Drugs A - Z
Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
Generic Name: Amanita muscaria
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
AA, Agaricaceae, Agaricales, agaric acid, agaric fungus, Agaric aux mouches (French), agaricinic acid, Agaricus arvensis, Agaric basidiomycete, Agrocybe aegerita, Amanitaceae, Amanita flavivolvata, Amanita formosa, Amanita matamoscas (Spanish), Amanita muscaria, Amanita pantherina, Amanita regalis, Amanita virosa, Amanitaceae, Amanite tue-mouche (French), basidiomycete agaric, bitter fungus, brown fly agaric, Clitocybula dusenii, Coprinus cinereus, Cortinarius orellanus Fr., Crepidotus fulvotomentosus, ectomycorrhizal fungi, falsa oronja (Spanish), fausse oronge (French), Fliegenpilz (German), fly agaric, Hebeloma cylindrosporum, Hypholomafasciculare Fries, ibotenic acid, laricic, magic mushrooms, muchomor czerwony (Polish), muscarine, muscazone, muscimol, ovulo malefico (Italian), pantherina poisoning, Roter fliegenpilz (German), selenium, Soma, toadstool, tufted agaric, uovolaccio (Italian), white agaric (Fomes officinalis Neum.).
Agaric, or Amanita muscaria, is a basidiomycete mushroom. Hallucinogenic effects occur upon consumption of the fungi. Fully grown, the cap is usually around 12cm in diameter (up to 30cm) with a distinctive blood-red color (crimson, fading to yellow with age), scattered with white to yellow, removable flecks (warts). It is often referred to as fly agaric due to European use as an insecticide, and its ability to stun or kill flies.
Agaric has traditionally been used in rituals as a hallucinogen. Religious and ceremonial usage of agaric has been documented in Buddhist, Native American, Japanese, Siberian, ancient Greek, and proto-Hindi texts. Gathering and consuming mushrooms and other plants containing psychoactive substances have become increasingly popular among some people experimenting with drugs.
Agaric is considered poisonous, though rarely fatal. Several studies document the toxicity and neurological effects of taking agaric by mouth. No formal trials regarding agaric toxicity or therapeutic benefit are currently available.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antipyretic (fever reducer), hallucinogenic, insecticide, sweating, tuberculosis (intestinal).
Adults (18 years and older)
Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied. However, due to adverse effects, use in adults is not recommended.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied. However, due to adverse effects, use in children is not recommended.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to basidiomycetes.
Side Effects and Warnings
In general, fly agaric is not recommended because of potential adverse effects. Taking agaric may cause visual and auditory hallucinations that appear after 60 minutes, peak within three hours, with certain effects lasting for up to ten hours. The effect per volume consumed is highly variable and individuals can react quite differently to the same dose.
In a moderate dose, agaric acid may have no effect upon the central nervous system, except to paralyze the nerves of the sweat glands. In higher doses, central nervous system dysfunction has occurred. Agaric may cause alternating central nervous system depression and stimulation. Symptoms usually begin with drowsiness followed by a state of confusion, with ataxia (loss of coordination), dizziness, euphoria resembling alcohol intoxication and may proceed to increase activity, illusions, or even manic excitement. These periods of excitement may alternate with periods of somnolence, deep sleep or stupor.
Given in large doses, fly agaric first increases, and then decreases blood pressure. Increase in respiratory rate, followed by a decrease in respiratory rate has also been noted. Skin may be warm and flushed. Fly agaric toxicity is characterized by nausea, heavy vomiting, and severe diarrhea. In near fatal doses, Amanita muscarina causes swollen features, rage and madness, characterized by bouts of mania, followed by periods of hallucination.
Theoretically, airborne agaric may cause chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) or other respiratory conditions.
Liver damage, liver failure, and death have occurred in people taking related mushroom species, namely Amanita phalloides (death cap) or Amanita virosa (deadly agaric). There are no available reports of liver damage from Amanita muscarina.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Agaric is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women because of potential adverse effects.
Interactions with Drugs
Based on reported adverse effects of agaric, significant interactions may occur. Patients taking any medications should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
Agaric may cause changes in blood pressure. Thus, patients using blood pressure lowering medications should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Based on reported adverse effects of agaric, significant interactions may occur. Patients taking herbs and supplements should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
Agaric is abundant in selenium and may have additive effects when taken with other herbs and supplements that contain selenium. Caution is advised.
This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): David Lee, PharmD (Northeastern University); Isabell Syelsky, PharmD (Northeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Denise Wong, PharmD (Northeastern University).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Beavis AD. Properties of the inner membrane anion channel in intact mitochondria. J Bioenerg.Biomembr. 1992;24(1):77-90.
Benjamin DR. Mushroom poisoning in infants and children: the Amanita pantheria/muscaria group. Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology 1992;30(1):13-22.
Falandysz J. [Selenium in selected species of mushrooms from Poland]. Rocz.Panstw.Zakl.Hig. 2003;54(3):249-254.
Falandysz J, Jedrusiak A, Lipka K, et al. Mercury in wild mushrooms and underlying soil substrate from Koszalin, North-central Poland. Chemosphere 2004;54(4):461-466.
Falandysz J, Lipka K, Gucia M, Kawano, et al. Accumulation factors of mercury in mushrooms from Zaborski Landscape Park, Poland. Environ.Int. 2002;28(5):421-427.
Garcia N, Zazueta C, Pavon N, et al. Agaric acid induces mitochondrial permeability transition through its interaction with the adenine nucleotide translocase. Its dependence on membrane fluidity. Mitochondrion. 2005;5(4):272-281.
Hajicek-Dobberstein S. Soma siddhas and alchemical enlightenment: psychedelic mushrooms in Buddhist tradition. J Ethnopharmacol. 1995;48(2):99-118.
Hood RL, Beitz DC, Johnson DC. Inhibition by potential metabolic inhibitors of in vitro adipose tissue lipogenesis. Comp Biochem.Physiol B 1985;81(3):667-670.
Lacaz CdaS, Heins-Vaccari EM., De Melo NT, et al. Basidiomycosis: a review of the literature. Rev Inst.Med.Trop.Sao Paulo 1996;38(5):379-390.
Madsen S, Jenssen KM. [Poisoning with deadly agaric (Amanita virosa). Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment]. Tidsskr.Nor Laegeforen. 5-30-1990;110(14):1828-1829.
McCune SA, Foe LG, Kemp RG, et al. Aurintricarboxylic acid is a potent inhibitor of phosphofructokinase. Biochem.J 5-1-1989;259(3):925-927.
Michelot D, Melendez-Howell LM. Amanita muscaria: chemistry, biology, toxicology, and ethnomycology. Mycol.Res 2003;107(Pt 2):131-146.
Powers MF, Smith LL, Beavis AD. On the relationship between the mitochondrial inner membrane anion channel and the adenine nucleotide translocase. J Biol.Chem 4-8-1994;269(14):10614-10620.
Satora L, Pach D, Butryn B, et al. Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) poisoning, case report and review. Toxicon 6-1-2005;45(7):941-943.
Xu ZX, Smart DA, Rooney SA. Glucocorticoid induction of fatty-acid synthase mediates the stimulatory effect of the hormone on choline-phosphate cytidylyltransferase activity in fetal rat lung. Biochim.Biophys Acta 5-1-1990;1044(1):70-76.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.