Herbal Magick: Mayapple Or American Mandrake

Herbal Magick: Mayapple Or American Mandrake April 29, 2016
Mayapple photo by Lilith Dorsey. All rights reserved.
Mayapple photo by Lilith Dorsey. All rights reserved.

Mayapple, or American Mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum,) has long been part of Witchcraft’s bag of tricks. Let me begin by saying this herb is highly toxic. Please use caution when harvesting, and using in your spellcrafting. This is particularly true for pregnant women.

This history of Mayapple is rich. The website eattheweeds.com tells us that the name translates to “foot leaf like a shield.”Recently science has been studying it as a possible cancer treatment. Mayapple grows wild in the Eastern half of North America, from Quebec to Florida.
Another name for this herb is Witch’s Umbrella, so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of uses that fall under this umbrella. It is ruled by the planet Saturn, and hence associated with magick, rejuvenation, healing, and karma.  Because standard mandrake does not grow naturally in North America, American Mandrake or Mayapple was used instead in spells and formulas.

Mayapple Magickal Uses
  • Protection
  • Divination
  • Banishing
  • Removing Obstacles
  • Financial Success

The folklore surrounding this item is both wild and interesting. Some say that when pulled Mayapple’s screams will cause a person to go insane.

“The cry of the Mandrake is fatal to anyone who hears it.”

– Hermoine Granger, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Some Native American tribes used it to commit suicide. Even the Bible mentions Mandrake. In her post about Mandrake Patti Wigington tell us to “consider planting it around the perimeter of your property as a barrier, or place some under your doorstep for protection and fertility. Some hoodoo traditions recommend wrapping a whole mandrake root in a dollar bill and carrying it in your pocket for financial fortune.” Then there are other Hoodoo spells which use the Mayapple roots tied together in the form of a doll, to bring about a lover. Whatever you need to use it for, there is no doubt that this is a valuable addition to any magickal arsenal.

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