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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's Culinary "Shroom" Adventure in China's Restaurant

Photo: On July 8, 2023, Janet Yellen held a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

Last week, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made headlines when she reportedly dined at a restaurant in Beijing and consumed a dish containing potentially hallucinogenic mushrooms. The restaurant, Yi Zuo Yi Wang, specializes in Yunnan province cuisine and caught the attention of a keen-eyed food blogger who spotted the esteemed official sampling various Chinese dishes.

Photo: Janet Yellen dining in a Chinese restaurant

Among the dishes Secretary Yellen ordered were grilled fish, greens, and jian shou qing mushrooms, a wild mushroom species native to Yunnan. The restaurant staff mentioned that she had a particular fondness for mushrooms and had requested four portions of this specific variety. They described the experience as an "extremely magical day."

While the Yunnan mushrooms are believed to have hallucinogenic properties, Dr. Peter Mortimer, a professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, clarified that the compounds responsible for these hallucinations have not been definitively identified yet. Despite the potential risks associated with the mushrooms, anecdotes suggest that consuming them can lead to hallucinatory experiences lasting several days.

The incident raised curiosity and concern, prompting inquiries to the Treasury Department for comment. Chinese state media quoted diners praising Ms. Yellen's interest in Chinese cuisine while cautioning about the effects of the mushrooms, describing a feeling of losing balance and walking sideways after consuming similar dishes.

As news of the Treasury Secretary's culinary adventure spread, the restaurant quickly found itself inundated with reservation requests. Their availability for Friday and Saturday was fully booked, showcasing the intriguing allure of dining at a place frequented by such a high-profile guest.

The incident sparked discussions around the use of hallucinogenic substances for recreational and medicinal purposes. Psychedelic substances, including mushrooms containing psilocybin, have garnered attention in recent years for their potential therapeutic applications in mental health treatment, particularly in addressing depression and anxiety. Research has shown promising results in controlled and supervised settings.

In conclusion, the news of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen trying potentially hallucinogenic mushrooms at a restaurant in Beijing raises both curiosity and concern. Psychedelic substances have shown promise in therapeutic settings. As discussions around these substances continue, it remains essential to prioritize informed research and responsible practices in exploring their potential benefits for mental health and well-being.

V. Taybron is a passionate writer, mother, and advocate for the safe and responsible use of psychedelic mushroom therapy.


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