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Amots Dafni

Amots Dafni

Haifa University, Israel

Title: Rise and fall of mandragora autumnalis as a medicinal plant

Biography

Abstract

The earlier evidences for the medicinal uses of Mandragora autumnalis are from Sumer and the Bible. The main uses of the
mandrake (sometimes with a combination of other narcotic plants), along the generations, are: aphrodisiac, antispasmodic,
sedative, anesthetic, analgesic, emetic and antidote for snakebites. For each use I'll survey: the history and the intensity
throughout the history till the present day, the pharmacological background in relation to modern chemical analyses and pros
and cons. It is concluded that most of the uses of M. autumnalis, as a medicinal plant, were almost completely abandoned.
The reasons for this tendency are: 1. The poisonous and narcotic properties, as well as other uncontrolled side effects of the
mandrake. 2. The development of the modern safe and efficient drugs which successfully replaced the traditional uses of the
plant. The use of the mandrake as aphrodisiac still exists, maybe due to the deep belief rooted in mythology, religion and
history which are hard to be eradicated.