Mandrake Root Preparation

Written by megan shoop
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Mandrake Root Preparation
Mandrake grows in temperate climates from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe. (texture of the root image by Olga Khoroshunova from Fotolia.com)

The mandrake root, according to Entheology, has a history dating back to ancient Egypt. This popular and purportedly magical root sprouts broad, green leaves and tiny, white flowers above ground. Below ground, the root can grow up to 10 inches long and usually features several thick splits that make the mandrake look like a small doll. This shape only lends itself to the mythology surrounding the plant.

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Digging Mandrake

If you're lucky enough to live in a climate where mandrake can propagate, you can harvest it fresh from the ground instead of purchasing it. Commercial mandrake is expensive, especially if you want a whole root.

To harvest, dig around the base of the green aerial parts of the plant to loosen the soil. Wrap your hand around the base of the aerial shrub and tug. The entire root should come out of the ground, whole and intact. Wash all the dirt off in cool water.

Magical Preparations

Magical practitioners believe mandrake roots have magical properties involving divination and sympathetic magic or long-distance magic.

Consecrate your mandrake for magical use by laying it on your altar for several days. Add things to the altar that represent your intent, such as amethyst for healing or a white candle for purification. Next, float the root in distilled, clear water. At this point, you can remove the mandrake from the water and use it as a poppet for voodoo rituals or sip the water for divinatory visions. Never sip more than a tablespoon of the water and never use a voodoo poppet for anything other than healing or beneficial magic. Deviating from either warning could cause severe health problems or death.

Medicinal Preparations

According to Entheology, mandrake has been used since the rise of the ancient Greeks as an aphrodisiac, all kinds of pain relief and even allergic reactions. In these cases, the dried root was powdered and a pinch of it added to wine or beer.

Dry your mandrake root for several weeks, until it's brittle and powdery. Crush it with a mortar and pestle into a fine powder and add it to a loose tea infusion or a mulled wine infusion bag. Strain out the powder before drinking the concoction. Always consult with a doctor before ingesting mandrake. Pregnant or nursing women and children should not take mandrake.

Mandrake Fruits

The safest parts of the mandrake plant to consume are the fruits. The little yellow fruits are slightly sweet and may be eaten in abundance with no ill effects. They're purportedly an aphrodisiac, though research by Entheology shows that there is no significant lift in libido after eating the fruits. Some experiment participants reported an increase in erotic dreams, but no other notable effects.

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