Magic mushrooms have gained attention due to their high medicinal value. However, since the ancient age, consumers have been taking these naturally occurring fungi for fun. But, who knows the history of magic mushrooms? It is interesting to learn about the history and origin of these shrooms.
The claim that magic mushrooms had a long history is debatable. Some say that there is no clear evidence about the origin of these mushrooms. Ancient paintings, manuscripts, and sculptures had shown a few facts about mushrooms. Historians have found European and North African cave paintings alluding to magic mushrooms. In the ancient age, there were Aztec rituals, which have a hallucinogenic substance known as the flesh of the gods. It might refer to shrooms. In the ancient cultures, there was a different use of magic mushrooms, and historians are not sure about it.
Research on Magic Mushroom
In the late 1950s, Westerners used to eat magic mushrooms. In 1955, R. Gordon Wasson, one of the mycologists, travelled to Mexico to learn about mushrooms. He took part in a ceremony that used magic mushrooms as a ritual. Mazatec, a type of native in southern Mexico, conducted it. Wasson published his findings in Life magazine (1957). It also mentioned that Albert Hofmann first isolated psilocybin and psilocin from the shrooms. However, in 20th century, shrooms entered the US market with assistance from an official at J.P. Morgan Bank.
Timothy Leary, one of the proponents of different psychotropic drugs (like LSD) interpreted the Life magazine. It inspired him to test them at Harvard University. It caused magic mushrooms to become closely associated with the hippie movement. For several years, shrooms were related to the counterculture.
Leary claimed that he had learned lots of things about his brain during his mushroom trip. He again went to Harvard University to begin Harvard Psilocybin Project and work on psychedelic drugs. His mission was to prove that drugs could make the consumer more conscious.
Alan Ginsberg, another researcher, went to Cambridge to find scientific truths about drugs. He told his friends about the fun he got from the fungus. However, Harvard grew tired of Leary’s claims, and it fired him. Leary then started distributing psychedelics throughout different parts of the US.
In 1970, the consumption of magic mushrooms was illegal in the USA. Still, it did not stop the consumption. The Terence McKenna (ethnobotanist) released a book, known as Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide. The book talks about the growth of shrooms.
Therapeutic use of shrooms in the ancient age–
Magic mushrooms have a spiritual and therapeutic and spiritual usage in the tribal society. Researchers have found that the effect of psychoactive substances was not unknown at that time. Siberians used psychoactive mushrooms for religious purposes.
In ancient Greece also, there was ritualistic use of psychedelic compounds. Thus, Greeks knew the sacred use of mushrooms. Moreover, statues and artwork also represent hallucinogenic mushrooms.
You can dig out some more historical facts about magic mushrooms. As a mushroom lover, you will find interest in them.