How much amanita muscaria is safe to eat?

Detoxified Fly Agaric

How much Amanita muscaria to is safe to eat? When you detoxify the “Fly Amanita” by leaching out the water soluble toxins by  parboiling thinly sliced mushrooms in plentiful  water for at least ten, and preferably fifteen minutes, you transform Amanita muscaria into a prime edible mushroom. Short of lab testing which has yet to be done all that can be said is that there appears to be no toxins left. One can eat as much as one likes. (See my main page on Amanita muscaria and accompanying article from Economic Botany.)  Once detoxified, you can eat as much as you like. This said, there is nothing worse than getting a stomach ache because one is afraid that one has eaten a mushroom that will make you sick (or inebriated when you don’t want to be). The prudent way to begin eating Amanita muscaria is to start with parboiling a portion of a cap in plentiful water for fifteen minutes, throw the water away, and then cook with the now parboiled mushroom as you normally do with other mushrooms you eat. Work up to larger amounts as you build confidence that the mushrooms is, indeed, safe to eat.

Boiling mushrooms tends to tighten their cellular structure, thus a boiled mushroom tends to become firmer rather than softer. Boiling the fly agaric (or any other mushroom) in lightly salted water that includes a bay leaf and a clove of garlic enhances the mushroom’s intrinsic flavor, if it has one, and infuses the mushroom with flavor if it doesn’t. The Amanita muscaria I pick in Northern California  tend to have attractive sweet tonalities. It is an inherently good mushroom that is worth preparing for the table.

What is the safe dose for undetoxified Amantia muscaria?

But what if you want to eat Amanita muscaria without detoxifying it? How much  Amanita muscaria is safe to eat? Mushroom field guides often say that it is poisonous. What do they mean bv poisonous? How poisonous is it, really? What are the facts?

For a full explanation of what field guides mean by the mushroom being poisonous and the facts of the case I refer you to my Economic Botany article. The short of it is that field guides tend to make edibility statements that are more ethnographic than based on lab tested science. They rarely take cooking method into account when remarking on edibility but instead rely on cultural norms. Thus, for example, morels are listed as prime edibles (which they are) but they are likely to make you throw up if you eat them raw. In our culture we always cook morels and limit raw mushrooms on our salads to store-bought Agaricus bisporus. Thus, a field guide author can say that morels are edible because nobody puts them on salads. Denis Benjamin describes a mass  poisoning at a banquet occasioned by just such an error having been made in his book, Mushrooms Poisons and Panaceas. If our culture always boiled mushrooms and threw the water away, then the fly agaric would always be listed in field guides as edible.

But what if you want to experience the mind altering effects of eating Amanita muscaria? How much is the right amount, and how much is too much? I have no personal experience eating Amanita muscaria for the purpose of becoming inebriated. From reading in books and on the internet my sense is that a standard dose for those consuming the mushroom for its psycho active qualities is 1 to 2 caps for a healthy adult. Cap size varies enormously (a Northern California muscaria can have  cap equal to several Lithuanian specimens) and potency varies between specimens. Start with small quantities to work out what a reasonable dose is for you. Be patient. Develop a sense of how you and the mushroom get along when it is not detoxified keeping in mind that drying or grilling (or any cooking that doesn’t leach out the toxins) makes the toxins stronger than they are in a fresh cap (the ibotemic acid converts to muscimol when the mushroom is heated or dried) so keep track of what you are doing.

If you don’t detoxify the mushroom by parboiling, then as with all other inebriants, you must not drive and, as it says on  alcohol bottle labels, don’t operate machinery. If you are going to experiment, then be prudent, and do so in a safe place.

There is probably no point in offering common sense to those who want to push limits. What I can tell you is that the literature on mushroom poisoning does not seem to be able to provide a single instance of a healthy person dying from consuming an overdose of Amanita muscaia. This said, the oft quoted case of the death of Count de Vecchi who died of eating Amanita muscaria in 1896 demonstrates the foolishness of experimenting when one has a chronic illness.While his case is shrouded in mystery — did he experiment on purpose or did he eat undetoxified Amanita muscaria by accident — he was not healthy to begin with and did not recover from his ill fated mushroom omelet.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Nick Goicea says:

    Thank you for having the courage to tell the truth.
    In Romania i used to eat lactarius piperatus all the time after boiling them and discard the water.
    Even there people are afraid of muscaria. This summer i will go to enjoy them.


  2. angus says:

    i have been eating this mushrooma on and off for three years now. the most i have eaten in one time was three medium sized caps, dried. it was new years eve and i danced for hours, enjoying a kind of ‘drunken master’ feeling: felt like i would fall, but never would. also. experienced a kind of physical hallucination, in that i experienced what felt like my right and left of body. switching places for an instant. very trippy. good mushroom for music appreciation, as well. bursts of. energy, feeling of deep peace and unity with myself and universe. not a terribly toxic shroom, as the only recorded case of death was caused by eating two dozen (that italian count), his friend who ate a dozen survived, so… the only concern i would have (and why i limit my use of it) is due to the. fact that this mushroom is reputed by mycological science to take in vanadium from the soil it grows in. too much vanadium may not be a good thing! mushrooms can also pick up heavy metals so don’t pick in a polluted spot like near a highway or factories. i make a salve with this mushroom also, with cocnut oil, and it dried. up a case of poison oak almost instantly. also has antibiotic properties, as do many if not most forest mushrooms. a much. feared and vilified shroom that should be studied more and respected!


    1. The mushroom is exceedingly variable specimen-to-specimen. It is impossible to dose with accuracy. If you take it for psychoactive reasons, best to pick many, chop up, and mix the results. Even so, go slow. You may have had a good experience once, but then get too much the next time. And too much is not pleasant.


  3. Amanda G says:

    I was curious if there is a way to preserve the detoxified mushrooms for eating year-round, or if they are strictly seasonal? And thank you for a wonderful post! It is the tail end of mushroom season here in Alaska and I’d love to know for next year. Thank you again!


    1. Once detoxified, you could freeze the mushrooms. That would be my recommendation.


  4. Clay says:

    This doesn’t help anyone since 99% of people who take the mushroom are doing it for the psychedelic effect and not for the taste or experimenting of it. From what I have read, a normal sized person should take no more than 10 grams, which is about 3 caps. But take caution with this because your experience, whether pleasant or hard, will depend on what your stomach does.
    In my opinion, an experimental session, should involve 5 grams the first time around. Wait three days and try 7 grams. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, wait another three days and try 10. Anything over ten should be looked at in the same way that you might if you are in a fox hole in the trench war-fares of WW1. Hallucinogens should always be experimented with before taking a heroic dose. Those who dive into it, have no idea what they might be getting themselves into. You must remember that once you are on the ride, you can’t get off, and going for a 6 hour ride that can’t be stopped can be a terrifying experience.
    This is not a recreational drug. It is not meant for recreation, rather it is meant for philosophical reasons. Do you really want an interruption in the flow of your life? Think twice. What happens might effect the way that you think for the rest of your life, whether good or bad. Psychedelics are an exploration of the deeper parts of your mind, soul, and heart. Take these thinks with wisdom and understanding. If you do you will find a better part of yourself. If you don’t you will only find fear and miss-understanding.


    1. The most important thing to understand is that the mushroom is variable specimen-to-specimen. The differences can be extreme – even a factor of 20 or more difference between specimens. Thus, be careful! While 5g might not have done much with one specimen, it could be too much with a different specimen.


  5. Dave says:

    Living in michigan I look for schrooms every where, never expected to find aminitas in my back yard. Wow, did I , white or yellow, mine look more white with less speckles.
    We’ll I’ m in my fifties very good shape lived though the 70s never tried aminitas,till now ! July 20-14 wake up 6 hours later from an absolute dead sleep, my head feels like it weighs 1 ounce, my feet feel like they are lifting by them self. But let’s back up. I ate a RAW 5 inch cap about 10 pm, about a half hour later I feel a little nausea,fall asleep in my chair. About midnight I wake up watching or dreaming? About the beginning of time on my tv. I was truely watching tv,my mind was doing some very cool things about the futurama show, something bout how this entire universe Is just spinning around trying to catch the tail of the beginning. I was looking for a way to tun the tv off from I pad. However the futurama show kept me so busy thinking I was in a dream,I was aware that there is no end or begining!WHOA . So waking up at 830 a still quite buzzed!
    Slight nausea, still light headed, but feel very good ,the 6 hour sleep must have motionless don’ t. Remember one toss or turn, for me that’s impossible, good thing! In conclusion……round and round in circles


  6. Detox Girl says:

    Amazing 🙂


  7. Detox Girl says:

    Thank you 🙂


  8. Taco says:

    Hello William,

    An Ukrainian told me to put one or two Amanita muscaria in a bottle of whiskey and leave the bottle for a few months before I drink it. I’m interested in the effect. Should the mushrooms be dried, to be sure there is an effect, or should I put them fresh in the bottle. I would not eat the mushroom. There are stories about drinking the urine of reindeers, who have eaten the Amanita muscaria. So my theory is don’t eat it but drink the flavoured whiskey. I would like an answer on my email, unless you think this is interesting for everybody.

    Kind regards

    Taco Tichelaar


    1. Apologies for this exceedingly late reply. I just figured out how to look at comments. Individual specimens are exceedingly variable in the amounts of ibotemic acid, muscomol, and muscarine. The variation cap-to-cap can be enormous – more than a factor of 10, even. So, I do not advise adding to alcohol. You have no idea what the dose will be. Because the dose cannot be regulated, I personally do not use muscaria for its drug effect.


  9. Arnoldas says:

    I bought dried amanita muscaria from and everything was O.K.


  10. mike says:

    Will it make u sick if u don’t add salt to patrolling?


    1. Salt is not important. Parboil twice for 15 minutes each time. Use plentiful water. The mushroom will still have a good taste and texture.


  11. Todd says:

    Great article. Found these on a trail elevation 7500 feet in Colorado. I thought they were phycadeilics but was unsure. Now I can’t wait to go back to that trail to harvest a small amount for both ways of eating. Awesome to find these growing in the wild. It will make hiking way funner. Lol thanks again for your knowledge on the topic. Enjoy your day


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