"I have a friend who mistakenly ate them and hallucinated for three days."
Magical Diplomacy Tour
On a recent trip to Beijing, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her dinner companions feasted on Chinese wild mushrooms that are believed to be hallucinogenic, CNN reports, setting off questions and a surge of interest in the fungi on both sides of the pond.
The mushrooms, known as jian shou qing, are so potent that they can send you on a bender for days, according to an expert who spoke to CNN. But they're known as a delicacy in China's Yunnan, a landlocked province that borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
"I have a friend who mistakenly ate them and hallucinated for three days," mushroom expert and professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany in Yunnan Peter Mortimer told CNN.
Thankfully, there were no reports of Yellen or her dinner companions suffering hallucinogenic bouts after ordering four portions of the shrooms from the Yunnan-style restaurant chain Yi Zuo Yi Wang, which translates into "In and Out." Apparently, the mushrooms are rendered harmless when you cook them properly.
After Yellen's visit earlier this month, CNN reports that China’s state news agency Xinhua interviewed shoppers buying the same shroom Yellen ate, which are knobbly looking and have a reddish color, with one person saying eating them sent her on a tailspin: "You thought you were walking straight but you just fell sideways."
Back in America, hallucinogenic mushrooms — by far the most common being psilocybin— remain illegal at the federal level but are slowly gaining acceptance for recreation and the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. For example, Oregon allowed adult use of psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, earlier this year.
The occasion for Yellen's trip was to smooth over the often turbulent US-China relations, according to CNN. Perhaps her willingness to eat at a Yunnan-style restaurant went a long way towards making a favorable impression, since her dinner was avidly followed on the Chinese micro-blogging website Weibo.
The restaurant confirmed the visit and said in a translation provided by CNN: "Our staff said she loved mushrooms very much. She ordered four portions of jian shou qing (a Yunnan wild mushroom species). It was an extremely magical day."
The visit prompted a surge of orders for the same dish, CNN reports — and the video segment from Xinhua, thankfully, provided guidance on how to ingest them without getting high as heck.
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