Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fly Agaric Mushroom

Within half an hour I was transformed from a demented cripple into a normal person ...

Amanita muscaria

Background

Fly agaric is used by sub-arctic NW Pacific peoples to treat psycho-physical fatigue, dementia, chronic fatigue, sclerosis, low immunity, skin problems, rheumatism, neuralgia and tumours. Lyme disease is endemic in the areas where these people live.

Theory

From what I understand, and what my LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) has told me, the muscarine in the fly agaric mushroom is a neuro-transmitter. It forces open the muscarinic receptors, a form of acetylcholine receptor that plays a crucial part in the relay of electrical signals around the body. It is possible that these muscarinic receptors have become clogged with the neurotoxins created by the Borrelia bacterial infection. It's possible that neurotoxins from other infections could also have this effect.

Lymphocytes have muscarinic receptors too, so with muscarine they're able to do their jobs better, boosting immune defence. Fly agaric mushrooms also contain other chemicals with antimicrobial properties. The mycelium that creates them is like a plug-in immune system for the tree they attach to. It is believed that people can benefit from this antimicrobial activity also.

The raw, fresh mushroom contains ibotenic acid, which can give you an upset stomach. It's necessary to dry or cook the mushroom, which turns the ibotenic acid into muscimol, which won't upset your stomach. The small amount of muscimol may lift your mood a little.

Identification

The fly agaric mushroom is the classic toadstool of fairytale, a red mushroom with white spots. It is found throughout Britain, the season stretching roughly from late August to early December, under birch, oak or pine trees. It's unlikely to be confused with any other mushroom. It's best to take good fresh specimens, with either an open or closed cap.

Collection

Pick the whole mushroom. Take a non-metallic tool such as a clean wooden spoon to dig an inch or so around the base of the stalk. Sometimes it's possible to simply hold the stalk as low as possible and gently jiggle and pull it loose.

The mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of an underground mycelium in symbiotic relationship with the host tree. You can sustainably collect all fly agaric mushrooms you find, though it's best to take only the good fresh ones for medicinal use.

Wrap the mushroom in a large leaf, eg a dock leaf. Newspaper will stick to the caps.

Preparation

Wash the mushroom throughly. It doesn't matter if the white spots wash off. Try not to get the gills wet though, as they take a long time to dry again.

Cut out any bad bits or bits with wormholes in. You can use these to spread the fly agaric spore to another birch, oak or pine.

There are then several ways to prepare and preserve the mushroom:

  1. Drying Whole
    Use a skewer or thin stick to pierce the mushroom along its central axis. Leave on the skewer or thread onto a string. The image shows a Siberian rig. Dry in the hot air above a fire. This will take several hours, perhaps even more than a day. Once dry, keep in an airtight container, preferably with some desiccant in.

    Break off pieces as required to eat or crumble into tea.

  2. Drying Small Pieces
    Cut the mushroom into thin pieces, around 2mm thick. They will dry more easily and quickly this way. Dry in a food dehydrator, or in the warm air above a fire, or in a warm airing cupboard. The image shows an improvised dryer near a solid fuel stove.

    Overall I would probably recommend a food dehydrator. They're so easy to use. You can dry all sorts of other things in them as well, other plants to help treat your chronic illness, or fruit and vegetables for healthy treats. An open fire in the centre of a yurt would be best, but without that option, or an always-hot Aga, nothing is as easy as a food dehydrator. Mine only has one setting, but still does everything I ask of it.

    Dry until the mushroom pieces are like crispbread, with all moisture gone. This will take several hours. Store in an airtight container, preferably with some desiccant in.

    Eat a piece or crumble into tea as required.

  3. Make Into Tincture
    Cut the mushroom into small pieces (around 2cm square) and place in a jar. Cover with vodka or another 37-40% spirit. Shake a few times a day for 10-14 days. Filter through a muslin sheet. Store the mushroom vodka in a cool dark place.

    Apply externally to relieve sciatica and other pain, including joint pain and swolle lymph nodes. The tincture can also be applied to external infections, for example nail fungus, and skin conditions found in Lyme disease.

