My magic mushrooms update 101. October 2022.
I spent the last few weeks hiking in the pine barrens. The time in the woods is my forest bath, it quiet and I connect with the trees and all of nature. I always carry my camera, just in case mother nature talks to me.
Something called synchronicity started happening to me with the plant world messengers coming forward and catching my attention. These messengers just happen to be mushrooms. Each day I found a new group mushrooms, by chance it seemed like they would just show up. I had no intention to be looking for mushrooms. The mushrooms reached out to me, and I took pictures of them and spent time with them not knowing their identity.
It didn’t just happen once; it happened many times. I took many photographs each time. It has happened for many weeks now and each encounter there were many different mushrooms.
The only connection to little me was I have been ingesting a few different mushrooms to help my memory and enhance my immune system. The feedback convinces me I’m on the right track. Stay tuned for more images.
Photo tip, Go for the low angle, get down on the ground. Just because, to get the horizon and straight the shot, don’t shoot it too tight. By doing so that will let you straighten it in Lightroom.
These mushrooms from yesterday hike. I have been studying the health benefits of mushroom lately and this trip to Franklin Parker Preserve helped with my research. I also found this video useful, and I now drink coffee with mushrooms. They are great for the immune system with winter coming, I need all I can get to boost my IL6.
Mushrooms in The Woods
I found these beauties during a morning walk in the woods, near Medford, NJ. I enjoy taking photographs of them.
Edible mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of macro fungi. They can appear either below ground or above ground, where they may be picked by hand. I have never been comfortable eating my own from the wild.
Mushroom are very healthy, and I try and include some in the diet. Great for the Immune system.
Here’s why Organic Mushrooms are good for your immune health
Mushrooms are touted as superfoods for a variety of reasons. Since ancient times, these edible fungi have shown the ability to support and restore optimal health. In fact, mushrooms are some of the most revered medicinal herbs in Asian traditional medicine.
For example, in China, the oldest surviving materia medica known as Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing extolls the health-supporting properties of the reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum). According to the text, which dates back to about 200 A.D., eating this mushroom regularly can help preserve your youth and vitality. This is why in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi is called the “mushroom of immortality.” 
Another fungus mentioned in old medical books is the parasitic Cordyceps sinensis. Although not taxonomically considered a mushroom, it is described in ancient texts as an “exotic mushroom” with a wide range of amazing properties. C. sinensis, often referred to simply as cordyceps, features prominently in TCM as well as in traditional Tibetan and Indian Medicine. In Sikkim, a state in the northeastern part of India, traditional healers believe that this fungus can support healthy energy, appetite, stamina, endurance, libido and sleep quality. 
Like cordyceps and reishi, the shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is also highly prized by traditional Asian healers, who prescribed it to support optimal immune health. Today, shiitake is still widely used in eastern countries like China, Korea and Japan to support healthy brain, heart and immune functions. 
In European folk medicine, the use of medicinal mushrooms is also well-documented. For instance, the tree parasite Inonotus obliquus, commonly known as chaga, has been used in Eastern Europe since the 12th century. This medicinal fungus is also traditionally prescribed to support digestive, heart and liver health in Siberia. Like cordyceps, chaga is not actually a mushroom but is historically considered as one. 
Because of their widespread use in traditional medicine, mushrooms are now extensively studied by modern researchers. Reports of their beneficial properties not only attest to their potential to support optimal health, but also showcase their suitability for a wide range of applications. Apart from being culinary ingredients, mushrooms have become popular dietary supplements for supporting optimal immune health. But what makes these medicinal fungi so perfect for the job?
Organic mushrooms: The best food for your immune system
According to research, about 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and your immune cells directly interact with the microbes that reside in your colon. The healthier your gut microflora is, the better it can support your immune system, which translates to stronger immune defenses.  A healthy gut microflora is characterized by a balanced composition of good and bad microbes, which you can achieve and maintain with the help of prebiotic foods.
Prebiotic foods are nutritious foods that help your good gut bacteria thrive. They are normally high in soluble fiber, which helps nourish these beneficial bacteria. As your gut microbes break down soluble fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that benefit your digestive and immune systems.  According to a study published in the journal Cellular & Molecular Immunology, SCFAs can support the healthy functions of many immune cells that serve as your body’s first line of defense against threats. 
Organic mushrooms are some of the best prebiotic foods that you can add to your diet. They contain plenty of soluble fiber, such as mannans, galactans and a– and B-glucans, that can support a healthy gut microflora.  Studies also show that B-glucans, in particular, is a biologically active polysaccharide that can support robust immune responses.  Thanks to their high soluble fiber content, organic mushrooms can help you maintain a healthy digestive system and a strong immune system at the same time.
Organic mushrooms are also an excellent source of immune-supporting vitamins and minerals, some of which also double as potent antioxidants. Vitamin C and selenium are great examples of these antioxidant nutrients. According to studies, vitamin C supports both your innate and adaptive immune systems by helping maintain your skin’s barrier function.  Because your skin harbors a wide variety of innate and adaptive immune cells, its protective abilities are considered a crucial part of your body’s natural defenses. 
Together with vitamin C, the antioxidant mineral selenium helps protect your immune cells from oxidative stress.  In fact, they are just two of the many antioxidants found in organic mushrooms that serve this purpose. Although your immune system is tasked with defending your body, its components still need protection from certain threats. These threats are known as free radicals, which can trigger oxidative stress that can damage even your immune cells. Oxidative stress is not only linked to premature aging of the skin, but also an early decline in immune function. 
