skin, with honey or oil, it is good against bites snake with water, it treats scrofula and abscesses. Juice brought menses and rushed delivery. Cautiously Dioscoride warns against the toxicity of the plant "However, we must be careful not to drink too much because it [the juice] would kill the person."

Pliny also tells us close to those of Dioscorides indications. The use as a narcotic analgesic and always comes up:

"The leaves are preserved in brine and have more effect if the juice of fresh plants is a dangerous poison; and again, and kept their harmful properties are to the head, even with the simple smell ... The soporific effect varies with the forces of the subject; the average dose is one cyathium . It is watered also against snakes and before the cuts and bites to numb "
Theophrastus also reported aphrodisiac properties 20 and Dioscorides says it was used to make potions 21 .

In addition to these very pertinent observations (now knowing the active compounds of the plant), found in very disconcerting texts of other considerations for a modern man. For example, Theophrastus tells us that when picking must

"Trace around the mandrake three circles with a sword, cut looking eastward, dancing around each other and say the greatest possible number of saucy words" (HP IX, 8, 8).
To understand these strange practices we must make a small digression on the history of Greek science. Many texts on plants that have survived from antiquity were written by philosophers, naturalists and physicians. Naturalists studying plants for themselves and stressed the importance of observation. Others like the doctors were attempting to develop an experimental approach to correctly identify plants and observe their therapeutic effects on patients. The creation of new areas of autonomous scientific knowledge thus made ​​in freeing itself from religion and magic. But after Alexander Middle Eastern conquests at the Grand iv th century BC. BC , Mesopotamian and Egyptian magical thinking made ​​a great breakthrough in Greece. "From the third century BC. BC Specifically, the seduction of the irrational in various forms begins to exert its toll even in the circles concerned with things of the spirit and knowledge of the world " (J. Beaujeu 22 ).

The wizards thought there was an intimate relationship between different objects and living beings. For them, the plants are living beings endowed with a soul as closely subjected to the action of gods or astral forces. Like doctors, they wanted to heal the sick but they had a different conception of the disease. As Guy said Ducourthial 18 "They see that it has no natural cause, but it is sent to humans by the gods to punish them for their sins. To heal the sick individuals, they claim they can force these deities to divert the negative influence they have on them, but also "control" a number of plants they selected, that is to say, the post their orders and force them to abandon their properties so they can dispose of their will. To reach their goal, they must complete a number of specific and often mysterious gestures, pronounce incantations and secret formulas and recite special prayers, especially during harvest plants need to perform at particular times " .

Thus the circle drawn around the plant creates a space magically closed, locking the plant and allowing the wizard to master it. Magic rituals given by Theophrastus are taken by Pliny Dioscoride but fails to mention it.

As a magical plant, mandrake is called kirkaia , referring to the sorceress Circe . The astrologers attributed the mandrake to the sign of Cancer ( karkinos ) governing the human body from the chest to the belly 18 . The result is that it controls the spleen, head fits of melancholy organ.

Western Middle Age [ change | change the code ]
The grubbing mandrake ritual exchange from the early Middle Ages and perhaps even before in Palestine. The collector of plants must now identify the root, attach it to a dog and draw the animal away. This plant has such a magical power if the herbalist ventured to uproot himself, he would face certain death. Texts 2 even add that "this root in itself such a divine that, when extracted at the same time power, it also kills the dog" (Herbarius Apulei, 1481). Quellec 2 traces the antiquity of this tradition at the beginning of vi th century . In the year 520, the manuscript of Dioscorides of Vienna is illustrated by two miniature on which we see a mandrake root attached to the neck of a dead dog, mouth gaping.

In the first century, Josephus had already described in the Jewish War , VII, 6, 183, the same ritual applied to picking a plant he calls baaras . The plant is poorly identified and it is unclear whether the mandrake as Hugo Rahner (1954) was assumed.

Precautions when picking are also set out in the writings of Paracelsus ( 1493 - 1541 ). Copies of the mandrake root so dangerous, it was the ritual magic. Whoever pulls the mandrake careless, if not going crazy when they heard the screams of the plant, will be continued by his curse ...

