Nature's Secret Larder - Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)


Bushcraft Blog

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
25th March 2009

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria
Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria

Look at any fairytale book, and sure enough somewhere within its pages you will come across a red ‘toadstool’ with large white spots, or scales, usually with an evil goblin lurking beneath it or a toad balancing nicely on top for effect. Notice how the word ‘toadstool’ always lends itself to a poisonous variety of mushroom?

The Fly Agaric is a common mushroom in Great Britain, and can be found nestling among silver birch forests in the autumn months. The name refers its traditional use, which was to poison flies. The caps of this fungus were placed in saucers of milk, which attract flies, and promptly sent them into a world of stupor.

So what does it do to the average human if we were to consume it? Well, handled in the correct way Fly Agaric has been used for many years to send one’s self into a trance like state. Away with the fairies one might say, but use this red mushroom wrongly, and away with the fairies you will stay!

POISONING – although the Fly Agaric is not one of the most deadly of mushrooms it can still pack quite a punch. Drowsiness, befuddlement, and severe disorientation may occur. You may experience digestive system complaints and a loss of muscular coordination. Your eyes may play tricks on you and then a deep sleep will follow, one from which you may not wake up. The Fly Agaric has also been reported to paralyse man’s best friend.


Annabelle Kerswell on 21/09/14

Ive eaten and smoked liberty capps and these affected me a bit, quite a trip! I woulndt try fly agaric as it seems too strong.

Kris on 20/09/11

Mark, I'm pleased that you like the site. As you already know, many toxic plants and fungi can be eaten if treated correctly, but due to the crazy world of 'blame culture' that we live in, I stay away from promoting anything with an elevated risk, for obvious reasons. But, I do cover things in much more depth on courses.

Many thanks for reading.

mark on 10/09/11

Hi - great site -entertaining, interesting and fun - just how foraging should be. I have a wee bee in my bonnet about A. Muscaria... Contrary to almost all guide books, fly agaric has a long history of being eaten as food rather than for just its halucenogenic properties. As witnessed by all the stories of urine drinking, the active ingredients (muscimol and ibutonic acid) are 100% water soluble. Slicing, boiling in salted water then rinsing leave you with perfectly tasty, non-trippy mushroom (i regularly eat it for breakfast). What is bizarre is that almost no guide books or experts mention this technique for fly agaric, but always do for various other mushrooms (eg blusher). Cultural prejudice??

Tony Bennett on 13/09/09

Its more hallucinogenic than it is poisonous. Its been used by shaman and as an alternative to LCD. There were trials on Chan4 I believe that obviously were under scientific observation. It rarely killed people, if it has done its through stupidity and lack of knowledge. In tribes its been the province of the leader or shaman to eat it and go into a convulsive state and go into spirit worlds. When he/she has finished they will urinate and others will drink that urine and go into the same state, so it shows the chemicals do not break down when passed through the body. An intriguing fungi, more so than any other with its folk law and hallucinogenic chemicals. BUT, its not for any one to muck about with as its effects if it doesn't kill you will certainly haunt you. So please NEVER try it as you may never recover mentally

Miss Poushali Banerjee on 07/09/09

wuold you like to send me any information about the benificial role of Amanita, (if any) .

i'll be highly oblige if you send me the info kindly.

And this artical is really a useful one

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