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Hallucinogenic, Medicinal, and Edible Mushrooms in Mexico and Guatemala: Traditions, Myths, and Knowledge
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The traditional uses of mushrooms as food, curatives, and in sacred or religious rites among the Mexican and Guatemalan Indians are discussed. The Indian knowledge of mushrooms was represented in stone or ceramic figures or on codices, or through legends, all before or at the beginning of the J 6th century. Unfortunately most of the pieces and codices were lost during the Spanish Conquest; in addition, the Indians are slowly losing their traditions. However, it is possible to learn many interesting things mainly from the Aztec, Purepecha, and Maya cultures, which are discussed here. The sacred use of Amanita muscaria among the Indians is reviewed. The traditions and diversity of the hallucinogenic species of Psilocybe and also some Cordyceps are also discussed, of which Psilocybe presents approximately 45 species in the region. Interesting and mysterious Indian ceremonies in Mexico involving these mushrooms, which are a mixture of both Indian and Christian rites, are described. The curative fungi, among which puffballs, polypores, some phallaceous fungi, and some ascomycetes and lichens are very important, are al so reviewed in their many applications in traditional medicine. Finally, the common traditions of more than 200 edible species of mushrooms are discussed, showing the high number of common names, more than 3000, both in Indian and Spanish languages, in Mexico and Guatemala. In relation to these, the molds that are used to elaborate traditional beverages are reviewed.
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
Guzmán G. 2001. Hallucinogenic, Medicinal, and Edible Mushrooms in Mexico and Guatemala: Traditions, Myths, and Knowledge. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 3: 399-408
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