Amanita muscaria - A New Outlook
Man, I love new insights; yet take full responsability for what you do with them [may take a few edits to get the spacing formatting right]
Cut from bump of DD who posted:
Cut from a post by a salvia list member.
I've tried it both the 'typical' way ala Hippies exp. above and the way this guy recommends. I'd say he knows what he's talking about as far as dosage goes. The rest is up for grabs, but I don't feel like editing it out.
"As usually used by people in this country, large quantities of the rather nauseating dry mushrooms are imbibed, the person gets sick for a while, then has a rather fearful and scary trip. Thus, the rather grim reputation of muscaria gets perpetuated. People who gather it from the wild and eat it by mistake usually get hysterical when they feel the onset of nausea and psychic effects and have a royal freak-out (it starts with, "I've eaten a poisonous mushroom! I'm going to die!!!"). This also perpetuates the dark repute of what is probably Mother Nature's finest winter tonic and a wonderfully benign life-enhancer WHEN PROPERLY USED! Why do I seem to be the only modern person who has ever thought of using this stuff in a safe and sane manner? People are less original than they think, and ancient tribal taboos are more potent than supposedly sophisticated modern academics realise...
I have used Amanita muscaria continuously for several months at a time, and I think it is a real health-enhancer when correctly used. The key factor is dosage.
Basically, use no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and no more than about half a cup in a day. If muscaria agrees with you, you can use it every day if you like throughout the cooler months of the year. I think it is too warming for the hot days of summer, but fine the rest of the year, and it can really help you to stand up to winter cold.
The first problem is supply. There are sources for the dried mushroom and "extracts", but they are rather questionable and extremely expensive and I don't recommend them at all. You should gather this mushroom from the wild when it is in season. You can ask your local mushroomering club (unlike, say---morels, they won't be secretive about sources of Amanita muscaria unless they think they are protecting you from suicide), or consult books or a specialist in the regional mycology at your local university, but be prepared to do some research. It is found throughout the country in forested areas, and while the season is short, the mushroom often fruits in great abundance, and you can easily gather a year's supply. In some areas there are two seasons, one in summer and the other in the fall. If you have a choice, gather the summer mushrooms as there is evidence that they are more potent and have less physical side effects.
Fortunately, there is nothing really dangerous that looks like this most distinctive of all mushrooms, but in most of the Eastern U.S., Fly Mushroom is golden rather than red in color,(this kind is called Amanita muscaria formosa) and you need to be more careful. Trust me, it is well worth the trouble to research this mushroom to be able to gather it safely! Don't be too open about what you are up to, as people are very apt to freak out if you tell them. Amanita muscaria is not in any way a controlled substance however.
Beware of what you read from the "authorities" on the effects of this mushroom. An absolutely INCREDIBLE amount of misinformation has been printed about Amanita muscaria, and I probably know as much about its medicinal effects as anyone in the country.
Once you have your mushrooms, you need to think about preservation. The traditional way to do this is the one you should avoid, namely drying. It gives the mushrooms a bitter, metallic taste and makes them rather nauseating. You can keep them in the fridge a few days wrapped in paper towels provided you cut off the usually maggot-containing stalk. You can mince the shrooms 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 must include a preservative when freezing or the mushrooms will spoil even while frozen. You can also sautee the mushrooms in olive oil or butter and freeze cooked, if you want to avoid alcohol.
These mushrooms have an absolutely delicious taste when properly prepared, and are one of the outstanding gourmet fungi of the world. The intensity of the flavor seems to have some correlation with the potency, so you can get an idea of the quality of the raw mushrooms by tasting a little bit. If the mushroom is strong, the meaty flavor will fill your whole mouth. Amanita muscaria seems to especially favor rich French sauces and hearty Italian ones. It can really enhance the flavor of meat dishes, even in amounts as small as a teaspoon or two, and I have used it in this way as a flavor enhancer. It is far finer than MSG. For some reason, it does not seem to go well with chile or Mexican dishes. It is also excellent in omelets and scrambled eggs. One of my favorite ways to prepare it is to sautee it with minced shallots in butter, then add a little sour cream and salt and pepper. Served over a slice of toasted French bread, it is simply wonderful! It is also superb in pastas.
Please remember not to be beguiled by the wonderful flavor and overindulge. There is a record of a man eating a hundred mushrooms at a meal and soon after going into a coma. They were able to save his life, though I honestly don't know how after such an insane overdose. Keep everybody's total intake to no more than 1 to 2 tablespoons per person. Eaten at breakfast, amanita will make everybody cheerful and energetic. Consumed in a fine dinner in the evening with a good wine, it will make people happy, talkative, sociable and relaxed. I have never seen its equal as an overall social mood-enhancer, and despite using it on many occasions, I have never had anyone report a negative experience. The only complaint I have received is from people who say they feel nothing, but even these become noticeably more cheerful and talkative.
My mother sometimes puts a little in my stepfather's dinner to keep him awake instead of falling asleep immediately after eating. Keep it away from pets, especially cats who are lethally sensitive to it. I feel it should be kept from children too, especially small ones. We both like to include some in breakfast when we need extra energy for the day.
