Herb of the Month

Mandrake Root

Before anything else, I’d like to point out that this plant is poisonous.

Atropa mandragora

Formerly- Mandragora officinalis

Other names European Mandrake, Mandragora, Mandrake, Mandrake Apple, Pome Di Tchin, Satan’s Apple, herb of Circe, witches mannikin, sorceror’s root, main-de-gloire, hand of glory, mangloire


It has large, broad leaves that emerge directly from the base in a circular cluster. Flowers appear each on a separate stalk and are bell shaped and white with purplish tinge. The smell of the plant is generally unpleasant. The roots resemble a parsnip and can run up to four feet deep underground. They may be single or branched.

This plant is native to Southern Europe.


Seeds should be as fresh as possible and scattered over well-tilled, light soil in the fall. They should be kept moist and weed free and not transplanted after the first year. Keep it in a sheltered position in full sun.

Harvesting & Preparation

The roots should be dug in the third or fourth year.

Magical Use

Mandrake is masculine, ruled by Mercury and fire and associated with Circe, Hecate, Diana, Hathor and Saturn.

A dried mandrake root placed on the mantelpiece will protect and bring happiness and prosperity to the household. It will also prevent demons from entering. Placed on top of money, it will make the money multiply.

A mandrake root can be used as a poppet for sympathetic magic. It can also be carved into various shapes for magical use.

The berries as well as the root are used in charms to increase fertility. Carried, it is said to attract love. It is also used in aphrodisiac spells.

Mandrake intensifies magick in any situation. Ingestion of a small amount is said to increase psychic abilities and creativity, but this is not recommended as mandrake is poison.

Add a bit of mandrake root to your moon water preparation for ritual use.

History and Folklore

The name Mandragora comes from the Greek meaning “hurtful to cattle”.

The Anglo-Saxons considered mandrake, as well as periwinkle, the definitive herbs for use in cases of demonic possession.

Mandrake root was imagined by the ancients to look human in form and was often pictured in various texts as a man with a very long beard, or a woman with a very bushy head of hair. If the root was split into two, it was considered female. If not, it was male. The Female roots were the most valuable and believed to be a useful charm to promote luck and wealth.

The plant was said to grow under the gallows of murderers, sprung from the bodily drippings of criminals and to shriek when dug up. The sound would kill a man or drive him insane. So, to avoid this fate, you were supposed to tie a dog to the plant and he would pull it up and die in the man’s place. Some legends say that you could harvest only after sunset, or that you must draw a circle with a sword or wand three times around the plant before harvesting. Once harvested, a witch must wash it in wine and wrap it in silk for storage.

Little dolls were sometimes made of mandrake roots and kept to aid the household and answer important questions. Possession of one of these mandrake dolls could be used as evidence during witch trials.

Mandrakes are mentioned in the Bible; Leah bought a night with Jacob from Rachel with some Mandrakes which Rachel wanted to help her conceive. It may also have been mentioned in the Song of Solomon.



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