Mushroom Supernova – Heroic Journeys into Tangential Learning in Temperamental Times and Temperate Places.

A Porcini in its infancy

“The small two-way lane dipped down from the railway station at Woking. It was called White Rose Lane and travels the short journey to the road junction where you turn right to Old Woking or left to West Byfleet. Near that junction, on the left around a gentle bend in the road is a private gated drive up to an established high-end housing estate. Oh, how the wealthy live but unbeknownst to them on a triangular patch about ten to twelve square metres stands a grand Oak Tree, on the roadside opposite shrouded by native trees that arch over the road at that point is a street light. The area is well known as a historic hunting lodge for King Henry VIII, literally across the junction, hence the road name, I presume.

However, on a handful of occasions in the calendar year, in the warmer months and after a decent downpour or two appear, as if by magic, the fruiting bodies of a delicious boletus mushroom, the Porcini, AKA the Cep or Penny Bun. To get there before the squirrels and the seasonal lawnmower is the art form here. Our first experience after the gathering was to create a porcini soup which we shared with our friends David and Rachel. They looked a little bewildered at first until we tucked in first, offering ourselves as taste testers. The others we dried and jarred for future use in risottos, sauces and fillings in meat and other dishes.”

The patch on White Rose Lane, Woking, Surrey, England

My professional and personal journey has taken many a radical turn in the nearly 40 years I’ve been at work. I’m 55 years of age now and many of those who trained around the time I did, in the mid-’80s, have moved on from clinical dental health to other professions or retirement. I must confess there have been more than 1 occasion that I’ve thrown my toys out of the cot and wanted a journey to fresh pasture. I still enjoy my job, the people I work with too but deep down I know I’m on a steady decline and am forever wondering where to go from here. I was once told if you have passion for what you do, you will always succeed. I’ve tried to live by that mantra and continue to do so.

So where to now? I’ve learned, of late, to think “tangentially” about where to go, what road to travel and this began in earnest 2 years ago, literally to the day. I was with my friends Dave and Rachel Annette in Hampshire, in the UK, who were starting a beekeeping business, as well as their day jobs and have since slowly built their passion into something special, ethical, environmental, and sustainable. HoneyBeeHappy is their apicultural baby and has been a constant source of inspiration to me, so much so that in the last year I’ve completed a level 3 certificate in Apiculture and continue, from August, into Diploma territory. That will be for the “ left field” next post, in a few weeks from now, but, ironically the subjects of honey and fungi are very much entwined ap

I parked the car by the lake, the trees and bushes abound in this place and my destination was but a short walk, across the main road and into the woods via a small path, maintained and trodden by many a forager and casual walker. Twenty metres or so from the entrance to the wood, amongst the beech, oak and birch was a little mound, I suspect either as a consequence of an uprooted tree or the Canadians, who exercised here before D-day many moons ago. The now weathered raised earth is surrounded by moss and covered in tree litter but hidden subtly, easily unobserved were the golden honey coloured shapes of Chanterelles, delicate and tasty, apricot and slight peppery gourmet shrooms.

The Chanterelle hump, Puttenham Common, Surrey, England

This learning journey has taken me to many an ancient forest or a copse of trees, whether it be in England, Scotland or France, even in New Zealand where there are indigenous species of trees as well as “exotic” introduced. The numbers of very edible species I’ve encountered are a mere handful, I’m supremely suspicious of white mushrooms as many are toxic or lethal, it was my decision to stay away from those that come into that category unless identification is obvious. The untrained eye needs to be meticulous in their research and confident of their identification. In France fungi are deeply immersed in the National culinary and pharmaceutical culture. Any mushrooms picked without knowledge of their identity can be taken to a pharmacy and be positively identified. Europeans have none of the fear or mystery of the annual gentle hunt, as they are brought up to know their mushrooms and the trees, bushes, seasonality and climates associated with them. From spring through to late autumn the months become of interest to free food foragers as they observe the weather and locations of mossy, fern-covered, ancient forests through to grassy pasture. The active forager is a fountain of mycological knowledge and range finder, a curious, inquisitive explorer of the nature of things fungi and their deeply rooted an associations.

