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Mandragora officinarum (Mandrake)
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Mandragora officinarum (Mandrake)
Ground level plant with large ovate leaves. Later bears green fruit. The shape of the rhizome traditionally believed to resemble a man. Contains tropanes, hyoscine and hyoscyamine which render the plant toxic if ingested. A decoction of mandrake and wine, known as 'death wine', was used as a suicide potion by the Romans. Sponges soaked in death wine would also be offered to crucifixion victims because the potion induced a death-like sleep alleviating pain and suffering. Surgeons of the Middle Ages prepared 'sleeping sponges' soaked in solutions containing mandrake, henbane, opium, hemlock, and other narcotic extracts, before being placed over the mouth and nose of patients about to undergo surgery. Hyoscine is extracted for use as a pre-medication sedative. Shows the large,  veined green leaves and pinkish-white leaves.
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