When most people think of mushrooms the first thing that comes to mind are either the tasteless white button variety they see at every salad bar they’ve been to or the hallucinogenic variety also known as “magic mushrooms”. Fungi have been on the planet for hundreds of millions of years longer than the plant or animal kingdom. They are one of the most versatile of all living organisms. Many people don’t realize that the mushrooms you see and eat are actually the fruit of the hidden below the surface, mycelium.
The purpose of the mushroom or “fruit” is to mature and produce spores, much like a flower blooms and produces seeds. Mushrooms and mammals share many of the same characteristics. We both require outside food sources. We both breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide and water. Since we share the same types of needs to support life, we are able to take advantage of the many compounds the mushrooms manufacture to protect themselves in survival from pathogenic organisms such as bacteria, viruses & molds. Our mammalian bodies can utilize these helpful compounds very efficiently. Mushrooms have been utilized in medicinal applications for thousands of years. Many types of mushrooms have immune-boosting or immune regulating capabilities. Their role in treatment for auto-immune disorders has proven to be very beneficial. They are also used in the prevention, treatment and cure of multiple types of cancer. Turkey Tail mushroom in particular, is used to reduce nausea and other forms of side effects from chemotherapy and it also is used to keep white blood cell counts higher. Their use in fighting cancer is remarkable.
The use of mushrooms in medical science has been documented for thousands of years. Their application for various ailments such as central nervous system disorders, wound healing & blood circulation stimulation has also been successfully tested and documented. One of the more fascinating applications has been the use of mushrooms in environmental remediation. Their use to filter toxins out of run off from factory farming operations has proven to be extremely efficient and environmentally beneficial.
One always has to use caution when dealing with mushrooms though. Even though many are extremely beneficial, there are mushrooms out there that can also prove deadly. If you are not sure of the type of mushroom, it is better left to the experts. To take advantage of all the fantastic medicinal benefits of mushrooms, you don’t have to have a degree in Mycology. There are many great companies such as Mushroom Matrix and Aloha Pharmaceuticals that produce mushroom extract powders for humans and pets. They are easy to use and will provide all the benefits you are looking for.
So next time you see a mushroom pop up in your yard, take a closer look and marvel at all the magical goodness that lurks inside!