Eat More Mushrooms - Why You Should and How To Grow Your Own

in #health4 years ago (edited)


Medicinal Mushrooms and Western Society

When you tell someone about medicinal mushrooms you are often met with skepticism and disbelief that simply eating more (and the right kind of) mushrooms can have profound health benefits. For reasons that I don't understand and can only speculate on, mushrooms are valued least in the western world as part of a healthy diet. It is particularly confusing when western people generally know about the 1928 discovery of penicillin by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming when he discovered his staphylococcus bacteria in a petri dish were killed by an accidental fungal contamination. Indeed most antibiotics are commercially produced by bacteria and fungi.

Packed full of a variety of ingredients, certain mushrooms can have powerful and demonstrated health benefits. Unfortunately most of the more potent species are not common in western supermarkets, and thus diets, and the mushrooms that are common are of very little medicinal value. Essentially, button mushrooms are to mushrooms what iceberg lettuce is to leafy greens... basically worthless. Just a cursory list of health effects include:

  • Lowered Cholesterol Levels
  • Anti-Allergic/Anti-Inflammatory Activity
  • Anticonvulsant Effects
  • Cancer Prevention/Treatment by inducing apoptosis
  • Antioxidant/Cardiovascular Protection
  • Diabetes Suppression/Hypoglycemic Effects
  • Probiotic/Gastrointestinal Health
  • Liver Health/Hepatoprotection
  • Immunostimulation
  • Brain Health/Neuroprotection
  • Improved Cognitive Ability
  • Nerve Growth & Regeneration

The Varieties I Grow

Here I'll introduce you to the mushrooms I grow, chosen primarily for their health benefits and ease of cultivation. These are all generally very low maintenance after the initial work and grow from hardwood logs in moist & shady areas.

Lentinula edodes (Shiitake)


Pleurotus ostreatus (Pearl Oyster)


Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)


Grifola frondosa (Maitake)


Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane)


Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail)


How to Grow Them

Out of all the medicinal mushrooms some are easy to grow at home while others are next to impossible... Cordyceps for example, which grow as parasites on insects and other arthropods. Others are able to grow with little to no effort when seeded in common hardwood. For simplicity I focus on the common hardwood varieties as my insect husbandry isn't so good.

You must use fresh hardwood logs (not split like firewood). Also, for these species you cannot use evergreen wood such as pine. Immediately after being cut wood will be attacked by all the varieties of fungi in nature so the logs must be fresh and healthy. You should acquire the live mushrooms of your choice from somewhere like Fungi Perfecti. They come in the form of hardwood pegs already populated with that species of mushroom. This is what they look like:


Soak the log overnight in clean rainwater or RO/DI water. Never expose the logs to chlorinated or contaminated water as fungi are often quite sensitive to environmental exposure like that. This ensures there is adequate moisture for the fungi. Drill holes and pound in these dowels till they are flush with the log. Using cheese wax or raw organic bees wax, paint over the holes to seal them in. Do not use paraffin waxes as they contain various toxic chemicals (for you or the fungi). I prefer to paint the cut ends of the logs as well but not before engraving an identifier in the end so I know what species a log contains.

Build yourself a rack to place the logs on. PVC works excellent for this as it is cheap, strong, nontoxic, and prevents contamination. You cannot put the logs on the ground or they will be overtaken by other (potentially toxic) species of fungi. Place this rack and your logs in a moist and dimly lit area. Wooded or bushy areas with shade are great. Sit back and wait for a year or two.

When the logs are getting close to full inoculation you'll see mottled patterns appear on the cut ends of the logs. Soon they will fruit and you'll have your clean organic medicinal mushroom source for years until the fungus had consumed the entire log (depending on the climate, your care, and size of the log).

My Shiitake Log From 4Sept2016

Here is my first years fruiting begin on my Shiitake log! Like all produce, they were much more delicious "straight from the vine" than the old shrooms you'll get from the store
(my own work)

Shiitake and Reishi I grew from bags of woodchips/sawdust




(all my own work)

Update. More photos of mine as requested by @quinneaker!

Taken mere moments ago!

Where my fruiting shiitake resides now


2-3 year old logs totally spent



Where this years logs sat for the past 9 months


Presence of native species tell me the location is ideal light and moisture


Here is another article about growing mushrooms in a bucket by @jed78

I hope you enjoyed this article! If you liked it give it an upvote. If you loved it follow me @hunterisgreat. If you hated it, provide me some constructive feedback! Thanks and Steem On!


