A mushroom from ancient history
The Amanita muscaria is perhaps one of the fungi that enjoys the oldest popularity. In fact, there are testimonies of its use, in the shamanic sphere, dating back to several centuries ago. The area in which this mushroom was best known and consumed included Siberia and North America, and then gradually descended southwards until it reached our latitudes. The purely aesthetic aspect of the Amanita muscaria, on the other hand, is the one that is commonly associated, par excellence, with the idea of a fungus, even in a fairytale or childish context. Paradoxically, though, it is also a mushroom that has been demonized, due to its hallucinogenic effects. Thus, it is a toxic species but not fatal, except in extreme cases, and whose use is legal, although it causes effects similar to those of some drugs, such as Belladonna.
The Amanita muscaria is not an edible mushroom, although it is eaten in some parts of the world, after having been subjected to some treatments such as drying, which is however not widely recommended. The reason lies not in the poisonous nature of this fungus, but in the fact that it has hallucinogenic effects, which can be manifested differently, with different gravity, from subject to subject. The Amanita muscaria is found in deciduous and coniferous forests, in the period from summer to autumn, and grows mostly under pine, poplar or birch trees. Historically, there are evidences of the fact that the fungus was used as a drug, dating back to 2000 BC, in Siberia. The knowledge and use of Amanita muscaria are also verified in India, Lapland, Mexico and Central America. Some argue that the Vikings used it before the battles; certainly, the salmon fishermen of Scotland made a drink out of it, mixing the extract of the mushroom with the whiskey.The consequences of the ingestion of Amanita muscaria
In detail, what are the effects that the Amanita muscaria causes if ingested? Its name derives from the fact that, if you put to macerate small pieces of its meat in milk, the flies, which drink this liquid, die. On people, the effect called Panther syndrome was tested. Whoever eats the raw Amanita muscaria, or chews, or smokes, the dried meats and turned into dust, passes from states of euphoria to depressive states. He has an altered perception of reality, seeing things bigger, or smaller, than they are. These effects occur about half an hour after ingestion, can also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and disappear in four to eight hours, leaving headaches and amnesia. The substances to which these effects are attributed are the Muscimolo, the Botenoic acid and the Muscation.