Mushrooms have always spoken to the imagination. As strange growths in dark woods, they have always had something mysterious. In many ancient cultures, they also have been used in sacred rituals. Especially in South America at various Indian tribes mushrooms were regarded as the soft flesh of the gods. So something like the body of Christ. From the mid-16th to the mid 20th century reported several conquistadors and scientists on the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in religious rituals in Mexico. These mushrooms were the native population teonanocatl, flesh of the gods mentioned. Archaeological findings show that the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the New World back to 1500 years before our era, and during its heyday was spread from Mexico to Guatemala. Here are the known mushroom stone: sculptures of mushrooms whose stem was distorted into humanoid or animal figures.
This use displeased the occupiers and the Spaniards declared war on this pagan rites. The cult of the flowers of the gods, like the Indians, they are sometimes called, was thus reduced to a few remote mountain areas, where it is practiced to this day.
The use of these hallucinogenic mushrooms fell into oblivion until, in the 50s the publications of Wasson & Wasson, Heim, Singer, Guzman et al finally drew the attention of the Western world on this use. These scientists took an active part in the mushroom ceremonies, described and identified the species used, they brought in culture and studied the psychotropic effects.
Led by Hofmann, the discoverer of the drug LSD, ISOLATED biochemists at the Swiss Sandoz laboratory are the first psychotropic substances from the Psilocybe species. This led to the description of psilocybin and psilocin, the first naturally found chemicals with a indolkern. The strong similarity with those substances which exhibit serotonin - a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the biochemical function of the brains - explains the psychotropic effects that occur upon ingestion of these components. Doses of 5-15 mg can cause human intoxication, lethargy, euphoria or depression, visual and auditory hallucinations, ... Through these mushrooms communicate the Mexican Indians with the gods, often healings or visions of the future be enforced.
The natural levels of psilocy-bine and psilocin in Psilocybe species range from 0:02 to 1.5% and may also vary considerably within the same species. The presence of psilocybin and psilocin also has now also been shown in mushrooms from other genera.
The elucidation of the mysteries surrounding teonanacatl had the consequence that during the next few decades the use of the same or closely related hallucinogenic mushrooms for "recreational" purposes was spreading rapidly in North America, Western Europe and South East Asia.
In Mexico, the traditional ceremonies were desecrated by 'tourists', the shaman Maria Sabina explained that the gods are sacred flesh had lost power.
Psilocybe, flesh of the gods