Paul Stamets sits amongst a patch of fly agaric mushrooms and describes the effects of temperature changes on mushroom formation
A study published by The Lancet investigates the use of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.
This study provides preliminary support for the safety and efficacy of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression and motivates further trials, with more rigorous designs, to better examine the therapeutic potential of this approach.
This is the first investigation of the safety and efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for major depression.
The findings imply that psilocybin might have value as a treatment option in the management of treatment-resistant depression. Single oral administrations of 10 mg (safety dose) and 25 mg (treatment dose) psilocybin were well tolerated and led to enduring reductions in symptom severity after the two sessions.
A team from the University of Copenhagen and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have discovered that leaf cutting ants don’t just grow mushrooms for food but also for medicine.
A number of newspaper have reported that the Forestry Commission plan to introduce a complete ban on fungi picking in the New Forest. This appears to be a gut reaction to the poor mushroom season last year and is based on no known scientific evidence. In fact there are a number of long term scientific studies that show foraging has no detrimental effect on fungi and may even have a positive effect.
The link is a press release from the Association of Foragers about this proposed ban. The Association of Foragers is an international association of nearly 100 foraging tutors and suppliers who teach and practice sustainable foraging and rewilding.
For more factual information see The Association of Foragers website
A group of Taiwanese researchers led by Yu-Jen Chen have been investigating the anti-cancer properties of Honey Fungus Armillaria mellea, the common parasitic fungus feared by gardeners and foresters the world over but also a delicious edible mushroom. Their research shows that extracts of Honey Fungus, Armillarikin and Armillaridin are cytotoxic and induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells of Leukemia and Malignant Hepatoma. You can read their recent paper here
Honey Fungus can form some of the biggest organisms in the world covering many square miles of forest in North America. They are chiefly regarded as parasitic on trees but can also live as saprophytes growing on dead wood and probably also as mycorrhizal partners with some trees. They are themselves parasitised by orchid species such as the the Lady Orchid in the UK.
See my Wild Mushroom Guide http://www.mushroomtable.com/wild-mushrooms/honey-fungus/
They are rarely a problem in native woodland, where there is a healthy mycorrhizal community of fungi, only affecting very weak or stressed trees. In gardens however, where most of the shrubs and trees are non-native, the mycorrhizal fungi are less well established and the plants are looking for mycorrhizal partners. This is where Honey Fungus can take hold before other mycorrhizal fungi can partner with the new plants and protect them.
Honey Fungus are a delicious edible mushroom which can be harvested in prolific quantities. In the UK they are usually in season in mid-October. They are an excellent choice for preserving and pickling, as well as cooking and eating. http://www.mushroomtable.com/recipes-2/honey-fungus-and-potato-pancake/
A team of researchers from University of South Florida led by Jeffrey Cunningham are developing a method for recovering the metals from scrapped rechargeable batteries using fungi. Cunningham presented his paper to the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society this week.
Many mushrooms are known to be bio-accummulators of metals and have been used for bioremediation on polluted land. Cunningham and his team are using the fungi to recover the metals before they reach the landfill.
Italian company Life Materials are producing a vegan leather-like material from mushrooms called Muskin. It has the texture and feel of soft suede. They make Muskin from the cap of a conk of Phellinus sp. This is the same group of mushrooms that have traditionally been used to make hats, belts and small leather items in Romania. One of these Romanian hats is famously sported by the American mycologist Paul Stamets. More about Muskin here http://lifematerials.eu/en/shop/muskin/
Started picking the first of this years crop of reishi today. Always a very beautiful mushroom. The latin name is Ganoderma lucidum. Ganoderma means shiny skin and lucidum means bright. As you can see from the picture it lives up to its name.
Reishi commonly known as the mushroom of immortality has been revered for their medicinal properties for thousands of years. In traditional Chinese medicine they are regarded as cure all and have been shown to have beneficial effects on immune dysfunction, sugar regulation, liver ailments, fatigue and more. The Chinese name is Ling Zhi.
We will be harvesting reishi over the next few months, it is a slow growing. The next step is to dry them and then they should be ready for our farmers markets from August onwards.