Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Week Five Summary: Starting Antibiotics

I was finally diagnosed with neuroborreliosis (late stage Lyme disease) a few weeks ago, after at least sixteen years of infection, and four and a half years of total debilitation. I was prescribed strong antibiotics (500mg of cefuroxime twice a day), which I finally started taking last week. I'd held off from taking them in order to figure the right fly agaric tincture dosage, but it seems now that this is much more variable than I had realised.

It took a few days of the antibiotics before I realised that I was mentally and physically deteriorating. Unfortunately with Lyme disease, insight often goes out of the window. There have been times when I've declared how much better I'm feeling, only to find out later that I'd just temporarily lost what little insight I do have. So much of Lyme disease is trying to cope with a substantially diminished mental and physical arsenal. You can have all the will in the world though, and it doesn't make a huge amount of difference. It really is like a fairytale enchantment.

The antibiotics kill off more borrelia bacteria, which creates more neurotoxins, which find their way to your brain and clog up the neurones in the brain stem. This is what leads to symptoms such as chronic fatigue and dementia.

By the weekend I decided to try 3 drops of the fly agaric tincture in every cup of tea I drank. Not very scientific, but easy to remember. It really helped. I got some good exercise both days, and was able to cope with everything I had to do.

Yesterday I went back to 3 drops times a day, and was so exhausted by the evening that I pretty much couldn't even think. A good night's sleep though, and I'm feeling better again this morning. I'll stick to 3 drops in every cup of tea for a while, especially with Christmas and the extra energy needed for that.

I did manage to publish an app for the first time since about March, when I started treating the Lyme disease, and the neurotoxins must have started really building up. So I'm incredibly grateful to the fly agaric for giving me this level of improvement.

It's scary being back in the dusty void of Lyme disease dementia. It took some courage to start on the antibiotics, as I knew that there was a chance everything would go foggy and I'd end up a zombie again. When I first took antibiotics for the Lyme, back in February/March when I presented with an erythema migrans rash, the dementia hit me like a cattle stun gun, and hasn't really cleared since. At least with the fly agaric tincture, I stand a chance of bringing myself out of it to some degree by increasing the dose.

On the forum I frequent, some people are doing essentially the same thing with nicotine patches. Nicotine acts the same way as the muscarine in the fly agaric, stimulating the acetylcholine receptors in the brain stem so that messages can get through. It seems that with that also, dosage is a very individual thing.

The image in this post is of the borrelia bacteria, borrowed from textbook of bacteriology.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Week Four Summary

I've now been taking very small amounts of fly agaric mushroom daily for four weeks, in an experiment to see if and how it might relieve some of the symptoms of my chronic Lyme disease (neuroborreliosis). This post will summarise the whole first month, as well as Week Four.

The first two weeks I was eating small pieces of frozen mushroom, around the size of my last little finger bone. Once the tincture was ready I moved over to that, finally settling on a dose of 1-3 drops 3 times a day. This is usually 3 drops when I get up, 3 drops late morning and 3 more drops late afternoon.

The mushroom has had an amazing effect on me over the last month. My chronic fatigue, poor cognition and dementia are so much improved, I really feel like myself again. I can walk for miles, read and evaluate what I've read, keep up with conversations and enjoy being with people again. It really has been nothing short of miraculous.

Even during Week Four, my physical and mental faculties have continued to improve. I'm now reading five books at a time, devouring the information contained within them, remembering every word. A month ago I couldn't read at all, as I didn't have the cognition to figure out what was being said, or the memory to build meaning. Yesterday I ran for a few hundred yards. During most of the summer I couldn't walk even 50 metres.

Before I became disabled and my life fell apart (four and a half years ago), I worked as a computing lecturer. For the first time since then, I feel I'm not far off being able to lecture again. In the last couple of weeks I've picked up my work developing mobile phone apps, which I'd had to stop in early summer, as my brain just wasn't functioning.

There is no mystery to how this works. As I understand it (albeit perhaps incorrectly) the borrelia bacteria produce neurotoxins that congregate in the brain stem. There they block signals in the acetylcholine receptors, causing symptoms such as chronic fatigue and dementia. The muscarine in the fly agaric enables the signals to get across, overcoming the blocking effect of the neurotoxins. Hey presto, you can think, walk and live again.

I'm not claiming that fly agaric is a cure for Lyme disease or any other condition. But it certainly seems to have huge value in treating the worst symptoms. I've read that it also has anti-microbial properties, so perhaps using it longterm might reveal further benefits. Right now, you would have to prise it out of my cold dead hands to get it off me.

