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This book takes a look at mushrooms in their diverse significance and varied use in our human culture.

What do mushrooms mean to people?

What do people do with mushrooms? - How and why?

What do people think about mushrooms?

How have mushrooms influenced cultural history?







Mushrooms and mankind


by Christian Rätsch










7 5/8 x 10 3/8 in.

19,5 x 26,5 cm

208 pages

Over 250 illustrations,

mainly in full colour




The cultural significance of mushrooms worldwide


The wonderful world of mushrooms and fungi

Mushroom names

Mushroom: a love-hate relationship

Edible mushrooms

Drinkable mushrooms

Healing mushrooms

Fire-lighting mushrooms

Mushrooms for smoking and to smoke and snuff

Mushrooms for love

Mushrooms for dyes

Mushrooms in mythology

Mushrooms and shamanising

Mushrooms and spirituality

Mushrooms and religion

Mushrooms for witchcraft

Mushrooms for killing

Mushrooms in fairytales

Legendary mushrooms

Strange mushroom stories

Mushrooms in art and handicrafts

Mushrooms in literature, comics and films

Fungal music

Fungal cultures






Christian Raetsch, Ph. D. (born 1957)

is a world-renowned anthroplogist and ethnopharmacologist who specializes in the shamanic uses of plants for spiritual as well as medicinal purposes. He studied Mesoamerican languages and cultures and anthropology at the University of Hamburg and spent, altogether, three years of fieldwork among the Lacandone Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, being the only European fluent in their language

In addition to his work in Mexico, his numerous fieldworks have included research in Thailand, Bali, the Seychelles, as well as a long-term study (18 years) on shamanism in Nepal combined with expeditions to Korea and the Peruvian and Columbian Amazon. He also was a scientific anthropological advisor for expeditions organized by German magazines such as GEO and Spektrum der Wissenschaften (Spectrum of Sciences).

Before becoming a full-time author and internationally renowned lecturer, Rätsch worked as professor of anthropology at the University of Bremen.

He is author of numerous articles and more than 40 books, including The Gateway to Inner Space, Plants of Love, Marijuana Medicine, The Dictionary of Sacred Plants and the renowned standard work Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants (recently being published by Inner Traditions, Vermont). He is also coauthor of Witchcraft Medicine, Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas and is editor of the Yearbook of Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness.