Losing my Mycovirginity; our wild medicinal mushooms

Posted on January 30, 2010

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(late post…)
I can’t believe it was my first time. A few months ago I went to the annual Mycology (“fungus-ology”) expo at the Montreal Botanical Gardens put on by the Cercle des Mycologues (mushroom geek club, no offence intended, I am an aspiring mushroom geek!). As most of my clients and friends know I am a strong proponent of medicinal mushrooms and polypores for numerous health prevention, enhancement, and clinical treatment applications. I was astounded at the number of easily identified medicinal polypores we have in and around Montreal! I have so far generally purchased my myco-medicinals in powder, pill, or imported dried whole-herb formats. I was surprised to learn that many of my most valuable friendly fungi in my herbal arsenal can actually be found growing in the woods of Mont Royal! Some of the most healing and protective examples are of the class known as polypores, or wood fungi. They grow directly from rotting wood, have a very specific shape and hrd woody texture, the entire class is non-toxic, and most have at least some medicinal value. All this makes wild harvesting of polypores much easier and safer than the identification of wild food-mushrooms. Unfortunately the catch with polypores is that most are not directly edible or delicious per se – they are usually cooked up as a tea or broth often with other herbs. The result is not usually very pleasant to drink – but the health benefits make it worth the effort. (The squeamish can of course get myco-supplements in pill format.) I have already seen the powerful Turkey Tail (Yun Zhi), and Chaga on Mount Royal as well as the only truly edible and tasty polypore I know of, the Scaled Polypore (Polyporus squamosus).
So what do these mushrooms do? Well they do a lot! Mushrooms and polypores are some of the most well researched medicinal plants in the natural materia medica with numerous confirmed effects including antibacterial, antiviral, anti-tumor, properties, and amphoteric (modulating) effects on blood pressure, blood sugar, immune response, inflammation, platelet aggregation, and more. What does this mean exactly? Well it means that medicinal mushrooms may be the closest thing to a prevention silver bullet we have.
I personally take an array of these friendly fungi as often as possible for general health enhancement and prevention. Many are also useful for specific ailments.
Perhaps the best source for medicinal mushroom information backed by numerous studies, is the author and mushroom expert Paul Stamets. I plan to include many more entries on this subject in the future!

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