Fill The Bottle To The Top: Muscaria Amanita

By Christina Stadlbauer (AT/BE)


The friendly-looking red mushroom with white dots is maybe the first one we encounter as children. From a very early age onwards, we know that this classic mushroom of books and drawings, ornaments and decorations is poisonous, must be avoided.

In literature, the red fly agaric – amanita muscaria – is classified as (deadly) poisonous causing nausea, headaches, and strong vegetative reactions.

An alternative perception of the mushroom opens the doors to its hallucinogenic powers but strong warnings go along with any oral tradition of its use.

Its name in various languages suggests a relation with flies or flying – red fly agaric (eng);  mušmires (lv) – [muš – fly]; Fliegenpilz (ger) – [Fliege – fly, fliegen – to fly]; vliegenzwam (ned) [vliegen – to fly, vlieg – fly]; punakärpässieni (fin) [red fly mushroom]; muchomor (pol) – [fly killer].

A possible interpretation of the name is found in the recipe of the mushroom mixed with milk used against flies and as insecticide.

Another aspect suggests that on special occasions (days), the psychedelic properties are said to give you the strength to fly, accompanied by other witches, to encounters with the devil, or sometimes simply out of the window down to the ground, and to the emergency room.

In the Kurzeme region, this mushroom is turned into medicinal tinctures, that are reported to relieve muscle pains and sore backs.

“You have to mix red and white mušmieres; smash the mushrooms until they are juicy, put them in a jar, put quite a lot of them, cover them with vodka – fill the bottle to the top, and let them sit, until the colour of the liquid looks like wine. Do not drink it, it is horribly poisonous, but rub the tincture on sore muscles and legs, and go to rest. Put a compress, and do not take it off, even if you have a painful reaction. You need to resist and endure – the next day you feel well, the muscles are soft and the pains have disappeared.” (Ceciilija)

“An old aunt told the story that she brought the mushroom home, simply put it into a glass, covered it with a soft cloth and put it in the sun, on the windowsill. She did not add water or alcohol. After a while the mushroom produced a juice that was used to rub on painful joints.

How long she was keeping the mushroom in the sun, I do not know but when the juice had turned reddish, it was ready to be used. The aunt said it was very good!” (Helga)

The shamans of Siberia suggested the use of the red fly agaric to treat cancer. The young mushroom is picked and dried in the sun. Then it must be kept for one year, so that the poisonous substances get neutralized. The medicinal properties that have very strong powers to destroy cancer cells are retained. The mushrooms are more powerful if they grew on a spot exposed to strong sun. [Ossi].

A different description of a red fly agaric treatment was found in the Kurzeme region:

“A pharmacist revealed this recipe to me, but it has to be used with great caution. A cure with mušmieres tincture is said to be effective against cancer and to strengthen the immune system. You have to start with one drop of the tincture mixed with a spoonful of water on the first day. On the second day, you take 2 drops and increase the amount of drops every day until you take 20 drops on the 20th day. Then you start reducing the dosage in the same way, by taking less and less drops each day and you finish the cure with only one drop on the 40th day.

In case your organism is not strong enough and you start to feel sick, on the 12th day, for example, you have to immediately start reducing the amounts daily. In any case you must not suddenly stop taking the tincture. This poisonous mushroom can only be used very carefully.

I do not have this tincture at home, but I have a jar with the tincture of stinkhorns that I could give you.” (Helga)



Date: 2010-06-20-30
Author/Arranger: Christina Stadlbauer (AT/BE)

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