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Toward the antioxidant and chemical characterization of mycorrhizal mushrooms from northeast Portugal.



Type of Spiritual Experience


The toxins in A. muscaria are water soluble. When sliced thinly, or chopped into thin dice and boiled in plentiful water until thoroughly cooked, it seems to be detoxified.

Although its consumption as a food has never been widespread, the consumption of detoxified A. muscaria has been practiced in some localities in Europe (notably by Russian settlers in Siberia) since at least the 19th century, and likely earlier. The German physician and naturalist Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff wrote the earliest published account on how to detoxify this mushroom in 1823.

In the late 19th Century, the French physician Félix Archimède Pouchet was a popularizer and advocate of A. muscaria consumption, comparing it to manioc, an important food source in tropical South America that nevertheless must be detoxified before consumption. 

Use of this mushroom as a food source also seems to have existed in North America as well.

A classic description of this use of A. muscaria by an African-American mushroom seller in Washington, D.C., in the late nineteenth century is described by American botanist Frederick Vernon Coville. In this case, the mushroom, after parboiling, and soaking in vinegar is made into a mushroom sauce for steak. It is also consumed as a food in parts of Japan. The most well-known current use as an edible mushroom is in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. There, it is primarily salted and pickled.

A 2008 paper by food historian William Rubel and mycologist David Arora gives a history of consumption of A. muscaria as a food and describes detoxification methods.


A description of the experience

J Food Sci. 2011 Aug;76(6):C824-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02251.x. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

Toward the antioxidant and chemical characterization of mycorrhizal mushrooms from northeast Portugal.

Reis FS1, Heleno SA, Barros L, Sousa MJ, Martins A, Santos-Buelga C, Ferreira IC.

  • 1CIMO-ESA, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, Apartado 1172, 5301-855 Bragança, Portugal.


Mushrooms are widely appreciated all over the world for their nutritional properties and pharmacological value as sources of important bioactive compounds.

Mycorrhizal macrofungi associate with plant roots constituting a symbiotic relationship. This symbiosis could influence the production of secondary metabolites, including bioactive compounds. We focused on the evaluation of antioxidant potential and chemical composition of mycorrhizal mushrooms species from Northeast Portugal: Amanita caesarea, Amanita muscaria, Amanita pantherina, Chroogomphus fulmineus, Cortinarius anomalus, Cortinarius collinitus, Cortinarius violaceus, Lactarius quietus, Lactarius volemus, Russula sardonia, Suillus luteus, and Tricholoma ustale.

A similar profile of metabolites was observed in the studied species with the order sugars > fat > ascorbic acid > phenolic compounds > tocopherols. Nevertheless, the samples revealed different compositions: prevalence of sugars in L. volemus, fat and ascorbic acid in A. muscaria, phenolic compounds in C. anomalus and tocopherols, and antioxidant activity in S. luteus.


Chemical characterization of 12 mycorrhizal mushrooms was achieved. They are sources of nutraceuticals, such as sugars and fatty acids, and contain bioactive compounds, such as vitamins and phenolic acids. Edible species can be incorporated in diets as sources of antioxidants, while nonedible species can be explored as sources of bioactive metabolites.

© 2011 Institute of Food Technologists®

PMID:  22417480

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Amanita muscaria


Vitamin C