Yesterday I started on heavy duty antibiotics, which seems to be the only treatment that can seriously reduce the amount of borrelia bacteria infesting someone with Lyme disease. I shall continue to take the fly agaric though, to counteract the worst symptoms, and see what it can do. If I do stop taking it for a day, I do start to go back to being a zombie again. The plan is to have one day off a week though, to monitor remaining Lyme symptoms without the influence of the fly agaric.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

How Fly Agaric Tincture is Used in Germany (Possibly)

Here is a list of how fly agaric tincture is possibly used in Germany, according to herbalterra.com and Google Translate. Some crazy mistranslations may have occurred but I've just left them in. It's also possible that it's just homeopathic doses they're talking about. Please say if you can clarify any of this.
  • Communicative disorders of the spinal cord, epilepsy, chorea, tics, alcohol, alcoholic delirium, psychosis in infectious disease with a strong movement, walking, depression, dull headache in the forehead, an exciting area of ​​the nasal bone, unilateral headache, feeling of icy cold in the head, the high sensitivity of the scalp, dizziness, inappropriate behavior with a laugh, increased tone in his voice, singing, and the desire to mate, delusional speech cuddle with a reluctance to answer questions, seizures of different origin, paralysis, multiple sclerosis;
  • Angina with stinging and burning pain in my heart, just in the left arm, palpitations, cardiac arrhythmias, the white-finger tips of the ears and nose, followed by hyperemia, angioneurosis limbs;
  • Increased flow of saliva, bitter saliva, ulceration of the mucous membranes of the mouth, tongue, toothache, bad breath, attacks of a strong hunger, especially in the evening hours, burping air and food, nausea, vomiting immediately after eating, weight and crampy abdominal pain, bloating abdominal gas with a garlic smell, constipation with it extremely difficult to discharge from a chair, dizenteriepodobny diarrhea, especially in children, burning in the anus, scanty urine mixed with thick mucus, fever;
  • Itching and irritation in the nose, sneezing, using a liquid discharge from the nose, an increased sense of smell, nosebleeds;
  • Cramping painful cough, especially if the patient is nervous or just fall asleep with little expectoration, hemoptysis, briefly, Shortness of breath with the need to take a deep breath, sweating in the chest at night, laryngotracheitis, to take pulmonary tuberculosis. Diabetes. Outside the tumor, running sores, tuberculosis, skin, eczema, atopic dermatitis, diathesis. Redness, swelling, burning, itching of the skin, very itchy skin rashes millet, redness and cracks on the lips, blisters on the upper lip;
  • The feeling of fatigue in the neck, back, especially when sitting or lying down, pain in the back muscles, universal joint damage: the left arm and right leg and vice versa, the crackling of the joints, rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica, low energy, mental and physical fatigue, feeling of weakness in the limbs, while sufficient strength in them, trembling limbs, cramps in large fingers, numbness, a feeling of power, ice needles, crawling, burning, increased sensitivity to cold in the extremities, painful cold;
  • Increased libido with flaccidity of the penis, weakness and sweating after having sex, impotence, premature, painful menstruation with sensation of uterine prolapse, a strong napiranie at the bottom, irritating bleach the skin, sexual arousal, itching and burning sensation in the breast nipple, genital itching and irritation, painful menstruation, heavy climax;
  • Diseases of the eye, vitreous opacities and lens, black flies before his eyes, itching, burning, lower vision, increased sensitivity at the touch of age, blepharospasm (spasmodic contraction of the eyelids), blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), conjunctivitis, myopia (nearsightedness) , diplopia (double vision), twitching of the eyelids and eyeballs, asthenopia (eye fatigue sets in quickly during the visual work), Qatar file;
  • Pain in the ears, sharp pain along the Eustachian tube, iperemiyu and swelling of the ears, as if perfrigeration, itchy ears.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Advice for an Imaginary Test Subject

Of course, for legal and safety reasons I can't recommend anyone try taking fly agaric tincture, especially without medical supervision. But if someone were to decide to try taking small amounts of fly agaric tincture to see if it might help alleviate symptoms of Lyme disease such as dementia and chronic fatigue, my advice would run something like this...


  • The tincture is really strong. It will affect you in ways that other tinctures don't.
  • Taking a higher dose of the tincture won't do you more good, or make you feel better than small doses. Small doses work best.
  • If you have physical pain somewhere, you can rub a few drops into the skin where the pain is (back etc). I'm not sure whether you should include these drops in your daily total. It's possible that active chemicals are absorbed through the skin.
  • You may notice something white floating in the tincture. I think it's the mushroom spore, which is so tiny it gets through the coffee filter. It won't do you any harm. It can't grow inside you.


  • Take 1-3 drops 3 times a day (early morning, late morning, late afternoon). Probably best to start with 1 drop first day, 2 drops second day etc. Be really careful about going higher than 3 drops at a time. Even 3 may be too many for some people.
  • Take the drops under your tongue or in a cup of tea or however you like.
  • You can manage your energy levels by overlapping the times when you take the drops.
  • Take a day off the drops a week. This way you can still monitor your symptoms. The tincture may alleviate your symptoms, but the infection is still there in the background. Even if you're feeling much better, you still need to address the underlying infection.


  • The effects of the drops last 4-6 hours, although some benefits do seem to go over to the next day.
  • You may suddenly find you have huge amounts of mental and physical energy for the first time in years. Be careful to pace yourself and remember to stop and stretch regularly.
  • If you take much more than 3 drops at a time, you may "trip" a bit. These effects are likely to be sleepiness, mild euphoria, blurred vision and micropsia/macropsia (things suddenly seeming much bigger or smaller than they actually are). You may not notice that this is happening to you, as your insight may also be affected. Ask someone to keep an eye on you, or put up signs to remind yourself that this may happen. You are best just keeping to very small doses. Larger ones won't give a greater benefit.


