Dedicated to Saturn, this herb has come to be identified magickally with Mandragora officinarum because of its somewhat humanoid root. It is a barberry rather than a nightshade and so contains no tropanes, but it is similar to M. officinarum in terms of where it likes to grow, its ruling planet, and that it's both beneficial and deadly. Easy to identify because of its single stem and umbrella-like leaf arrangement, it grows wild in damp Eastern North American woodlands and was used widely by the native peoples of that area. Outside of magick, this plant is presently used in chemotherapy against cancer. Its ripe fruit is edible, but the rest of the plant contains a powerful cytotoxin (cell killer), so don't ingest this root in any form for any reason. Some folks have experienced noxious effects from this plant simply by incorporating it into an incense. This Saturn herb is also known as Mayapple and Devil's Apple.
American mandrake root, whole
Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:
© 2004, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission