Mandragora officinarum, the male, pisdiefje is undoubtedly the most famous of magical plants. The genus name is derived from the Greek word Mandra, meaning "stable ??," herd "or" livestock "means. It may refer to the fact that the mandrake is toxic to animals but also to humans. Mandrake means' all runes. This magical plant would open the door to read the ancient knowledge of the runes. According to another source refers to Albruna mandrake, the name of a visionary.
Mandrake has its roots in the current Palestine. He was already known in ancient Egypt. The doctors from Alexandria showed the square root in wine and used to brew as a narcotic. Among the Greeks this plant had a great reputation as aphrodisiac and used during fertility rituals. Even in the Bible mentions the mandrake to cure infertility. The strength of this plant is in his strange root, which is usually twisted and split and therefore, it seems, with some imagination in man. Because that form the Greek philosopher Pythagoras called her "anthropomorphos', similar to a human. An early Christian story describes the mandrake as a preliminary study for humans. A disapproved trial for the real man.
Hildegard von Bingen has paid particular attention to the mandrake. It is at other striking how well the abbess was aware of all kinds of hallucinogenic plants. She writes: "The Mandragora is warm, somewhat watery, and comes from the earth, from which Adam was also created. She looks like a human. And precisely because of that human-like appearance, she has more of the diabolical seducer in themselves than other herbs and hounding us. Hence the human being is hit by his feelings, whether they are bad or good, as was the case with idols. When she pulled out of the earth, they need as quickly as possible a day and a night are laid in spring water. Therefore, all evil and all harmful fluids expelled so that they can no longer be used for magical arts and sorceries. However, if one pulls off the ground and keep the soil attached, so the plant does not wash her in the prescribed manner, then it is harmful and can be used for many magical purposes.
One can then all those bad things with it that are also done with idols. Now when a man by that magical influences or from carnal lust, can not moderate, it should be the female form of the plant, after being in spring water is washed three days and three nights tie between the chest and the belly button, then the fruit split into two parts and wear on both reins. Then the left of that stature mulling what camphor. For women Hildegard recommends the same plea. Now should only be taken to the male form in the right.
She mentions the mandrake also as a remedy for head and sore throat, with equal parts of the humanoid plant should be used.
There are many creepy messages around the excavation of the plant. Pulling should be done on a moonless night. It was said that every touch leads to death and therefore the root had to be dug by a dog. When uproot the plant a punch to the marrow urgent shriek, a horrible cry, that makes you mad, or die on the spot. In Greek 'Animals History' by Claudius Aeliaus appears the plant under the name 'knospatos "the uitgetrokkene by the dog.
The mandrake grew happy and well below the gallows, where he is fed with urine and semen of hanged criminals. The quality of the pisdiefje mandrake was particularly large, only it was too dangerous to harvest him. Therefore advised to buy the root just in the market. The mandrakeroot made the possessor invulnerable, provided great skill in combat and helped all suffering and sickness. He was worn as a talisman by women who wanted to conceive and men to cure impotence. You had the plant or take to bed three nights during full moon with it.
The Arabs sold mandrake to the gullible among melodious names like Devil's Testicles, Devils Apple, Satan's Apple, Apple Genius and Cone Crazy. In Italy we encounter the name Kirkaia, named after the witch Circe, which could change unwanted visitors in swine.
Despite or thanks to the tall stories is a plant with a strong and clear pharmacological action. The tropane alkaloids have an effect on the central nervous system, and especially on the parasymphaticus. It is hoofdalcaloïde hyoscyamine, atropine and scopolamine but also are present. The root was in many ancient narcotic preparations like the Requies Nicolai, in populeumzalf and mandrake oil. In modern medicine, the root is no longer used as such, but the isolated alkaloids or derivatives, such as hyoscyamine tablets on prescription in pharmacies still available.
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