We have compiled your most frequently asked mushroom related questions into a handy journal article to refer back to whenever you are curious about the mycelial world. Please feel free to continue sending over your questions and will continuously update this page!
WHY DO MUSHROOMS HAVE SUCH COLOR VARIABILITY?
Some mushrooms with unpalatable or toxic compounds are distinctively colored to serve as a warning to potential predators. On the other hand, some mushrooms show off their vibrant colors to attract animal spore dispersers, analogous to brightly colored fruits that attract seed dispersers.
WHY ARE MUSHROOMS SPONGY?
Because of the presence of chitin (the cell wall of fungi). As mushroom caps open, the chitin cells stretch and elongate, increasing the space between them, leaving a spongy texture.
ARE MUSHROOMS HEALTHY?
Researchers have found that adding even a small amount of mushrooms into your diet could potentially lower your risk of cognitive impairment by significant amounts. They believe this is because mushrooms are rich in ergothioneine, an antioxidant and amino acid that protects cells against toxins, free radicals and harmful substances. It works as a cyto-protectant that protects brain cells from oxidative damage. By protecting brain cells, we can prevent cellular death and protect against neurodegenerative diseases. Another important reason to eat mushrooms for ergothioneine is because humans cannot produce this essential amino acid on our own.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN MUSHROOM ANATOMY?
Cap: The cap supports and protects the gills or pores which are where the spores are produced.
Gills: Gills or pores grow under the cap and produce spores. The toadstool grows to produce, protect and scatter the spores.
Ring: A partial veil grows from the edge of the cap to the stem, the ring is what is left on the stem as the cap grows and breaks the veil. The veil provides extra protection for the spores when the toadstool is young.
Stem/Stipe: The stem or stipe has to hold up the cap so that when the spores drop down they are high enough off the ground to drift away.
Volva: If the fungus has a universal veil, the volva is what is left of the veil at the bottom of the stem when the veil is broken. The veil is broken as the toadstool grows. This veil sometimes leaves spots on the cap as well.
Mycelium: The mycelium is the hidden ‘body’ of the fungus. It finds food for the fungus and when conditions are suitable it is able to produce a toadstool.
WHEN ARE MUSHROOMS READY TO BE HARVESTED?
Before they release their spores.
WHERE DO MUSHROOMS GROW?
Where mushrooms grow can be dependent on whether they are decomposers of dead organic material, or have a symbiotic relationship with the root system of nearby living plants. The ideal conditions for wild mushrooms to grow are shady or dark places, moist places, a growing medium or substratum, and a relatively cool environment. The temperature range for the growth of wild mushrooms can be from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Where they grow also depends on the mushroom or fungus itself. For example, Chaga needs freezing temperatures and very cold environments to grow, while Reishi happily grows in temperate forest environments and can be harvested in early summer or late spring.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH ARE SAFE TO EAT?
It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to properly identify mushrooms. If you want to increase your fungi education, look into academic courses or even books to learn more. We have an impressive mycology book selection on our website that would be a great place to start!
WHAT IS MUSHROOM CYCLING?
This involves starting and finishing single extract tinctures and then switching over to different mushrooms. It's speculated that cycling between different mushrooms not only enhances each mushroom therapy, but also stimulates the mushroom components through rest periods.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAGIC AND MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS?
Magic mushrooms contain hallucinogenic compounds such as psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin. They are also medicinal, but in a different way than functional mushrooms. Reports show that taking microdosing of magic mushrooms daily can help with anxiety and depression, while taking large doses of magic mushrooms periodically will induce something called “a trip,” which is used to heal long term mental and spiritual ailments. Belonging to the family of fungi, medicinal or functional mushrooms are organic herbs that are used in medicinal drugs in combination with other compounds to treat illness. Their bio-active compounds are rich sources of antibiotics and immunity boosters that enhance the curative power of certain medicines. Functional mushrooms each have their own specific benefits, however, they all work to balance your energy levels and hormones, strengthen your immune function, smooth digestion, and provide nervous system protection.
WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS?
Non-toxic substances, usually plant or mushroom extracts, that are held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning.
WHAT ARE THE MEDICINAL BENEFITS OF MUSHROOMS?
The complex and arcane biology of mushrooms grants some species some impressive health-boosting and wellness-enhancing properties. However, mushrooms can balance and stimulate the immune system, increase oxygen flow to the cells, enhance mental and creative acuity, regulate blood sugar, lower stress levels, promote sleep, and cure a myriad of physical, emotional, and mental ailments. In addition, studies have also found that mushrooms contain beta-glucans which are well-known in combating inflammation and also help in boosting immunity. Furthermore, mushrooms are assumed to protect against breast or other hormone-related cancers as they tend to inhibit an estrogen-producing enzyme called aromatase. Mushrooms also involve a type of lectin that identifies cancer cells and further prevents them from multiplying and dividing (8).
CAN YOU INGEST TOO MUCH?
Moderation is key with anything you consume. However, mushrooms are very safe to consume if no allergy is present. It is best to follow our recommended guidelines for consumption and if you need deeper healing, discuss higher dosages with your healthcare practitioner.
CAN YOU EAT MUSHROOMS RAW?
While you can consume these mushrooms in their raw form, the raw consumption of medicinal mushrooms hampers the nutritional benefits you may gain. To simplify, mushrooms have an outer coating that protects the nutrients inside it. As a result, when these mushrooms are cooked, boiled, or stir-fried, the cell walls around mushrooms disintegrate, and this disintegration unlocks the nutritional contents.
ARE MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS SAFE?
Medicinal mushrooms are considered quite safe. Yet, more clinical evidence and studies may indicate the side effects or adverse effects potentially associated with a higher dosage.
DO MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS FACILITATE WEIGHT LOSS?
Filled with essential nutrients, amino acids, and fibers, mushrooms consist of unsaturated fats. Thus, mushrooms keep your stomach filled for a long duration, which may prevent you from overeating. Likewise, the additional health benefits like blood sugar control, an increase in metabolic rate, and higher fiber content further contribute to a healthy weight loss without any long term side-effects. However, it is important to note that weight loss comes down to a healthy diet and lifestyle. As such, just eating medicinal mushrooms will not cause weight loss in itself.
ARE MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS SAFE FOR PETS?
Yes, they are. In particular, medicinal mushrooms are considered fairly safe for dogs. In fact, medicinal mushrooms help in boosting the immunity of your dogs, thanks to the presence of antioxidants. However, to start with, it is always advisable to first take small doses and check if it upsets their stomach. Further, before giving your pet any new substances, it is best to check with your vet to ensure it is safe.
ARE MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING?
Yes, medicinal mushrooms can be taken during pregnancy! In addition, some medicinal mushrooms are also safe to consume when breastfeeding. However, it is best to check with your doctor to determine whether or not certain herbs, foods, or substances are right for you when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
DO MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS CURE CANCER?
While we cannot make any claims, many studies and historic data do show that many medicinal mushrooms can help protect against and cure cancer by stimulating and activating the immune system to attack tumor cells.
WHAT ARE SPAGYRICS?
WHAT DO SPAGYRICS TASTE LIKE?
We won’t lie - earthy, bitter and potent. However, our offerings have flavor profiles to enhance absorption and enjoyment. For example, Clarity boasts cinnamon flavors and Harmony boasts lavender and ginger notes.
HOW LONG IS THE SHELF LIFE FOR SPAGYRICS?
About two years, however they are likely to last longer due to the alchemical spagyric process and concentration of alcohol.