Many of us may recognize this little chubby little root from Harry potter. the most memorable scene would be when they pulled it up from the soil, they all had to wear ear muffs because of its wail. Mandrake is interesting to say the least not only in appearance but in use as well.
The fleshy tap root of the mandrake was used as a powerful narcotic and anesthetic. Many old herbals illustrate it as a human form with a dog attached to pull from the ground. This was because it’s shrieks and groans were expected to kill the gatherer. One of many superstitions that may have been spread by professional gathered to frighten of amateurs.
2 main forms of the mandragora based on the shape of the root:
The first one... a long solid root which due to its phallic form was used mainly as an ingredient in spells and magic that had to do with fertility, sex, love, virility and good luck, this was also used for money. It would be cut into pieces and preserved to be used as a magical catalyst in all magical works. A whole mandrake root placed in the home will bring protection and prosperity. Some hoodoo traditions recommend wrapping a whole mandrake root in a dollar bill and carrying it in your pocket for financial fortune.
To activate a dried mandrake, place it on the altar undisturbed for three days. Then place it in warm water overnight. The root will then be activated and ready for any magickal purpose.
The second one is the most popular, but also rare. Was growing different branches resembling a human body with two arms and two legs stretching and the main body of the root was forming a head. The gender was determined after visual inspection of the root or if the witch was not certain they would cast a spell to contact the spirit of the plant and clarify the plant’s intentions and gender. The Mandragora would reveal how it would prefer to be used. This form of the root was never cut but used as whole in various ways.*Complete Book of Herbs and Spices