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
Thanks to alpine trails and shaded valley creeks, outdoor recreation is year-round in the Rogue Valley. But fall usually makes for more frisky feet, so we asked Co-op employees for their favorite fall activities and recommendations for what they grab before they head out.
Just in time for the school year, Applegate products are being added to the Co-op Basics program! The Co-op carries a variety of Applegate products, like sliced deli meat, cheeses, bacon, and sausages. Now as part of the Co-op Basics program, you’ll be saving up to $2 on Applegate products across the store, every day.
Another successful farm tour is in the books! With 30 farms this year, visitors could see how bigger farms work, like Herb Pharm, Fry Family Farm, and Rogue Creamery, while also experiencing the joys of smaller farms, such as Turning Point Farm, Fox Run Farm, and Daily Blessing Farm.
Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens
Ashland is a paradise for the outdoors - but sometimes Mother Nature has different plans for us.
When smoke from wildfires becomes an issue, there are still plenty of great activities to enjoy around our wonderful town. Check out this list for some inspiration!
This year, the Ashland Food Co-op proudly celebrates their 20 year partnership with Magnolia Farms. Their pasture raised, no antibiotics, no hormones lamb is a staple in the Co-op Meat Department. Magnolia Farms is graciously donating the lamb for our August First Friday in celebration of our long standing partnership.
The Co-op has been asked if compostable plastic bags are a viable alternative to the standard plastic bags offered in the produce and meat departments.
For several reasons, compostable bags are not in line with the Co-op’s goals and standards.
Not compostable at home
We are happy to announce that we are a member of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management program. This is a free program available to customers of Avista and Pacific Power, which offers awesome incentives including a paid internship!
Congratulations to Annie Hoy, Melina Barker, Lisa Beam, and Steve Bowman for their election to the Board of Directors! We were delighted to have such a strong slate of candidates to fill our four vacancies. You can read more about each new director here.
Have you thought about how sustainable your paper home products are? While the use of single-use plastics has (rightfully) been criticized, some products are made to be single-use - like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. With these products, it’s best to examine sustainability by looking at what goes into their production.
We are grateful for the engaged community that supports the Ashland Food Co-op. We're a grocery store owned by you (with a few thousand of your friends). But your ownership isn't just coupons and discount; you help shape the future of the Co-op through the election of the Board of Directors.
This year, seven candidates are nominated for four board positions: two will serve a three-year term; one will serve a two-year term; and one will serve a one-year term. Additionally, the current board has proposed three by-law changes for approval.
The Farm Tour shines a spotlight on Southern Oregon - it represents the full range of products grown in the Rogue Valley. The Farm Tour isn't until July 14, but here's a list of tour activities for participating farms that are also on the shelves at the Ashland Food Co-op. Get an early taste of quality local goods!
By Emile Amarotico, General Manager
If we are lucky, we’ll only have another seven week smoke intrusion this summer. If we are not, we could be the next Paradise. In less than 13 hours, last November’s Camp Fire wiped out nearly 19,000 structures and more than 80 lives. With community help, we were able to raise over $14,000 to support Chico Natural Foods Co-op’s efforts to feed some of the nearly 20,000 displaced Paradise residents.
Did you know the Co-op employees have a small garden on our campus? Planning and management falls on our fantastic Co-op volunteer: Henry Herting.
Below, Henry shares some background on the garden, what it’s used for, and some additional tales from over the years.
Originally, the need for a kitchen garden arose from having a kitchen classroom in which culinary classes were being held. Visiting chefs have always been invited to use the garden for any ingredients they may have forgotten or items they could use as garnish for their dishes.
By Steve Bowman, AFC Board Director