The Power Of Medicinal Mushrooms by Urban Alchemy
The growth of mushrooms is often regarded as a random event shrouded in mystery.
Their sheer presence is thought to be based on luck or certain circumstances, this could not be further from the truth. The mushroom is deeply rooted in our environment and is one of the 4 kingdoms of our existence followed by the bacterium, plant and the animal kingdom.
So how is such an influential pillar of this planet grouped among singular vegetables as being similar? This post will aim to uncover the truth behind mushrooms and their powerful uses. To understand this impact we look towards symbiotic relationships between the kingdoms mentioned above.
Although mushrooms are a surface crop their veins deep below the earth connect the flora to vital resources. This symbiotic relationship is the highway of the forest where plants exchange their sugars for water and nutrients feeding each other in a mutually beneficial way. Mushrooms are not the only player in this symbiosis. Bacteria also present an exchange for nutrients to the plants above. One unique relationship is that of the legumes and rhizobium bacteria.
Legumes and soil bacteria
Commonly known as rhizobium, this bacteria has a special relationship with legumes alone. Unlike other soil bound organisms, rhizobium is able to pull more than water from the ground in exchange for nutrients. Instead this bacteria is able to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere while placing it in the soil for the plant to consume. Nitrogen is essential to plant growth yet is the fastest depleted of the 3 major nutrients. It takes the place of N within the fertilizer compound (N,P,K). Needless to say this is no simple feat.
What does this mean for humans?
Jumping back to our kingdom analogy we can now see the importance of mushrooms and bacteria in the plant kingdom. We all know the importance of plants in the animal kingdom, but what about mushrooms? Since we have no bartering options like the plant has with the mushrooms and bacteria we must rely on consumption to obtain the benefits. This can be a dangerous journey as the effects vary from death and illness to life in abundance. For the sake of this article we will be focusing on abundance.
Lion’s Mane mushroom
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is far from the button and cap varieties we are used to seeing in supermarkets and grocery stores. This mushroom is a cascading wonder of beauty that loosely resembles a lion’s mane. The benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom are that of cognition. With the ability to stimulate the brains neural growth factor (NGF) this mushroom has been shown in studies to offset the appearance of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. By introducing Lion’s mane mushroom in supplemental form one can expect improved long-term and short-term memory. This is especially critical for Alzheimer’s patients who are in need of neuron regeneration.
Popular in ancient Chinese medicine, the reishi mushroom is known for its immunising properties. As with many medicinal plants and mushrooms the reishi has adaptogenic qualities which make it an excellent option for everyday preventative use. Rather than slowing down the growth of bacteria (harmful or beneficial) this adaptogenic mushroom is able to stabilize stressors in your immune system. This stabilization leads to a healthier body by bringing you back to a point of homeostasis. Far different from pharmaceuticals that look to mask or muddle conditions, adaptogens aim to level your body out. This leads to a body to be free from internal harm, stress and even depression. As well as being an adaptogen the reishi mushroom has isolated compounds and enzymes that heighten your immune response. Some of these compounds have been shown to fight fatigue, heart disease and even forms of cancer.
For those looking for an all in one solution to their nutrition needs the METAMORPHOSIS formulation combines select plants, fungi and algae to deliver an optimal state. With 10 medicinal mushrooms aimed at the pillars of health including immune function, brain health and circulation. 4 major protein sources including the ancient food source spirulina as a blue green algae. Along with the benefits of bacteria in the form of digestive enzymes. Together these nutrient dense plants work with the absorption might of enzymes to give your body all that it needs to sustain and prosper in health.
My hope is that you gained some insight into what greatly influences our mind, body and planet. While consuming your meals try and become more mindful of this deep connection the plants, fungi and bacteria share because we are a part of that loop. Our mindfulness sits in this giving and forever receiving system that does not necessarily compete for resources but rather shares in abundance to see the other grow and prosper. By taking these anciently cherished plants we re-live this connection and grow stronger healthier bodies as a result.
Brock is the editor and owner of Urban Alchemy a site focused on the discussion of ancient medicine through modern analysis. For more information on medicinal mushrooms see his post on the benefits of lion’s mane mushroom.