  • The dose may be quite particular to each individual. Whilst you're working out the right dose for you, don't drive or operate machinery.
  • Treat your bottle of fly agaric tincture as poison. Label it accordingly and keep out of reach of children. And curious teenagers!
  • As with any psycho-active substance, there's a very small chance of psychosis from taking the fly agaric tincture. If this happens, stop taking the tincture and everything should go back to normal. If it doesn't, tell a medical professional that you have been taking fly agaric tincture to stimulate your muscarinic receptors because of your Lyme disease. They will give you something to counteract this.
  • Take milk thistle in some form. This is the antidote to fly agaric tincture and will help protect your liver. The tincture will still work just as well.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Tradition of Using Fly Agaric Medicinally

Here are the only mentions I've been able to find on the net of using fly agaric in small medicinal doses. Mind, Google would have only returned sites written in English. If you are aware of any others, please add them in comments.

The Koryaks use this mushroom in a variety of ways, including administering it to their old people to insure their sleep at night and their energy during the day. Tatiana, the Even shaman, uses this mushroom externally as a poultice to treat patient wounds, as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, and internally (by herself) as a device to allow her to visit the spirit world to seek, for example, the cure for an illness (physical, mental, or spiritual), or the place where a successful hunt could occur.
The fly-agaric mushroom is gathered by the young and middle-aged Koryaks in the summer and early fall and dried for use during the winter months primarily by the elderly.

from nemf.org

Three small fresh pieces of mukhomor good for sore throat and cancer. Preparation for arthritis: Place several young A Muscaria into an airtight container. Put container into a cool dark place (like a basement) until liquid comes out of mushrooms. Take a mushroom in hand, squeeze out moisture and place the pulp on arthritis. Bandage overnight. Mushroom body can be replaced in liquid and will last a long time.

from erowid.org

Sometimes dried mushrooms were soaked in distilled Bilberry juice - obviously a fairly modern method since distillation only arrived in Siberia in the 1500. Occasionally they were mixed with the juice of Willow-Herb. No research is known to have investigated the possible synergistic action of this combination. Medicinally it was used for 'psychophysical fatigue' and for bites of venomous snakes. (Saar, 1991) It was also applied externally to treat joint ailments (Moskalenko, 1987). In Afghanistan a fly agaric smoking mixture known as tshashm baskon ('eye opener') is used for psychosis (Mochtar & Geerken, 1979). In Western medicine Fly Agaric serves as a well known homeopathic remedy, used for tics, epilepsy and depression, and in conjunction with homeopathic Mandrake tincture, is used to treat Parkinson disease. (Villers & Thümen 1893, Waldschmidt 1992).

from sacredearth.com

Amanita muscaria has an alternative health application, giving its inclusion into the magical mushrooms arena of interest. Fly agaric remains closely linked with the neurological functioning of the human body in alternative medicine. Amanita muscaria as a mushroom has uses in treating varying nervous disorders. These disorders originate within a neurological capacity and include such illnesses as dementia, continual dizziness, and Parkinson’s disease. Other uses for this magical mushroom as an alternative medicine has enabled sufferers from nervous tics, depression and epilepsy to feel significant less adverse symptoms with the use of the fly agaric as a medicine.. The mushroom primarily focuses on cerebral treatments. This revels the mushroom has a chemical ability to effect a persons neurotic state of wellbeing.

from HubPages.com

It is given in homeopathic doses against scabies and psoriasis.
Used only in homeopathic doses (Agaricus muscarius) for neurological problems characterized by involuntary movements.
from medical-explorer.com

* Chronic fatigue and ageing *
Fly agaric is still used in Siberia and Russia especially by elder people to reduce fatigue, to give more strength and to raise the spirit. They mostly make a tea, boiling either dried or fresh cap of mushroom in water for some time. They add honey to the tea and drink it by small portions.

It is also considered that Amanita muscaria heal illnesses, connected with aging – sclerosis, insomnia, angiospasm etc.

* Tumor, low immunity and skin diseases *
Some people believe that fly agaric has antitumor and immunostimulating properties. For these purposes it can be used both inward and outwardly.

Besides making a tea, Russian people also make an extract, infusing fresh cups with alcohol. They take it inward in 0.5-1 teaspoon daily, as well as apply on skin to heal eczema, swellings, allergic dermatitis and other skin diseases.

* Rheumatism and joints diseases *
People believe that applying a compress with fly agaric extract helps to relieve a pain in bones and joints.
from helium.com

It's 2-3 drops of tincture on the spine, when sciatica hits. Relief is pretty much instant.
from henriette's herbal

In case of psychophysical fatigue the fungus was administered internally (see M. Saar, 19901. intoxication by viper bite called for its external application.
from Fungi in Khanti Folk Medicine

Following the prescription of Fly Agaric almost all of the patients exhibited increased motivation, improved mood and improved mental and physical well-being. Here again it is the doseage that determines that something is not a poison.
from clanpheryllt
Looking beyond the net for information, perhaps we can turn to the less rational archive of myth and fairy tales. It's possible that knowledge has been encoded in these.

