The biggest threat to the scientific community when it comes to innovative and safe applications of mycelia/fungi is Big Pharma. Though Big Pharma is not the topic of this blog, it must be dealt with because of its business practices, for example, requiring years of Prosac instead of two-three capsules of a specific fungus to cure a chronic illness. It’s just not profitable for Big Pharma to keep one medicated. As you may already know, Big Pharma consists of major multinational pharmaceutical companies that, collectively, remain the most profitable industry in the United States. For an interesting exploration of its history, visit The Side Unseen.
And so we begin with three of the many topics and themes encountered in CHOIR OF CLOISTERED CANARIES: in search for longevity, immortality, and higher consciousness. Though briefly alluded to throughout the novel, epidemiologist Leitis poses a theory of how Homo sapiens sapiens became a highly cognitively-aware being. She speculated that, when our species or earlier ones were curious about a fungus outcropping from cattle dung, the species experienced something extraordinary–what felt like out-of-body visions of colors, forms, and patterns. In another instance in the novel, there was a brief encounter by her mother Izobel seeking to understand The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese Book of Life. C. G. Jung, an early Westerner who attempted to understand the secrets of the East, studied this wisdom literature of the powers of growth latent in the human psyche. Based on a cursory understanding of one of the yoga practices described in the text, it sounds much like Mahamudra Tantra without the drug. This is not to say that Eastern wisdom literature scrubs any historical use of mind-altering fungi/plants. Eastern yogis have and do with great skill.
Nonetheless, in the prolific mushroom world, there is much diversification. Hypothetically, the golden flower could very well be a mycelium (as in hidden). On a more serious note, the mycelia world is very ancient.
One can say it evolved into the network that digests the debris of matter on the face and under face of the earth. Moreover, one can honestly say that life as we know it is due in large part to mycelia and its fungi–by creating soil, regulating hydrological cycles, and establishing highly beneficial relationships with flora and fauna. In essence, it is the fabric of life that makes our lives sustainable. In fact, the human neural network of our human brain, Vagus nerve, and placenta mimic the mycelia.
Did you know that 90% of terrestrial plants has a mycorrhizal (symbiotic) relationship with one or more species of fungi?
Fungal hyphae or mycelia seem to have such a sophisticated level of higher consciousness that it seems to know how to also help all living/organic matter on earth. Albeit, as creator, also as destroyer.
So, why would it not also be of benefit to one of its byproducts–us–in medicine? The following illustrates certain fungi cure certain diseases.
a. Agarikon (Fomilopsis officinalis) has anti-viral properties that are of major interest in a time of endemic/pandemic viruses. According to medicinalherbals.net which tracks research studies worldwide states that, in the early 2000’s,”a team of scientists tested 11 species of North American Agarikon mushrooms. Those 11 species contained compounds that were shown to possess highly anti-viral properties, and those compounds are the subject of several scientific studies. Some of those compounds are known to be useful in treating viruses like cowpox, swine flu, bird flu, oral and genital herpes (as mentioned below), and several other viruses. While there are still animal studies and human clinical trials that need to be performed, researchers are already suggesting that ingesting Agarikon may help the body develop a bio-shield against unwanted viruses and bacteria.” The web site also lists studies that Agarikon is medically promising in treating inflammation, cancer, flu, herpes, upset stomach, tuberculosis.
b. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is also called the “smart mushroom,” for trials have shown that they help support cognitive function, memory, and attention span. There is some limited evidence (more testing is required) that it helps with Alzheimer’s Disease. The polysaccharides in Lion’s Mane seem to protect neurons or make them function better. There are other known benefits as attested by a long tradition of usage of Lion’s Mane in Chinese Medicine.
c. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor; Coriolus versicolor) – The Turkey Tail mushroom has widely been researched to know that it is antioxidant-rich and known for supporting the immune system, gut, and liver. Recent research has shown that it also aid is healing breast and prostate cancers. For this claim, view the documentary film, Fantastic Fungi.
There is much to learn about our magical friends, and we must respect the expertise of those scientists and doctors who are learning and guiding us in their usages. Toxicity cannot be understated when using them oneself.
But the golden flower may very well not be a fungus. There are plants that have psychological-altering properties such as non-golden-flowering Cannabis (Cannabaceae whose root system resembles mycelium), Datura, and Brugmansia (“Trumpet flower”), which are used for spiritual or religious experiences. The last two psychedelic flowers can be of a golden hue.
Then there is soma, which is still a mysterious recipe that was used by one of the ancient Scythian tribes known as the Saka Haumavarga, which was a ceremonious drink that gave the warriors strength and also immortality and that can be traced all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilization. (Hauma and soma are synonymous.) In each instance, these entheogenic plants are known to cause the psyche to navigate into territories above the five-sense consciousnesses to understand the “mind of God” – the ultimate realm of mega consciousness. What seems to be the case in all these experiences in wisdom literature is to recogne the abstruse and involute “LIGHT”.
Trivia: T/F – Many fungi are shape-shifters.
True: They seem to be designed to defy human efforts at categorization. “The same species, sometimes the same individual, can reproduce two ways: sexually, by mixing genes with a partner of the same species, or asexually, by cloning to produce genetically identical offspring.” For more information, visit “The Name of the Fungus“.