“Mushrooms are food for the body and medicine for the soul” - Paul Stamets
From delicious nutrition, to healing, ceremony, and survival, people have been using mushrooms for millennia. These days, research-based evidence show just how beneficial they can be to:
- Help defend against diseases and infection
- Modulate blood pressure and cholesterol
- Support immune system
- Normalize blood sugar levels
- Support nervous system and neurogenesis
- Increase bone strength and durability
- Support mental health and well-being
- Augment overall health and longevity
The Science Behind Mushrooms
In fact, Penicillin is derived from fungi, which was a revolutionary discovery during WWII and has now saved millions of lives. With an estimated 1.5 million species of fungi on the planet, and only a small percentage of those scientifically studied and tested, it is fair to say that the potential of fungal based medicine is infinite. Mushrooms are nature’s miniature pharmaceutical factories, rich in a vast array of possibilities and wide open for exploration.
Common Medicinal Mushroom Varieties
The most common medicinal mushrooms are: turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) and tremella (Tremella fuciformis), although chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is fast gaining in popularity. Check out this mushroom supplement with an incredible blend of reishi, tremella and turkey tail.
Mushrooms & Humans Co-Evolving
Certainly, mushrooms did not evolve to become medicine for humans, but rather evolved to survive on their own. Similar to medicines that come from botanicals, many of the chemicals that fungi produce to flourish in the wild are also active in humans - a coincidence I think not.
It is an evolutionary advantage for humans to co evolve with our environment and our medicines. Prior to the pharmaceutical age, humans who could use plants and fungi as medicines were able to not only survive and reproduce, but also evolve.We owe a great debt and respect to the indigenous peoples that understood how to work with nature and her gifts of food and medicine.