Mandragora

Mandragora is a perennial endemic plant that is known to grow only at the mountain Sniježnica in Konavle. Iz has a very large root and its leaves are dark green, sharp and of a very strange odour. All its parts are toxic, especially the root and fruits. The plant contains from 0,4-0,6 percent of highly toxic alkaloids mostly scopolamine, atropine and hyoscyamine.

Jews believe this herb gives women fertility and Arabs call it a devil's apple. Its name comes from two Greek words meaning the plant dangerous for livestock. It was also believed that nothing good will happen to the one who uproots it from the ground. The root of mandragora resembles the human body, therefore it was often shown in that form and the fruits resemble an apple.

Mandragora was used as an antiseptic against pain because it is a strong narcotic and it was believed that large quantities of this plant can cause insanity. However, it is nowadays used as an medicament.

Mandragora plays a major role in magic due to its strong effect of hallucination and a strange anthropoid shape of its root. It is therefore a belief of its supernatural powers. It was very much appreciated in the ancient Egypt by pharaohs whose robes were often decorated by mandragora as a motif.

Since ancient times there are various rituals related to the excavation of this plant and it usually worked the dog, because it was believed that, after the job is done, it must die. One of the rituals was to make a circle in the soil and then to cut off the roots from the tree looking to the east. In Roman times it was believed that mandragora spreads the reddish light in the night and successfully hides from people but that it could be detected if sprayed by urine or blood by menstruation. It was also believed that it could thrive only under the gallows where urine and semen of hanged men drop down.

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  • mandragora
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