Mushrooms are part of the fungi kingdom, and have a strong mystical connection in myth and folklore. Many mushrooms and fungi can be poisonous or hallucinogenic, though the majority are very safe and have great health benefits.
For a long time there has been a great deal of fear around mushrooms and the fungi kingdom, there have been many mushroom myths which have made people wary to consume mushrooms, so let’s clear some of these up.
Uncovering the Truth Behind Mushroom Myths
All Mushrooms cause Candida
Mushrooms have a bad reputation in some circles, largely peddled by those pushing anti-candida diets and encouraging people to cut out all mushrooms because they exacerbate the condition. In fact, many of the medicinal mushrooms like Shiitake are extremely effective against candida.
Shiitake is a beneficial yeast, and we need good yeast to overcome bad yeast. Shiitake supports the immune response against candida, and targets the pathogen directly to eradicate it. Those trying to get rid of candida needn’t fear all mushroom products, get some shiitake in your life!
Mushrooms stimulate the immune system
Mushrooms are the true adaptogens, they modulate and give the body what it needs. If the immune system is under-active then they will stimulate it to improve its functioning, but if it is overactive, as in the case of an auto-immune condition, they will not continue to stimulate it, and instead will regulate it.
Mushrooms have no nutritional value
They may be a beige food, but mushrooms actually have a lot of nutritional benefits. Packed with antioxidants, medicinal compounds, vitamins, minerals, fibre, amino acids and so much more.
All mushroom products are the same
Not all mushroom products are the same. What is important to look for and ask is where the mushrooms are grown, and on what medium, if they are organic, how they are extracted, and what parts of the mushroom are used, all these factors can affect the final product. We work with mushroom expert Martin Powell to source the highest quality ‘shrooms from around the globe.
Mushrooms are poisonous
There are more than 1.5 million types of fungi, and some are poisonous- though it is a very small number. Some fungi may contain mycotoxins which are poisonous to humans, but the medicinal mushrooms are non-toxic and perfectly safe for human consumption. If you are going foraging, then go with a mushroom foraging expert, who knows what to look for and what to avoid.
There’s no science to back up the benefits
Complete myth, as there have been over 100,000 studies on functional mushrooms in Asia alone in the last 10 years, and there has been in a huge increase in mushroom related studies in the west over the last few years as they have become a popular wellness product. The research is there, and cultures have been using these mushrooms for thousands of years for health benefits.
Hopefully that has cleared up some common mushroom myths, and highlighted that there is nothing to be scared of with medicinal mushrooms. Explore their benefits, and give them a try!
Mushrooms Contribute Nothing to the Ecosystem
The Reality: Mushrooms, often overshadowed by the UK’s rich flora and fauna, are in fact vital players in our British ecosystems. Far from being mere passive inhabitants of our woodlands, meadows, or gardens, they’re dynamic agents of ecological balance and health. Here’s how:
- Decomposers: The majority of mushrooms are saprophytic. This means they thrive on dead or decaying organic matter. By breaking down fallen leaves, dead trees, and other organic materials, they recycle crucial nutrients back into the soil, enriching it for other plants and organisms.
- Mycorrhizal Partnerships: Many British mushrooms form what’s known as mycorrhizal relationships with native plants. In this mutual partnership, the mushroom offers the plant essential nutrients, while in return, the plant provides the mushroom with sugars. This relationship is key to the health and growth of many plants in our countryside.
- Soil Guardians: As mushrooms grow, their mycelium (a network of fine white filaments) weaves through the soil, binding it together. This not only bolsters the soil’s structure but also helps in preventing erosion, especially in areas prone to heavy rains.
- Biodiversity Champions: From the smallest insects to larger mammals like deer, many creatures in the UK rely on mushrooms as a food source. Their presence ensures a richer biodiversity in any given habitat.
- Natural Pest Controllers: Some British mushrooms possess properties that deter pests, offering a natural alternative to chemical treatments in our gardens and farms.
Find our full range of mushroom powders and mushroom capsules here!