Why Mushrooms

Posted by Johann Balbuena on

WHY MUSHROOMS.

Ziggy, Hendrix and their Hooman

 

When I used to see shrooms sticking out of the ground while hiking or just simply walking my dogs Ziggy and Hendrix, I didn’t realize I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg. I was so surprised when I learned that the “mushroom” (the part we see) is only the fruiting body of it. What goes down under the soil can be best described as a “world of communication between mushrooms, bacteria, trees, and all living organisms”. Woven through the soil are the mycelia which extend out from their mushrooms and hunt for the water and nutrients they require to then thrive. Lacing through the soil, mycelium creates vast networks found everywhere within the ground.


DID YOU KNOW: The largest organism on earth is a mycelial mat which covers approximately 2,400 acres in Oregon. And guess what? It is over 200 years old! All connected, the entire 2,400 acres shares the same root system, and it’s only one-cell wall thick! 

The largest concentration of “Humongous Fungus” takes up 3.5 square miles of Malheur National Forest and is still growing.

As you can see, unbeknownst to me before I started this journey, there's  an entire eco-system underground with an established communication structure; whereby the mycelia are not only in communication with one another but they also communicate and share food with trees and the environment. The relationship is reciprocal as the trees share sucrose (sugars) with the fungi, while the fungi give off water and minerals in return. This creates a delicate balance within nature that truly amazes me and  makes me appreciate the beautiful symphony that is played as life continuously seeks to expand within every living organism. I digress...:)


But what exactly are mushrooms? They are not a part of the animal kingdom nor are they plants. So what exactly are they? Mushrooms actually have their own kingdom: the Fungi Kingdom. Some say the pronunciation is tricky. But I say, you may pronounce “Fungi” however you want: Funguy, Fungee or Funjie. Just let it roll off your tongue as you see fit,  no judgment here.


Why is it called “fungus” (singular - “fungi” is plural), you ask? The fungus is the entire organism that includes the mycelium (roots) and the mushroom (fruit). Nonetheless, some fungi don’t produce fruiting bodies. While doing research I learned that while all mushrooms are fungi, not all fungi produce mushrooms. 


One thing fungus have in common with plants is that they don’t move and they grow out of the ground. But believe it or not, they probably are more similar to animals physiologically and genetically, in the sense that they must use external food sources for energy production. They also have chitin, a substance that forms part of the cell walls, similar to the exoskeletons of insects. 


Over the last year, my interest in mushrooms has significantly increased after a few personal experiences with psilocybin mushrooms (aka magic mushrooms), which helped me so much with coping with PTSD symptoms from a traumatic brain injury I suffered while serving in the US Navy. I then started looking into medicinal, non-psychoactive shrooms, including turkey tail, lion’s mane, red reishi, chaga and cordyceps to support and improve my overall wellness. It was then that I embarked on a journey to learn, experiment and experience the medicinal benefits and complexities of the world of mushrooms. 

Mother Earth Mushrooms is a community my team and I are building in order to share our experiences with medicinal mushrooms as well as the history and anything else that we find interesting along the way. 


We are eager to have you join us for this fun ride with FUNGUY! 😻

 

Love,

 

JM Balbuena

P.S., Mother Earth Mushroom tinctures are triple extracted. First, our producers ferment the mushrooms to make the Polysaccharides, Triterpenoids, and Alkaloids, more bio-available. Second, we do a hot water extraction, because Polysaccharides are only water soluble. And third, we do 90 days in alcohol, because Triterpenoids are only alcohol soluble. It takes our team around 100 days to make a tincture. Trust that you are getting a high-quality product.

 


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