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English Bible Dictionary

Mandrakes

 

(Heb. dudraim) are mentioned in (Genesis 30:14,16) and in Song 7:13 The mandrake, Atropa mandragora, is closely allied to the well-known deadly nightshade, A. bellndonna, and to the tomato, and belongs to the order Solanaceae, or potato family. It grows in Palestine and Mesopotamia. (It grows low, like lettuce, which its leaves somewhat resemble, except that they are of a dark green, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The flowers are purple,and the root is usually forked. Its fruit when ripe (early in May) is about the size of a small apple, 24 inches in diameter, ruddy or yellow and of a most agreeable odor (to Orientals more than to Europeans) and an equally agreeable taste. The Arabs call it "devil's apple," from its power to excite voluptuousness. Dr. Richardson ("Lectures on Alcohol," 1881) tried some experiments with wine made of the root of mandrake, and found it narcotic, causing sleep, so that the ancients used it as an anaesthetic. Used in small quantities like opium, it excites the nerves, and is a stimulant: ED.)

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