Mushrooms are Magic

What happens when you add Fall rain to Pacific Northwest’s soil?

Mushrooms happen. And… 

Mushrooms are magic. 

Using mushrooms for their medicinal properties is nothing new, especially in Asia, where they have been used for centuries. While recent attention has focused on the immunological and anticancer properties of certain mushrooms, holistic nutritionists say they offer other potential health benefits, including reducing cholesterol, protecting the liver and having antihypertensive, antioxidant, antidiabetic and antiviral properties.
— The Modern Farmer

It is true, there are “magic” or psychotropic mushrooms, which are now used in medical and therapeutic settings to cure depression, treat chronic illness, and PTSD, and the list goes on. But I would like to talk about non-psychotropic medicinal mushrooms, that carry a magic of their own. We can use Mycelium and the fruiting bodies, mushrooms, to enhance our health and well-being on a daily basis. Fungi have been used in both Eastern and Western indigenous medicine for thousands of years. Their symbiotic relationship with the human body is extraordinary. 

The biological intelligence of mycelial organisms is slightly understood by science, yet earth based medical practitioners and shamans understand the immense benefit of remaining in right relationship and good standing with the mushroom world. 

In substandard, chemical driven food production and conventional medicine, the good bacteria within the soil and within our bodies have been decimated. There are global repercussions to the overuse of antibiotics both within the bodies of humans, but also upon the earth body. Mono-crop style food production obliterates the necessary complexity of life within the soil. The overuse of antibiotics wipes out the good bacteria within bodies.

Mushrooms are the perfect antidote to both. They are pre-biotic, they are life enhancing. they both amend the soil and promote probiotic colonies in the body. We need both healthy soil and healthy gut biomes for our physical well-being, longevity and vitality. As underground mycelial networks return to forests and fields, the ecosystem begins to heal from the ground up. When we ingest mushrooms as medicine, we promote probiotic growth and heal from the ground up. What is good for the Earth, is good for the body.

Mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium, the subsurface fungal network responsible for breaking down biological substances. Mycelium is the foundation of our entire food web, creating the rich soil plants and animals depend on. Besides being delicious, mushrooms serve as prebiotics for the human microbiome, enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria [that our digestive function depends on]. Because of this, consuming mushrooms as a part of a balanced diet and can lead to improved digestive health and overall wellbeing
— -Paul Stamets in his article 'Mushrooms and Mycelium Help the Microbiome'.

One of the main reasons people all over the world have used mushrooms medicinally, is for longevity. This means that mushrooms have that ability to keep all systems of the body working better. Longevity means maintaining the youth and vibrancy of our cells, our tissues, and our organs. Mushrooms are designed to do the job. They make everything better.

There is a food to drug spectrum for all our medicines. Mushrooms are on the food end of the spectrum, but they are more powerful than pharma. I prescribe various mushroom formulations in my clinic. One of the reasons why I love these tinctures and use them as my own personal medicine, is that they are like food. They are not as specific as other Traditional Chinese formulas, which need to match each patient’s presentation precisely. Mushroom tinctures need to be appropriate for an individual, but don’t need to be as precise.  They are especially great for kids, athletes, the elderly, and folks with compromised digestion. But I think we should all take them with love and gratitude. And in doing so, we restore a very beneficial relationship with the mycelial world, and remain in good standing with the intelligence of nature. 

The health benefits of mushrooms are too vast to list, but here is an enticing synopsis:

Mushrooms are:

  • Adaptogenic

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Pre-biotic

  • Mood enhancers

  • Anti-oxidant

Mushrooms support:

  • Prostate health

  • Neural networks

  • Hormone balance

  • Brain function and longevity

  • Fluid metabolism

  • Weight loss

  • Lung function

  • Kidney, liver and adrenal complex

  • Healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels

  • Natural sleep cycles 

  • Hormone balance

  • Emotional wellbeing

I use mushroom tinctures cultivated and handcrafted with Love by MycoHerb company. My choice medicine of the season is called Tri-Forte - a mixture of Reishi, Shiitake, and Cordyceps mycelium and fruiting bodies (Ling Zhi, Shiitake, and Dong Chong Xia Cao).