Chanterelles amongst the leaf litter and grass at Puttenham, Surrey, UK.

I have always been interested in mushrooms, but since the mid-noughties, this has spawned a real passion for that which many have fears, that of hunter-gathering/foraging no toxic, tasty edible fungi and learning more about their relationship to man, health and the environment. This is very much the same story for bees and honey. The possibility that this could turn into a part or full-time cash crop and a move away from where I am now professional is a tempting proposition. This post today elaborates on this journey to date, from about September of last year to today, it will tentatively look at what may present itself and arise in the years to come and what I could do to make it work as a noble profession. It also dares to go beyond pure gathering, looking at home cultivation, nootropics, psychotropics and those of the intelligentsia who dare to discover and promote greater awareness of mycelia and fungi for a plethora of reasons.

Red cracked boletus on the Maitai River, associated with Willow trees

The Maitai River runs through the Tasman city of Nelson, flowing out into the Pacific, gently meandering through picturesque countryside and the leafy suburbs. King Fishers, Fantails, Tuis and Swifts dart and play along its length, bees in the spring and summer gather nectar and pollen and mushrooms abound locally amongst mycorrhizal associated native and exotic trees and plants. The exotics are a joy to see, the Willow, Beech and Birch all share a presence with the established fauna and flora, the bees, imports too, compete unfairly with the native bee population for resources. The footpath along the river is well-trodden by dog walkers and those enjoying the ambience of the setting. There are mushrooms, of the Boletus variety along with field mushrooms at the right time of the year and after a good downpour. From February through to late April opportunity knocks for those with an eye for a free superfood.

“Mushrooms were the roses in the garden of that unseen world because the real mushroom plant was underground. The parts you could see – what most people called a mushroom – was just a brief apparition. A cloud flower.”  Margaret Atwood

Red cracked bolete in hand, note the redness in the stem

Xerocomellus chrysenteron, Also known as the Red Cracked Boletus, is a common visitor to these parts, transported, no doubt, over the long distance as innocent inoculated rootstock. It is paradoxically a deceptively inedible looking edible shroom, for it has a degree of redness to it, associated with other toxic boletus. It is, with some experience, easy to identify and can be dried, stored in jars and used in sauces, stocks and risottos. It has a milder, less meaty taste but this improves after drying.

Identifying the Red Cracked Boletus

Leccinum scabrum, also known as Brown Birch Boletus, is also a sneaky migrant from the Northern Hemisphere, hidden, inoculated in the imported rootstock, like the Red Cracked. In my UK foraging experiences these two mushrooms were often overlooked for more choice varieties. However, when in Rome, do what the Romans do, and quite by chance, whilst driving back from my apiculture course this April I looked to my right out of my car window, whilst waiting at a junction and to my huge disbelief stood proudly beneath a few Birch Trees dozens of Birch Boletus. I had to double take, reverse quickly, park up with my four-way flashers on and darted over the quiet road to the scene. Over the next few weeks, multiple return visits, my big glass jars were filled to the rim with these beauties.

Two Birch boletus fresh from the patch

Birch boletes prepared and ready for the plate

Brown birch boletes are prepared and stored in the fridge before space being available to dry

Identifying the Orange and Brown Birch boletus

Brown or Orange birch Boletus, found on these far-flung foreign shores add a great dimension to cooking, their places of discovery become guarded secrets, silent and forlorn for the vast majority of the year, the mere sight of a cluster or individual birch trees becomes memorised for a future visit, at the right time. I’m still hoping to find the ultimate Bolete, the Cep, Porcini or Penny bun, as they have been found here in New Zealand, in Wellington and Christchurch. However, for the time being, I’m satisfied with these for sure.

Pine boletus and Slippery jack wild fungi cleaned, trimmed and prepared before drying

Notable others found here are Boletus pinophilus, commonly known as the pine bolete, growing predominantly in coniferous forests on sandy soils, and Suillus luteus a common fungus from the British Isles. Commonly referred to as slippery jack or sticky bun in English-speaking countries, its names refer to the brown cap which is characteristically slimy in wet conditions. These too are sliced and dried, like the Birch and Rec Cracked, added to the jars and stored. They need a little more time to prepare, especially the Slippery jack, with its sticky cap surface. I’ve learned to allow them to dry for 24 hours before preparation, making the task easier. They too are for the jar and many an exotic and enticing sauce or meat like filling.

