|Photo with permission of Kevin Trim|
But back to the subject at hand. Did you know that some mushrooms have medicinal properties? That mushrooms have been used as remedies for illness for thousands of years, in the Orient as well as by our own First Nations people?
In early April, Roger Roberts, the Edmonton author of The Fungal Pharmacy led SVIMS on an afternoon foray and then gave an evening slide talk on medicinal mushrooms. The list of useful fungi was long and impressive. In fact, it seemed that hardly a mushroom didn't have some miraculous property. Since I haven't investigated homeopathic and natural remedies very much, forgive me if I sound somewhat skeptical of all the claims I heard.
Price tags of $6000/kilo (for Cordyceps) certainly got my attention, however, but the cost of a ticket to Tibet to pick them would surely eat into any potential profit margin.
The good old turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is easy to find and identify for a beginner and it tastes good too! That was a surprise. Roberts invited us to chew on a bit of new, soft turkey tail, so despite all the warnings about not eating raw mushrooms, we nibbled cautiously at first, but slowly delighted in its earthy taste. Medicine made with this fungus extends life expectancy to cancer patients after colon surgery, we later learned.
|Used for high cholesterol, diabetic tendencies, breast cancer|
Razor strap (Piptoporus betulinus) sounds like a good bet for world travellers bothered by intestinal parasites. Unripened puffballs can be used to staunch bleeding, and Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) has an antioxidant value 13 times more than blueberries. Hot dog! Who would've thought?
|This is the one that's gonna make my fortune!|
Never mind the headache. It's that time of year when we relocate to the Shuswap and do our mushrooming thereabouts until mid-fall. Stay tuned for our adventures there.
Have a wonderful summer, all you mycological maniacs!