Making a tincture is a popular way of extracting the active compounds from medicinal plants and mushrooms. It involves using alcohol as a solvent and, when done properly, results in a shelf-stable product that can last for years.
This article explains how to make Amanita muscaria (also known as fly agaric) tincture. But first, let’s look at when to choose a tincture over other administration methods.
A Closer Look at Amanita Tincture
Amanita muscaria tincture is a common way of utilizing the famous mushroom, especially for microdosing or topical use. However, whether it is a suitable administration method depends on what the person using it is trying to achieve.
Some people may use Amanita muscaria to manage the symptoms of medical conditions, while others might be seeking its psychoactive properties. A tincture is unsuitable for the latter reason. Here’s why.
The primary compounds responsible for Amanita muscaria’s psychoactive effects are muscimol and ibotenic acid. Most people consider muscimol to be the more desirable of the two compounds since ibotenic acid is considered a neurotoxin and has the potential to cause side effects.
Typically, raw Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain higher levels of ibotenic acid and lower levels of muscimol. However, by preparing them in a specific way, it is possible to convert ibotenic acid into muscimol and make them safe for consumption.
The conversion process involves a reaction called decarboxylation and occurs in the presence of heat and acidic conditions. Many begin the conversion by drying the mushrooms in a dehydrator or oven and complete the reaction by simmering the mushrooms for up to three hours, sometimes adding lemon juice or citric acid to lower the pH.
Simmering the mushrooms results in a muscimol-rich “tea” that can be used to provide consistent doses of Amanita muscaria. It is effective because muscimol is water-soluble, meaning it readily transfers from the mushrooms into the tea. The downside is that it is not shelf-stable, although it keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator and longer if frozen.
Some people prefer to create tinctures as they can be kept at room temperature and last indefinitely. However, since muscimol is soluble in water and not alcohol, many have questioned amanita tincture’s efficacy.
Is Muscimol the Active Compound in Amanita Tincture?
Amanita tincture is a very traditional consumption method, and those who use it swear by its effects. It is most commonly used for microdosing or applied to the skin as a topical treatment. There is little clinical evidence on the topical use of Amanita muscaria tincture, but anecdotal reports suggest it may be helpful in the management of pain.
However, it is unlikely to cause psychoactive effects since a study found that tinctures extracted with vodka, as it is a commonly used method, contained no significant amounts of muscimol.
Furthermore, consuming alcohol and muscimol together in large quantities is not recommended as they share a similar mechanism of action. They both stimulate GABA-A receptors in the brain and inhibit signaling in the central nervous system. Therefore, consuming the two together could lead to dangerous side effects like respiratory depression.
It seems that perhaps another unknown chemical or chemicals are responsible for amanita tincture’s benefits. A 2023 study tested an Amanita muscaria tincture created using 80-proof rye vodka as the solvent. It found that the tincture contained no muscimol or ibotenic acid yet still had significant biological effects.
Further study of Amanita muscaria’s active compounds is warranted, as is research into the safety of taking amanita preparations long-term. Even so, many people believe there are benefits to using amanita tincture, as we will explore below.
Amanita Muscaria Tincture Benefits and Side Effects
There has been no clinical research into Amanita muscaria tincture’s effects and potential benefits. However, a 2023 study explored the most common reasons for amanita use, administration methods, and side effects among 684 individuals posting to Facebook groups.
It found that amanita tincture was most popular among female users, while males preferred using dried caps. The most common reasons for use were to reduce skin problems and pain among females and to reduce stress, depressive symptoms, and insomnia among males.
According to the study, some of the most common side effects of Amanita muscaria were headaches among females and nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and drowsiness among males. It is unclear whether this was due to differences in administration methods, although it is possible that consuming a tincture could cause fewer side effects than dried caps, which are likely to contain more ibotenic acid and muscimol.
How to Make Amanita Muscaria Tincture [Step-By-Step Guide]
If you feel that amanita tincture might be the best administration method for you, it is possible to purchase it online or create your own using dried Amanita muscaria caps. If you choose the latter option, we have provided a simple Amanita muscaria tincture recipe below.
- Any quantity of well-dried Amanita muscaria caps
- 80-proof (40% ABV) grain alcohol, such as vodka
- Weigh your amanita caps so that you can calculate the potency of your tincture later.
- Break the amanita caps into small pieces to increase their surface area, but do not grind them to powder, as this will result in a sludgy tincture.
- Place the cap pieces in a mason jar and cover with enough alcohol to submerge them fully.
- Place the jar in a cool, dark place and leave it for 3-4 weeks, shaking regularly.
- After 3-4 weeks, use a piece of muslin or cheesecloth to strain the amanita pieces out of the alcohol. It should be a rich honey to scarlet red color, denoting that you have successfully created an amanita tincture.
- Discard the mushroom pieces and measure the remaining liquid. You can calculate the potency of your tincture by dividing the weight of dry caps you used by the quantity of liquid. For example, if you used 10g of dried caps and ended up with 100ml of liquid, each milliliter of tincture will contain 0.1g of Amanita muscaria
- Decant the tincture into a dropper bottle and label it clearly. Include the potency of the amanita extract and the strength of the alcohol on the label. For example, “Amanita muscaria tincture, 0.1g/ml in 80-proof alcohol.”
- Store in a cool, dark place and use sparingly as required. We recommend consulting a healthcare professional before use.
Amanita muscaria tincture is a traditional administration method and is popular among those wishing to use the mushroom topically or orally in small amounts. It is unclear how amanita tincture works as it does not appear to contain muscimol or ibotenic acid. However, many swear by its benefits, and it is a simple method of preparing Amanita muscaria at home. If you plan on using amanita tincture or any other amanita product, consult a healthcare professional first to ensure it is safe for you.
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