For example, I recently found out that a folk name for fly agaric is "raven's bread". And who are the only two ravens that most people could name? Huginn and Muninn, literally Thought and Memory, who sat on Odin's shoulders and whispered in his ears when he needed to know something.

This struck me as being perhaps more than coincidence, since improving thought and memory are two of the main benefits of eating raven's bread in small raven-like quantities, medicinally.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Week Three Summary (Getting the Dosage Right)

Week 3 has been good. I've continued to be active both physically and mentally, and have had no insomnia. In fact my confidence has been such that I've broken a little from the no alcohol, no dairy and no gluten diet I've been on since February.

The only trouble I've had is getting the tincture dosage right, and this has definitely affected my perception here and there.

The fly agaric tincture has matured now, after sitting in the sun for 10-14 days covered in vodka. So this week I stopped eating small pieces of frozen cooked mushroom and started on the tincture. The changeover hasn't been as easy as I'd expected. The tincture is much stronger than I thought.

I'm currently taking various other tinctures to help with the symptoms and cause of Lyme disease - Banderol, Cumanda, Milk Thistle, St John's Wort and Sarsparilla. I'm also on a month-long anti-parasitic regime of tinctures of Wormwood, Clove and Black Walnut Hull. The dosage for these tinctures is generally around 10 drops 3 times a day, so I decided to start with that amount of fly agaric. That proved to be a mistake.

I was taking way too much fly agaric tincture. I was actually getting some of the effects typical of "vision questing" with it, without intending to. I didn't realise this, as the overall effect can be quite similar to Lyme symptoms (drowsiness, blurry vision, a sense of timelessness, distancing or separateness from what is generally considered to be reality, a lack of insight into some things, a little macropsia/micropsia - things becoming big or small).

I've never taken fly agaric for any purpose other than in these very small quantities for treating the Lyme symptoms these last few weeks, so I didn't know what it would be like to take it in larger quantities. It wasn't scary or anything (it removes fear anyway, one of the reasons why warriors such as berserkers would go into battle on small amounts!), but it must have altered my perceptions to some degree, as I simply wasn't aware that I was taking too much.

In other words, I don't think you can rely on your perception to get the dosage right. I think it's better to go with the numbers, and keep the dosage really small. Just enough to oil the processes of thought, memory and movement. Like oiling a squeaky door or a machine with moving parts, just a drop here and there.

A gentleman on the Lyme forum I frequent is also taking fly agaric tincture for Lyme, given him by a qualified herbalist. He has been on the tincture for a few weeks now, and has found that 2 drops 3 times a day works best for him. I'm going to follow his advice this week, and stick to that. I've also decided to take one day off from it a week. To this end I took none today, and had plenty of energy and felt bright mentally all day.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Finishing the Tincture

1. The chopped mushrooms have been soaking in vodka for 10-14 days now, so it's time to strain them and complete the tincture. The colour in the jar doesn't really show here, but it's a beautiful golden red.

It's been sitting in the sun for this time, as this is the advice for most tinctures, but it may well be that it would be better in the dark. I really don't know. The liquid is really clear though and smells good too.

2. The contents of the jar need straining first. I've borrowed my boyfriend's muslin cloth that he uses for wine making, but an old pair of tights would probably work just as well.

I've just left this to strain for an hour. I'm not sure whether to squeeze the mushrooms and get every last little drip out of them. I just let them drain with the first couple of batches, then put the mushrooms in the composter. But now the harvesting season's at an end and there's a finite supply, I've given these ones a good squeeze.

I'm going to save the squeezed mushrooms to try and cultivate the mycelium. More on that in a later post, fingers crossed!

3. I then run the liquid through a coffee filter. As you can see in the image of the completed jar (below), there is some white stuff that accumulates at the top of the jar. I think that this is the mushroom spore, which is definitely white, and small enough to get through the coffee filter.

The liquid itself is a gorgeous reddy golden amber colour.

Mushroom spore shell is made of the hardest yet lightest natural substance we know of. People such as Terence McKenna have posited that it's light enough for the spore to be blown anywhere on the planet, even into the upper atmosphere.

It is then hard enough to survive being sucked through the atmosphere and can be blown across the empty vast distances of space, perhaps eventually being sucked into another planet's gravitational pull, and forming a new colony in an alien land.

4. The tincture is then decanted into bottles. It's a good idea to label these to show what they contain, and with a warning that the contents are poisonous (if taken in excess).

I bought some stickers from eBay for this, some nice shiny fly agarics to show the contents, and some skulls to warn poison. The skulls however are from Nightmare Before Christmas, and look unbelievably cute. Best to keep out of reach of children. And teenagers.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Week Two Summary

I've been taking very small amounts of fly agaric tincture to treat my Lyme disease for two weeks now. For this update I'm going to list my individual symptoms and explain how the mushroom has affected each one.
  1. Exhaustion/Chronic Fatigue - Before I started taking the mushroom, it was extremely difficult to do anything but lie around without the slightest energy to do anything. It would take the hugest effort of will to do the slightest thing.

    This changed within half an hour of taking the mushroom for the first time, and has improved ever since. I've been so lively the last two weeks, and am up and doing something almost before I've thought about it. This turnaround seems to me, and those that know me, nothing short of miraculous.

  2. Cognition - Before starting on the mushroom, my cognition had deteriorated to such a degree that I couldn't get my head round anything. If I had to do something, or think about something, that required more than one step, I couldn't do it. I couldn't string my thoughts together to write anything. I couldn't compare or summarise anything. My IQ must have dropped a huge number of points.

    Since taking the mushroom, this is the other major area that has seemed miraculous. The difference is huge, and my cognition is still improving. I've been able to pick up my work developing mobile phone apps, which I'd had to give up several months ago because my brain simply wasn't working. I can keep up with conversations again. I'm able to formulate my thoughts enough to write this blog.

  3. Memory - Prior to the mushrooms, my memory was shot. This is related to cognition, above, and together they make up the majority of the "dementia-like symptoms" that you get with Lyme disease.

    It seems that some medication aimed at treating dementia uses the same mechanism as the fly agaric tincture, for example:

    Piracetam improves the function of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine via muscarinic cholinergic (ACh) receptors which are implicated in memory processes
    (from Wikipedia)

    Needless to say, my memory is greatly improved now. I no longer have to carry a list round with me detailing anything that I'd need to do that day (assuming I'd remember to write it down in the first place, not lose the list, or forget the list even existed). I'm almost able to take my memory for granted again.

  4. Loss of Control - The other main "dementia-like" symptom is very creepy, and involves seemingly losing autonomic control over your actions, and doing and saying things you really didn't intend to.

    I haven't lost control and done or said anything inappropriate since I started on the mushrooms. This was the main reason I had stopped socialising (as well as the chronic fatigue), as I was terrified I would say something that offended someone, and this did happen a couple of times. It's such a relief to be free of this.

  5. Stamina - Prior to the mushroom, I could do little chores like housework for five or ten minutes at a time, then would need to rest for at least five or ten minutes. My muscle and tendon trouble would mean that I couldn't be on my feet for very long anyway.

    Yesterday I walked for around five miles, with barely a rest. This is far and away the furthest I've walked in four and a half years, since my life fell apart with what turned out to be Lyme disease. I was tired afterwards, but managed to watch a football match on TV and then cook and eat a roast pork dinner before dropping off for an hour's nap.

    It's probable that fly agaric is the Viking berserker mushroom that would give them such amazing stamina, so it's not surprising that it does improve stamina. I'm really getting a full day every day now.

  6. Pain - An old injury in my neck, back and shoulder had caused me to need pain relief every day. This injury seems to have been colonised by the borrelia bacteria, as they can use your own collagen to build citadels for themselves in areas that are low in movement or oxygen. This is why with Lyme disease it's so important to keep moving and stretching your muscles, even if you're just lying there.

    Although I do still have low levels of pain and discomfort, I no longer require any pain relief at all.

  7. Muscle ache - When exerting my muscles in any way, such as climbing the stairs, they would ache quite terribly. I still get this to some degree, but it is improved and improving.
  8. Tendinitis - It was tendinitis in my ankles that started this health nightmare that eventually turned out to be Lyme disease. After two years of only being able to walk a few steps, this did improve with deep tissue massage, but was still a great limiter in what I've been able to do. The tendinitis would flare up, mostly in my ankles and knees, just about every month, when the bacteria have their monthly bloom. A bad flare would take weeks to get better. I had tendinitis in my ankles all summer this year, and could barely do anything.

    With all the extra exercise I've been getting since starting on the mushroom, I had a flare of tendinitis at the back of my knees last week. I expected it to last a few weeks as usual, but it was gone within a few days on the mushrooms.

  9. Hypocapnia/Hypocapnoea (low carbon dioxide, causing nausea, dizziness, seizure, muscle spasm) - I'm not sure whether the mushroom is just improving the symptoms of this, or whether it's addressing my low carbon dioxide levels. I haven't had as much dizziness and muscle spasm, I've had no nausea, and it's much more rarely that I realise I'm not breathing.
  10. Cold - My body does seem able to regulate its heat better. I'm sure the increase in activity must help with this. My temperature has been 35-36C before the mushrooms, but often at 37C since.
  11. Insomnia - I haven't had any episodes of insomnia over the last week, though I did have a couple the week before.
  12. Tinnitus - The tinnitus was very variable before starting on the mushrooms, so it's hard to say whether this has been affected. It hasn't been bad over the last week though.
  13. Tourettes-like moments - When I remember something embarrassing I've said or done, a strange uncontrollable noise will erupt from me. I understand this is also related to Lyme disease. I've only had it over the last few years, during which the Lyme wrecked my life. I haven't had this as much over the last couple of weeks, but it does still occur every few days or so.
  14. Stress and worry - My levels of stress and worry have gone way down since starting the fly agaric. I'm sure this must have a positive effect of many of my other symptoms as well. I honestly can't think of a time in my life when I've felt happier and less worried. The simple joy of being alive, and the beauty and draw of nature, are making my life a living paradise.
  15. Antibiotic Effect? - I have had something on the sole of my left foot for probably two years now. I've been told variously that it's verrucas and athlete's foot, and treated it accordingly, but it's made no difference. Rubbing raw garlic into it would get rid of it briefly, but it always came back. My LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) said that she thought it was bacterial. Since I started on the fly agaric a couple of weeks ago, the infection has almost gone.
  16. Sensitivity to Light - I still have great sensitivity to light, especially when unexpectedly reflected.
I've tried to be as objective in this write-up as possible. I should add, this isn't the first treatment I've tried that I thought would work, so it can't be explained by a placebo effect. I really think I've stumbled onto something of immense value here, something that was once known but has been forgotten, except in some remote areas of Siberia.

I'm only two weeks into this experiment, so it's possible of course that difficulties may yet arise, but after two weeks, small pieces of fly agaric are having a seemingly miraculous effect on almost all my symptoms.

Photos on this post are from sxc.hu, a free photo site (except for the foot rot).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ten Things I Learned This Week

Everything's still going well, ten days into the treatment of Lyme disease with very small amounts of fly agaric. I'm still eating bits that have been cooked and frozen, as the tincture isn't ready yet.
  1. Image (right) from top: coniferous, deciduous and coppiced woodland. Some woodland is a mix of these types, in which case there will be a combination of symbols.

    The easiest way to find woodland to search for fly agaric is to look at a local Ordnance Survey map.

    Although the fly agaric mycelium can be hosted by pine and fir, these forests, in Britain at least, are more likely to have been relatively recently planted for timber, and unlikely to harbour any Amanita muscaria.

    Coppiced woodland is likely to be hazel, willow, sweet chestnut, hornbeam or alder, none of which host the symbiont, so are probably not worth hunting in.

    Deciduous woodland is your best bet.

  2. I've stopped wrapping the individual mushrooms in newspaper, as it was sticking to the tops of the caps. A basket or cloth bag is a better bet.
  3. The stalks are likely to contain maggots. I left the stalks on the mushrooms I was air drying, which resulted in more than a hundred tiny maggots wriggling around on the coffee table. Luckily I removed them before my boyfriend spotted them! From now on I'll either leave the stalks in the ground or use them to spawn with.
  4. When spawning I've found that if you dig (just with a small stick) around the base of a host tree (birch, oak, pine, fir), ready-made fissures can appear. The idea is to get the spore on the roots, so I've started making use of these fissures. I've also put pieces of mushroom into animal burrows that lead under a potential host tree.
  5. The best way to remove bits of dirt from the mushroom cap is with a mush brush, a special soft brush for cleaning mushrooms without damaging their skins.

    I've ordered one but it hasn't come yet. I'll review it when it does. I'm hoping that it will work on damp mushrooms as well as dry ones.

  6. Drying the mushrooms can cause an allergic reaction. I was pulling the stalks off the mushrooms I've been air drying, and my nose started running. My nasal membranes were sore for quite a while. I don't think I'm going to air dry again.
  7. An alternative to air drying is to use a food dehydrator. If I weren't able to take the tincture - if I had an allergy to alcohol for example - I might consider this route.
  8. I started on a new mushroom from the freezer this week. I took a piece the same size that I had from the previous mushroom, but became very clumsy. I think that the new mushroom has more active ingredient. I've been taking smaller pieces since, and everything has been fine again.
  9. All things considered, I think I will clean, chop and tincturise the mushrooms right away from now on. As well as avoiding drying allergy, it will also make the strength easier to determine, by averaging out the strength of all the mushrooms in the vodka.
  10. It's best to shake the jar with the mushrooms in before adding the vodka. This helps them settle, and you can fit more mushrooms in the jar.

Monday, 21 November 2011

First Week Summary

It's now a week since I started taking very small pieces of fly agaric mushroom for my Lyme disease. I have to say, it's proving successful beyond my wildest dreams. I spoke with my LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) at the weekend, and she expressed great interest and explained to me how it's working. And it is undoubtedly working.

The fly agaric won't actually kill any borrelia bacteria. You'll still need something else for that. But what it is doing is alleviating the symptoms that make this disease so horrible. For me, this is mostly chronic fatigue and dementia symptoms.

Up until last week, my days largely consisted of lying around feeling like death, too mentally confused to do pretty much anything. I'd stopped going out and seeing people, because I couldn't keep up with conversations, and I would sometimes say things that offended people, without realising what I was doing. Plus I had absolutely no energy.

Since starting the fly agaric experiment, it's been like breaking an enchantment. I've been describing it as a miracle, and that's exactly how it feels. Within half an hour of taking the first piece I could feel the difference.

I've been incredibly active every day. My cognition is so improved. There's no way I would have been able to string my thoughts together in a blog like this before. Friends and family have mentioned how much better I am, and that I have a sparkle back in my eyes. I really feel like myself again. I haven't been able to work for four years (I was a computing lecturer), but I feel now that I could certainly do something, and I don't feel hugely far off lecturing again, once I get my stamina and full mental ability back.

Fly agaric is still used in this way - ingesting small daily pieces to treat psycho-physical fatigue and more - in remote areas of Siberia. I haven't found anything new, just something that has been forgotten by our culture. Not a cure, but a treatment for chronic fatigue, dementia and more (possibly Parkinsons, schizophrenia and more). It's also great as a painkiller, and I no longer use my previous method of pain control. The mushroom is enough.

