Fans of Super Mario play with them. Doctors study them. Chefs all over the world cook with them. They appear overnight, disappear just as fast and leave no trace of these visit. Students of this world are called mycologists and now, the fungus will be viewed as a possible treatment for cancer, PTSD-post-traumatic stress disorder and some psychological disorders.
Mushrooms, sometimes called toadstools, are fleshy bodies of fungus that grow above ground on soil or on a food source. They’re separated from the plant world in a kingdom all their very own called Myceteae because they don’t contain chlorophyll like green plants.
Without the process of photosynthesis, some mushrooms obtain nutrients by wearing down organic matter or by feeding from higher plants. They are called decomposers. Another sector attacks living plants to kill and consume them and they are called parasites. Edible and poisonous varieties are mycorrhizal and are found on or near roots of trees such as oaks, pines and firs.
For humans, mushrooms can perform one of three things-nourish, heal or poison. Few are benign. The three most widely used edible versions of this ‘meat of the vegetable world’ will be the oyster, morel and chanterelles.
They’re used extensively in cuisine from China, Korea, Japan and India. In fact, China could be the world’s largest producer cultivating over half of all mushrooms consumed worldwide. Shroom chocolate The majority of the edible variety inside our supermarkets have already been grown commercially on farms and include shiitake, portobello and enoki.
Eastern medicine, especially traditional Chinese practices, has used mushrooms for centuries. In the U.S., studies were conducted in early ’60s for possible ways to modulate the defense mechanisms and to inhibit tumor growth with extracts used in cancer research.
Mushrooms were also used ritually by the natives of Mesoamerica for 1000s of years. Called the ‘flesh of the gods’ by Aztecs, mushrooms were widely consumed in religious ceremonies by cultures through the Americas. Cave paintings in Spain and Algeria depict ritualized ingestion dating back as far as 9000 years. Questioned by Christian authorities on both parties of the Atlantic, psilocybin use was suppressed until Western psychiatry rediscovered it after World War II.
A 1957 article in Life Magazine titled “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” spurred the interest of America. These year, a Swiss scientist named Albert Hofman, identified psilocybin and psilocin as the active compounds in the ‘magic’ mushrooms. This prompted the creation of the Harvard Psilocybin Project led by American psychologist Timothy Leary at Harvard University to examine the consequences of the compound on humans.
In the quarter century that followed, 40,000 patients were given psilocybin and other hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline. More than 1,000 research papers were produced. Once the federal government took notice of the growing subculture ready to accept adopting the employment, regulations were enacted.
The Nixon Administration began regulations, which included the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law created five schedules of increasing severity under which drugs were to be classified. Psilocybin was place in the most restrictive schedule I along side marijuana and MDMA. Each was defined as having a “high potential for abuse, no currently acceptable medical use and a lack of accepted safety.”
This ended the study for pretty much 25 years until recently when studies opened up for potential use in dealing with or resolving PTSD-post-traumatic stress disorder along side anxiety issues. By June 2014, whole mushrooms or extracts have already been studied in 32 human clinical trials registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health for his or her potential effects on a variety of diseases and conditions. Some maladies being addressed include cancer, glaucoma, immune functions and inflammatory bowel disease.
The controversial area of research is the usage of psilocybin, a naturally occurring chemical using mushrooms. Its ability to simply help people experiencing psychological disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD and anxiety remain being explored. Psilocybin has already been shown to work in treating addiction to alcohol and cigarettes in certain studies