Superstitions, witchcraft and magic are what define the history of mandrake - an occult plant. Read on to learn some interesting & amazing information on origin & background of mandrake plant.

History Of Mandrake Plant

Mandrake is a common name for members of the plant genus Mandragora, which belongs to the nightshades family. The roots of this plant are believed to have magical importance and have long been used for conducting magical rituals. Mandrake contains deliriant, hallucinogenic tropane, and alkaloids such as hyoscyamine and bifurcations that make them resemble human figures. Mandrake plant is popular these days, especially for showcasing the occult. Its association with the occult however, is not a new trend. The plant always had ties to witchcraft. Here is an insight into the background of the plant, bringing forward certain interesting and amazing facts about its history and origin.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Mandrake
Mandrake is a plant with narcotic effect. It was thought to be a potentially lethal herb to be harvested from earth. For this reason, great caution was used in gathering its magical roots. Around 93 CE, historian Flavius Josephus described the process of harvesting these roots from earth, the stories of which were aggrandized over the years. It was a common belief that the mandrake shrieked when harvested and that anyone hearing the piercing cry would die. To avoid these deaths, dogs were used to gather the roots. The dogs were starved for several days and then tied to the roots, around which a trench was kept cut. The owner of the dog stood away from the earshot area and threw a piece of meat towards the dog. As the dog leapt for the meat, the mandrake root was pulled from the ground, killing the dog immediately and leaving the plant root for the owner to collect, once the screeching sound stopped.
There are many references of using sword to draw three circles around mandrake plant and to the fact that the plant could be removed only after sundown. The root of the plant was believed to have occult powers, as it resembled a phallus or a human torso. In some parts of Europe, possession of the root was a punishable offence. In the earlier times, it was believed that medieval witches used to harvest the roots of mandrake at night, beneath gallows trees. According to Christian lore, the witches used to wash the root in wine and wrap it in silk and velvet. They then, fed the roots with sacramental wafers stolen from a church during communion. It was also believed that mandrake plant used to spring out from substances such as a dead criminal’s semen. This belief made the roots see a use in love philters. The fruit of mandrake plant, also called love apple, was believed to increase fertility.
Mandrake roots were purported to cause hallucination, followed by a death like trance and sleep. It was also said that it caused insanity and was believed to be used in flying potions. In Germany, people used to add millet grains to their mandrakes and bathe with it, as they believed doing so was good for eyes. In France, they were considered a kind of elf. They were kept in secret cupboards, as it was suspected that possessing them might be dangerous on other counts; it could even expose the owner to the charge of witchcraft. There is very little information though, on what is currently being done in expanding the research on this magical herb. It is said that most of its use is still underground or undocumented. There is an ongoing research somewhere in the San Francisco Bay to find out the medical uses of mandrake in treating people with HIV and AIDS. Mandrake has also become a name affiliated with magic and mystic powers after the cartoon series “Mandrake the magician”, created and developed by Lee Falk and Fred Fredericks.

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