Great info @hunterisgreat! Mushrooms and fungi are vital parts of the ecosystem, and they are highly medicinal. We have some beautiful pink varieties that pop up along our pathways at the Garden of Eden. They have a delicious, light, floral flavor and firm texture, and it's one of our favorite treats!

Are they native species and if so do you know what they are? Any correlation to the Hugel mounds? I bet their mycelium are everywhere.

Almost all our antibiotics are derived from fungi & bacteria. sadly we've effectively selectively bred resistant pathogens by squandering nature's antibiotics b/c we have a runny nose, and I worry this may detrimentally effect the worlds fungi.

Interesting side note, one of my dogs is named "Katya von Hügelblick" which is German for "Katya from Hillview"... so "hugel mound" means "hill mound" or "mound mound" lol.

Great article!
I agree with everything and am aware of pretty much everything in this article.
My only question/suggestion is if you grow these why not have your own photos?
Great to see you are getting some major support for this post. Congrats on that!
I am always happy to see when people support holistic, natural, sustainable success!
We need MORE of that!

Thanks! I hope to swing by after work to check on the shiitake again for dinner, and I'll grab more pics of the current stuff while I'm there.

The photos after the dowels are all my own. At present of my 6 new logs only that Shiitake fruited so far, and one Reishi but I just harvested and didn't think to take pics. My other 6 logs from years ago are nearly sawdust on the ground and I think they are exhausted.

Keep up the good work and remember to get some good photos whenever you have good production going!

Great post, I love the pvc rack for your shitake logs, gonna have to look into that! Keep on growing !

Actually got one of each of the above six species on the rack. Touching right there by moved them for the picture. They should all be pretty well inoculated at this point

Great post and I'm into farming too :)
Following you for more

What all do you farm?

I did a post about our organic farming in Tuscany - Italy, which was not so successful for now... Soon will update with another one :)

Such is life and steemit. Today you've read, by a wide margin, my most successful post yet. I was averaging pennies. I don't believe my quality has changed significantly. Keep at it. I'll follow you

Edit. After this morning I already was following you ;-)

Such is life and steemit

You're perfectly right!

Thank you for following, I post on many different topics and I hope it will be interesting for you to read my stuff :)

It's nice to see the pictures of the mushrooms you are growing. It looks like you know how to do that really well! Enjoy your bounty!

It's my third time or so growing mushrooms. I'm getting the hang of it now. That shiitake log was just chilling in my shady spot for about 8 months. Nothing required from me. I just wrapped to look at it and it had fruited

You must live in a place that has high humidity in the summer. Here in Oregon's Willamette Valley, I struggle to keep things wet in the summer, but then dry in the winter, lol. At least we have some great wild mushrooms here to eat! : )

This past summer my weather station out there very very rarely dropped below ~96% lol

I'm surprised you haven't turned into a mushroom yourself, lol!

What's really interesting to me is the variety of powerful substances present in various fungi. From incredibly toxic ones to incredibly cancer fighting ones to incredibly mind altering ones. Such a wide range of effects

Any Magic mushrooms there?
I find some in the toilet. Very fragrance one too.
Air-freshener 🆙

Guess it depends on your particular definition of magic lol. The recreational ones grow in cow dung and I'm not so fond of dung or have access to cows lol

Cool post. I used to hunt mushrooms back in Indiana in the spring!

I've never hunted for them. With some of the native species looking similar to edible species and having names like death angel, destroying angel, angel of death I'm not comfortable enough with my own identifications to take the chance lol. Even when I ate those shiitake's above 2 days ago there was, in the back of my mind, a bit of concern

haha -- those names are something else. I like the Black Chanterelle, which also goes by names that are completely the opposite message: Horn of Plenty or Trumpet of Death. And they are delicious!

Neat - I still buy storebought (organic at least) but Yes I got into the habit of eating them so regularly that had to Google "how much is too much" when it comes to them. They help with weightloss by making you feel full.
I mix in about 6 oz with eggs, and then another 6 ounces or so with veggies for dinner, almost daily.

What sort do you prefer to eat?

Usu standard packages white mushrooms with my omellettes, and Portoabellos with dinner/veggies. I like Shitake but I think they're kind of expensive if I'm not mistaken. Thanks, this is not a conversaton I get to have with lots of people, except maybe my doctor, haha

Unfortunetly button mushrooms are basically useless. You physically couldn't eat enough to get the medicinal value. Portabellos are a little better but not enough to be significant. Shiitakes are a little more expensive but worth the cost. Better to eat $1 worth of shiitake regularly than $1 worth of more portabello

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