Amanita Pantherina

Amanita Pantherina has many folk names, some of which are: agarico panterino, amanite panthere, crapaudin gris, fausse golmelle, fausse golmotte, fongo rosper (Treviso, "toad mushroom"), haitori (Japanese, "fly catcher"), haitori-goke, haitori-kinoko, haitori-take, hyo-take (Japanese, "panther mushroom"), panther cap, panter fungus, panther mushroom, pantherpilz, tengudake (Japanese, "tengu mushroom"), tengutake, tignpsa bigia, tignose bruna.

The panther cap is similar in appearance to the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) but has a brownish or brown cap. It yields a white spore print and is easily confused with the nonpoisonous and non-psychoactive pearl mushroom, also called the blusher because of its tendency to turn red when bruised. The panther cap is found almost exclusively in deciduous and fir woods. In Europe, it fruits from July to October, while in North America it usually fruits in early spring. Although many people avoid the panther cap as poisonous, it actually has a long tradition of culinary use:

It is remarkable that the panther cap is characterized as inedible in some books on mushrooms. Many of our patients who were relatively knowledgeable about mushrooms told us with conviction that they have been eating these mushrooms for years without any harm.

And yet the panther cap is clearly psychoactive and normally even more potent than Amanita muscari. In Russia, the panther cap is preferred over the fly agaric because of the effects of the former are thought to be more pleasant. The shamans of central Asia and Siberia apparently consumed it ritually as an alternative to the fly agaric. It is said that the Russian panther cap induces beautiful visions. The dosage is given as one to four mushrooms.

Today the panther cap is used for psychoactive purposes wherever it is found:

Amanita pantherina is also a widespread "recreational and party drug" whose effects are stronger than those of Amanita muscaria. Pleasant sensations are more likely to arise when the mushroom is ingested with an expectation of hallucinogenic effects. In many areas of the U.S., Russia, France, and Italy, the panther cap is also consumed for culinary purposes. These may be varieties that are relatively devoid of toxins. The psychotropic effects can also be elicited by smoking the dried skins of the caps or mushroom bodies. For adults, the lethal toxic dose is contained in more than 100 grams of fresh mushrooms.

The effects subside no later than ten to fifteen hours after consumption. In contrast, the older literature speaks of euphoric and psychotic states lasting as long as eight days.

Panther caps, at least those of North American origin, have been found to contain ibotenic acid and muscimol. When dried and stored, the quantity of ibotenic acid declines proportionately as the quantity of muscimol increases. Panther caps also contain stizolobic acid and stizolobinic acid (amino acids), which are also found in Stizolobium and Mucuna species.

 

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