Thursday 26 December 2019

Mushrooms and Health

The legendary toxicity of certain mushrooms is well known. The Death Cap, a deadly species, is still too often confused with other species and eaten. It is one of three deadly Amanita species which are responsible for more than 90% of deaths linked to the consumption of mushrooms.

Death Cap Amanita phalloides (Fr. Amanite phalloïdes).
Death Cap Amanita phalloides. Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

From a medical point of view, mushrooms don't only have beneficial effects. They are implicated in numerous dermatological conditions and infections (eg thrush, athletes foot).

Due to their metabolic richness they have great pharmacological potential. The historic (and accidental) discovery of antibiotics by Alexander Fleming from strains of Penicillium is famous.

The large 'bruise coloured' mushroom second right is a 
Lingzhi Ganoderma lucidum (Fr. Ganoderme luisant).
Bracket fungi. Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

What we no longer know is the centuries old use of certain species in the Chinese pharmacopia, such as Lingzhi Mushroom, which has demonstrated results recently.

Effectively, lentinane and other polysaccharides found in abundance in mushrooms directly stimulate the immune system.

 French based Chinese microbiologist Guanglai Zhang works with White Ferula Mushroom Pleurotus eryngii var nebrodensis.
Photo courtesy of Louisette Chaslon.

Oyster mushrooms have effects even more impressive on the regression of cancerous cells (at least in the lab).

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 


Le Pré de la Forge said...

I have met this man... he is a friend of Jim the Mushroom Man.
He, Jim and one other were involved in creating a specialist, organic mushroom growing medium... and also a honey, mustard and unnamed fungus mix to be sold as an herbal ointment... the latter enterprise never took off... the growing medium, which I think Mr Zhang was responsible for, is a winner... the main factory is in Belgium and overseen by Jim's son.
And I love those eryngii... lightly fried and served on brown toast!

Susan said...

Mr and Mrs Zhang are lovely people. Thanks for the extra tidbit of info about him that I didn't know.

Le Pré de la Forge said...

Pauline and I were very surprised to find Jim here... he had stopped selling from Leeds farmers' market and just supplied restaurants and specialist shops... we go to an event at Beaulieu les Loches and there he was with Phillipe... selling and promoting the mushrooms they were growing, using the bio medium, in the old Champion caves... sadly Jim had to give up... he developed a lung problem working in the damp in the caves. We've now lost touch again... but Jim learnt all he knew about 'shrooms from Phillipe and the very tall Swedish(?) gentleman right here in Loches!!

Ricks Carson, Atlanta said...

I read and then forward all such posts to my son, an environmental scientist, botanist, and mushroom aficionado in the Appalachians in North Carolina. He loves finding correspondences between French and New World varieties. Like me, he is also keen on Preuilly. Thank you!

Susan said...

The 'Swedish' gentleman is Hendrick and he's Dutch but has lived here for years. He actually lives and mushroom farms in Selles sur Cher. He's also at Amboise market as well as Loches, selling mushrooms.

Susan said...

Your son sounds like just my sort of person! Thanks for sharing the blog and we love hearing that people are appreciating it.

Post a Comment