Facts and benefits of Aga (Fly Agaric)

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Facts and benefits of Aga (Fly Agaric)

Aga (Fly Agaric) Quick Facts
Name: Aga (Fly Agaric)
Scientific Name: Amanita muscaria
Origin Temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere
Health benefits Beneficial for sore throats, arthritis, joint pain and swollen lymph nodes
Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric, fly Amanita, bug Agaric, Amanite Tue-Mouches, Fausse Oronge, Matamoscas and Soma, and is a psychoactive mushroom which is found growing widely in the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The mushroom has been widely transported into the southern hemisphere, including New Zealand, Australia, South America and South Africa, generally to be found under introduced pine trees. Although un-related to other psychoactive fungi such as the Psilocybe species it has also been used in shamanic cultures to connect with the spirit world. The main psychoactive compound in this mushroom is muscimol, and its effects are different to those of psilocybin-containing mushrooms.

It is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. The name fly agaric derives from the fact that since medieval times it was commonly used as a fly killer, broken up in milk or sprinkled with sugar.

Plant Description

Fly Agaric is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with various coniferous and deciduous trees such as birches, pines, and spruces, and can often be found growing near them. It is normally found growing in sandy and acidic soils.  There are many different varieties of amanita muscaria with varying appearances.

Cap

Fly agaric fruiting bodies emerge from the soil looking like a white egg, covered in the white warty material of the universal veil. Dissecting the mushroom at this stage will expose a characteristic yellowish layer of skin under the veil which assists in identification. As the fungus grows, the red color appears through the broken veil and the warts become less prominent; they do not change in size but are reduced relative to the expanding skin area. The cap changes from globose to hemispherical, and finally to plate-like and flat in mature specimens. Fully grown, the bright red cap is usually around 8–20 cm (3–8 in) in diameter, although larger specimens have been found. The red color may fade after rain and in older mushrooms.  After emerging from the ground, the cap is covered with numerous small white to yellow pyramid-shaped warts. These are remnants of the universal veil, a membrane that encloses the entire mushroom when it is still very young.

Gills

The free gills are white, as is the spore print. The oval spores measure 9–13 by 6.5–9 μm, and are non-amyloid, that is, they do not turn blue with the application of iodine.

Stripe (Stem)

The stipe is white, 5–20 cm high (2–8 in) by 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) wide, white, cylindrical, usually slightly felty-scaly, with a well-developed, white or yellow-edged ring or annulus, and a bulbous base bearing scale-like remains of the volva. Between the basal universal veil remnants and gills are remnants of the partial veil (which covers the gills during development) in the form of a white ring. It can be quite wide and flaccid with age. There is generally no associated smell other than a mild earthiness.

Varieties

Two named varieties occur in Britain:

  • Amanita muscaria var. aureola which has an orange-yellow cap
  • Muscaria var. Formosa, which is a rather rare brown or yellow-brown form with a slightly tinted veil.

Traditional uses and benefits of Fly Agaric

  • A fly agaric dilution was utilized for problems with the female menopause as well as subduing over-excitability, bladder and intestinal cramps of the human body.
  • It is used as a treatment for sore throats, and arthritis, and as an analgesic.
  • Mushroom tincture helps to relieve sciatica and other pain, including joint pain and swollen lymph nodes.
  • 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.

Culinary Uses

  • Mushroom, after parboiling, and soaking in vinegar is made into a mushroom sauce for steak.
  • It is also consumed as a food in parts of Japan.
  • You can mince the mushrooms with garlic and pickle in vinegar and salt, preserved in the fridge (a spoonful or so is great in a salad dressing).
  • To keep longer, dip the mushrooms in brandy (or rum, or whatever spirit you like…) and freeze them.
  • You can also sauté the mushrooms in olive oil or butter and freeze cooked, if you want to avoid alcohol.

Preparation

Wash the mushroom thoroughly. 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 different 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 eating or crumbling 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.

Overall it is probably recommended to use 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 center of a yurt would be best, but without that option, or an always-hot Aga, nothing is as easy as a food dehydrator.

Dry until the mushroom pieces are like crisp bread, with all moisture gone. This will take several hours. After that store it in an airtight container preferably with some desiccant. 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 swollen 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

Three small fresh pieces of mukhomor is 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, changing 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 desirous to overdo it.

Other Facts

  • It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures.
  • It can absorb toxins on their environment. Avoid mushrooms found by roads and in regions with high pollution or maybe near fields where farmers use inorganic pesticides.
  • It plays a very important role in their everyday and spiritual lives of the native tribe’s people of Siberia.
  • Native people of Siberia supposedly fed reindeer Amanita muscaria and drank their urine. This was done to reduce the harmful effects of the mushroom.
  • It was also used in England and Sweden for getting rid of insects.

Precautions

  • It may cause poisoning due to the presence of Alkaloids muscimol, ibotenic acid and muscazone.
  • Large amounts of fly agaric can lead to a sense of unreality.
  • The poisons present whilst it is still moist are enough to render serious liver damage to anyone that eats it.

Some Legal issues regarding Fly Agaric

A. muscaria grows naturally and is legal to grow, sell and consume in most parts of the world. It is, however, restricted within some countries.

  • Australia: Muscimol found within amanita muscaria is considered a Schedule 9 prohibited substance in Australia under the Poisons Standard (October 2015). A Schedule 9 substance is a substance which may be abused or misused and the manufacture, possession, sale or use of is forbidden by law except when required for medical or scientific research, or for analytical, teaching or training purposes with approval of Commonwealth and/or State or Territory Health Authorities.
  • Netherlands: Amanita muscaria and amanita pantherina are illegal to buy, sell, or possess since December 2008. Possession of amounts larger than 0.5 g dried or 5 g fresh lead to a criminal charge.
  • United Kingdom: It is illegal to produce, supply, or import this drug under the Psychoactive Substance Act, which came into effect on May 26th, 2016.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria

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