COMMON NAMES: Cone Caps, Ya’nte, Ta’a’ya, Tamu (‘Mushrooms of Awareness’)
Members of the genus Conocybe are thin, small mushrooms that are pale orange-red in color and have conic or bell-shaped caps. They grow up to three inches in height. The lamellae turn a rusty brown color when the spores are forming. Some members of the genus contain psilocybin (Ratsch 1998, 652).
Conocybe siligineoides is a sacred fungus found only in Mexico. It grows on rotting wood. No chemical studies have been conducted and therefore it is uncertain whether psilocybin is present in the mushroom. It was collected in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1955 by Gordon Wasson. Members of this species are currently a schedule I substance in America and Australia (botany.hawaii.edu n.d.).
TRADITIONAL USES: The common name for C. siligineoides is Ya’nte, or Ta’a’ya. The Mazatec use the mushroom as an entheogen.The Aztecs called sacred mushrooms Teonanacatl, or ‘food of the gods’ and used them ritual and for divination and healing. Recently, a cult centering around Tamu, or ‘Mushroom of Awareness’, a species of Conocybe, has been discovered in the Ivory Coast region of Africa, as well (Samorini 1995).
TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: Season and availability generally determine the types of mushrooms that are used ritually. Anywhere from 2-30 mushrooms will be eaten during a ceremony, depending on type. They are consumed fresh, dried, or ground and made into a tea.
MEDICINAL USES: While there is little mention in the literature about Conocybe siligineoides being used in a medicinal context, the compound psilocybin itself has demonstrated promising therapeutic effects in clinical studies. In sub-hallucinogenic doses, psilocybin has been demonstrated to reduce the symptoms of migraine and cluster headaches. Clinical studies that have been done on psilocybin have found great potential to benefit patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and possibly even schizophrenia. If any of our readers have information about the medicinal use, past or present, of Conocybe siligineoides specifically, we welcome your input.
TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: If C. siligineoides does indeed contain psilocybin, which it seems to do, based on traditional use and the chemical components of related species, one would assume that the effects of consuming it would be very similar to those of eating other psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Such effects include both visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as the ability to enter the dream world while still conscious.
PHOTO Property of: Alan Rockefeller
Guzman, Allen and Gartz, A Wordwide Geographical Distribution of the Neurotropic Fungi, an Analysis and Disscussion, 1992.
Hofmann, A., Ratsch, C., Schultes, R., Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 1992.
“Mushroom and Religion: Conocybe, Panaeolus, Psilocybe and Stropharia.” Botany.hawaii.edu, n.d. http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/BOT135/Lect20b.htm.
Ratsch, Christian. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications. Park Street Press; Rochester, VT, 2005.
Samorini, G. “Traditional Use of Psychoactive Mushrooms in Ivory Coast?” Eleusis 1 (1995): 22–27.