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A seasonal insight


Adventures in Foraging - Exploring Nature's Pharmacy

As we come into autumn Khalil and Lamia try to find the time to go around the farm and local woods with their children in search of natures bounty! At this time of year in particular we are on the look out for mushrooms (as well as fruit & berries) for both culinary and medicinal uses .

Mushrooms have long held a place of fascination in human culture, with their unique shapes, flavors, and, as it turns out, remarkable medicinal properties. In this post we will delve into the medicinal uses of these four: Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus), Blushing Bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa), and Artist Bracket (Ganoderma applanatum).

We personally started to use these mushrooms during the the corona period, where we found them extremely effective across our family and staff to counter the headaches, nausea, phlegm and coughs. It now has a permanent place in our kitchen for use in herbal tonic, broths and teas.

We have continued to learn about and use the natural plants and mushrooms as a first course of medicine, rather than relying on more intensive modern medicines in order to strengthen our natural immune system and reduce our dependence on, and use of manufactured chemicals as well as reducing our overall consumption and waste.

Visit our farm shop on a weekend to pick some up, gain further information and chat with Khalil Radwan, he's a real fun guy!

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor): The Immune Booster Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) is a type of medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and other ancient healing practices. It is known for its immune-boosting properties and is considered a natural remedy for many health conditions. Some of the potential benefits of turkey tail mushroom include:

  • Boosting the immune system: Turkey tail mushroom contains polysaccharides and beta-glucans, which stimulate the immune system and help the body fight off infections.

  • Fighting cancer: Studies have shown that turkey tail mushroom may help improve the survival rates of people with certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer and gastric cancer.

  • Improving gut health: Turkey tail mushroom contains prebiotics that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can improve digestion and overall gut health.

  • Reducing inflammation: The polysaccharides and antioxidants in turkey tail mushroom have anti-inflammatory effects that may help reduce inflammation in the body.

  • Supporting liver health: Turkey tail mushroom may help protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and improve liver function.

  • Enhancing athletic performance: Turkey tail mushroom has been shown to improve endurance and reduce fatigue in athletes, potentially due to its immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus): The Wound Healer Birch Polypore, also known as Piptoporus betulinus, has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. Here are some of the benefits associated with this mushroom:

  • Immune Support: Birch Polypore contains polysaccharides and beta-glucans that can help stimulate the immune system, helping the body defend against infections.

  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Studies have shown that the mushroom has potent anti-inflammatory properties that may be useful in treating conditions such as arthritis and asthma.

  • Antioxidant Properties: Birch polypore mushroom contains antioxidants that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

  • Anti-tumor Properties: Some studies suggest that the mushroom may have anti-tumor properties, although more research is needed in this area.

  • Digestive Health: Birch polypore mushroom has been used traditionally to aid digestion and may have a beneficial effect on gut health.

  • Wound Healing: Birch Polypore has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It was historically used as an emergency wound dressing in various cultures due to its ability to prevent infection and aid in wound closure.

Blushing Bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa): The Liver Guardian Blushing Bracket, also known as Daedaleopsis confragosa, is a bracket fungus found on decaying hardwood trees. This mushroom is less renowned than some others but offers unique medicinal qualities:

  • Liver Health: Some studies suggest that Blushing Bracket may have hepatoprotective properties, helping protect the liver from toxins and promoting its overall health.

  • Immune Support: Blushing Bracket contains polysaccharides and beta-glucans that can stimulate the immune system.

  • Antioxidant Properties: This mushroom is believed to have antioxidant properties, thanks to the presence of various bioactive compounds. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can reduce oxidative stress and support overall health.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some research suggests that extracts from Blushing Bracket may have anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation can be beneficial for managing various chronic health conditions.

  • Liver Health: In traditional herbal medicine, this mushroom has been used to support liver health. Some compounds in the mushroom may promote detoxification and improve liver function.

  • Gastrointestinal Health: Blushing Bracket has been traditionally used to soothe digestive issues. It may have mild gastroprotective properties.

  • Wound Healing: In some traditional uses, the mushroom has been applied topically to wounds to aid in the healing process.

  • Antimicrobial Activity: Like many fungi, Blushing Bracket contains natural compounds that may have antimicrobial properties, which could help combat bacterial or fungal infections.

Artist Bracket (Ganoderma applanatum): The Anti-Inflammatory Agent Artist Bracket, also known as Ganoderma applanatum, is a large, woody mushroom found on various hardwood trees. While not as well-known as its famous cousin Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom), it has its own set of medicinal benefits:

  • Immunomodulatory Properties: Like other Ganoderma species, Artist Bracket contains polysaccharides and beta-glucans that may help modulate and strengthen the immune system. These compounds can stimulate the production of immune cells and enhance the body's defense mechanisms against infections.

  • Antioxidant Activity: Artist Bracket is believed to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. This can potentially contribute to overall health and longevity.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some research suggests that Artist Bracket may have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is associated with various chronic diseases, and substances with anti-inflammatory properties may help mitigate these conditions.

  • Potential Anticancer Activity: Limited studies have explored the anticancer potential of Artist Bracket extracts. Some findings suggest that it may inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.

  • Antimicrobial Properties: Artist Bracket contains compounds that may have antimicrobial properties. This could be beneficial in fighting bacterial and fungal infections.

  • Support for Respiratory Health: In traditional herbal medicine, Artist Bracket has been used to support respiratory health. It may help with conditions like coughs and bronchitis.

  • Wound Healing: Some traditional uses of Artist Bracket involve applying it topically to wounds to aid in the healing process.

In conclusion, these mushrooms, while each having very similar benefits, showcase the incredible diversity of nature's pharmacy. While their exact mechanisms and efficacy continue to be studied, they offer promising potential in promoting human health and well-being. Coupling these dried mushroom with elderberries, lemon (both very high in vitamin C), ginger, cinnamon and cloves gives an amazing herbal tea.

Always exercise caution when foraging for wild mushrooms, as some varieties can be toxic. Consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplements or alternative treatments into your health regimen. As our understanding of these fungi deepens, they may play an increasingly significant role in the future of holistic medicine.

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