Mushrooms are all the rage these days; from their magical healing qualities and health benefits to their impact on supporting and repairing our natural ecosystems, mushrooms are claiming their spot as the most health-promoting ‘superspecies’ today.
Paul Stamets is a mycologist known around the world. He says mushrooms have the potential to solve some of our biggest problems.
Watch him along with many other experts in a new documentary called Fantastic Fungi. If you have two minutes, check out the trailer below.
Garden Media Group’s Garden Trends report, Seeing 20/20, calls mushrooms ‘nature’s recycling system’, capable of helping clean up oil spills and absorb pollution. They even have the potential to help save the bees.
Have you ever heard of the Pestalotiopsis microspora? It’s a mushroom discovered by Yale students in the Amazon in 2012 that eats plastic!
It lives without oxygen, and researchers say the mushroom species would be able to chew through plastic trash in our landfills from the bottom up.
Since the initial discovery, several more plastic-eating mushroom species have been discovered, including the aspergillus tubingensis fungus, which can break down plastic materials within weeks.
Imagine reducing the natural rate of plastic decomposition from 400 years to a few months?
It’s a game-changer.
Mushrooms and Human Health
Mushrooms also have many health benefits for humans. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, they’ve been found to help fight off contagious viruses such as smallpox and the flu.
Research has also found certain varieties can protect against cancer and keep our hearts healthy.
According to the Garden Trend’s report, mushrooms help prevent and treat more than 200 health conditions. They also boost immunity, improve digestion, and help with the weight-loss process.
They can be cultivated and made into teas and tinctures, though, one must be confident of what they’re doing when harvesting from the wild.
There’s ample opportunity to eat them. From shiitake, cremini, oyster, and chanterelle, the possibilities are endless. And in a world currently obsessed with plant-based diets, the mushroom’s meaty texture has made it a valid alternative to burgers and steaks.
They’re an excellent source of the “fifth flavor” called umami. According to Mushroom Cultivation: An Illustrated Guide On How To Grow Your Own Mushrooms At Home, umami has a savory taste similar to seared meat.
Much different from the portabello mushroom you’ll find in a burger, magic mushrooms are making headlines for greatly helping cancer patients cope with the mental stresses of a diagnosis.
The active compound in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, has been found to have a positive impact on the quality of lives of cancer patients and reduce their symptoms of anxiety and depression.
However, mushrooms containing psilocybin are currently illegal without a prescription.
Still So Much To Learn
Whether for medicine, nutrition, or healing the planet, there is still so much research to be done on the potential of mushrooms.
What we know already is pretty amazing.