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Modern Mysteries

Berserker Vikings drank hallucinogenic tea

By T.K. Randall
February 19, 2020 · Comment icon 11 comments

Viking berserkers were a wild bunch. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Wolfmann
Scientists have determined what it was that made the fiercest Viking warriors so fearless and ferocious.
Famed for their advanced seafaring skills as well as their penchant for carrying out brutal raids on coastal settlements across Northern Europe, the Vikings were a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps the most feared among them were the berserkers - warriors who employed an unparalleled level of brutality and a frenetic fighting style that made them unrivaled on the battlefield.

Now in a new study, scientists have shed new light on what was behind the berserkers' fearlessness - a potent herbal tea made from henbane which is a plant containing two types of hallucinogen.

Under the influence of this hellish brew, the berserker warriors would have experienced a reduced sensation of pain, a major increase in aggressiveness and a reduction in ethical constraints.
"It would have reduced their sensation of pain and made them wild, unpredictable and highly aggressive," said ethnobotanist Karsten Fatur from the University of Ljubljana.

"There may also have been dissociative effects, such as losing touch with reality. This might have allowed them to kill indiscriminately without moral qualms."

The use of this drug may also explain why these warriors became extremely tired and needed a large amount of recovery time after combat.

"This plant has been used as an intoxicant in many European cultures, so it isn't unreasonable to assume that the Vikings also knew of what it could do and found ways to employ it," said Fatur.

Source: Sputnik International | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by XenoFish 4 years ago
Red Bull and LSD, not even once.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
Ive heard that they would eat psilocybin mushrooms an run into battle naked that would be scary being attacked by naked ravenous vikings.
Comment icon #4 Posted by AstralHorus 4 years ago
General butt naked, a warlord out of Africa. would go into battle butt naked except for his boots and machine guns, with his child soldier army... but hes a Christian now so its ok
Comment icon #5 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
I doubt it was shrooms. As someone who's taken them several times, extra aggression/rage, losing one's moral center, etc. wouldn't happen. Now, there are plenty of hallucinogens that could cause one to go violent, but not shrooms, IMO. They're quite mellow. At least in typical trip-out doses. I've never taken handfuls of them at once, so...I dunno.
Comment icon #6 Posted by AstralHorus 4 years ago
Everyone’s different, especially while being in a different society. I have seen people get quite violent and agitated while on shrooms. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Ell 4 years ago
Them scientists must have overdozed on henbane themselves, considering their absurd notion.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
True, and I could see how if someone was already primed to rage out, tripping could intensify it. I've never taken a psychedelic substance (or any drug, including alcohol) with the intent to rage, though. I go into such things with the intent to relax, enjoy myself, be calm/cool, etc.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aardvark-DK 4 years ago
Ahhh that explains my's my ancestery...
Comment icon #10 Posted by AstralHorus 4 years ago
Dont believe its anyone intentions unless theyre psychotic. Psychedelics love to tap into and magnify those darker aspects of ourselves we like to deny and hide. Ive had people I knew attack random bystanders and police, or attempt to harm them selves by throwing themselves down stairs due to unseen reptilians. People who where all “psychologically normal” prior to ingesting 
Comment icon #11 Posted by DodgyDaoist 4 years ago
As individuals , maybe not, as a mob, a different thing. All you need is 1 or 2 to psych up the group.

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