Can an Orgasm be Caused by the Scent of a Mushroom? – The Stinkhorn Mushroom


Legend of the Mamalu o Wahine  (Women’s Mushroom)
The Hawaiian Stinkhorn Mushroom

There is a legend, handed down through the generations from a source shrouded in the mists of time. Appearing mysteriously, in varying forms, in far flung regions of the globe, but particularly the South Pacific, telling a similar story various cultures speak of a mushroom with aphrodisiac effects on women.

In the Hawaiian Islands, the high islands of Polynesia, the islands of Samoa,Tahiti, Rarotonga, and the Marquesas.
They speak of a mushroom with peculiar properties; giving rise to tales of women who encounter this mushroom in the forest and fall into-ecstatic sexual fits of orgasmic proportion. Mamalo o Wahine, the mushroom that makes women go mad with desire!
Only when the gods are pleased will they bring
forth this magical plant, and only if a woman leads a good and
virtuous life will the gods reward her with this special treat just
for her pleasure. Or so the legend goes…
But, is there truth to this old time myth?
And how could this benefit the world in modern times?
(The very interesting Phallus shaped Hawaiian Stinkhorn)
In an effort to uncover the answers to these questions which occurred to me quite randomly, just as the folk lore itself seemed curiously to flit into my awareness most suddenly one blustery evening while searching for leads in my quest to unveil the mysterious properties of fungi, I ran across an article in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms describing a strange and wonderful practice in Hawaii: women gathering together to search for a particular mushroom. Upon finding it, they inhale the aroma; the scent of which causes pronounced sexual arousal, often orgasmic in nature!
The Following is an excerpt from the article:
(The Stinkhorn-Very Phallus in Shape)
Studies Show:
According to a 2001 publication in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, the smell of the fresh fungus can trigger
spontaneous orgasms in human females. In the trial involving 16 women, 6 had orgasms while smelling the fruit body, and the other ten, who
received smaller doses, experienced physiological changes such as increased heart rate. All of the 20 men tested considered the smell
disgusting.  According to the authors, the results suggest that the hormone-like compounds present in the volatile portion of the gleba may
have some similarity to human neurotransmitters released in females during sexual activity. The study used the species found in Hawaii, not
the variety cultivated in China.  [44]”
[44] Holliday JC, Soule N. (2001). “Spontaneous female orgasms triggered
by smell of a newly found tropical Dictyphora species”. International
Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 3: 162–67. ISSN 1521-9437,2e5fc0e3182d70db,6f3ed2921c9f3802.html

Personal Summary:

Okay, great, so this fungi is the real deal; great news for women the world over, but how can that be applied as a solution to the problems of the earth? It turns out that humans have a lot of pull in the planets ecology. In fact, warfare is a leading factor in many of our negative ecological impacts. For example pesticides are derived from formulas originally used in warfare. So, while it may seem a bit of a stretch to say that more satisfied people have less to fight about thus diminishing international wars, we have only to look at the bonobo’s matriarchal sexual method of conflict resolution to see that there may be something to the old slogan “Make love, not war”. In its most fundamental aspect war can be seen as an extenuation of human kinds inability to get along and resolve basic differences, beginning on an individual basis and extrapolating out to larger groups, and eventually whole countries. One of the greatest benefits of sexual health seems to be an increased sense of well being, but that is just the tip of the iceberg as studies have shown sex improves health not only in the mental arena, but also physiologically. Sexual interaction; boosts the immune system, relieves stress, improves heart health, builds trust and intimacy, prevents erectile dysfunction, and much more!   In my experience I feel that a strong case can be made for the following stream of cause and effect: “Healthy people, healthy minds, healthy planet/Unhealthy people, unhealthy minds, unhealthy planet.”

By:  Rayne Grant

14 responses to “Can an Orgasm be Caused by the Scent of a Mushroom? – The Stinkhorn Mushroom

  1. So fun to run into this, as I am the woman who introduced Dr. John Holiday to this mushroom! I had experienced amazing yet peculiar events after finding a fairy ring of exquisite in color, terrain, design and order,an unknown mushroom in Lava Tree forest on the Big Island. After testing this amazing plant on my friends and enlivening my life with the wonders of it. It disappears so quickly after fruiting. Once a person has seen or smelled it it cannot be forgotten. Upon meeting Dr. John the name Stinkhorn Phallus became known to me. I have still to see an image of the kind I found that day. I did find a solitary few. They see to glow from the lacy veil that hangs so uniquely. I spread spores in many places and have heard that friends have found them and found this to be true.

    • Hi Patricia,
      Would you happen to remember what month or date you found this mushroom?


    • Absolutely fascinating. Makes me want to book a flight to Hawaai ASAP! Thank for posting, Elaine Williamson

    • Patricia,

      I would so love to chat with you! I got to meet and talk to John Holliday last year, this time. He said that he used to put on talks about this subject, but there are so many people who are adamantly against this…and so now he focuses his talks on other projects that he is working on. He also pointed out that Darwin’s daughter wrote about this fungi in one of her books. I must read it!

      I believe that more tests need to be conducted, personally. Yes…I must chat with you…and soon! I hope, at least. I will try to find you online. And perhaps John has your contact info? I am on Facebook under Rayne Grant..and also my documentary page “Can Mushrooms Save the Planet?”

