For a long time it was believed that the Vikings used fly agarics before their death-sowing raids.
However, researchers are now suggesting that another natural psychedelic was used to fuel war by the Vikings.
How to throw yourself in front of harsh lawlessness?
Scientists of Europe believe that the most fearless Vikings used the hallucinogenic herb before attacking neighboring tribes.
According to ethnobotanist from the University of Ljubljana Karsten Fatur, the elite Viking fighters, known as berserkers, may have used black henbane grass before battle.
The narcotic effect made the warriors unpredictable and very aggressive. Entering the battle, they lost all connection with reality.
Black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) is a poisonous plant from the nightshade family.
In small doses, the plant can cause visual hallucinations, manic syndrome, loss of inhibitory factors, and desensitization to pain.
In the Middle Ages, Viking troops terrorized Scandinavia and the surrounding European lands, raiding and devastating neighboring villages.
Berserkers have been known to rush into battle naked, fighting without armor with furious fury.
Perhaps the reason for their fearlessness and anger was the black henbane, which can be taken as a drug in several ways.
“They could brew tea from it, pour it into alcohol, mix it with vegetable fat and rub it on their bodies.
The plant reduced the feeling of pain and made them wild, unpredictable and very aggressive. “
Professor Carsten Fatur
In his opinion, the black henbane allowed the berserkers not to stop fighting even if wounded, and also helped not to perceive the horrors of the battle.
Dissociative effects such as loss of connection with reality could have occurred. Belena allowed them to kill everyone indiscriminately, without experiencing moral doubts.
Previously, scientists held the theory that fits of frenzied rage could have been caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol or possibly red fly agaric (Amanita muscaria).
But Fatur doubts that the psychedelic mushroom can lead to such a rampage.
Although relative aggressiveness and hyperactivity are possible, these symptoms are rare in the fly agaric and are not considered common signs of poisoning.
Not only vikings
Vikings, who take a black henbane before battle, are not the only cases when warriors entered the battle under the influence of intoxicating substances.
Ancient Greek armies often fought wars under the influence of alcohol.
Drunken destroyed the enemy and the ancient Roman legionaries.
Amphetamines were distributed to German soldiers during World War II.
In Vietnam, American military personnel, many of whom were already smoking marijuana or opium, were also rewarded with an additional portion of alcohol for effective combat.