When: 2008-07-16

Collection location: Boone, North Carolina, USA [Click for map]

Who: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)

No specimen available

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Brought to Asheville Mushroom Club general meeting.

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus

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sadly, Erlon left MO recently
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2019-04-02 14:03:57 CDT (-0400)

and took his “ball” with him! Ball being defined as decades worth of photos, observations and comments.

This observation of mine formerly had a really wonderful synopsis of how Erlon used titrated muscimol to treat his PTSD. It was a helpful reference for others who might also be suffering mental health issues, and an interesting addendum to the many uses (and abuses) of Amanita muscaria. Those comments by Erlon are/were the exact reason why this simple obsie of mine has 5879 views!

But for some unknown reason, Erlon took down all of his fine photos and his comments too.

What a shame. MO is and has always been about sharing and caring and discussing and learning from and teaching others about the research and findings of a broad community of others. We may disagree on taxonomic points, but we all agree that more data is better than less.

I have no idea how leaving MO would possibly benefit Erlon, but it has certainly harmed the broader mycological community of which he is a part.

.
By: Sporulator
2011-04-21 05:44:27 CDT (-0400)

I can fully confirm the antidepressant effects of Amanita muscaria. But the same is true for the Psilocybin molecule. Most interesting are the positive long-term neuroplastic effects of Psilocybin. I assume that
you know the Psilocybin study led by Griffiths et. al. (Johns Hopkins University, 2008).
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18593735 (Free PMC Article)

And from NATURE: “The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders.”
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v11/n9/abs/nrn2884.html

Free text: http://www.scribd.com/...

Herbert
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2011-04-21 03:40:24 CDT (-0400)

What a monumental and enlightening post. For now, short of a point-by-point reply, I at least wanted to raise the question of what these harmful long term effects of regular Psilocybe use are that you speak of. It’s been my understanding that psilocin/psilocybin is neither habit-forming nor debilitating even with frequent use, and that the body’s rather rapid build up of tolerance to these substances acts as its own deterrent from overuse.

What a thread!
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2011-04-12 03:47:47 CDT (-0400)

I guess in the absence of a forum (double wink, double nod, Jasthan) the deep discussions just have to be stumbled upon.

@Herbert: I’m fascinated by your account of using A. muscaria for alleviating PTSD, and would be very interested to hear more. I once met an elderly woman in the small, rural town of Luga (about 75 miles south of St. Petersburg) who kept a gallon jar of A. muscaria buttons in brine. She applied the liquid to joints as an arthritis remedy, apparently with great success. For a brief while I took an interest in exploring the potential of A. muscaria’s active compounds in the treatment of epilepsy; an informal research project undertaken on behalf of a friend whose anti-convulsant regimen was wreaking more havoc on her mind and body than her seizures were. The body of research on the pharmacology and folk uses A. muscaria may be modest for now, but it’s certainly growing. I expect we’ll see great things from this complex as it gets more attention in the medical community. Such a fascinating organism for so many people for so many reasons.

As for the lethality of the A. muscaria species complex, the NAMA figure is the toxicological standard I’ve always gone by. In his recent lecture to the Oregon Mycological Society, Dr. Dennis Benjamin recounted several instances of fatalities masquerading as mushroom-related deaths — whether reported as being caused by A. muscaria or others — which were documented without taking things like infirmity, dosage or preexisting medical conditions into consideration. He remarked on how once established, even completely unfounded and outright erroneous records of poisonings attributed to one mushroom or another will appear in popular (and occasionally professional) literature for centuries in perpetuity until the original source material comes under scrutiny. A. muscaria has received such unfair treatment perhaps more than any other species of mushroom on Earth.

Debbie
By: AmatoxinApocalypse (AmatoxinApocalypse)
2009-09-18 09:36:08 CDT (-0400)

The southeast does have some red ones, amerimuscaria (formally subsp. flavivolvata)

Poisoning yesterday
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2009-09-17 20:14:07 CDT (-0400)

I’m traveling but got a belated report of a poisoning in Ohio yesterday. The blurry photo looked like our usual yellow orange muscaria. Symptoms came on quickly. No other details available to me.

I have read both of these references already…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-05-22 20:25:22 CDT (-0400)

and in fact, rather than creating fungiphobia in Eastern North America, the tremendous press given to the lurid de Vecchi poisoning at the time served to increase local mycological interest and popularize both mushroom societites and the concept of mushroom field guides. Dispelling fear through education is a worthwhile goal that we modern day mushroom societies still try to emulate.

As to the shortened form of the rat experiment that you sent, I read the more lengthy published paper, which stated that the lingering effects of severe stress (continuous or intermittent tail shock or having to tread water without rest) was eliminated ONLY if the rats were drugged during the stress trial itself; it had no effect when given post stress. Which makes sense; take away the normal state of mind and those memories of the exact same experience will not be the same.

Interestingly, this ties in with the theories of muscaria use by berserker Vikings (increasing physical strength or feeling of such, and loss of fear) a perfect battleground drug. Beyond that tho…I for one am not so enamored of the thought of making our military women and men into berserker zombies so that they can kill and be killed w/out the normal and life-preserving attitude of fear.

examining muscaria mythology
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-05-22 12:59:11 CDT (-0400)

Hi Herbert,
please provide links to those studies on the use of muscimol to treat PTSD or other psychiatric maladies; what I could find online was ambiguous.

hard to pin widespread American/English fungiphobia on the negative experiences of one individual. Count deVecchi may have had pre-existings, but the muscaria overdose is what pushed him over. Still, I agree; with one statistically insignificant glaring exception, this is not a deadly mushroom.

Debbie

I agree that these are not a normally deadly toxic mushroom.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-05-22 10:51:48 CDT (-0400)

even tho they have been painted as such thru the centuries by various cultures, esp. in North America.

