Mushrooms

I have been thinking a lot about mushrooms recently. Tis the season! The lovely Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) we see in most woods around us subtle in their velvety beauty but oh so medicinal are ripe and fruity (as in fruiting body) in the autumn and winter.

The potency of mushrooms is long known to wo/man and so neglected in what I see of today’s society. One of my patients comes from Poland where it is so common to pick mushrooms for one’s tea. My sister-in-law is from France and her dad was always gathering mushrooms for his tea. I was taught to stay away from mushrooms as they, mis-identified, can kill. They are from the earth and this means that in some cultures they aren’t suitable for eating – they hold little vital energy (obtained from the light). They are feared and revered.

Tiny little things if you look at each fruit but mind-blowing in the context of mycelium running. Networks spreading out through earth, plant and animal (check out the TED talk below to see this).

I will have more information on herbal medicine and mushrooms soon but for now, enjoy Paul Stamets in his TED talk on mushrooms saving the world.

This wet mild winter (so far) is offering a lot of trametes (and other) mushrooms so do go out and try and identify some! Take an identification book, a magnifying glass and a camera. That way you can enjoy identifying and cross-reference at home.

Please of course do not pick anything unless you are absolutely sure of what it is, and then check again. I know some very experienced mushroom foragers who almost lost their lives through mis-identification.

 

 

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