Mandrake for insomnia
2012
Pencil on paper

A plant long held to have magical and aphrodisiacal powers is the mandrake, whose divided root bears some resemblance to a human form. It is said to stimulate sexual activity and promote fertility. The mandrake has the distinction of having its powers mentioned in the Bible (Genesis: 30, 14-17), when the childless Rachel begs Leah to give her some of the plant. Rachel’s later delivery of a son, Joseph, is attributed to God rather than to the root, but the story does show the great antiquity of the mandrake legend. The most spectacular attribute of the plant, however, was its capacity to utter a piercing shriek when it is removed from the ground. Better authenticated was its use in syrup as a cure for insomnia and as a general anaesthetic, and at least in one modern manufacturer uses the active ingredient of mandrake as the basis of sleeping-tablets.

Excerpt from ‘Magic, Myth and Medicine’ by John Camp (1973)
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Mandrake for insomnia
2012
Pencil on paper

A plant long held to have magical and aphrodisiacal powers is the mandrake, whose divided root bears some resemblance to a human form. It is said to stimulate sexual activity and promote fertility. The mandrake has the distinction of having its powers mentioned in the Bible (Genesis: 30, 14-17), when the childless Rachel begs Leah to give her some of the plant. Rachel’s later delivery of a son, Joseph, is attributed to God rather than to the root, but the story does show the great antiquity of the mandrake legend. The most spectacular attribute of the plant, however, was its capacity to utter a piercing shriek when it is removed from the ground. Better authenticated was its use in syrup as a cure for insomnia and as a general anaesthetic, and at least in one modern manufacturer uses the active ingredient of mandrake as the basis of sleeping-tablets.

Excerpt from ‘Magic, Myth and Medicine’ by John Camp (1973)
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer: