Amanita muscaria (and one other comparable selection, Amanita pantherina) is a mushroom of the agaricales order that seems in very broad habitats of the temperate and boreal zones of the Northern Hemisphere. It grows each in low altitudes and excessive mountainous areas, particularly in coniferous forests reminiscent of fir and black pine, in addition to in beech and birch forests. It normally seems in the course of the finish of summer season months and is very prevalent in autumn.
Its look is well-known by the purple shade of the cap, coated with white dots, in addition to the white stem.
This mushroom accommodates two psychoactive alkaloids, ibotenic acid and muscimol, along with many different alkaloids. It has been used since antiquity as an intoxicating substance in addition to in shamanic contexts and divination.
The identify amanita muscaria comes from the paralyzing impact it has on some bugs. It’s recognized by different names reminiscent of hongo matamoscas in Spanish, falsa oronja, reig bord or farinera borda in Catalan, and fly agaric in English.
Historic data reminiscent of cave work, wooden carvings and sculptures counsel that the psychoactive results of A. muscaria have been recognized since historical instances on all continents, and comparable practices have been noticed relating to the usage of A. muscaria in teams each geographically and culturally distant. A. muscaria has been used for spiritual, divination, therapeutic and social functions.
The primary proof of the usage of A. muscaria as an intoxicant is predicated on linguistic analyses of North Asian languages from 4000 BC, through which the roots of the phrases “drunkenness” and “amanita muscaria” look like the identical. Polychromatic work have been discovered on Saharan rocks courting again to the Paleolithic interval; depictions of what look like mushrooms of the Amanita genus, most likely of the muscaria species.
The fungus grows naturally within the highlands of Mesoamerica and a few mushroom myths and sculptures counsel the usage of A. muscaria in Guatemala and southern Mexico on the time of creation of the Mayan civilization, round 1500 – 1000 BC. Some symbolic similarities have been present in Guatemalan and Asian populations referring to the idea that the mushroom is born in locations the place lightning strikes. These parallels might be defined by the migrations that seemingly occurred from the Asian continent to the Americas by way of the Bering Strait, thus the data about the usage of A. muscaria would have been relayed.
There’s additional proof of its use in North America by the Dogrib Athabasca tribes within the Mackenzie Mountains in Canada in addition to within the ceremonial practices of the Ojibwa and Ahnishinuabeg Indians within the Lake Michigan space of the USA, who referred to A. muscaria by the identify of miskwedo and whose practices have survived till not less than the top of the 20th century.
The primary Western report on the usage of A. muscaria was made by Filip Johan von Strahlenberg, a Swedish soldier who, in 1730, was imprisoned for twelve years in Siberia. He noticed how A. muscaria was used as an intoxicant in shamanic contexts. At the moment the Ostyak and Vogul tribes, west of Siberia, and the Kamchadal, Koryak, and Chukchi tribes within the east, proceed to make use of A. muscaria of their rites.
These Siberian tribes relied completely on A. muscaria as an intoxicating substance till the introduction of alcohol by the Russians. They collected the Amanita, dried it within the solar and consumed it both complete, in a water or reindeer milk extraction, or combined it with plant juices to sweeten its taste.
These tribes additionally exhibited the apply of consuming the urine of people that had eaten A. muscaria, as they realized that the alkaloids of the Amanita are eradicated unchanged by urine, so they continue to be lively and will be reused for as much as 4 or 5 cycles.
As for Amanita pantherina, some native North American teams use it for magico-religious functions within the western a part of the state of Washington.