Parkvale Portabello mushrooms ready to harvest

Parkvale Mushrooms in Masterton is a genuinely interesting operation, having been there and picked up a couple of buckets of spore infused medium for us to grow in our shed. We have ordered, online, multiple buckets in the past few years and have been pleased with the quality and quantity of mushrooms, the instructions were easy to follow and the contents can be put onto your veggie patch after the flushes are all blown. The Portobello style mushrooms are meaty, of varying sizes and useful for cooking in many forms. It is a good place to start for any would-be hobbyists and food lovers, no need to identify,  pour sceptical eyes and minds over what is growing in front of you and observe with intrigue and wonder how they come about.

Chanterelles from the Ballater, Scotland

“It was July in the Cairngorms, on the rim of the Highlands of Scotland, very near Balmoral and Ballater, the weather was a dream and the scenic drive between them was slow and deliberate. There was no rush but awareness and curiosity of the forestry and flora that abounds at this time of year. Outside of Ballater runs to the disused railway from there to Aberdeen, shut down in the mid to late sixties. Along its path, now a place of walking and foraging, a cornucopia of wild fruit, nuts and shrooms are free for the taking, as is another less trodden and known track only to a Royal few. This was a place, where we ventured at the right time as it was flush with golden chanterelles, as far as the eye could see. The moment was captured in a video as were many of the prime examples of these mushrooms. “

Shiitaki health benefits

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide. They are prized for their rich, savoury taste and diverse health benefits. Shiitake are edible mushrooms native to East Asia. They’re tan to dark brown, with caps that grow between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 cm). While typically eaten like vegetables, shiitake are fungi that grow naturally on decaying hardwood trees. Around 83% of shiitake are grown in Japan, although the United States, Canada, Singapore, and China also produce them. You can find them fresh, dried, or in various dietary supplements. Shiitake are low in calories. They are also loaded with fibre, as well as B vitamins and some minerals.

The nutrients in 4 dried shiitake (15 grams) are:

  • Calories: 44
  • Carbs: 11 grams
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Riboflavin: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Niacin: 11% of the DV
  • Copper: 39% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 33% of the DV
  • Selenium: 10% of the DV
  • Manganese: 9% of the DV
  • Zinc: 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV
  • Folate: 6% of the DV
  • Vitamin D: 6% of the D

Studies suggest that some of the bioactive compounds in shiitake may protect against cancer and inflammation. However, many of the studies have been done on animals or test tubes rather than people. Animal studies frequently use doses that far exceed those that people would normally get from food or supplements. In addition, many of the mushroom-based supplements on the market have not been tested for potency.

Shiitaki in the pan

Shiitake as a supplement has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are also part of the medical traditions of Japan, Korea, and Eastern Russia. In Chinese medicine, Shiitaki is thought to boost health and longevity, as well as improve circulation. Shiitake mushrooms may boost heart health. For example, they have three compounds that help lower cholesterol

  • Eritadenine. This compound inhibits an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol.
  • Sterols. These molecules help block cholesterol absorption in your gut.
  • Beta glucans. This type of fibre can lower cholesterol.

One study in rats with high blood pressure found that shiitake powder prevented an increase in blood pressure. A study in lab rats fed a high-fat diet demonstrated that those given shiitake developed less fat in their livers, less plaque on their artery walls, and lower cholesterol levels than those that didn’t eat any mushrooms.

Shiitake may also help strengthen your immune system. One study gave people two dried shiitake daily. After one month, their immune markers improved and their inflammatory levels dropped. This immune effect might be partly due to one of the polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms. While people’s immune systems tend to weaken with age, a mouse study found that a supplement derived from shiitake helped reverse some age-related decline in immune function.

