Fly Agaric mushrooms, distinctive fungi with red caps and white spots, are commonly associated with poisonous plants and fairy-tale characters, while their healing properties remain in the background of scientific research and folklore. Despite their bad reputation, some species of fly agaric contain substances with potentially healing effects. In this article, we will uncover lesser-known facts about the healing properties of these amazing mushrooms.
Fly agarics have a long history of use in shamanic rituals in Siberia and Northern Europe. Shamans consumed these mushrooms to enter trance states and communicate with the spiritual world. It is believed that the active ingredient in fly agaric—muscimol—has psychoactive properties that could facilitate such experiences.
Muscimol and Ibotenic Acid
Scientific studies confirm that muscimol and ibotenic acid, found in fly agarics, can affect the human brain by stimulating certain neurotransmitters. These substances can influence the synthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which plays a role in regulating the nervous system and can have calming effects.
Some studies have shown that substances extracted from fly agarics possess antitumor properties. Extracts may slow the growth of cancer cells in vitro, however, these results have not yet been sufficiently studied and tested in humans. Although scientists have proven that neither muscimol nor ibotenic acid are lethal to humans, unlike cancer.
Substances with antiviral activity have also been found in fly agaric. These components may help fight against certain viral infections.
Traditional uses of fly agarics in some cultures include the treatment of inflammations and pain syndromes. Today, researchers are interested in the potential of fly agarics as a source of new anti-inflammatory compounds.
Modern psychotherapists are investigating the psychedelic properties of fly agarics, particularly muscimol, for the treatment of various mental disorders, including depression and anxiety. These studies are in the early stages, and the potential use of fly agaric in therapy requires additional evidence and approval by regulatory authorities.
It must be emphasized that despite the potential healing properties, any attempts to use fly agarics for therapeutic purposes must be conducted under strict supervision by professionals.