Mushrooms for wellness
You may have heard about the fascinating discovery that trees can communicate with each other. What’s the secret? The mycelia - tiny strands of fungus - in the soil form a vast underground network through which trees send chemical signals to their neighbors.
The mycelia differs from the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is the reproductive component that contains spores and is thought to be higher in Beta Glucans.
If fungus can do that for trees, what benefits can we as humans get from mushrooms? Mushroom teas and other fungal supplements have become more widespread and mostly used for boosting the immune system.*
Lucky for us in the Pacific Northwest, we have access to some of the best mushrooms in the country - in fact, many of the mushroom products we offer are wild-crafted right here in Oregon!
Below is a list of some of the most common medicinal mushrooms and the benefits they may offer to the individual.
As with all supplements, check with your doctor before you start using any medicinal mushroom products. Some mushrooms may have adverse interactions with other medicine, or come with unwanted side effects.
This mushroom has been revered for centuries in Asia. Historically it is a very rare mushroom to find in the wild - scientists estimate that out of every 10,000 trees where reishi could grow, you’ll only find three specimens. Thankfully, the mushroom can now be cultivated on a larger scale using organic substrates.
Generally, reishi is considered an immune system booster and provides overall wellness support*, promoting cardiovascular system health* and the body's ability to adapt to stress*.
Raw or dried reishi can be boiled into a tea. Most reishi supplements come in a tea, tincture or powder (encapsulated or loose) form.
Chaga may not be the most beautiful mushroom on this list, but it has one of the oldest histories. Chaga is mostly found growing on birch trees (which is why it has such a long history in Russia), though it grows on other types of trees, as a big ‘conk’ growth on the outside of the tree. Commercial cultivation of chaga has been successful; however there have been chemical differences observed between wild and cultivated varieties.
Generally, chaga is known to be filled with antioxidants and is an overall immune system booster*.
Chaga is powdered and taken as a tea (the taste is often compared to an earthy coffee), or consumed in a capsule or tincture form.
This is the most ‘sci-fi’ of all the mushrooms: several of the 400+ species are actually parasitic. Some modern cordyceps cultivation is a vegan process without needing any living hosts. Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) has been traditionally used in Asia for strenuous, high altitude activities and as an immune tonic.* Physical fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes have discovered that cordyceps may have the effect of increased oxygen uptake, supporting higher endurance levels.* People have also found that cordyceps supports healthy libido* and kidney function*.
Cordyceps is consumed traditionally as a raw, dried supplement to soups or stews. In powdered form it is taken as a tea, or in capsules or tincture form.
This is one of the most unique looking mushrooms: long tendrils hang from the main fruiting body, creating hundreds of mushroom 'icicles.' This bushy appearance gives the mushroom its common name.
Lion’s mane has been found to be helpful in the following ways: mental clarity, focus and memory in aiding overall cognitive function*; provides immune and nervous system support.*
Lion’s mane is most often consumed as a powder in tea or capsule form, or in a concentrated, standardized extract.
This pretty mushroom is named after the resemblance of the fruiting body to a wild turkey’s tail. Research shows this mushroom has been used medicinally since around 1368 by the Ming Dynasty.
Turkey Tail is an excellent source of cellular nutrients*, providing immune system support.*
Turkey tail is edible but quite chewy; most often it is consumed as a tea, or powdered capsule form.
Other beneficial mushrooms worth exploring:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
More Co-op News
AFC and AEFB Press Release - Local Strength!
Release Date: 5-26-2020
In April, the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors announced to the community that the Co-op would be returning 100% of the 2019 Patronage Dividend to its owners. The 100% Patronage Dividend return to Co-op owners converted to over $628,000.
The Co-op Board felt in this time of great need it was not the right time for the Co-op to put away funds for the future, but rather to support owners fully so they may have more strength to weather these stormy times.
Thanks to the many agile and adaptable experts in the Rogue Valley, the much-loved Free Monday Night Lectures live on - even if everything is moving online.
While we miss seeing community members with a joy of learning showing up at the Co-op Classroom, we hope these recordings teach and inspire you.
By Nina Friedman, Strategic Energy Management intern
The Ashland Food Co-op has played a critical role supporting our community for nearly 50 years by providing healthy food and a safe place to shop. With the recent COVID-19 shutdown, this support has been even more important and has stretched our organization in ways that we could not have anticipated. We have endeavored to address the needs of both our staff and our customers, hopefully in the most cooperative manner.
The Ashland Food Co-op acknowledges and shares our community’s concerns about protecting against the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The safety and health of staff and customers is a top priority for the Co-op. We are taking proactive steps throughout our store to maintain a clean atmosphere to work and shop.
We have consolidated store changes below.
As an owner of the Ashland Food Co-op, you are an important decision-maker in the leadership of the Co-op! A vital part of your ownership is voting for the Board of Directors.
On the ballot: Vote for Board Candidates and Change for Good Organizations
Vote for Board Candidates
This year, four candidates are nominated for three Board positions: each elected Board director will serve a three-year term. The candidates are Ed Claassen, Mark Gibbs, Carolina Livi and Julie O'Dywer.
Mark the evening of May 13 at 5pm on your calendar and join us for the 2020 AFC Annual Meeting. We’ll host the meeting online using Google Hangouts. Please click here to join the meeting, or call in at this number:
PIN: 719 680 293 2056#
The Co-op has always had a focus on supporting the strong local scene of growers and producers - and in these times, it's even more important. Here is just a small selection of some of our favorites from the area. Help support local businesses next time you stop by the Co-op by picking one of these products.
By Emile Amarotico, General Manager
It’s been two months since my last update on our Co-op community, but it could just as well have been two years ago, or from an alternate reality! Needless to say, life at the Co-op has changed, and it hasn’t been easy for employees or shoppers. But despite the challenges, it has been an inspiring and reaffirming time that reminds us why we love the cooperative enterprise.
By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator
In the midst of a health crisis, how can we focus on sustainability? Let’s be real - these are tough times!
What does sustainability look like now? I like to refer to the definition of sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. How can we meet the needs of the present, while keeping the future in mind?
By Annie Hoy, Board Director
This month, AFC Owners will democratically elect a slate of board candidates. These candidates are co-op owners, just like you and me. By holding annual elections, co-ops around the world and close to home are expressing Cooperative Principle 2: Democratic Member Control.
From the Board of Directors:
This year, the Co-op Board of Directors is taking unprecedented action to distribute 100% of the over $628,000 2019 Patronage Dividend to our owners. In this time of great need, there is no holding back. This is not the moment to put away funds for the future, but rather to support our owners fully so that we may all have more strength to weather the storm.
Michelle isn't serving up samples right now, so she's serving up kitchen tips instead! Here's her tried and true approach to cooking dry beans, plus some extra tips for upping your flavor, saving time, and cook other legumes. (Ingredients and modifications are below the video.)
By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator
Inspired by Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home
We are in uncertain times and some of you may be second-guessing some of your zero waste practices and replacing them with safety measures for you and your family. I was proud not to have chemical cleaners in my home and never used plastic gloves - but now those products are being suggested for staying clean and safe. Here are some tips to keep your home safe while working towards more sustainability.
Until a crisis like this occurs, few think of Grocers as essential service providers. However, our employees have been here day in and day out, risking their health and the safety of their loved ones, to provide food for our community. This is not a job that can be done from home or from what is now considered a safe social distance. Our employees have worked with the utmost professionalism, care, and concern for shopper well-being.