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by Micha F. Lindemans
The mandrake or mandragora has, in folklore and superstition, always been regarded as a plant with special powers. This idea is based on the shape of the root which is forked and roughly resembles the human figure. It was supposed to grow under the feet of a hanged man and could only be pulled from the ground after performing the necessary rituals. It was advisable to put wax in the ears before one attempted to do this: the mandrake would scream when pulled free and this could cause deafness.

The mandrake root was used for invulnerability, for discovering treasures, and as a charm for pregnancy. When properly prepared it could also be used as an aphrodisiac.

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