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Alaskan native Inuits chewing the ash of a tree conch for psychoactive effects

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#1 Shamsu


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Posted 10 July 2012 - 03:45 PM

i have some child hood friends that are natives from Alaska and spent half of thier childhood in a traditional Inuit village. And the elders of thier village would collect what they called "Punk". "Punk" was described to me as a tree conch of some kind that they would burn to ash and then mix the ash with chewing tobaccoo. The resulting chewing tobacco/ash mix, when chewed, had psychoactive effects including hallucinations and dizzyness.

Does anyone know what species of tree conch this is? It is still a common thing today and sold in the villages for as little as $1/Lb. i will see if I can get a sample sent to me to see if I can identify it with the help of my fellow Topians

A quick google search only mentions the connection to sibberian aminitas being used by the natives in Alaska

#2 Shamsu


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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:52 PM

Ok so I was able to get the scientific name.

Plellinus igniarius is the fungi that is being used

Here is the info offered by Wikipedia....hope its not too much info to take in:eusa_shif

[1] Phellinus igniarius, Iqmik, used by native Americans with tobacco—by Diane Pleninger and Tom Volk

thats it! thats all thats offered up by wiki....anyways....

So after some more looking around here is some basic info

Plellinus igniarius is classified as a polypore that produces basidiospores. it is in the family Basidiomycota. the species that we call Plellinus igniarius is "probably a complex of species, with several "cryptic" (hidden) species"(Phellinus igniarius, Iqmik, used by native Americans with tobacco). Individual fungi can live for 20+ yrs. It is found growing on birch trees

Historicaly it has been used cerimonialy and recreationaly by native north americans and its use continues to this day. before tobacco was introduced to the Inuit people they chewed a combo of the Plellinus igniarius ash in combo with balsam poplar bark. after colonial contact the Micmac of Nova Scotia, Inuit of Labrador, Blackfoot of the North American Plains and Kwakiutl of the Pacific Northwest are known to use its ash in combo with tobacco. Its ash, known as "punk ash", is used today in combo with chewing tobacco. It is used for the same reasons that indians mix "cooked" snail shells into yopo preperations. the "Punk ash" changes the Ph of the mixture to allow for more efficient absorbtion of alkoloids in the tobacco and other plants.

So it turns out that the fungi itself is not active. But is used to increase the potency of other plants.

here is a wierd fun-fact....traditionaly the male would roll portions of shreded tobacco in Punk ash and make a quid. He would then pass it to a woman who would chew the quid untill the mixture(quid and spit) reached a desired consistancy and then pass it back to the male so that he could then hold it in his cheek and allow the juices to roll down the back of his throat. :special:Sounds tasty!:lol:

More indepth info can be found here....

#3 Shamsu


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:21 PM

Seriously no one has anything to say about this? i think it crazy cool use of a fungus, and it dates back into pre colonial history and use continues today!

#4 Amroth


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:22 PM

Interresting, i didnt know that..
I can imagine that i would feel dizzy with high amounts of tobacco/nicotine in my body.
I wouldnt do that..

I just read this here about Phellinus Igniarius, its a pdf file:

This fungi apparently contains high amounst of metals:
magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, manganese and lead.

Its probably not very bad since they do this for a long time now but it cant be healthy either..

If you're willing to try it, i'd like to hear how it went.

I had to think about an ashtray, i hope it tastes better :)

#5 warriorsoul


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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:27 PM

Interesting is that the natives used this polypore before tobacco was even introduced to the PNW.

#6 Arathu



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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:40 PM

Holy shit is my first reaction! :teeth: I have to wonder if they didn't also put out dis-information as a method of concealing what the true medicines were. In basic training I got busted with a big old dip of Copenhagen and the drills made me swallow it.....there ain't no fucking way I'm doing that on purpose..........But that's just me. I'll bet our Native American brothers and sisters knew a hell of a lot more than they revealed to the great learned and superior "white folk". Of course leaving religion out of it!

