Did you know that psilocybe cubensis mushrooms were used since prehistoric times? The popular psychedelic group of mushrooms that is now considered illegal, has been used for thousands of years by certain tribal and indigenous societies, often being of central importance in certain shamanic and healing rituals that are still used today.
Evidence of Prehistoric and Ancient Use
The well-known “magic mushrooms” are essentially mushrooms that contain psylocibin and have been known to induce altered states of consciousness since ancient times. While it’s impossible to know for sure when the use of these mushrooms became mainstream, archaeologists have discovered that magic mushrooms were an integral part of the lives of certain North African societies since around 9000 BC. In Spain, cave paintings were discovered featuring depictions of psilocybin mushrooms that date back to 6000 BC.
Additionally, it is well-documented that ancient Native American societies like the Maya and Aztecs have commonly ingested the mushrooms, nicknaming them “the flesh of the gods.” Particularly interesting, a west-Mexican shaft and chamber tomb was discovered that features a mushroom depiction closely resembling the psychedelic mushroom, Psilocybe Mexicana.
Magic mushrooms were even known to the Ancient Greeks. A fragment from a funeral stele dating back to 5th century BC Classical Greece depicts the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone holding what looks like magic mushrooms.
Modern Science Is Slowly Catching Up
More recent accounts from history show that, while modern science discovered the psychedelic effects of the mushrooms, it failed to point out its numerous health benefits. The later 1950s have seen the extraction and identification of the two main hallucinogenic compounds found in psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. However, it took more than another half a century before even just the anti-depressant qualities of psilocybin started to slowly gain some popularity.
As history often proves, it pays to be mindful of the lessons of the past. Our ancestors may not have had the sophisticated scientific tools we possess, but their intuition about the healing properties of these mushrooms may have been spot on. Science is still just now scratching the surface when it comes to discovering the additional potential medical benefits that psilocybe cubensis mushrooms might have.
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