Tv blabs, movie blabs, book blabs. Lots of blab, but no flab.

Saturday, September 25

Hogwarts Promotes Drugs

Just thought I'd get you attention with that title. I was looking in my dictionary for a word (as you do), and I came across 'mandrake'. My brain instantly linked into Potterdom. Mandrake is grown by Madame Sprout, all the second year students learn how to harvest it, and it ultimately is used to cure those who have been petrified.

So imagine my surprise when I learnt that mandrake is actually a narcotic herb! Just to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting I also checked narcotic. This shocked me a little, I've never thought twice about the compounds frequently referred to in magic potions and other uses like spells. So if the mandrake is a narcotic herb should it be featured in a children's book?

The facts about the mandrake Rowling mentions are based in fact. The roots are forked and can look like a human, because of that, it was said to scream when you pull it out of the earth. Medicinally, the only part of the mandrake that won't kill you is the ripe fruit.

What confused me was how would a sleep-inducing plant cure petrification, which, in essence, is a state of induced sleep (with a touch of Medusa-esque statue work)?

Perhaps I'm reading too far into this, but it's made me think about what else I've been taking for granted.

2 viewers interjected with:

Blogger Ben said...

Interesting! But is Rowlings use of the mandrake in this regards original, or something borrowed? I thought Hippogriffs were original until I encountered them somewhere else—though they may be Rowling's creation for all I know, I was surprised to find them outside Potterdom.

I mean, wizards and broomsticks and dragons and trolls are nothing new—are mandrake cures? That's something for you to do Casyn: find that out :)

25/9/04 10:45 pm

Blogger Casyn said...

Mandrake isn't an original cure. Here's some info I found:

Mandrakes have to be 12 years old before they flower and bear fruit. North American Indians valued the May apple for its powerful laxative effect, used it to treat intestinal worms, as a cure for warts, snakebite, and even considered it an effective insecticide for their crops. But they were quite aware of its poisonous properties, for they also used it to commit suicide. Pioneers used an extract of the roots as a cathartic and to cure constipation. And more recently, May apple was used as a treatment for skin cancer.

You can use mandrake in Alchemy and also to heal some ailments.

It's available in pill form too.

25/9/04 11:34 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker

Powered by Blogger


© Casyn 2004 - 2005