Amanita muscaria (Agariaceae)
The white-flecked scarlet cap of this
woodland fungus fades to orange when dried for use. It is given in homeopathic
doses against scabies and psoriasis. Fly agaric's frequent appearance in fairy
stories may be connected to its hallucinogenic effects.
As one of the most ancient hallucinogens, fly agaric was used by the Siberian shamans (medicine men)
to induce ecstatic and visionary states. The Lapps take it regularly and discovered that its active chemicals pass unchanged in the urine,
which can be drunk for repeated effects. The common name comes from the use of its toxic contents to kill flies and other insects.
Easily recognized by its bright red cap with white flecking, fly agaric has white gills and a white stem. Like many fungi, it grows in temperate woodlands, especially in autumn.
Fresh fungus or dried cap.
Muscarine; muscimol; ibotenic
Affects the central nervous system causing twitching, vomiting, comatose states, and hallucinations.
Used only in homeopathic doses (Agaricus muscarius) for neurological problems characterized by involuntary movements.
Highly toxic, handle with care.