The only death attributed to muscaria that I know of was Count de Vecchi in the late 1800s who ate one to two dozen large caps, and died of convulsions.
Supposedly, his convulsions were so dramatic that he broke the hotel bed that he was lying in!

This one example, however, is an exception to the rule, and also a reminder not to be greedy, no matter how tasty these mushrooms may be (and I can attest to their good flavor from first hand experience). Parboiling and disposing of the water removes most if not all of the ibotenic acid. Amanita pantherina, also apparently a tasty mushroom, is much more toxic, and frequently causes serious poisonings in the PNW.

dogs and cats have also died from eating this mushroom, but I am not wholly convinced that they weren’t in some cases euthanized by veterinarians prior to a “natural” death, while still being in a drug induced coma.

and sometimes, as you noted, these mushrooms are eaten specifically for the psychoactive effects that their toxins may provide, altho individual results, as well as the toxic components in different populations of muscaria most definitely vary!

color and toxin variation in muscarioid taxa…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2008-07-31 11:53:08 CDT (-0400)

Yellow and red muscarias can both cause death when ingested in sufficient quantity.

The case of the yellow taxa was (unfortunately) demonstrated by an Italian diplomat living in the U.S. in the early 20th century. He is reported to have eaten more than a dozen caps. Siberian shamans are reported to say that one should not eat more than 13 caps (which in their case are sundried rather than cooked). Note that cooking did not change the outcome for the infamous Italian gourmand. I suggest not fiddling with any muscarioid taxon.

As to cap color, that matter has been previously discussed on this site. Cap pigment varies in A. muscaria (broadest sense). There are old illustrations of the European red muscaria with yellow and red in alternating stripes like the petal of a tulip. Sunlight causes fading into the tan range for the N. Amer. dominant red subspecies that we know from the Pacific Coastal states, southern Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, the isolated mountain groups in the SW USA, Mexico and southward.

DNA studies show that white- (I’ve never personally found one that was not a depigmented or pigmentless YELLOW variant) and yellow-capped specimens do not form unified “clades” when examined via molecular phylogeny (DNA sequencing, etc.). Instead the yellows and whites of the Pacific NW appear sprinkled around in the leaves of the evolutionary tree of the Euroasian red muscarias; and the yellows and whites tested from the rest of North America are from consistent populations that have DNA that causes them to be sprinkled around in the leaves of the evolutionary tree of the N. American dominant red muscaria (A. muscaria subsp. flavivolvata Singer).

This info is based on Jozsef Geml’s DNA work at the Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks. Many of the specimens involved came from collections of Alaskan mycologists, with many others from my personal herbarium. Incidentally, my segregation by microscopy was seconded by the DNA studies’ ability to segregate the same material. It’s nice when two methods that are so different produce mutually supportive outcomes.

R

color and toxin variation in muscarioid taxa…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2008-07-31 11:52:30 CDT (-0400)

Yellow and red muscarias can both cause death when ingested in sufficient quantity.

The case of the yellow taxa was (unfortunately) demonstrated by an Italian diplomat living in the U.S. in the early 20th century. He is reported to have eaten more than a dozen caps. Siberian shamans are reported to say that one should not eat more than 13 caps (which in their case are sundried rather than cooked). Note that cooking did not change the outcome for the infamous Italian gourmand. I suggest not fiddling with any muscarioid taxon.

As to cap color, that matter has been previously discussed on this site. Cap pigment varies in A. muscaria (broadest sense). There are old illustrations of the European red muscaria with yellow and red in alternating stripes like the petal of a tulip. Sunlight causes fading into the tan range for the N. Amer. dominant red subspecies that we know from the Pacific Coastal states, southern Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, the isolated mountain groups in the SW USA, Mexico and southward.

DNA studies show that white- (I’ve never personally found one that was not a depigmented or pigmentless YELLOW variant) and yellow-capped specimens do not form unified “clades” when examined via molecular phylogeny (DNA sequencing, etc.). Instead the yellows and whites of the Pacific NW appear sprinkled around in the leaves of the evolutionary tree of the Euroasian red muscarias; and the yellows and whites tested from the rest of North America are from consistent populations that have DNA that causes them to be sprinkled around in the leaves of the evolutionary tree of the N. American dominant red muscaria (A. muscaria subsp. flavivolvata Singer).

This info is based on Jozsef Geml’s DNA work at the Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks. Many of the specimens involved came from collections of Alaskan mycologists, with many others from my personal herbarium. Incidentally, my segregation by microscopy was seconded by the DNA studies’ ability to segregate the same material. It’s nice when two methods that are so different produce mutually supportive outcomes.

R

Various colored A. muscaria
By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2008-07-31 10:50:23 CDT (-0400)

Those are some pretty yellow A. muscaria. In ohio I frequently find patches that range in color from pale brownish-yellow to vivid yellow-orange, but never red. The all white variety can also be found here. Rummer has it that only the red variety are safe for experimentation, and that the yellow varieties can cause death. Do you know if there is any truth to that rummer? It seems to me that if two different kinds of mushroom produce different toxic effects when ingested, then that difference might reasonable be used as a character for splitting them into two different species.

Color seems like a reasonable character too. In some genera, the individual species can not be distinguished one from another without lab work, but within A. muscaria clearly distinct natural kinds share a common species epithet. That has always puzzled me.

used to be called formosa…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-07-30 22:27:12 CDT (-0400)

and it’s just another color variant of muscaria. The SE doesn’t get red ones…

var. guessowii?
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2008-07-30 20:12:28 CDT (-0400)

Wow – these are neat Amanitas, gorgeous…

Created: 2008-07-30 18:50:31 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2019-04-02 14:50:29 CDT (-0400)
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