Fly Agaric: Dangers and Toxicity for Humans - What You Need to Know

Fly Agaric: Dangers and Toxicity for Humans - What You Need to Know

Is there a danger in consuming microdoses of red fly agarics? How toxic is this mushroom and how dangerous is it for humans? Symptoms of poisoning and their consequences. First aid for overdose.

The fly agaric is the most famous mushroom in the world. From childhood, we encounter it in books and cartoons, admire its bright red cap with pretty white spots, and hear from our parents: "This mushroom is poisonous." However, over time, people's perceptions of various things have changed. The fly agaric is no exception. Recent research has shown that:

  • The fly agaric is not as poisonous as one might think.
  • It has beneficial properties.
  • After heat treatment, the mushroom loses its toxicity but retains its usefulness.

Even our perceptions of the color of the fly agaric do not correspond to reality. The caps can be red, yellow, white, green, and brown. This depends on the type of mushroom, of which there are several in the fly agaric. They are all grouped under the common Latin name Amanita, to which the name of the specific species is added. For example, the most famous red mushroom is called Amanita muscaria, the panther mushroom as Amanita pantherina.

The fly agaric got its name because it has been used since ancient times to repel flies, as well as mosquitoes, mosquitos, and other insects. The beautiful mushroom on a thin stem was widely accessible. This mushroom can be found in all parts of the world with a moist and not too hot climate. Fly agarics rarely grow alone. Typically, they form a mycorrhiza (a symbiotic collaboration) with deciduous and coniferous trees.

Although the color of the fly agaric deters most animals, some of them eat fly agarics without harm to themselves. Large animals such as deer and bears occasionally also eat fly agarics.

Danger of the Fly Agaric for Humans

The fly agaric owes its bad reputation to ibotenic acid. It is this substance that possesses toxic properties and leads to the death of nerve cells. This process is accompanied by symptoms of poisoning (nausea, vomiting) as well as delirium and hallucinations.

However, during heat treatment, ibotenic acid transforms into another chemical compound: muscimol. Muscimol, in small amounts, can clarify consciousness, reduce symptoms of depression, and improve sleep.

Therefore, the danger exists only with raw fly agarics. Unfortunately, incorrect temperature treatment leads to muscimol losing its beneficial properties, and an overdose can also cause hallucinations.

Thus, the safest way to use fly agarics for therapeutic purposes is to purchase extract from verified suppliers. This extract is produced while adhering to temperature and other requirements. The dosage is also much easier to calculate.


Back to blog