      • BTW Rayne, what you linked to is called an abstract, a summary of the paper with none of the details. To read the entire paper, which is the only way to determine if a study is valid, you need to pay money to that website, or get a copy from the author, or attempt to get a copy through interlibrary loan, not easy since it is hardly a “reputable” journal, and certainly isn’t in any of the local University libraries.

        After reading it, I can well understand why Holliday is no longer exposing himself to ridicule on the lecture circuit. Even thoughtful members of the male persuasion can tell a load a BS when they hear it, as long as they let that big head do the thinking.

        For a woman to think that this is anything other than nonsense makes me worry about my sisters.

        Be smart, be proud, THINK FOR YOURSELF!

        Smooth talking Cons are everywhere. Don’t get suckered.

        Fungally yours,


  2. This is cool. But why do you write “Women require arousal to occur from an outside source before having a desire for sex”? This doesn’t hold. Also, this would imply that the mushroom is good for reaching arousal, whereas I see it as good for reaching orgasm (e.g. for women who have no lover/boyfriend, and/or have problems with orgasm and don’t like sex toys).

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  5. Garbage in, garbage out. If you talk to real Hawaiin mycologists, you will discover that this is a load of nonsense. Sure, Phallus fungi look like penises, hence their genus name. But they smell like something long dead. In what way is that “sexy?” One would have to have a very strong imagination, an over-active sex drive and a complete inability to smell rotting flesh to think that these fungi are “sexy.” “Hawaiin traditions” are a load. These interesting mushrooms were actually introduced into the islands recently, they are NOT native and there is no “long tradition” of women gathering them. Why would they? Pee yew, stinkhorns!

    The Journal that Holiday published in is rather obscure, and not available online. Have you actually read the paper prior to citing it here? I am in process in having it sent to me by interlibrary loan, but I can tell you that a woman in Dr. Hemmes’ lab on the Big Island vomitted after smelling it, a far more usual occurrence.

    Dr. Hemmes is an actual expert on Hawaiin mushrooms ( Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii at Hilo, and author of “Mushrooms of Hawaii”), and not just educated but also full of common sense, something that appears to be lacking in this discussion.

    The odor of rotting flesh in mature stinkhorns attracts flies, which disperse spores. That is what it is designed to do. Unless you are a “necrophiliac,” (that’s a joke, for the humor impaired) I can’t see where this would be any sort of a sexual attraction to anyone, anywhere. This is junk science.

    • Hello Debbie,

      Thank you for the post! If I can get more testing conducted on are one of the first to receive a dose! 😉
      Why? Well… perhaps it’s because you are such a skeptic that it would be interesting to see the results.. And who knows, perhaps you could use an extra orgasm???

      All joking aside…

      Yes…Darwin’s grand daughter, Gwen Raverat, wrote about this particular mushroom in 1890 in a book called “Victorian Remenicence”. David aurora also mentions this in Mushrooms Demystified.

      As far as the article written in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, the article can be downloaded and read here:,2e5fc0e3182d70db,6f3ed2921c9f3802.html

      • And your point is …?

        Yup, stinkhorns occur all over the world. The netted stinkhorn, the one that is claimed to have such magical results in women, does NOT occur in England, however, just in the tropics. It was introduced to Hawaii, along with many other species of saprobic fungi, through the movement of ornamental plants and mulches.

        Darwin’s relative more likely encountered the Dog Dick Stinkhorn, also phallic and also foul smelling, or perhaps Phallus impudicus, both of which occur in Northern climates.

        Just because stinkhorns exist all over the world, and attract lots of attention, primarily negative, does not lend any credence to this preposterous theory.

        In Victorian times, perhaps women fainted away at the sight of a woodland “penis,” but it is not progress to pretend that the same sight, coupled with the indisputable odor of shit and death, now causes us to erupt in paroxysms of delight!

        Arora does indeed talk about the interesting stinkhorns, but hardly claims that they smell good or cause any effect other than wanting to get as far away as possible.

        Have YOU smelled these things? I certainly have, and have photographed and drawn them and written web pages on them (see Clathrus ruber, on the BAMS website).

        The beautiful, foul odored, white skirted Phallus indusiata is eaten as an edible sp. in China, but ONLY after that nasty smelly gleba is washed away! Others enjoy eating them in their egg state, before the gleba develops that awful odor, but it helps if you are already fond of stinky cheeses.

        I got a copy of the full article from Holliday himself. I read the entire paper, such as it is. No references, wild claims, no study protocol given, just a lot of speculation and nonsense.

        Plus, financed by Big Pharma, in hopes of getting some kind of profit out of unsuspecting victims, in the broad gray zone of “medicinal mushrooms.” That wasn’t cited in the paper, either, but confessed to me by Holliday. It’s called “conflict of interest.”

        I have smelled stinkhorns. They are not pleasant. This is merely misogynist garbage, and especially ridiculous and sad when women jump on the bandwagon.

        I call bullshit!

        All the best to you in Fantasyland!

        Debbie Viess

  6. As for some strange reason you used this article to go into a strange and out of place tirade about war while considering what this fungus can do for the world I naturally considered it’s applications for military use. I quickly thought of concentrating the active substance for a gas attack against enemy armies which allowed female fighters to take the field… for hilariously effective results.

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