Jian Shou Qing: The Magic Mushrooms Janet Yellen Ate in China

U.S Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is consuming the magic mushroom ‘jian shou qing’, and nobody knows what to think

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6:52 PM HKT, Thu July 27, 2023 1 mins read

In a curious turn of events, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen found herself immersed in an unexpected — and potentially psychedelic — culinary experience involving magic mushrooms during her visit to China.

A mushroom fan, Yellen ordered four portions of jian shou qing after landing in Yunnan. If not cooked properly, the mushroom can have hallucinogenic effects — turning her simple dinner into a mind-altering, mystic experience.

Jian shou qing (见手青) literally means “see hand blue.” After cutting or handling the mushroom, its thick stem quickly turns from yellow into a dark, grayish-blue as a result of pressure and oxidation.

‘Lanmaoa asiatica’ aka jian shou qing. Image via Mycocosm

The mushroom grows in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, famous for its diversity of ethnic minority groups as well as for the variety of wild mushrooms that grow in the mountains.

So what causes the hallucinations? Actually, experts aren’t sure, but it doesn’t seem to be psilocybin, the active ingredient in most recreational magic mushrooms.

“I have a friend who mistakenly ate them and hallucinated for three days,” a professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany told CNN.

“Our staff said she really loved mushrooms,” the restaurant wrote on social media. “It was an extremely magical day.”

To better understand the questions behind Yellen’s mushroom escapade, look no further than the videos of jian shou qing-induced hallucinations on social media.

Social media users encountering jian shou qing hallucinations. Images via Xiaohongshu

In one post, a young woman sits on a bed, waving her hands in the air. She looks quite normal, as she describes people emerging before her eyes, and disappearing as she gently wipes them away with her hands.

“This makes me want to have a taste,” writes one commenter.

Another asks, “Is it possible that what you’re seeing really exists, but we can’t see it in our ordinary waking state?”

“Please don’t try it yourself — what you see here is just a mild symptom,” warns a commenter on a similar post.

Meanwhile, the Yunnan restaurant where the incident occurred has quickly capitalized on its newfound notoriety. On their official WeChat account, they called Yellen “God of Wealth” (a real figure in Taoism and Chinese folk religion), and released a new “God of Wealth” set meal, made up of the dishes Yellen ordered.

Despite political tension surrounding Janet Yellen’s trip to China, the general Chinese public were amused at the idea of a foreign dignitary sampling their unique cuisine...and potentially tripping balls.

Cover images via Weibo

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