Great Lakes Permaculture

Mushrooms can heal our bodies

Every day we fight to lose weight, eat healthy and to strengthen our bodies against all sorts of attacks from pollution, environmental and biological agents. We rely on vitamins, minerals, and the foods we eat to provide the building blocks that our immune system needs to fight the everyday sicknesses such as the common cold, flu’s and ailments, along with a myriad of deadly attacks such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. Yet we forget that mushrooms can be used to maintain and boost our immune system to fight the daily attacks along with assisting or even combating the most deadly of our body’s illnesses.

My Wife and I were partners of a health food store for more than seven years, over that time we became familiar with the benefits of a variety of foodstuffs that many people relied on to function in their daily lives. The value of an herbal supplement came from a variety of sources; some were as common as a garden plant and other were complex blends of ingredients from all over the world. One of those singular ingredients is the chaga mushroom (Nonotus obliquus), grown and administered in Russia as a protocol against cancer. This mushroom looks like a large knot on a tree that has been burned, most would look at it and think to them selves that it was gross; I do not want to touch that. But if you cut it off the tree, slice it thin, dry it and powder it, you can make a tea out of it or place it in capsules for use.

We know that blueberries are good for us because of their anti-oxidant capacity; they provide an ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of 2500 to 6900 depending on wild or domesticated, juiced or whole. The higher the number on the Orac scale, the higher the anti-oxidant capacity. But the chaga mushroom has a value of 110,000 on the Orac scale, almost 16 times the value of blueberries.

Another mushroom worthy of your consideration is the reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), probably the most respected medicinal mushroom in Asia. Once reserved for royalty to extend life and improve health, reishi mushrooms have historically been prepared as teas or infusions, other modern preparations including capsules and tinctures. The reishi is also quite beautiful to look at, deep reddish brown and saucer-shaped, sometimes referred to as “varnished conks”. Reishi is also added to chocolate bars, candies, energy drinks, and even coffee blends.

The turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) improves the immune systems of breast cancer patients. That is the conclusion of a multiyear study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The turkey tail mushroom assisted their immune systems, allowing them to rebound much quicker after their radiation therapy. I encourage you to take a look at the research for yourself at the link provided, make your own determination.

It is very easy to get started with medical mushrooms; you can consume only purchasing then in tea form, capsules, or simply dried to be rehydrated and added to your normal cooking, you may grow many varieties indoors with simple spore kits, or purchase outdoor kits which can be used for inoculation of a wood chip bed or logs. Purchase from someone you can trust, you need to know your source and enjoy the taste and health benefits, your body will.

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