The basic value of muscaria, besides being a delightful tonic, is in dealing with seasonal and weather related depressive conditions. It really helped me to get through my first real winter in Flagstaff (we had twenty feet of snow and the temperature got down as far as 25 below zero) after a lifetime of living in the desert. I would wake up on a grim, iron-gray morning wanting to spend the day hiding under the blankets, feeling stiff and depressed and chilled to the bone. I would trudge down to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee, then cut off two tablespoons of frozen muscaria from a package in the freezer and sautee it in a little butter. I scrambled it with eggs and cheese, and enjoyed the rich flavor. Within 15 minutes I would feel a surge of energy and cheerfulness. I became toasty warm and envigorated.
The morning would look beautifully pearly-gray, and I anticipated all the things I was going to happily do. I used Amanita muscaria daily throughout the cold winter months and it wonderfully enhanced my winter-hardiness. It really got me through the acclimatization process. When muscaria works well, it puts a subtle tension in your muscles and makes you want to go out and do something. I am prone to seasonal affective disorder, but muscaria completely counteracts that. It even made Christmas a genuinely happy occasion. For the first time, I experienced the holidays without a hint of depression. If I sound a little bit in love with the stuff, you are correct.
The summers have been too dry recently for muscaria, but I hope we get lucky this year and I can store some up.
During the early fall, before it got cold and when I had large quantities of fresh mushrooms, I experimented with larger doses (but no more than 1 cup total in a day). With 4 tablespoons at a meal, I often had a little nausea, and would either get drowsy or become hyper and speedy. In the latter case, I often became hyperaware, with a distinct feeling of the heebie-jeebies, like you get when you sleep in an old house and can hear every crack and creak. Both this and the nausea would wear off in half an hour. If I continued such doses throughout the day, I felt a pleasant but distinct sense of intoxication and an oddly detached feeling like being wrapped in a soft fuzzy blanket. By nightfall, I would have rather pretty closed-eye visuals of what looked like jewel-encrusted objects. I would go out into the nearby woods to meditate at night. The darkness was deep and velvety and welcoming and house lights were supernally luminous and beautiful. In meditation, I felt wonderfully expanded and immersed in a blissful ocean of quiet yet profound peace and joyfulness.
I have read the 9th Book of the Rig Veda (the one with the Soma Hymns) under the full influence of Amanita muscaria and I am absolutely convinced that it really is the Sacred Soma of Ancient India; it was remarkably easy to identify the sentiments the authors expressed with what I, myself, was feeling. I don't think anything else would have the same effect, certainly not Syrian Rue (completely non-euphoric) or psilocybe (physically gruelling if you attempt extended use). Two things the ancient poets mentioned that I also found true was that Soma gave you deep, restful, healing sleep when you were ill, and it banished fearfulness and gave courage without also banishing your common sense.
The ancient poems clearly describe using Soma for multiple times per day (Vedic Law allowed you to use it three times in one day) and taking it daily for extended periods as a tonic and medicine, just as I had done. Such usage would be SERIOUSLY harmful and counterproductive if you tried doing it with psilocybe mushrooms!
The courage thing matters too. I am somewhat prone to shyness and social phobia, but not with Amanita muscaria. If I ever try parachuting, I suspect that the only way I would be able to get myself to jump out of the airplane that first time would be to use a little muscaria before-hand. Perhaps it could be useful in dealing with phobias and shyness. The ancient poems certainly suggest that.
I didn't use such high doses again after winter started, but I experimented with abruptly ceasing use temporarily after that period to test for addiction potential. I liked it so much that I was a little concerned about this. It took 3 days to completely come down after extended use of muscaria, but there were no withdrawal effects and no craving. I had the same experience when I ran out of my frozen mushrooms the following spring. I think it is reasonably safe in that regard. The Siberian natives often used muscaria rather abusively in the winter with some signs of physical harmful effects (very similar to those associated with kava kava addiction), but this reflected the horrendous winters they had to endure and the lack of any alternatives. The natives say that the potential harm of muscaria was trivial compared to the harmfulness of the Russian vodka which replaced it. They also used it as a medicine to give restful sleep to the seriously ill and as a stimulating tonic for hard work in the winter. I and a friend have confirmed this winter tonic effect. The potency is increased if you combine it with Oriental Red Ginseng; such a combination can give great endurance and cold-resistance. On the other hand, I did not find muscaria particularly helpful by itself in straight depression; it is primarily meant for seasonal and weather-related depressive conditions and possibly shyness and phobias. A wonderful gift from Sweet Mother Gaia!
In animal experiments, muscaria had the ability to potentiate tranquilizers, sedatives, narcotics and other pharamaceuticals that effect the central nervous system, and should probably not be used with potent examples of these agents (I had no problems with OTC medicines or Tylenol#3 with codeine, however). It can also increase muscle tone (mild overdoses cause noticeable twitching) and should be used cautiously in people with back or orthopedic problems. In small doses, the active ingredients show anticonvulsant and antispasmodic effects, but the opposite is true with large doses, so it should probably not be used by epileptics, especially those requiring medication. It also has very perceptable appetite-suppressing effects (far stronger than amphetamines in animal experiments), which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation. I have used it for weight control. I find that a fairly small amount of amanita-laced food completely satisfies the appetite and makes you more physically active to boot, so it may have potential here...
Anyway, don't take my word for it, explore this wonderful fungus for yourself, just don't overindulge! I have never used it in seriously entheogenic doses, I found it far too spooky and unnerving long before I got to that point, but you can read vivid accounts in various "trip reports" available on the web. Most people who have used it in such large doses tend to become afraid of it and avoid it, so such usage is an entirely different matter than the uses I have described here. I can't help you with that."