For hundreds of years, shamans from many different traditions have been using magic mushrooms for their medicinal properties. Native shamans, in particular, have long revered these mysterious fungi, believing there to be powerful healing properties within. But what exactly are these healing abilities, and what evidence is there to support these ancient claims?
Natives of South America have passed down ancient knowledge, which states that magic mushrooms possess the power to reduce pain symptoms. While there have been no clinical studies conducted on humans, research conducted in the early 2000s found that psilocybin (the active ingredient in many species of magic mushrooms) effectively dulled the perception of pain in rats. While further studies are needed, these results suggest that magic mushrooms possess the potential to be used in the future for pain relief.
Mental health benefits
The native shamans also extend their claims to mental health. And, while there is less research on this so far, recent studies did, in fact, report significantly reduced levels of depression and anxiety. The researchers also claimed that the mental health benefits could be sustained for several weeks following the psilocybin experience.
What might be most fascinating are the claims of spiritual connectivity. Native shamans believe that magic mushrooms “open the mind” and “heighten spiritual awareness”, allowing individuals to more readily connect to the spiritual realm. A 2010 study conducted with experienced meditators found that those provided with psilocybin reported heightened spiritual wellbeing and a considerably deeper connection to spiritual energy than those provided with a placebo.
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