Here's a bit of science, but I don't pretend to understand it, so if I've made an error - or if you can explain it better - please let me know via email or comments. It seems that neurotoxins (from the bacteria dying off) clog up the muscarinic receptors (which are acetylcholine receptors), and messages contained in neurotransmitters can't get across. A chemical in the fly agaric mushroom forces these messages across, and hey presto, suddenly you can move and think again.

Of course, just because this treatment is working for me doesn't mean it will work for everyone. Lyme disease can present very differently in different people. And there are dangers involved, either through picking the wrong mushroom or taking too much.

Once my tincture is ready, in another week or two, I'll be moving onto that, but until then I'll continue harvesting (the season end is drawing near) and eating a little cooked and frozen mushroom every day. Someone very dear to me has early stage dementia, and I intend trying to get them to take it. And a good friend has bad back pain, and I'll try her with the tincture drops once they're ready. For back pain, apparently you can just put a few drops on the site of pain - no need to ingest it - so it'll be interesting to see what happens there.

The images on this post are from sxc.hu, a free photo site.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Drying the mushrooms

The mushrooms I was attempting to air dry weren't really getting any drier. I picked them before realising that the gills would need a good air flow around them, and I didn't leave a stalk. Thinking about it now, I could have perched the cap on a stick to dry, but I didn't think of that at the time. We had a good fire burning, and I thought I'd give heat drying a try.

I'd read that the gills go temporarily mushy when heated, and they should be placed top up to catch and dry any goo. I put them in the ashes under the fire overnight, and they were lovely and crispy this morning. I've put them in an air-tight container and will pop a bag of desiccant in there if I can find one.

Harvesting continued today. I don't know whether the unseasonably warm weather is extending the fruiting season, but don't want to run out of these miracle working mushrooms before the next season comes around, not until the end of next summer.

I cut today's crop with their stems on, to have another go at air drying. If they're still not drying successfully, I'll fire dry them or freeze them. Stuck into holes in egg boxes, they make a little enchanted tabletop forest.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Gathering the mushrooms and making the tincture

Amanita muscaria is found mostly in woods, from late summer to late autumn. Mostly around birch trees, they can also be found around oak and pine. They stand out a mile, bright red, usually with white spots, unless they've been washed off by the rain.

There are real dangers if you take the wrong mushroom, so if you're not 100% sure, don't do it. Your life or liver might depend on it.

These photos are of some mushrooms I found on the common yesterday.

I've just been taking the mature ones (when they've flattened out), and returning for the immature ones a few days later, by which time they've matured. There's a frill halfway up the stem. Cut them off there, then you can air dry them without crushing the gills.

To say thankyou I propagate the spore to create new colonies:

  • Put caps or bits of caps that aren't good enough for medicinal purposes (if they've started to go off) into a container.
  • Add water and mix or shake well.
  • Pour over the roots of a birch, oak or pine tree that doesn't already have a colony.

Wrap your harvest individually in cloth. Newspaper will do, but bits of paper will probably get stuck on the mushroom.

I'm still experimenting with what to do next, but here's what I'm currently doing.

  • Air dry the mushrooms for a couple of days, preferably somewhere sunny, warm and drafty.
  • Clean any dirt off the mushroom once it has dried. Don't wash the mushroom. Clean the dirt off with a soft brush or your fingers. It doesn't matter if some bits are left.
  • Cut into pieces around a centimetre or half-inch square.
  • Put into a jar and cover with spirit that is 32-40% proof. Stop pouring when the mushrooms start to float. Within a little while the mushroom pieces will start to shrink and the spirit will take on a pink or red hue.
  • Put in a warm and sunny spot for 2-3 weeks.
  • Strain the liquid off. Don't force anything through the muslin or whatever.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Day 1 to 3

I've got chronic Lyme disease, caught from a tick bite many years ago, and it's almost impossible to get diagnosis and treatment here in the UK (and in many other countries). So people with Lyme disease either have to find a doctor who understands and can treat it (pretty much always private and also very rare and expensive), or try to treat it themselves. I've started this blog to document a treatment I'm trying: fly agaric tincture.

Chronic Lyme disease can hit your nervous system and brain really hard. It's estimated that you lose 30-50 IQ points while chronically infected (sorry, I'll try to include some links to relevant research at some point). It makes any sort of rational thought pretty much impossible. So bear with me - there's a good chance this narrative will jump all over the place.

With most treatments for Lyme disease, it's really difficult to tell whether it's working or not. Generally, if a treatment regime is having the desired effect and killing off some of the bacteria, you'll actually feel worse. This is believed to be because the bacteria as they die give off neurotoxins, which knock you for six. When a whole load of bacteria die off at once, it can produce a Herxheimer effect, first noted in syphilitic patients. This is an acute increase in symptoms, and usually lasts a few days. My first one involved nausea and an extreme thirst.

Taking the fly agaric is a completely different experience. I hasten to add, I'm just taking the fly agaric in tiny doses, nowhere near enough to get high, hallucinate or trip out. This treatment isn't about that. It's just about finding something that can either fight the bacteria, restore some quality of life, or even both.

