Mandrake, Mandragora officinarum
Mandrake Root The most famous magical plant of history of the Nightshade Family, also called Witches Drink, Thieves Root, Mad Apple, Love Apple and Satans Apple. Mandragora officinarum is native to southern Europe from Portugal to Greece, it has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Mandrake is sometimes referred to as umbrella plant, because it looks like a closed umbrella when it first appears each spring. Mandrake grows rapidly in groups and produces a fruit, but it is rather unsavory. In ancient times Mandrake was an enormously important ritual, inebriating and medicinal plant mentioned in the cruneiform tablets of Assyrians and the Old Testament.
Mandrake Root consists of the tropane alkaloids Scopolamine, Atropine, Apoatropine and Mandragorine. The dried root contains between 0.2 and 0.6 % alkaloids and the Tropane alkaloid Belladonnine occurs only in the dried roots. In ancient Egypt Mandrake fruits were used as gifts of love during courtship and probably were eaten as aphrodisiacs. The love plant appears to be associated with Hathor, the goddess of love. Its used as an analgesic and anesthetic, sleep aid, aphrodisiac, and to treat many ailments. Mandrake is also used for making beer or wine, its brewed in the same manner as Henbane beer. Fifty grams of dried root is used for 20 liters of liquid and cinnamon sticks are added to improve the taste. The ancient Greeks frequently added dried root vine to wine for use as a love drink.
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