Tag Archives | herbalism

Wolf Farts and Raven Shit: A Few Underused Medicinal Mushrooms

Huitlacoche or corn smut (Ustilago maydis). Creative Commons License.

Huitlacoche or corn smut (Ustilago maydis). Creative Commons License.

via Reality Sandwich:

The use of mushrooms as medicine is ancient. In Europe we have the example of Ötzi, the Man in the Ice, who carried along with him on his last journey through the Alps five thousand years ago dried pieces of Piptoporus betulinus, or birch polypore, long established as an effective remedy for gastrointestinal parasites.[i] In eastern Asia there are centuries of written documentation of the inclusion of fungi in the materia medica, including many of the mushrooms most popular today.

If we consider the strength of traditional use as well as modern scientific research, we find a half dozen or so medicinal mushrooms as forming the strongest core of our fungal materia medica: Ganoderma spp. (Reishi), Cordyceps sinensis, Trametes versicolor (turkeytail), Lentinus edodes (shiitake), Grifola frondosa (maitake), and Inonotus obliquua (chaga). Here is [sic] the Northeastern United States we have the good fortune of having four of these species readily available in our woods; I regularly gather reishi, maitake, chaga, and turkeytail.

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Witches: An Ecofeminist History Lesson

Magic CircleAlison Parker writes in Bitch Magazine:

To me, witches are the quintessential ecofeminists.

“Witch” is a word that was sullied by various groups of long ago, but it’s been reclaimed by herbalists like me. Witches and the word “witch” have many meanings in many cultures, but for the purposes of this post, I will touch on just one context, one dark moment of history: The suppression of witches—or healers who were mainly women—in medieval Europe that went on for centuries, and the themes behind those witch hunts that still appear in society today.

My mind began to swim with this idea of witch-as-ecofeminist while working at a medicinal herb farm as a farmhand long ago. I had been seeding herbs in the greenhouse alongside another worker, who was semi-complaining about the job, but then finally shrugged. “This one is way better than my last job at an herb farm,” she said.

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