If you have seen the benefits of mushrooms, then you may have thought of growing medicinal mushrooms yourself. However, it can be intimidating and there are some things to be aware of before you begin.
First things first, what are medicinal mushrooms?
In a nutshell, medicinal mushrooms are those that have some therapeutic properties. Mushrooms have been part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and can be found in many classic herbal and Eastern medicine books. These days, mushrooms have become popular because they can be added to teas, tinctures, or eaten as food.
But what do medicinal mushrooms do exactly?
That’s a good question that has been studied for years. Mushrooms act as nootropics, which are medical and nutritional compounds that can improve cognitive function. Some other nootropics include caffeine, Ginkgo Biloba,, and ginger.
On the other hand, mushrooms also have a large number of nutrients. Some of these nutrients are vitamins, antioxidants, and aromatic terpenes. Along with that, mushrooms have a high amount of complex polysaccharides called beta-glucans that boost the body’s ability to fight disease, oxidative stress, and more.
Here are the 5 tips you need to know if you want to start growing medicinal mushrooms
Tip #1: Not all mushrooms are medicinal
While all mushrooms are healthy and nutritious, not all of them have medicinal properties. Some of the most common medicinal species that you can grow at home are:
- Lion’s Mane
Tip #2: Growing Lion’s Mane needs some work
Lion’s Mane grows on sick or dying trees, logs, or in a specialized substrate in grow bags. The texture and appearance of these mushrooms are closely similar to crab meat, which is why it makes for a great vegetarian meat substitute.
This mushroom may be the most potent, as it has powerful regenerative effects on brain cells. Consuming Lion’s Mane can be a way to fight oxidative stress, preventing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and stopping the progression of cell damage.
These mushrooms are native to North America, Asia, and Europe, To grow them at home, you will need to buy Lion’s Mane spawn and a special spawn bag to allow for the mushroom to nourish appropriately.
Tip #3: Shiitake mushrooms require you to use logs
While this mushroom is extremely popular, it is also not as easily grown at home. To cultivate shiitake mushrooms you will need a cut hardwood log. These mushrooms have a mild flavor but a meaty texture, so they are often used in many vegetarian and meat dishes alike.
Since they also have a powerful umami effect, shiitake powder is a popular addition to meals, teas, and more. Aside from being umami though, shiitake can boost your immunity and help lower cholesterol in the blood.
To grow these mushrooms at home, you need a hardwood log that has the bark on, it should be an oak or poplar for ideal conditions. You should inoculate your logs in winter when the temperature is below freezing. You also need shiitake mushroom plugs, which are used to inoculate the logs. Your log should sit for 2-4 weeks in a shaded and dry environment.
After this period, insert the shiitake plugs into the logs and place the log over the newspaper to catch the melted wax. After melting and applying wax to the logs your mushrooms are ready to grow. They need about 6 months, but usually more, to produce any shiitake.
Tip #4: Oyster mushrooms can grow on logs or substrate
This popular mushroom can be grown at home without much work. The name comes from the way it looks, but the flavor is a bit mild and tastes a little like scallops. This is another reason why oyster mushrooms are used in seafood and Asian broths or soups.
These mushrooms are known to be antiviral, anti-tumor, antioxidant, and can reduce blood sugar levels. Oyster mushrooms grow in temperate regions, usually on dead logs or dying trees.
To grow them at home, you can use a dead log or buy specialized substrate to place in bags. You can buy grey oyster plug spawn online, as well as starter kits for home growing.
Tip #5: Always do your research and check on your mushrooms
While having medicinal mushrooms at home sounds like an amazing thing, it can be complicated to grow these fungi. Make sure you research adequate tools and conditions, always checking that your mushrooms are staying healthy. As always, exercise caution when consuming new foods.
One final thing
It’s time to add medicinal mushrooms to your list of foods. Follow these tips to growing medicinal mushrooms at home, but keep in mind that it takes time and money. You may be better off trying to get them online or at a store. If you dare embark on this journey, however, make sure you read up and research accordingly.