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Shrooms Are The Secret Behind Vikings’ Strength

People usually imagine Vikings as strong and invincible warriors who destroyed Northern Europe and scared its populations. Scientists have recently found the reason behind Vikings’ nature. They were basically using drugs like mushrooms and henbane.

Shrooms Are The Secret Behind Vikings’ Strength

Vikings probably consumed two types of mushrooms, the “fly agaric” (or “Amanita muscaria”) and the “panther cap” (or “Amanita pantherina”). They both have ‘Muscimol’, a substance that causes a swollen red face, chills, tremors, and a trance-like state. After a while, Vikings could feel less pain and fear and go to fight.

These mushrooms have also some side effects (vomiting, diarrhea, and twitching). In high doses, they can be fatal.

Experts tend to reject the ‘mushroom theory’ and give more credit to the ‘henbane one’, according to findings of the Croatian ethnobotanist Karsten Fatur. In fact, in Scandinavia mushrooms are not as widespread as henbane.

Henbane (or “Hyoscyamus niger”) is a poisonous plant with a yellow flower. Its effects are very similar to those of mushrooms. The plant has the compounds “Hyoscyamine” and “Scopolamine”, which block the acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Henbane causes a person to reach a state of confusion.

Vikings probably consumed the plant, because they felt no pain and were stronger.

Experts think that Vikings ingested henbane during rituals. They smoked dried leaves of the plant or drank infusions of it.

Archaeologists have developed this idea after new findings in the old Viking settlement of Fyrkat in Denmark. Inside some graves, they have found the rests of a priestess together with a case of henbane.

Shrooms Are The Secret Behind Vikings’ Strength

So it is likely that the priestess gave it to warriors during rituals before a battle. They could therefore reach the invincible state which made Vikings famous up to the present day!

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