Medicinal Mushrooms

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Impossible with half an hour on this topic in April mushroom hunting talk to list all the exciting things I’ve found. Here’s a smattering of what was and wasn’t covered and some links so you can do your own research.
I highly reccommend starting with this excellent discussion of medicinal mushrooms including Lion’s mane by Jon Seleen. 36 min

Hedgehog or sweet tooth fungus
I didn’t mention the destinctive hedgehog mushroom – hydnum repandum, also cutely named sweetooth.
Apparently very tasty and grows in the wetter native forests in Australia – Eucalyptus and Nothofagus. I can find photos taken at Bastion Cascades, Tas and in victorian locations incl. Sherbrooke forest. According to medicinal mushrooms(a succinct, well referenced amateur website by Robert Sasata) the compound repandiol isolated from it in 1992 in japan, kills a variety of tumour cell lines including colon cancers.

A number of people asked at the meeting about which of the medicinal Mushrooms I mentioned are also native to Australia. In addition to (Tremella fuciformis the jelly fungus, and Trametes versicolor, the turkey tail mushroom) we have a species of Grifola frondosa – hen of the woods, Hydnum repandum – the sweetooth or hedgehog mushroom, hericeum coralloides (= h. clathroides)  which is in the Lion’s mane family in eastern Australia including Tasmania, as well as a mention of hericeum erinaceus  - Lions Mane proper, in the Ottways, Victoria. Hericeum sp. are noted to stimulate production of nerve growth factor and may help regenerate nerves and aid myelination – useful for neuropathy, MS and dementia. http://mushrooms4health.com/hericium-the-nerve-regenerators/

Most of these I have seen in July while walking at Liffey Falls. They are all good eating except for turkey tail which is a woody polypore so purely medicinal like reishi and chaga.

Maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms ( Grifola frondosa ) in particular has a very high profile in terms of anti tumour potential: Dr. Warwick Gill PhD from UTAS, who also oversees the production of Glen Huon Mushrooms which supply our supermarkets, has been doing research into the native grifola sp. as well as commercialising other medicinal and gourmet mushrooms not yet grown in Australia. There is a possibility it contains more or less or even different compounds as it grows on different wood (eucalypt). Also as it has not had the long history of eating or medicinal use and we simply can’t buy them here anyway, I ordered the maitake for the meeting from floridaherbhouse.com Sounded yummy but proved to be from China, rather than wild crafted from the USA and obviously not as tasty as the fresh unfortunately. However no trouble to add to one’s normal diet unless you are allergic to mushrooms/moulds. They add a richness to a cooked dish – I especially like it boiled and steeped in reishi tea for 15 mins then added to a bolognaise.
A cancer story Amelie has been given a big bag of dried maitake every year since her diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2004. It was considered untreatable by conventional medicine. The website owner wrote back to me to say that Amelia is expecting a baby soon :) Although grade 2 astrocytomas can be very indolent Amelie’s tumour was in a bad spot tucked deep at the brain. I’m not sure what prognosis she was originally given, or what other therapies she is doing but the tumour isn’t growing and eating a bit of mushroom is obviously not a hard option.

Unfortunately funds for researching farming the michorizzal Matsutake (red pine) mushroom so beloved of the Japanese forests, ran out before Mr Gill achieved success in log cultivation. We did not find the dried north american matsutake worth the effort. If you would like to visit Glen Huon Mushrooms south of Hobart you can pre-arrange a farm tour on weekdays except friday (the farm sales and visitor centre is open though) – the shiitake and other mushrooms available are just so fresh and yummy, and according to research I have read, effective tumour preventors when just taken regularly as food rather than as a special supplement. Tassie tourism has put together a ‘Huon Trail’ which features various primary producers in the area.
850 Glen Huon Road Glen Huon TAS 7109
Phone: 03 6266 6333
http://www.leatherwoodonline.com/tastes/2004/mushrooms/index.htm

More Useful Links:
the Huffington post discusses radiation contamination of wildboars and mushrooms in Europe The chaga mushroom teabags I sourced from Chaga Mountain in North America – not Russia, its cultural home because of the fallout from Chernobyl. With the radiation released through Fukushima contamination of wild mushrooms in the pacific NW may become an issue.

Paul Stamets is a noted mycologist who has done several TED talks and a TEDMED talk on youtube about his work with medicinal mushrooms which helped his 84 yo mum  treat stage 4 breast cancer using turkey tail, herceptin and taxol.
His website is fungi.com
Lions mane and other mushroom extracts mentioned by John Seleen and Paul Stamets can be bought easily and cheaply from iherb.com Very reliable vendor (use promocode for VAZ829 for $5 discount and to support this website).

Christoper Hobbs – includes recipes eg. Wei Qi Soup for Building Immune Strength

Dr Nanba’s Maitake research please be aware Dr. Nanba in addition to researching also sells the stuff

back to mushroom meeting

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