Organic mushrooms also contain choline, copper and zinc, which are all essential for healthy immune function. Copper is necessary for maintaining healthy white blood cells – your body’s immune cells – while zinc plays an important role in the normal development and activity of your innate and adaptive immune cells.  Like copper and zinc, choline is also required for healthy immune cell activity. In fact, according to Canadian researchers, innate immune cells called macrophages need choline to function optimally. 
On top of providing these important nutrients, organic mushrooms can also help you maintain healthy vitamin D levels. You need this essential nutrient to efficiently absorb minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphate, as well as to support optimal immune regulation.  According to studies, eating organic mushrooms regularly can help boost your vitamin D levels thanks to a compound called ergosterol. Ergosterol is an important component of fungal cell membranes that serves as a precursor to vitamin D2 in humans. 
7 Organic Mushrooms for a healthy immune system
The immunity benefits of organic mushrooms can be attributed not only to their rich nutrient content, but also to their bioactive components. Like plants, mushrooms contain various chemical compounds, such as polysaccharides, polysaccharide peptides, proteins, terpenoids and nucleotides, that contribute to their amazing medicinal and health-supporting properties.
In a 2014 study published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, researchers explored the immune-supporting activities of five medicinal mushrooms – namely, cordyceps, maitake (Grifola frondosa), reishi, turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) and himematsutake (Agaricus blazei) – and their active components. They reported that these mushrooms support healthy immune defenses by supporting your body’s natural immune system. 
Specifically, the researchers noted that the active components of these mushrooms can help stimulate various immune cells when needed. They do so by supporting the healthy production of cytokines – small proteins that act as intracellular mediators during an immune response. When faced with a threat, cells release cytokines to signal each other, which eventually leads to the activation of your innate immune system – your body’s first line of defense.
Aside from the five mushrooms mentioned in the study, there are other medicinal ones that can provide the same immune support. Here are seven of the best mushrooms for maintaining optimal immune health:
- Chaga mushroom – Chaga is a rich source of immune-supporting minerals, such as copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.  It also contains an abundance of potent antioxidants, such as flavans, melanin, polyphenols, polysaccharides and triterpenoids. Thanks to these active compounds, chaga is said to have one of the highest ORAC scores (antioxidant capacity) of any superfood.  Studies have also found that chaga mushroom contains active polysaccharides as well as a triterpenoid called inotodiol that can support the healthy functions of innate immune cells. 
- Cordyceps mushroom – About 500 different species of Cordyceps are known to researchers, but only a few have been found to exert beneficial effects. sinensis and C. militaris are two of the most useful Cordyceps species to humans, having been used as natural remedies for centuries, particularly in TCM. Cordyceps contain a variety of nutrients, such as vitamins B1, B2, B12 and K, and amino acids like lysine, glutamic acid, proline and threonine.  They owe their immune-supporting properties to active components like antioxidant polysaccharides, ergosterol and the nucleoside, cordycepin, all of which have been found to support the normal immune cell activities. 
- Lion’s mane mushroom – Known scientifically as Hericium erinaceus and yamabushitake in Japanese, lion’s mane gets its name from its unusual appearance, which resembles the shaggy mane of a white lion. This edible mushroom is not only widely used in East Asian cuisine, but it is also popular as a health supplement.  According to studies, lion’s mane benefits the immune system by providing bioactive proteins and polysaccharides that support gut microbial balance.  Thanks to these prebiotic components, lion’s mane can also support a healthy digestive system.
- Maitake mushroom – Also known as hen-of-the-woods or the dancing mushroom, this parasitic fungus can be found at the base of trees, especially old oak trees. It is native to northeastern Japan, Europe and North America, where it is often used as a culinary ingredient and food flavoring.  Maitake is an excellent source of immune-supporting nutrients, such as vitamin B6, copper, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc. What’s more, it contains the highest levels of immune-supporting vitamin D among known edible fungi.  According to studies, maitake mushroom can support the healthy functions of certain immune cells thanks to bioactive proteins and polysaccharides like grifolan. 
- Reishi mushroom – Known in TCM as lingzhi, this large, dark-colored mushroom with a glossy exterior and woody texture is a staple herb in traditional oriental medicine.  Reishi is a great source of immune-supporting minerals, such as copper, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc. Both manganese and iron are essential for optimal immune cell functions.  As mentioned earlier, reishi mushroom owes it immune benefits to bioactive polysaccharides, which have been shown to support healthy immune responses even in animals. 
- Shiitake mushroom – One of the most popular edible mushrooms on the planet, shiitake is harvested from decaying hardwood trees and is known for its earthy, meaty flavor.  Shiitake is an abundant source of immune-supporting nutrients, such as copper, manganese, selenium, zinc and vitamins B6 and B9.  Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is also necessary for maintaining healthy immune cell functions.  According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, regular consumption of shiitake mushroom can support healthy immune cell function and immune regulation. 
- Turkey tail mushroom – Like lion’s mane, turkey tail mushroom gets its name from its unusual appearance, which resembles a strikingly colored turkey’s tail.  Turkey tail is widely known for its immune-supporting properties, which are thanks to a combination of B-vitamins, minerals like copper, manganese and zinc, and antioxidant flavonoids as well as other phenols.  In addition, turkey tail mushroom contains protein-bound polysaccharides like krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptides (PSP) that have been shown to support healthy immune responses.