Mandrake root safety, toxicity
January 19 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Mandrake is the common name for members of the plant genus Mandragora belonging to the nightshades family  The plant family Solanaceae contains important foodstuffs such as the potato, tomato and aubergine, together with powerful poisons including mandrake, henbane and deadly nightshade.

Anesth Analg. 2012. Special article: mandragora: anesthetic of the ancients Initial attempts at surgical anesthesia began many centuries ago, with the plants of antiquity. The mandragora, or mandrake, was used as a sedative and to induce pain relief for surgical procedures. It has been depicted in tablets and friezes since the 16th century before the common era (BCE) and used for its sedative effects by Hannibal (second century BCE) against his enemies. The Romans used the mandrake for surgery. The Arabs translated the scientific work of the Ancients and expanded on their knowledge. They developed the Spongia Somnifera, which contained the juice of the mandrake plant. After the fall of the Islamic cities of Europe to the Christians, scientific work was translated into Latin and the Spongia Somnifera was used in Europe until the discovery of the use of ether for surgical anesthesia.

Mandrake root questions
Q. My husband and I have tried to conceive now since Jan. '05... with no success... We have done 2 full cycles of IUI, and we had a non-completed cycle of IVF due to 'old eggs. My husband has had his sperm checked out now with three different instituted/doctors. I even had my latest doctor send all of my records and charts to a specialist in andrology - and he said that my eggs were harvested too late in my cycle... and that the 'IVF institute' should give me a free round of IVF to compensate us. Now that we are out of real serious/just enough cash for any further cycles, we are ready to try anything - as long as it's not relating to witchcraft or of a fatal nature. A friend asked us if we had thought of the ancient middle eastern (Biblical-times) root: Mandrake that was used then for fertility. They said that they saw this root in a tincture form but didn't remember where to get it.I have spent (probably more time than I should have) googling this root. I have come up with nothing conclusive - including how one could use mandrake root. What I've read: mandrake root was used for Native American suicide. it is used with witchcraft, it is/was used as an aphrodisiac, it is sold as a plant, it is sold as a root. But no pharmacy knows how to use it or ingest it. Oh, yes, one place in the net said that one kind is poisonous! Do you have any knowledge of the root mandrake?
   A. I have not studied mandrake root but you could find information on natural ways to approach fertility at the site provided.