Traditional Asian medicine has used mushrooms for longevity and health benefits (source). In communities with a high consumption of certain types of mushrooms, the cancer rate is statistically lower. Some attribute their longevity and health to the use of mushrooms, particularly reishi in teas.
Although evidence of their benefits is anecdotal, many people use cordyceps to increase vigor and heart health (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefitssource).
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion's Mane mushrooms may hold the key to treating or curing dementia, as they’ve been shown to help neural regeneration in mice: Functional Recovery Enhancement Following Injury to Rodent Peroneal Nerve by Lion's Mane Mushroom, <i>Hericium erinaceus</i> (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) - International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Volume 11, 2009, Issue 3.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey Tail mushrooms show promise as both preventative and treatment of certain cancers, particularly breast cancer, in conjunction with traditional pharmaceutical approaches. The mycelium of the Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail) mushroom and its fermented substrate each show potent and complementary immune activating properties in vitro. These mushrooms grow prolifically in many wild environments.
Enoki mushrooms are known from Japanese cohort studies to be associated with lower rates of cancer. Agronomic and environmental factors affecting cultivation of the winter mushroom or Enokitake: achievements and prospects. These mushrooms also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Nameko mushrooms have some efficacy against cancer in mice. Mushroom extracts and compounds with suppressive action on breast cancer: evidence from studies using cultured cancer cells, tumor-bearing animals, and clinical trials They also have antiviral properties https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bipasha-Chakravarty/publication/233735019_Trends_in_Mushroom_cultivation_and_breeding/links/0fcfd50ae7f263f50f000000/Trends-in-Mushroom-cultivation-and-breeding.pdfwell
Penicillin was originally derived from a type of fungus we would recognize as mold. This is one example of the potential that other fungi might hold to prevent, treat and cure disease and improve overall health and longevity.
BOOKS OF INTEREST
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
by Paul Stamets
This book contains step by step instructions to cultivate many gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. It’s easy to navigate through this book and find the information you’re looking for. It’s informative yet direct.
Stamets, P. (2000). Growing gourmet & medicinal mushrooms: Shokuyō oyobi yakuyō kinoko no saibai: a companion guide to The Mushroom cultivator. Ten Speed Press.
by Paul Stamets
This book discusses mycoremediation and the role of mycelium in nature. It covers the role of mycelium in the environment and some of its many potential uses.
Stamets, P. (2005). Mycelium running: how mushrooms can help save the world. Ten Speed Press.
The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practial Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home
by Paul Stamets
This is an older book, but a great read. The information is still relevant. It includes a scientific perspective of mushrooms not commonly discussed in this context, including the Psilocybe genus. This book includes physical and microscope descriptions of each mushroom and its spores (great for microscopy).
Stamets, P., & Chilton, J. S. (1983). The mushroom cultivator: a practical guide to growing mushrooms at home. Agarikon Press.
IDENTIFICATION & FIELD GUIDES
Mushrooms of the Rocky Mountain region: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
by Vera Sucky Evenson & the Denver Botanic Gardens
This is an excellent field guide for our region. It's easy to read and includes colored pictures. Useful diagrams and physical descriptions help readers begin to understand features useful for taxonomy and identification.
Evenson, V. S. (2015). Mushrooms of the Rocky Mountain region: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming. Timber Press.
Mushrooms Demystified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi
by David Arora
This book covers a lot more species than the previous title. This is a good book for would-be experts. The Latin and Greek etymology section helps readers understand and remember scientific names.
Arora, D. (1986). Mushrooms demystified: a comprehensive guide to the fleshy fungi. Ten Speed Press.