Collection location: Louden Nelson Community Center, Santa Cruz, California, USA [Click for map]
FFSC Fungus Fair display.
|I’d Call It That||3.0||16.85||3||(Mycowalt,Herbert Baker,amanitarita)|
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WE know that mushrooms get a bad rap in NA (and to us from perhaps from our Anglo-origins, although plenty of mushroom loving cultures have settled here in NA as well). But MUSCARIA is shunned around the world, including Japan, outside of a very small group of individuals in one town in Japan, and even they are leery of it, without first having it undergo elaborate detoxification.
I am speaking of muscaria treated as a safe edible, NOT as a medicinal. I do think that there is evidence that it can (and is) be used medicinally. Your long essay posted here earlier is not the only evidence that I have heard/seen.
So, how are your comments germaine to this particular discussion?
It has been theorized that some of the possible origins of mycophobia in Europe may have a religious basis by R. G. Wasson, and John Allegro, and that the early Pagan religions that used mushrooms as food as well as in religious ceremonies were subsequently overthrown by people of the Christian faith. While Christians did pick up many of the traditions from the pagans, mushroom worship was not one of them. The Christians saw the mushrooms as unholy and not to be worshiped or revered. Wasson also speaks about the use of the ancient Hindu drink Soma in his book ‘Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality’ he theorizes the drink may have been made from the Amanita muscaria mushroom and it is thought to bestow its partakers of “divine qualities and even immortality”. (Wasson, 1957) (Allegro, 1970) Wasson and Allegro’s work has helped highlight the importance of mushrooms as they were to the most primitive religions and helps show some the reasons they may have been held in such high regard.
The use of hallucinogenic mushrooms as well as edible species of mushrooms in Central America for thousands of years and the subsequent destruction by the Spaniards of anything mushroom related during the inquisition perhaps demonstrates the deep-seated mycophobia of the Christian religion at that time and shows how mycophobia was still predominant at that time in the Christian religion.
The effects of mycophobia can still be seen today. “Americans remain a very mycophobic people, although in the last 30 years popular mushroom identification field guides, a journal for amateurs (Mushroom: The Journal), and more than 64 mushroom clubs have led to a growing number of mushroom enthusiasts. In the Northwest, commercial mushroom picking has become economically important, with many pickers out gathering in the wild, sometimes with little or no knowledge of mushroom identification or mushroom ecology. All of this occurs with relatively few cases of mushroom poisoning…” (Beug, 2005) David Arora mentions in the article Mushrooms and Economic Botany that “The tendency to use the word “mushroom” pejoratively persists widely in modern English.” and that “ethnomycology and mushroom taxonomy have in many cases shown earlier progress in mycophilic countries and their regions of colonial influence (e.g., French-influenced western Africa) than in those areas with a long British colonial presence, such as south-central Africa.” (Arora, 2008) The cultural mycophobia shared by western researchers limits research, and a career choice in the mycology field may be limited by the lack of ongoing research. Mycophobic cultures hinder research and interest fungi as food and medicine. As Paul Stamets states “Our ancestors were a lot more mycophilic than modern humans today.”
Out of thousands of mushrooms species only a small percentage are poisonous, and on average they have less potential to be lethal when compared to wild plants.
The use of mushrooms as food and sacrament by humans dates back tens-of-thousands of years. In southern Algeria, cave drawings have been discovered dating from 7,000 – 5,000 BC (Van Santen, 2007), and more recently from France dating from 4,000 BC (Akers, 2011), showing magic mushroom usage by humans. And then there is ‘Ötzi’, the iceman from 3,300 BC, found on the border of Austria and Italy; he was carrying two different types of polypore mushrooms, one believed to be used for fire starting, and the other for medicinal purposes. (Hammond, 2006)
Mycophobic cultures have been described for English and German cultures yet there can be a great variation on the attitudes towards fungi within those cultures. Negative reactions to fungi can be seen in such countries as the U.K., Ireland and across much of North America. (Smith, 2004) Many other cultures still need ethnomycological research surveys done. Mapes, (2002) studied “mycophilia-mycophobia opposition” among Mesoamerican cultures and discovered the differences between highland and lowland cultures and the mycophobic attitudes of many of the people of Amazonian origin is due to both cultural and ecological factors. (Mapes, 2002)
My “opinion” is based upon extensive research and personal experience.
Try reading Alan Phipps Master’s thesis on muscaria use in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan. I did…cover to cover.
BTW, I believe the “most revered” edible in Japan would be the matsutake.
Snakes are cool; ignorance, not so much.
Delicious parboiled IMHO. Your opinion of around the world is untrue; in one part of Japan I have heard muscaria is by far their most revered edible.
so many variables though…amount of water, amount of mushroom, toxicity of collection, ability to follow a recipe, tolerance for the druggie downsides if you screw up…
I know that some have figured it out, but most, all around the world, don’t want to bother. And if you read Alan Phipp’s thesis on the use of muscaria (as a special treat only, not a meal), in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan (available to anyone via Interlibrary loan), it takes way more than a quick boil (don’t forget to throw out the water!!!) to make muscaria wholly non-toxic.
I don’t care if YOU do it, I know that you have figured it out. I just don’t think that it is anywhere near a safe and easy edible species to recommend for MOST.
A ten minute boil in pot of water will easily remove the ibotenic acid and muscimol from the mushroom and render them a fine edible. Reading your article now. :)
certainly for some: psychonauts, extreme cuisiners, desperate foragers and a handful of Japanese folks, who just eat it for special occasions after weeks of elaborate detoxification. The Japanese consider it to be toxic, too, and the few individuals who do eat it in Sananda Town only eat very small amounts, even after the elaborate detoxification process.
See my article on this topic, the first of three:
Herbert has an excellent post on the medicinal use of powdered, dried muscaria, put up on another muscaria post of mine here on MO:
I do think that when muscaria, unboiled, is used wisely, and in moderation, it can provide medicinal benefits to some who need them, PTSD sufferers as well as elderly Siberian Natives. The UN/FAO Edible Fungi of the World document agrees with me on both the edible and medicinal counts.
..prepared properly. Parboil them first.
poor dinner choice.
Created: 2013-01-14 13:32:34 EST (-0500)
Last modified: 2014-04-23 15:14:20 EDT (-0400)
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