Shiitaki growing out of logs

So, from foraging delicious wild fungi to growing medium to large shop type mushrooms, in medium, to having mycelia covered dowels placed into the wood. This challenge was joined by the James household recently as a consequence of our great neighbours “trimming” their oak and plum trees. The access to young fresh hardwood, especially oak, cut into manageable sizes is mana from heaven. I quickly found online Shiitaki inoculated spores, with a world of mycelium covering them all. My garage became the man cave for the introduction of these dowels into the wood, in 3-4 inch spaces, in a diamond shape, sealed with beeswax, melted and kept liquid in a slow cooker. A gentle tap with a hammer and a covering of sealant, the two ends of the logs wax-covered too. Spare pallet boxes were placed in a shaded space and left to natures tender mercies for several months to a year with occasional soakings either naturally from rain or the ubiquitous garden hose. The results of this endeavour will be eagerly anticipated, and the multiple stumps may indeed continue to bear fruit for some years to come.

The dowels before and after being sealed with beeswax in oak logs

Shiitaki logs on a pallet in shade in the garden

The use of mushrooms in medicine is contentious, the psychotropic varieties are illegal, whether gathering or consuming in New Zealand. It also suffers from a degree of little modern scientific research although their use as a healing agent or in ceremonial “rite of passage” events is well documented and continues in some global ancient cultures to today, much as it did generations before. This implies that without the authority of these being undertaken, the benefits of these natural ingredients, extracts and powders are still seen as fringe and have found it hard to become used legally. Despite this, they can be found at online stores and high street health shops. In the USA some states are now legalising the use of psychoactive mushrooms and the legislation will soon be brought further into the mainstream. This poses many questions and potential problems with dosages regarding effect and toxicity but also the success to date in trials with such shrooms for treating mental health and end of life states. Ongoing observational and empirical experiences appear not to have the critical weight that the randomised and longitudinal studies do and modern medicine demands. This ignores the centuries of medicinal and cultural use, especially in the far east, China and Japan. Having met many people who have taken them casually, and survived, is numerous. I have to admit that looking at anecdotal evidence and being encouraged by the opening of the debate about the efficacy of the magic mushroom type varieties of Psilocybin by the likes of Joe Rogan on his podcast, his guests include Sam Harris, Michael Pollan and Paul Stamets, legends, skeptics and advocates in the social media and authorship field. Many people undergo “guided” trips or journeys with clinically trained guides, alert to and aware of the meaning and purpose of the experience beyond the obvious. Learning from these has proven tremendously beneficial to people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or coping with end of life stress.

Michael Pollan – journalist and author
Thought leader and neuroscientist Sam Harris describes his journey

Next, I feel I must discuss the use of mood-enhancing, immune-boosting and calming nootropic mushrooms and their extracts. These are readily available online in many combinations or as one only, even in traditional New Zealand. Nootropics, or “smart drugs,” are a class of substances that can boost brain performance. They are sometimes called cognition enhancers or memory-enhancing substances. Prescription nootropics are medications that have stimulant effects.

Flow state products


The products are encased within a plant-based capsule. MyComplete is a blend of 6 mushroom extracts including Chaga (Inonotus obliquss), Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris), Lions Mane (Hericium Erinaceus), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), and Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor). There is a single ingredient offering, with just Lions Mane as the extract.

Chaga health benefits

Chaga mushrooms are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including:

  • B-complex vitamins
  • vitamin D
  • potassium
  • rubidium
  • amino acids
  • fibre
  • copper
  • selenium
  • zinc
  • iron
  • manganese
  • magnesium
  • calcium
Chaga bracket fungus

Chaga is also claimed to slow the ageing process through anti-oxidation, lowering cholesterol, helping blood pressure, fighting cancers, supporting the immune system and fighting inflammation.

Cordyceps health benefits

Of the more than 400 species of Cordyceps discovered, two have become the focus of health research: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.

In several studies in diabetic mice, Cordyceps has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels. Some evidence suggests that they may also protect against kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes. In a review of 22 studies including 1,746 people with chronic kidney disease, those who took Cordyceps supplements experienced improved kidney function. However, these results aren’t conclusive.

A study found that Cordyceps significantly reduced heart injuries in rats with chronic kidney disease. Injuries to the heart from chronic kidney disease are thought to increase the risk of heart failure, so reducing these injuries may help avoid this outcome. The researchers attributed these findings to the adenosine content of Cordyceps. Adenosine is a naturally occurring compound that has heart-protective effects. Animal research has shown that Cordyceps decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol. Cordyceps have been shown to decrease triglyceride levels in mice. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. High levels are linked to a greater risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether Cordyceps benefit heart health in humans.