This is some damned interesting stuff here, thanks.

#7 stoffel



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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:24 AM

i have just seen this on 'alaskan state troopers' and i taught, theire must be something about iqmik on topia :). this is so cool. every time you discover a native use of fungus. yes verry intresting. arathu, what you are saying about dis information, reminds me of the cocoatl storie in south amerika, the spanish would think it is just a coco drink, but in fact it was a hallucinogenic drink. the cocao would enchance the psychedelics. maybe the ash was like the ash used in chewing coca or the ash in yopo and cebil. maybe before the whites came and before the tobacco, theire was an other indigrient only/or more active with the ashes? i would love to know the secrets :) they can carry the fungus and its ashes freely, if theire was or is an other indigrient also free from restriction because its not active, they can use it still together... who knows, maybe it is allready forgotten generations ago and do the natives not know more then us

edit, sorry for my verry bad english, i hope its understandable
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#8 Fakeman



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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:50 AM

The burning to ash part makes me very skeptical that any drug produced by the fungus would remain. Dizziness and hallucinations would definitely be consistent with high doses of nicotine.

#9 bindegal



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Posted 22 July 2012 - 10:58 PM

They do not use the mushroom as a drug, they burn it so they can use the ash as a base giving their tobacco a higher ph. Just like coca and betel chewers.
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#10 wildedibles



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Posted 22 July 2012 - 11:10 PM

Neat I have seen this fungus these type would burn well if dried enough some birch polypores are used for tinder :) neat :)
This is neat :)

Edited by wildedibles, 22 July 2012 - 11:16 PM.

#11 Arathu



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Posted 22 July 2012 - 11:41 PM

So many things were hidden from plain view, common knowledge as attempts to eradicate that sacred knowledge and thus freedom became apparent through actions. NO people on the planet have been immune, NO people on the planet were or are "savages", but one should become immediately aware when claims of "civilized", "chosen", or "superior" are made. Fuck, you can't even find clean water anymore. I hear ancient things calling me!

edit, sorry for my verry bad english, i hope its understandable

You're kidding right? :hugs: I can take you "downtown" right now where "english" is being spoken and you or I won't understand it......... you're doing great. Besides, we all need to learn tolerance and how to communicate with each other whatever language is being spoken..I know this, most everyone knows what the pipe is and the sound of a guitar and I've never been to a place that humans don't know what a smile is... after all it's one rock! :meditate:

Edited by Arathu, 22 July 2012 - 11:47 PM.

#12 wildedibles



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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

I find this an interesting mushroom along with other perennial polypores

we usually walk by on our hunts
they do grow bigger every year and the only attention it gets is in the winter when snow is covering the ground and all that's left is polypores < how is that spelled correctly anyway?

I want to learn more maybe I can find a sample to play with
I have a ph testing kit too I can test the ph b4 and after its burnt in a little bit of water?

#13 Erkee



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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

any ash will raise ph afaik,
wonder what's special here.. flavour? tradition? mildness?

#14 wildedibles



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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:23 AM

probably a mix of two or more things
there is a Native American smoking blend it may have been mixed with I will look up the ingredients :)

Ok one is Dog wood another is labrador tea but there is a small list I will work on it

now some of these relieve pain and are semi narcotic herbals on thier own mixed with something that makes them more basic ..... I will be back lol

Ok we have a list of 4 but I think there could be others mullien motherwort etc... but

"dog wood
labrador tea
bear berry

is a list I have for kinnikinnick smoking mixture from Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains and Neighboring Territories
There is a ton of medicinal uses for these plants bushes

"Labrador tea does contain ledol so caution should be used is can cause cramping, drowsiness, delirium, heart palpitations, or temporary paralysis. " Book

"I think this to be used in excess I have tried Labrador tea with small amounts and felt a mild pot like buz caution with alcohol use tho with somehting like the mushroom it maybe way different :) I will be back goona read more about this mixture and think about the mushroom mix " me

Edited by wildedibles, 23 July 2012 - 03:02 PM.

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