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Amanita Muscaria : The One Mushroom to Rule Them ALL

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Amanita Muscaria, also known as fly agaric (colors of yellow/red/orange hues) is a basidiomycete of the genus Amanita. There are a wide grouping of subspecies also, including what we have harvested including Amanita muscaria var. guessowii and Amanita muscaria var. persicina which do look very very similar.

- Chungies Organic Farms will carry Amanita Muscaria Spores and Caps in the future (Not Meant for Human Consumption, and Scientific Research Only)

Photos taken by Adam Rothe: Chungies Organic Farms

Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric : Varying species)

When did Amanita Muscaria come into Human Consumption as medicine??

The earliest written reference to the consumption of fungi as a medicine, rather than a food, is within the Sanskrit hymns contained in Rig veda, which forms a part of the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism, the Vedas. In one of the hymns (Book 8, hymn 4, stanza 3) 'Soma' is described as an inebriating ritual drink, which was thought to infer divine powers on those who drank it:

We have drunk Soma and become immortal; We have attained the light, the Gods discovered. Now what harm may foeman's malice do to harm us? What, O immortal, mortal man's deception?

CHECK THIS OUT!! Credit to TreesForLife

The fly agaric may have been the earliest source of entheogens, that is hallucinogenic substances used for religious or shamanic purposes, the use of which date back possibly over 10,000 years. Fly agaric has been put forward as the most likely candidate for the mysterious Soma, mentioned in around 150 hymns of the Hindu Rig-Veda, which was written between 1500 – 500 BC by Aryans in the Indus valley. Soma was a moon god, as well as a related plant and a holy brew which were also worshipped. Though there have been many suggestions as to the identity of the plant, fly agaric fits many of the Vedic references as a substance with which to contact the gods.

Fly agaric contains two toxins, ibotenic acid and muscimol, which are responsible for its psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects. To minimise its toxic side effects fly agaric would be processed in some way eg. dried, made into a drink, smoked or made into ointments. Care in its preparation and ritual were paramount. The Celtic Druids, for example, purified themselves by fasting and meditating for three days, drinking only water. Amongst the Koryak people of north-eastern Siberia the ceremonial use of fly agaric involved the shaman ingesting the mushroom, after which others would drink his urine to partake of its entheogenic effects. Though this sounds distinctly unpleasant to modern ears, if the shaman had been fasting, the urine would have been mainly water containing the hallucinogenic compounds. The body absorbs the fly agaric’s hallucinogens first, and then expels the toxins from the stomach. The hallucinogenic chemicals then exert their influence on the body and are expelled unaltered in the urine. Reindeer in northern Europe are also attracted to the fly agaric’s euphoric effects and Siberian people would notice the drunken behaviour of such animals and slaughter them to get the same effects from eating the meat.

Modern research has also shown that the two active ingredients’ effect on the brain can inhibit fear and the startle reflex. This would corroborate theories that the ferocious Viking Berserker warriors used fly agaric prior to going into battle, bringing on the uncontrolled rage and fearlessness for which they were renowned.

Photos taken by Adam Rothe: Chungies Organic Farms

Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric : Varying species)

Where do Amanitas Grow??

below is a basic map viewing a general idea on where growth occurs in North America. Here, in Michigan, many of the Amanita Muscaria var. guessowii can grow well over the size of 4 inches in diameter coming to a size of a dinner plate! Largest ones we've found haven't been that large yet, but soon enough the search will bring us them.

Right at the end of August and into the beginning of September we've seen more and more popping up by birch trees, pines, and areas where there seems to be nearby moisture spots like swampy areas, but not located inside them.

Amanita muscaria is a cosmopolitan mushroom, native to conifer and deciduous woodlands throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere

These mushrooms can be identified by : Description from

Ecology: Mycorrhizal with loblolly pine, Virginia pine, or eastern hemlock; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall; probably widely distributed in the southeastern United States; also reported from New York and New Jersey.

Cap: 4-20 cm; nearly round at first, becoming convex, broadly convex, or nearly flat in age; bald; reddish orange, fading to peach colored or orange-yellow (often with a darker central area); adorned with numerous yellowish, cottony warts; sticky when fresh; the margin usually becoming slightly lined.

Gills: Narrowly attached to the stem or free from it; white or faintly pinkish; close; short-gills frequent.

Stem: 8-25 cm long; 1-3 cm thick; usually tapering to apex and flaring to an enlarged basal bulb; somewhat shaggy; whitish; with a fragile, whitish, skirtlike ring; with scattered patches and fragments (rarely with well defined, concentric bands or rings) of yellow universal veil material at the top of the bulb.

Flesh: White throughout; unchanging when sliced, or turning slightly yellowish in the stem.

Odor: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-13 x 6-8.5 µ; smooth; broadly ellipsoid; inamyloid. Basidia 4-spored; basally clamped. Pileipellis an ixocutis of hyphae 2-9 µ wide. Lamellar trama bilateral; subhymenium ramose.

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