Fungi are masters of emergence. We can learn from them on many levels.
Most of their lives are spent in a silent yet interconnected experience that is unseen by humans. However, they are constantly emerging in the vast array of ecosystems in which they are immersed. The mushroom mycelium (the root-like structure of the edible and beneficial mushrooms) is the ‘body’ of the mushroom. The mycelium carries out all of the critical activities of life except for reproduction. The mycelium digest, absorb, protect, sense, and expand or grow, allowing them to emerge and interconnect with the ecosystem around them. Their metabolic functions have a critical impact on continued life on the planet. Fungal mycelium decomposes organic matter, sequesters carbon in the soil, liberates minerals from rock into the soil, and shuttles nutrients among the vegetation covering vast amounts of our planet’s surface. Mycelium also has the capacity to impact microorganisms and even macro-organisms providing a balancing influence on the microbiome and the macro-biome. Mycelium is the shepherd of life on Earth.
Beyond the role that mushroom mycelium plays in our ecosystems, mycelium can play in human health and wellness. Mycelium and fermented substrate are emerging as the leading sustainable, beneficial supplements for the whole body. The synergistic support that mushroom mycelium plus fermented substrate have on immune functioning has been part of this emergence. The ongoing research published in peer-reviewed journals has been steadily occurring over the past ten years, growing almost imperceptibly, like mycelium growing unseen by most people. Similarly to mycelium expanding throughout its growth medium, the research has been consistently gaining ground and recognition in the scientific community. Mycelium and the fermented substrate are emerging as a unique, vigorous and complex modulator of the human immune response.* When used together, they synergistically engage immune cells to function more effectively.* Furthermore, they engage our body’s cellular regenerative capabilities.* Finally, they engage the checks and balances of the immune system, maintaining appropriate homeostasis.* Mycelium is emerging as nature’s predominant balancing influence for planetary ecosystems as well as human ecosystems.
Similarly to how mushroom mycelium impacts multiple aspects of our planet’s ecosystem, mycelium can also impact multiple systems of our bodies. The different species of mushroom mycelium are often associated with specific tissues and systems of our bodies. Lion’s Mane is the most notable, with emerging evidence showing support for our neurological tissues.* Chaga’s traditional use and research show evidence of its affinity for supporting the balanced immune response of our barrier tissues like the skin, intestinal tract, and the lungs.* Cordyceps has emerged as the revitalizer of the mushroom species, supporting increased energy, lung functioning, and oxygenation, muscle function, and libido.* Turkey Tail continues to demonstrate support of immune and liver health.* Reishi emerged centuries ago as a gentle, systemic tonifier, supporting cardiovascular health, neurological activity, intestinal integrity, liver detoxification, upper respiratory function, and stamina.* Understanding of the affinities of each mushroom species has grown over time, emerging from the mysterious and moving towards widespread recognition.
Often when something new or unexpected emerges from the background, the status quo takes a defensive stance. For a host of reasons, some people recoil at the idea of change and protect what they believe to be true. It takes courage to observe objectively. It takes internal strength to release feelings of being threatened by emerging science and information that challenges what we think we know. It requires humility to open our minds to allow new information to bring understanding and wisdom. As the fungal mycelium perseveres as it grows and emerges through the soil, trees, and even stone, we must also persevere in our approach to learning and compassionate action in life. Mushroom mycelium are amazing beings that live a life of balancing the world they live in. They teach by action. We can learn through observation. We can decide to emulate mycelium and emerge from our personal bubbles to grow into beings that bring balance and wellness to all we contact.
Jerry Angelini, MS, is the Head of Education for Host Defense® Mushrooms™.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.