How long have humans been using plants as medicine?
Archeologists found such evidence dating as far back as the Paleolithic era—more than 60,000 years ago!
The oldest known written records of herbal remedies (from ancient Sumeria), are over 5,000 years old.
Plant medicines were depicted in ancient Egyptian tombs and jars containing traces of herbal remedies have also been found.
It seems that humans throughout history have identified, and eventually cultivated, plants for their healing medicinal qualities. Medical texts from ancient Greece, China, and India provide extensive detail for hundreds of herbal preparations.
In fact, herbalism was highly influential in the formation of modern botany—one of the earliest branches of science.
Today, much of the world’s population still uses herbalism for their health and well-being. The World Health Organization estimates that in Asia and Africa, up to 80% of the population in some countries rely on herbal medicine to provide at least some basic health care.
Many modern pharmaceuticals were originally derived from plants.
Although pharmaceutical medications are perceived by many Westerners to be of higher quality or greater efficacy than herbal medicines, many common pharmaceuticals have their origin in traditional plant formulas.
While pharmaceutical drugs are too expensive for many, plants can be grown or gathered from nature at a fraction of the cost.
Approximately 25% of modern drugs prescribed in the United States were originally derived from plants, according to the World Health Organization, e.g. morphine, aspirin and quinine. This figure equates to more than 7,000 modern medical compounds that have their roots in herbalism.
We have seen the healing power of plants proven time and time again. Sadly, many modern medical systems are designed to treat and suppress symptoms rather than truly heal patients. These systems have often portrayed herbalism as alternative, ineffective, or even dangerous. We believe that knowledge of plants and their healing properties is our human birthright, and as always, nature provides the best means for our healing.
The Future is Fungi – Why Medicinal Mushrooms Work Like Magic for Almost all Health Problems 31Dec2022
I always knew mushrooms were healthy, but I had no idea of the ancient healing power they have held for billions of years. Human civilisations have been using them medicinally for centuries to fight infection, cure disease and improve immune function.
Still to this day, mushrooms such as Lions Mane which tastes similar to lobster or shrimp, and the meaty Shiitake mushrooms are prized for their medicinal properties
It’s only now that scientists and medical experts are waking up to the true healing power of these flavorsome fungi. These little miracle makers for the body are quite extraordinary and definitely on my 2023 list of ingredients to add more into my daily life. Here are just a few of the ways in which healing mushrooms can help us when added to our daily cooking;
Reishi mushrooms: Known for their immune-boosting properties, have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to support overall health and wellbeing. They also have anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. Their meaty texture is perfect for adding to creamy pasta dishes like creamy mushroom and spinach.
Shiitake mushrooms: Are super delicious and a good source of antioxidants. They have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. They are also a good source of vitamin D, which is important for bone health. They have a meaty flavor which is great for replacing meat in tacos and quesadillas.
Maitake mushrooms: This medicinal mushroom is known for its immune-boosting effects. They also have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, and may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Also known as ‘hen of the woods’, they have a woody, earthy flavor and a slightly chewy texture, making them a good addition to soups, stews, and stir-fries.
Chaga mushrooms: is native to very cold climates and known for its immune-boosting and antioxidant properties. They are also thought to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. A perfect way to enrich your misu soup with extra goodness!
Cordyceps mushrooms: Are believed to improve athletic performance and energy levels. They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor and chewy texture that works super well with stirfries.
It’s important to note that studies are only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fully understanding the potential health benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. But it’s all very excitingly positive stuff! And centuries worth of wisdom and teachings can’t be too wrong 😉
The health benefits of combined Shitake and Maitake medicinal mushrooms…
The collaboration of these 2 medicinal mushrooms has greater benefits than their individual use :
Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa)
and Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes)
Mushroom Supplementation: Choosing the One for You (TTAC2015) It’s important that you understand the different ways that mushrooms are prepared and sold, and how each method stacks up in terms of potency and bioavailability.
Mushrooms are typically sold in raw and extract form (both as liquid and powder). Some mushrooms are even sold “infused” into other food and beverage products.
Raw mushrooms might taste great in food, but this is not the best way to unlock their diverse therapeutic benefits. Many of the polysaccharides, antioxidants, and metabolites found in medicinal mushrooms only become “activated” through special extraction and concentration methods that make them digestible and maximize their bioavailability.
Powdered mushrooms are better than raw mushrooms, but they’re still not the most potent when it comes to bioavailability.
Liquid mushroom extracts are the best, as these have been subjected to solvent extraction mediums such as hot water or alcohol that pull all the nutrients out and concentrate them to maximum potency. High-quality liquid mushroom extracts will have labels that clearly indicate their nutrient content (i.e. “35% polysaccharides,” or “15 mg ergosterols”).
Extraction methods such as steam and alcohol can unlock all the bioactive components that make a mushroom medicinal. So be sure to verify this before purchasing any mushroom product.
Infusion is another option for acquiring the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. Since mushrooms are common in traditional foods, some manufacturers sell extracts that have been infused into coffee or tea.
Medicinal mushrooms are known to work even better at boosting immunity when taken together with one another as opposed to just individually. Therefore, you want to start thinking outside the box about how you can start incorporating these “magic” medical foods into your everyday diet.
See also our BLOG POSTING about what MM did for my friend’s mother who was diagnosed with final stage cancer over 14 years ago. She is still alive at 84 and kicking…