Uprooting of a mandrake. Handwritten Tacuinum Sanitatis , National Library of Vienna , ver. In 1390.
According to various writings describing the rituals, we know they unfolded the full moon. Mandrakes which grew at the foot of the gallows were very popular because they were said fertilized with sperm of hanged, bringing vitality, but those spaces torture or cremation were also fine. "Priests" with a ritual dagger traced three circles around the mandrake and then dug to expose the root, the ceremony is accompanied by prayers and litanies . A girl was placed next to the plant to keep him company. We also passed a rope around the root and the other end was attached to the neck of a hungry we excited at the sound of the black dog horn . The priests then called off the dog that pulling on the rope he pulls the plant. The plant emitted when pulling a cry of agony unbearable, killing animals and not to distant unobstructed ear wax man. Root became magical after washing, maceration and maturation in shroud ; it accounted for the draft rights, "little man planted" or homunculus . And pampered, she remained ever faithful to his master and procured its owner, prosperity prodigious abundance of goods and fertility . It was sold very expensive because of the risk to the collection, and especially since the form was human, preferably sexed by the presence of clumps carefully arranged.

In Europe, we find from the ix th century in the medical literature describing narcosis by inhalation of a soporific sponge ( spongia soporifera ). A series of recipes from the ix th the xvi th century and from different countries were received. Most are found in textbooks of surgery or antidotaries 6 . The oldest known is that of Antidotaire Bamberg Sigerist; it comprises of opium, mandrake , aquatic hemlock (cicute) and henbane. The xii th century, with the medical school of Salerno , Nicolaus praepositus, as advocated in his Antidotarium the use of a soporific sponge 7 in certain surgical procedures. She was soaked in a mixture of henbane, blackberry juice and lettuce, mandrake and ivy.

Early modern era [ change | change the code ]
The ointment of witches

Mandrake. Dioscoride Vienna , vi th century
There are also some mandrake and henbane in the ointment composition used by witches . A widespread belief in xvi th and xvii th centuries, witches wanted coat their body ointment before flying through the air to get to the Sabbath . They went there riding on a broom or a fork, coated too ointment.

The charges that led witches at the stake had two components: the evil and the pact with the Devil . Legal action began with a complaint for repeated jeteuse a spell that was supposed to cause death in newborns Hex, dropping hail on crops, etc. The prosecution Assistance Sabbath appeared only later when ecclesiastical judges seized the folder. At the time, everyone believed in the Devil. It was not a shadow of a doubt, that by entering into a pact with the devil, the witch could do formidable evil and work the ruin of the Church and the State. Tens of thousands of witches and were sent to the stake with a clear conscience the authorities. Only a few scientific and humanistic physicians dared to denounce the persecution and argue that the Sabbath was only an illusion.

The problem of the reality of the Sabbath was also asked about in these terms by scientists from the xvi th century. The description of demonic meetings and their prodigies (flight, metamorphosis into a beast) she has an objective reality or is it the result of the use of hallucinogenic drugs?

By this time a Spanish doctor and humanist Andrés Laguna , concludes that all believed to witches was the result of taking narcotic substances 23 , so that the Sabbath was the only product of their imagination. Laguna says in his commentary on Dioscorides (1555), how, located in Lorraine, he witnessed the arrest and condemnation to death at the stake in two old accused of witchcraft. He then procured the ointment that was found in the chapel where they lived to test the effect of such a product. He completely wet one of his insomniac patient. It soon fell into a deep sleep and woke thirty-five hours later saying her husband smiling as she had cuckolded with a handsome young man. Laguna liniment was made ​​with "herbs at the last cold and soporific degree, as are the hemlock, the soporific nightshade, henbane and mandrake" 23 .

Currently, many historical studies about the confessions of witches did not however lead to the conclusion that witches were drugged. If the testimony of some witches are using hallucinogenic drugs, the phenomenon was not widespread and can not be a general explanation.

The mandrake is also used in certain rituals of voodoo.

Miscellaneous [ change | change the code ]
In the Republican Calendar French, the 21 th day of ventôse is officially called the day of the Mandrake .

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