Mushrooms are the spores of fungi that grow above ground on a variety of surfaces. They are usually found on soil but can grow from anywhere that is hospitable to it, usually in the dark, cool and humid environments. They grow fairly quickly, and because of the commonality of their growing environments can be done from home if you choose to. Many people use mushrooms as additions to their food as a convenient vegetable. In addition to their consumption, mushrooms provide a wide variety of health benefits depending on their type.
Cultivated mushrooms are the most common mushrooms that people are familiar with. These are grown by farmers in massive quantities for commercial reasons. The primary purpose of cultivated mushrooms is for resale for consumption. You will find these at your local grocery stores and farmers’ markets, with some of the more popular mushrooms being button, cremini, and portobello. The biggest benefits of cultivated mushrooms are the flavors they add to many dishes as complimentary ingredients as well as the vitamins and nutrients that they provide. Mushrooms are a great added ingredient to supplement your healthy diet choices.
Wild mushrooms are not so easily produced and instead must be “hunted” by experts that will forage and harvest specific species. A lot of these particular mushrooms are appreciated for their flavors and are highly sought after for their rarity. They do provide nutritional value as well in the form of the antioxidants that you find in mushrooms, but these unique mushrooms are more highly regarded for their popularity in the cuisine world. Examples of wild mushrooms are chanterelles and truffles.
Medicinal mushrooms are straightforward in their use, with their primary function and intention to be used for medicinal purposes. An example of this is turkey tail mushrooms, which looks exactly the way it sounds. Their appearance is similar to that of the tails of turkeys and it has been used in traditional Chinese practices for many medicinal and healing reasons strengthening your immune system and as treatments for different conditions such as respiratory problems and its cancer-fighting capabilities.
There are, however, health benefits to consider with poisonous mushrooms in that they have been linked to having medicinal and pharmaceutical benefits. They are said to have cancer-fighting capabilities and slow or prevent situations of tumor growth. It is important to note that they remain poisonous and toxic if you were to try and cook and eat it on your own, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea to more drastic outcomes such as damage to your inner organs. These are not mushrooms you should be foraging and testing on your own as more research must be done to explore the benefits of these types of mushrooms. The trouble is, poisonous mushrooms are very similar in appearance to that of other edible mushrooms and look harmless depending on the stage of life in their growth that they are in.
Psychoactive mushrooms are also known as psychedelic mushrooms or even commonly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”. These mushrooms contain ingredients that produce psychotropic effects. The ingredient psilocybin that is the primary cause of psychedelic effects, has been linked to researches that address issues of mental disorders of depression, distress related to cancer, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or mental effects from drug, alcohol and smoking addictions. However, the fact remains that these are illegal in many countries due to the simple reason they impact your psychological behaviors and consciousness. There are definitely health benefits to consider its medicinal use but requires a lot more testing, research, and studies to properly utilize these mushrooms. If you want to research more about the effects of magic mushrooms Zamnesia has a thorough guide that explains everything you need to know.
There are so many different types of mushrooms that many others could not fit in their own category. The majority of these species' usefulness does not come from their ingestion, but other purposes. These mushrooms don’t have their own category because many of them are used for different things that are useful but healthy and natural alternatives to many products. These uses include cleaning products, insect catching, and natural compost. In fact, there are so many uses for mushrooms, many people are finding new ways to utilize them for things like packaging, fuel, and textiles.
Mushrooms are easy to find, and often easy to grow. With this in mind, it is no wonder why it is incorporated so often in healthy diets. However, with all the great benefits, it is important to note that there are risks, and this stems from the wide variety of mushrooms, including the harmful ones. Be sure to be cautious and do your research when using mushrooms outside of your grocery or market.