Lions Mane health benefits

Lions Mane

Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow. These mushrooms and their extracts have been shown to reduce the symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaque, which accumulates in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. A study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that consuming 3gms of powdered Lion’s mane mushrooms daily for 4 months significantly improved mental functioning, but these benefits disappeared when supplementation stopped. New animal research has found that Lion’s mane extract demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice. Other studies show improvement in the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing memories and emotional responses. Spinal and brain injury research in this field also indicates help in the recovery with these mushrooms by stimulating the growth and repair of nerve cells, reducing recovery time by between 23-41%, in rat studies, in one particular study indicated a 44% decrease in inflammation and reduction of stroke-related injury.

Lion’s mane extract may protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage. Several studies have found that lion’s mane extract can prevent the growth of H. pylori in a test tube, but no studies have tested whether they have the same effects inside the stomach. Additionally, an animal study found that lion’s mane extract was more effective at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers than traditional acid-lowering drugs — and without any negative side effects.

Lion’s mane extract may protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage. Several studies have found that lion’s mane extract can prevent the growth of H. pylori in a test tube, but no studies have tested whether they have the same effects inside the stomach. Additionally, an animal study found that lion’s mane extract was more effective at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers than traditional acid-lowering drugs — and without any negative side effects.

Maitake health benefits

Maitake mushrooms

The polysaccharides in maitake (above) can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol without affecting your triglyceride or HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Along with supporting heart health, beta-glucan can help improve your immune system. D-fraction in maitake mushrooms has a strong effect on the immune system. “Maitake” means dancing mushroom in Japanese. The mushroom is said to have gotten its name after people danced with happiness upon finding it in the wild, such are its noted healing properties. 

This mushroom is a type of adaptogen. Adaptogens assist the body in fighting against any type of mental or physical difficulty. They also work to regulate systems of the body that have become unbalanced. While this mushroom can be used in recipes for taste alone, it’s considered to be a medicinal mushroom. The mushroom grows wild in parts of Japan, China, and North America. It grows at the bottom of Oak, Elm, and Maple trees. It can be cultivated and even grown at home, though it typically won’t grow as well as it does in the wild. You can usually find the mushroom during the autumn months. 

Maitake mushrooms are rich in:

  • antioxidants
  • beta-glucans 
  • vitamins B and C 
  • copper 
  • potassium
  • fibre
  • minerals
  • amino acids

If you’re using maitake to boost your health, you can add it to any food in which you would normally add mushrooms. It can be added to stir-fry, salad, pasta, pizza, omelettes, or soup. You can also fry the mushrooms in butter or grill them. Maitake has a strong, earthy taste, so be sure you enjoy its flavour before adding it to a large amount of food.

If you’re buying maitake fresh, buy it whole to increase its shelf life. Store it in a paper bag in the refrigerator. You may be able to find it dried at some grocery stores. It freezes well, so you can keep it in stock if you can find it fresh. You can also freeze it raw. Maitake may also be taken as a liquid concentrate or in dry form in capsules. If you decide to take it as a supplement, look for maitake D-Fraction, which is an extract of the mushroom.

The correct dosage depends on your age, weight, and health. It also depends on the actual strength of a particular brand of supplement. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before use.

Reishi health benefits

Reishi mushroom has been used to help enhance the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue. People also take Reishi mushrooms for health conditions such as High blood pressure. High cholesterol.

Reishi mushrooms

The Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, is a fungus that grows in various hot and humid locations in Asia. For many years, this fungus has been a staple in Eastern medicine.

Within the mushroom, several molecules, including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans, may be responsible for its health effects. Reishi mushrooms can enhance immune function through their effects on white blood cells, which help fight infection and cancer. This may occur primarily in those who are ill, as mixed results have been seen in those who are healthy.

