The Amanita Muscaria fungus, otherwise known as ‘fly agaric’, looks exactly the kind of mushroom you’d expect to see in the colorful illustrations of a children’s fairy story. A bright red dome, with white spots (or plaques) dotted all over it, its distinctive appearance makes it highly recognizable.
And there’s a reason this beautiful mushroom is so well known through the pages of literature. For millennia, the Amanita Muscaria has been used as a hallucinogenic in rituals, medicines, and even spells. It’s known as the ‘edible poisonous mushroom’ and should be picked with care.
Both Edible and Poisonous?
Just because a mushroom is considered poisonous, that doesn’t mean it’s deadly. It can simply mean that there can be adverse, and even unpleasant, reactions from ingesting it. For those who know what they’re doing, people have attested to how there can be spiritual, recreational, and even healing properties from this marvelous mushroom.
Amanita Muscaria Over the Years
There are lots of plants on earth that we enjoy today, either nutritionally or recreationally, and we can wonder who discovered their benefits. Who discovered that chamomile made a great relaxing tea? Who realized that garlic made food so delicious?
The same can be said for mushrooms. Who plucked the first Amanita Muscaria and understood its powerful place in sacred rituals and rites of passage? It’s impossible to know for sure, but we’re glad they did, because this incredible mushroom has earned its place among cultures all over the world, both ancient and modern.
Vikings Going Berserk
We’re used to the phrase “he’s gone berserk” but the root of the popular way of describing a person with a little more enthusiasm than average could very well be thanks to the Amanita Muscaria fungus.
It’s thought that before a battle, Viking warriors would eat these mushrooms and receive a burst of energy that would have them roar through the battlegrounds, cutting down everything in their wake. It must have been terrifying if you were on the other side but thrilling if these guys were fighting for your tribe!
A Classical Hallucinogenic
Stories that emerged from the Greek and Roman empires are littered with the use of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom. The Romans believed that this fungus was a magical result of lightning strike, as it seemed to grow particularly well after a thunderstorm.
When ingested at religious ceremonies, the Romans and Greeks would receive visions and witness what they interpreted as the power of their gods. These traditions were later seen all over Europe, from the tribes of the Siberian tundra right down to the African tribes settled on the equator.
A Medieval Pest Controller
Today’s experts and lifelong students of the wondrous effects of micro dosing are all too aware of the powerful effects of the Amanita Muscaria, but in medieval times, this versatile mushroom was used to control pests.
Two of the active ingredients found in Amanita Muscaria are ibotenic acid and muscimol. Also known as ibotenate, ibotenic acid is what makes the mushroom psychoactive. The same goes for muscimol, also known as agarin. Micro doses of these compounds in humans might give them a recreational trip, but for small bugs like flies and ants, the drug overwhelms the nervous system and kills them.
It's why Amanita Muscaria is known as fly agaric: these mushrooms were used for centuries all over the world as a pest control solution, and even today some farmers choose to employ fly agaric on their fields as an alternative to harmful pesticides.
Ho Ho Ho, Merry Micro Dosing!
Many of us have heard legends of how good old Saint Nick, aka Santa Claus, used to feature in folklore dressed all in green. The more iconic images we see these days, of a jolly old Father Christmas dressed in red with a white trim, are said to be a recent phenomenon that stemmed from the Coca Cola adverts.
But what you might not know is that there’s every chance the inspiration for Santa’s red and white outfit is much older than you’d expect and comes from no other that the Amanita Muscaria fungus.
It’s related to the influence that this fungus had in Siberia, among the indigenous tribes who lived around the North Pole. During the winter solstice, many of their religious and ceremonial gatherings involved plenty of food, drink, and hallucinogenic drugs. Shamans would take just enough of the mushroom to have a great time, and who knows, maybe even shower people with gifts!
It's even thought that this fungus was given to the reindeer of these tribes, and afterward (and this might make you feel a little queasy) the shamans would drink the reindeer urine, enjoying its potent hallucinogenic qualities.
So, between the red and white theme, the magical wonder of the North Pole, and reindeer possessed with magical powers of flight, it’s easy to see where we get the Santa Claus legend from.
And What of Today?
The present day may go down in history as a time when new breakthroughs concerning Amanita Muscaria are made. Scientists are continuing to discover new things about this wonderful mushroom.
From reports of increased energy, improved sleep, and even long-term benefits for those suffering with chronic mental health issues, there are new discoveries being made all the time.
But is it dangerous?
Amanita Muscaria has been eaten for thousands of years, but while in most cases there have been no fatalities, there have been exceptions. And, sadly, some people are thought to have died after taking too much of the mushroom, especially in its raw form.
It’s important to remember that while this fungus is not only safe but recreationally beneficial in small doses, Amanita Muscaria is still considered a poisonous fungus.
That’s why the production of the variety of available micro dosing formats should be left to the experts, like the team at Psilo Mart.
Making a choice to source high quality capsules, tinctures, and powders will ensure that you get all the benefits of this incredible and versatile fungus, without all the nasty side-effects.