There are many caveats with fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). In very large doses it can kill. In smaller doses it can alter your perceptions and cause you to hallucinate. In tiny doses there seems to be much less risk, but this cannot be described as a risk free treatment. I'm not suggesting anyone try this themselves. I just want to record my own experiences. Also, the amount of active chemicals in the mushrooms can vary massively, depending on the time of year, method of preparation and other unknown factors. Even two mushrooms growing side by side at the same time, prepared the same way, can result in very different levels of active chemical. This makes dosing very difficult. It seems best to start with very little.

I don't think it's possible to buy fly agaric tincture anywhere, so I realised I would need to make my own. Despite a couple of years of being completely crippled with chronic Lyme, I'm now able to walk around a bit most of the time, and was able to find four fly agaric growing wild (I'll expand on identification and collection in another post). Finding little information on the web, I decided to try several different methods of preparation and preservation.

I didn't want to wait 2-3 weeks for a tincture to be ready, so determined to chop, fry and freeze the first mushroom. I chopped another and preserved it in vinegar. I chopped another and covered it in vodka (32%-40%) to make a tincture. The last one I set air drying, intending to eventually crumble it into tea. I'll go into the actual methods in more detail in another post, and link to the articles that gave me the ideas.

The initial dose was a seventh of a cap, eaten with breakfast. Within half an hour I began to feel more alert and aware. I spend most of my time lying around feeling like death, but within an hour I was up and about and feeling very lively. I cycled into town and did some chores. There was no "coming up" rush, no hallucinations or change in perceptions beyond feeling lively and really up for it. It was the best day I've had in an awfully long time. Probably years. At no point did I feel any stomach cramps or nausea, possibly because of the small dose, possibly because the mushroom had been cooked.

The liveliness wore off in the late afternoon, and I did get pretty tired. I was back out for more fresh air and exercise though. Actually I went out looking for more mushrooms! This is the first treatment I'd tried that undoubtedly makes you feel better.

I mentioned this experiment on the Lyme disease forum I frequent. Within an hour of taking the first bit of mushroom, I felt I might be onto something, and wanted to let someone know, in case I was run over by a bus or something. To my astonishment, someone on the forum had ten days earlier been given a bottle of fly agaric tincture by a top herbalist, to treat the "head fog" or mental confusion that goes along with chronic Lyme. He was told to put a couple of drops under his tongue every half hour until his head felt clear. I've since found out that you can get fly agaric tincture on prescription in Germany.

I was certainly very tired that evening. I'd done a lot more physically than I normally would in a day. I slept very well that night.

Day 2 I took half the amount of fried and frozen and refried mushroom at breakfast, taking the other half of a seventh of a cap later in the afternoon. This was to try and even out the energy levels throughout the day. Again, I found I had energy and mental clarity way beyond what I've become accustomed to. The best way to describe it is that it is as if an enchantment has been lifted. The chronic fatigue aspect of Lyme seems to disappear. Last week it was a huge effort to just try and think around a simple chore, let alone do it. This week, the chores are simply done, in less time than it would normally take to try and get your head round what needs doing. It's starting to feel quite miraculous. Needless to say, I was out hunting for more mushrooms again.

I'm still not letting myself get too over-excited though. In the summer I took a month long course of Korean ginseng, to try to get some energy. The first couple of days I felt all right, but then was much worse for the rest of the summer, without a single "good day". I've since found out that ginseng can feed the energy of the bacteria and actually make you feel worse. I'm hoping that the same thing isn't true of fly agaric.

I had trouble getting off to sleep that night, and thought that perhaps I had taken too large a dose in the afternoon. It's already becoming clear that multiple tiny doses, such as tincture drops, would be a much better way of administering the fly agaric, and managing the levels you're taking.

Day 3 I took a similar amount to Day 2, but missed out the afternoon dose. I think even my small doses are possibly too large. Energy levels and mental clarity continued to be astonishing. My long-suffering boyfriend is amazed at the change in me. He even got breakfast in bed this morning.

Again I was out mushroom hunting. It's getting near the end of the season, so it makes sense to collect them now. In exchange for taking the mature mushrooms, I plant some fly agaric spore, which is found in the gills of the mature mushroom. I'll go into more detail in another post at some point.

I missed the afternoon dose but still had trouble getting to sleep. I should add, insomnia is one of the symptoms of chronic Lyme, and comes and goes. It could be unrelated to the fly agaric experiment.

I've given up the other methods of storing the mushrooms (pickling, drying and freezing). With the pickled mushroom, all the red colour was leaching into the vinegar, and I was concerned that the active chemicals might end up in the vinegar. I've also decided to dry the mushrooms for a few days before making the tincture. From my experiments so far, this should ensure a deeper red hue in the tincture. Since it was the colour that drew me to the fly agaric in the first place, this seems important.

EDIT It seems it wasn't the drying that made the colour brighter. There was an immature mushroom in one batch (it had been kicked over so I bagged it up) and the colour is much brighter before they reach maturity. I guess the tincture will end up pink, but pink is good too :).