Some preliminary studies have shown that Reishi mushrooms could decrease anxiety and depression as well as improve quality of life in those with certain medical conditions. A small amount of research has shown that Reishi mushrooms could improve good cholesterol or blood sugar. However, the majority of the research indicates that it does not improve cholesterol, blood sugar or antioxidants in the body.

Nevertheless, there are several groups of people who should probably avoid Reishi. These include those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a blood disorder, will be undergoing surgery or have low blood pressure. Some studies of Reishi mushrooms have not provided safety information, but others have reported that several months of taking it is likely safe. Nonetheless, several cases of severe liver damage have been associated with Reishi extract.

Turkey Tail health benefits

Turkey tail is a medicinal mushroom with an impressive range of benefits. It contains a variety of powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help boost your immune system and even help fight certain cancers. Plus, turkey tail may improve gut bacteria balance, which can positively impact your immunity

Turkey tail contains a wide variety of phenol and flavonoid antioxidants which help promote your immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds. Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) are two types of polysaccharopeptides found in Turkey tails. Both PSK and PSP possess powerful immune-boosting properties. They promote immune response by both activating and inhibiting specific types of immune cells and by suppressing inflammation. For instance, test-tube studies have demonstrated that PSP increases monocytes, which are types of white blood cells that fight infection and boost immunity.

PSK stimulates dendritic cells that promote immunity to toxins and regulate the immune response. In addition, PSK activates specialized white blood cells called macrophages, which protect your body against harmful substances like certain bacteria. Due to their ability to naturally strengthen the immune system, PSP and PSK are commonly used as anticancer agents in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation in countries like Japan and China.

 Your gut bacteria interact with immune cells and directly impact your immune response and the Turkey tail contains prebiotics, which helps nourish these helpful bacteria. An 8-week study in 24 healthy people found that consuming 3,600 mg of PSP extracted from turkey tail mushrooms per day led to beneficial changes in gut bacteria and suppressed the growth of the possibly problematic E. coli and Shigella bacteria.

A test-tube study found that turkey tail extracts modified gut bacteria composition by increasing populations of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while reducing potentially harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium and Staphylococcus.

Turkey tail

My limited experiences with these products are ongoing, there appear to be detractors regarding the quality and safety of some of the ingredients, in particular from China, where there are concerns over heavy metals within them, especially Chaga. My cautiousness would guide me to American based products from the likes of fungi perfecti, at The effect of taking them feels like a gentle boost, an enhancement of clarity, perhaps like taking a double shot of espresso but without the need to be near a loo for the inevitable, in me, need to evacuate. I’ll leave the rest of the detail to your imagination. I’m interested in growing more of these species, but the bio security implications in New Zealand of importation are tricky.

Freethinkers in the media space and mushrooms

Michael Pollan @

Paul Stamets @

Paul talks with Joe Rogan

Terence McKenna @

Dennis McKenna @

“All Fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once.” ― Terry Pratchett

I am an advocate of growing my knowledge base in the things which abide around and within us. The last decade or so has seen me venture into evolving that journey, its progress has been documented in a separate blog, where the burgeoning roots of that are documented. The fact that yeasts and fungi abide in our oral microbiota continued my interest in the link to dental research, application and their possible promotion of dental health. This can be read at just scroll down to “Honey, Propolis, Fungi and Mushrooms, Uncommon Allies in Dental Healthcare and Humanity? A Reflective Personal and Professional Journey.” In this post, as I discuss and explore the dental health/fungal interface and find the literature not so decisive using modern scientific methods. However, I firmly believe that traditionally and empirically we have a lot at stake with our symbiotic relationship with mushrooms and I find our association with them intriguing enough to learn about their behaviour regarding our dental health, general health, their nutritional, medicinal, nootropic and psychotropic (sense and setting, guided and professionally delivered) values. Their benefits have been culturally maligned as were the historical proponents and exponents of them. The failed Nixon inspired “War on Drugs” has stigmatised research on the benefits and value of all sorts of mushrooms, beyond the edible. This is changing, thankfully, as medical curiosity broadens on this subject matter. I hope the future is one where we develop a new scientific and cultural acceptance of the kingdom of fungi and its huge potential.

Calvatia gigantea – Giant Puffball in Nelson, New Zealand

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