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

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

The mandrake is an herb, Mediterranean, perennial. The underground part (the rhizome ) is bifurcated and recalls the silhouette of a man, arms, legs, sex, the names of homunculus and anthropomorphon given to the plant. This feature earned him a rather sinister reputation .

The particular shape of the mandrake legend and has earned reputation loss. & Nbsp; © DR
The particular shape of the mandrake earned him legends and sinister reputation. © DR

Discover the mandrake

Name: mandrake
Scientific name: Mandragora officinarum
Synonyms: Mandragora automnarum, caulescens officinalis, vernalis
Family: Solanaceae
Environmental group: woodlands, edges , plains and hills
Distribution: Mediterranean, Asia. This plant has become very rare even in its native range.
Description of the plant: 50-150 cm, the aerial part is a short stem with a rosette of oval leaves. Fetid plant, pubescent glandular hairs, oval leaves, entire, stalked, calyx lobes 5, 5 petals .
Flowers solitary, short-stalked, color greenish-white or pale violet.
Fruit : yellow or red berry, shining like cherry March-April cm in diameter.
Root: the source of many legends, it is a white inner impressive rave, brown on the outside, and can reach 60 to 80 cm and weigh several kilograms . It can take the form of a carrot or anthropomorphic. The roots of old trees sink deeper than one meter in the ground , making it difficult to pull them up.
Uses: Medicinal (root), very toxic care
Additional information

This is a nightshade which the active ingredients is comparable to the Solanaceae officinal. The plant contains about 0.4% of alkaloids , the most important are scopolamine and hyoscyamine . Intoxication due to the mandrake is similar to that caused by compendial nightshade ( belladonna , datura , henbane, note that all are poisonous nightshade: in the tomato fruit is edible only and in the potato only the tuber the is the remainder of the plant is toxic!). The plant has remarkable hallucinogenic effects, plus its active alkaloids can penetrate the skin and enter the blood circulation.

The roots of the mandrake sink more than 1 meter in the ground. & Nbsp; © DR
The roots of the mandrake sink more than 1 meter in the ground. © DR

Stories and legends around the mandrake

The mandrake is originally from Syria. It was known to the Ancients and reported in numerous writings. Hebrews and Chaldeans used it as poison.

Dioscorides, a Greek physician (MM IV, 75) states that there is a male and a female mandrake mandrake (Matthioli, male in Mandrake, Mandrake female)! It indicates that the mandrake calm the pain, it is good for treating insomnia and as an analgesic before surgery. He noted that overdose, it causes death. She also agreed to remove phlegm and bile , to menses and the future embryo , treat inflammation eye , wounds ( helkos ) including the eyes, remove the nits ( sklêria ), the abscess ( apostêma ), the scrofula ( choiras ), the tumors ( phuma ), treat erysipelas, snake bites, cleanse the die and stop the flow red!

Legend has it that Hannibal during the war with Africans, abandoned his camp leaving full wine amphorae in which macéraient mandrake roots. He returned to complete intoxicated enemy soldiers.

Its hallucinogenic properties and narcotics were used in ancient medicine as an anesthetic for operations, or witchcraft, as an ingredient for making potions.

The characteristic shape of its root which resembles that of a man has earned a reputation for magical herb. During the Middle Ages it is called half-man or man-planted and claims she screams of agony when digs for the picking . This cry was supposed to make a fool who wished, as witches were they dig up the plant by a trained dog and they stopped up their ears with wax. Of course there are many legends about the mandrake ... The witches of the Middle Ages used the properties of the plant to coat the mucosa and underarms with an ointment mandrake, which caused secondary states with hallucinations, feelings of levitation and satanic visions ...

The witches of the Middle Ages used the properties & nbsp; hallucinatory & nbsp; mandrake. & Nbsp; © DR
The witches of the Middle Ages used the hallucinogenic properties of the mandrake. © DR

Mandragora Machiavelli

Machiavelli was the author of a light comedy: The Mandrake ( La Mandragola ) to 1518-1519. This piece is a short burlesque farce in five acts, a kind of farce that foreshadows the known Italian folk theater Commedia dell'Arte (genre that developed during the XVI th century).

In Florence, a city of Machiavelli, the hero is a young man returning from France where he was trained to studies and pleasures. A friend informed of the existence, in Florence, a beautiful wife, Lucrezia, wife of rich Nicia Calfucci. Therefore, its objective is to seduce the beautiful. But Lucrezia (who struggles to give an heir to her husband) is a woman who stands at the shelter. The two friends are trying to convince Nicia to take his wife to a spa town ... one implies the other (doctor) knows a foolproof potion for pregnancy , a mandrake potion whose only unfortunate side effect is that the approaching that first man who drank the potion, died within a week ... The scheme is set up, but Lucrezia is not convinced to give the first rover, used as a sin offering. will need all the conviction of a mother and of the Church ... The time is not prudish, and Machiavelli sometimes looks like Rabelais (his near contemporary). Criticism of the church is fierce. This farce enjoyed great success in Florence, Rome and Venice same.

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