mandragora officinarum and hallucinations

mandragora officinarum and hallucinations
   Mandragora officinarum is known under many names, including mandrake, dragon doll, love apple, fool's apples, Satan's apple, Satan's testicles, and witches' herb. In Arabic it is known as Tufah al-jinn (meaning apples of the " djinn) and Baydal-jinn (testicles of the djinn). The etymological origin of the names mandragorum and mandrake is obscure. It has been speculated that they might stem from the Sanskrit words mandros (sleep) and agora (substance), but other explanations have been given as well. The Greeks used the name mandragoras to denote a plant related to Atropa belladonna, probably the one that was later to be named Atropa mandragora, or M. officinarum. Like henbane and belladonna, M. officinarum is classified as a species of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Using the criterion of psychoactive potential as a guiding principle, mandrake has been classified as a "deliriant. M. officinarum is a stemless perennial plant indigenous to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia which contains powerful tropane alkaloids such as hyoscyamine, hyoscine (i.e. scopo-lamine), atropine, and mandragorine (i.e. cusco-hygrine). The plant's root, leaves, and berries have been used since ancient times as an " entheogen, an aphrodisiac, a therapeutic, an anaesthetic, an analgesic, a poison, and a potion, as well as for many other purposes. Due to its psychoac-tive properties, its nocturnal glowing, and the humanoid shape of its root, mandrake has historically been charged with magical connotations. Despite its reputation and rich history as one of the best-known psychoactive plants, very few descriptions of mandrake's hallucinogenic properties exist. They are reportedly similar to those of A. belladonna, i.e. mainly visual in nature. In addition, vivid " dreaming has been reported, often with an erotic connotation. Mandrake's lack of popularity as a recreational drug is due largely to its adverse anticholinergic effects. These tend to commence before the onset of the hallucinatory activity and to continue during the entire hallucinatory episode. Because mandrake tends to slow the motility of the stomach and gut, the side effects may go on for a long time after the moment of ingestion. The name mandrake has also been used as a slang term for the sedative methaqualone, and as a synonym for the name mayapple (i.e. Podophyllum peltatum). A person intentionally employing mandrake for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a " psychonaut.
   Rätsch, Chr. (2005). The encyclopedia of psychoactive plants. Ethnopharmacology and its applications. Translated by Baker, J.R. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.
   Rudgley, R. (1998). The encyclopaedia ofpsy-choactive substances. London: Little, Brown and Company.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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