When you think of the new frontier of scientific advancement, your mind may go to nanorobots, flying cars, or the cure for life-threatening diseases. But what if we told you that mushrooms may play a key component in new scientific developments?
Kingdom fungi is one of the last to be fully explored, and there is much we don’t yet know. What we do know is that this diverse kingdom is packed full of species of mushrooms and fungi that may have the potential to treat and cure illness, create nutrient-dense foods of the future, and even clean up the planet.
Medicinal Uses for Mushrooms
Mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, but only recently have scientists begun to conduct thorough research on how the chemical makeups of these valuable mushroom species may contribute to improving specific illnesses as well as our overall health.
Many mushrooms are thought to increase the body‘s natural immunity, decrease inflammation, and Introduce important macro and micro nutrients into the body. Now researchers are attempting to learn more about how mushrooms can be used to manage and treat certain conditions. There is some evidence to suggest that mushrooms like Lion’s Mane may help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients retain more of their memories by improving connections in the brain. Psychedelic mushrooms are even being researched as a possible treatment or cure for psychological illnesses like depression and PTSD. Centuries of ancient wisdom about the health benefits of mushrooms are starting to be corroborated by Western medicine, and scientists can’t wait to see what new discoveries will be made.
Affordable, Eco-Friendly Foods
Obviously, mushrooms can be eaten without changing their form – just throw some oyster mushrooms or shiitakes into a pan for a quick sauté or add them to your soup or chili this winter! But food scientists are also looking into how other parts of the fungi can be formulated to create meat substitutes and other eco-friendly foods that take fewer resources to grow. The hyphae of fungi can also be used to reduce oxidative stress in crop plants. This helps plants withstand droughts and other adverse conditions.
Have you read the sci-fi series The Expanse? No?!? Well you should. Aside from being one of the best space operas out there, The Expanse regularly showcases the importance of mushrooms for the future of the human race! From recycling organic matter to growing sustainably in null-gravity, mushrooms are the future.
Purifying Our Planet
Fungi work as great composters, breaking down organic matter on the forest floors to contribute to the continued life cycles of many plants and animals. Now scientists are interested in what else mushrooms can actually break down. Some research suggests that we may soon be using fungi as cleanup crews to rid our environments of toxic waste such as petroleum byproducts, sewage, and ash. Any carbon-based substance is fair game.
We’re excited to see how mushrooms will be used to solve common scientific quandaries, but in the meantime, we’ll continue to enjoy mushrooms in our favorite meals, and we hope you’ll do the same. Is it time to stock up on your favorite gourmet mushrooms? Order online or find R&R Cultivation at your local fall farmers market.