    Drops can be applied under the tongue to improve cognition in the short term.

    The leftover mushroom pieces can be dried or cooked and eaten as required, though they won't be as strong as the ones in choice 2 above.

  4. Freezing
    Fry the mushroom, preferably in coconut oil, for around ten minutes on a medium heat. Cut into small pieces and freeze. Pieces can be eaten as required.
  5. Compress
    I haven't made a compress from fly agaric, so the following information is from nemf.org
    Three small fresh pieces of mukhomor good for sore throat and cancer. Preparation for arthritis: Place several young A Muscaria into an airtight container. Put container into a cool dark place (like a basement) until liquid comes out of mushrooms. Take a mushroom in hand, squeeze out moisture and place the pulp on arthritis. Bandage overnight. Mushroom body can be replaced in liquid and will last a long time.

Dosage

Dosage is an individual matter, varying not only from person to person, but also for the same person at different times, depending on their current neurotoxin load. The amount of muscarine (active acetylcholine chemical) present in the mushroom also varies, from one mushroom to another, and even within the same mushroom. It's best to take a small amount at a time and monitor effects.
  • Dried/Frozen Mushroom Pieces
    It's best to start with a small amount, a piece the size of one of your little finger bones. Any benefits will be apparent within an hour. If no benefit is felt, another little finger bone sized piece can be taken. It's best to stick to a limit of three pieces this size per day.
  • Tincture
    Rub in as much as is required to cover the target areas. If the pain or discomfort is relieved, this is likely to last for hours. Repeat as required.

    Under the tongue - a few drops under the tongue. The effect will be almost immediate. Repeat as required, but don't be tempted to overdo it.

WARNINGS

Fly agaric can be fatal, though a fatal dose is in the region of 20-30 mushrooms at a time.

Large amounts of fly agaric can lead to a sense of unreality, like Alice in Wonderland. If this happens to you, don't take any mushroom for a day or two.

According to Wikipedia

Muscarine is contraindicated in patients with diseases that make them susceptible to parasympathetic stimulation, patients who have asthma or COPD or patients who have peptic ulcer disease. Also patients with an obstruction in the gastrointestinal or urinary tract are not prescribed muscarine because it will aggravate the obstruction, causing pressure to build up that may lead to perforation.

The antidote for fly agaric mushroom is milk thistle. The antidote to muscarine is atropine.

My Experience

I'd spent the whole summer lying on my boat, feeling like death, mostly too crippled to do anything, mostly too demented to see anyone.

With no memory of the past and no cognition to imagine the future, I was very much in the here and now. My butterfly brain kept settling on the colour red. Somehow this translated into me biting into a fly agaric mushroom for the first time. Just one small bite.

It tasted great. And within half an hour I had a surge of energy. It seemed as if I was doing things almost before the thought of doing them had even occurred. The headfog was clearing. It was like waking from an enchantment. It wasn't in any way "trippy" - I was simply returned to normality.

There were only a couple of weeks left until the fly agaric season was over. Every day I took a bite of mushroom and went out collecting more. Some I dried, some I froze, some I turned into tincture.

It was immediately obvious I was onto something huge, and I started writing the blog flyagarictincture.blogspot.co.uk. Prior to eating the mushroom, I couldn't read or write anything. I just didn't have the requisite cognition or attention.

There didn't seem to be any information on the web about this. All I could find was from helium.com

Fly agaric is still used in Siberia and Russia especially by elder people to reduce fatigue, to give more strength and to raise the spirit.

Nearly a year on and I'm still on the fly agaric pretty much every day. Just small amounts. Despite my experiments with fly agaric tincture, I now think that eating a little of the mushroom every day works best, fresh, frozen or dried. It is impossible to determine a definitive dose, as the amount of muscarine will vary from one mushroom to another. But I generally take an amount the size of a little finger bone between zero and three times a day, depending on whether I think I need it or not.

For a few months whilst on the fly agaric, I had blood tests to check my liver function. It was always fine.

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