October News Letter

Fall is here! This is a favorite time of year for me. The weather has begun to cool off, the leaves soon will burst into brilliant, vibrant colors, and it’s the perfect time for camping and bonfires. It has been an unusually dry end to summer and that has left the forest kind of bare of mushrooms. Sadly the mushroom season is coming to close, although a few things are still out there such as Hen of the wood, Chickens, fall Oysters, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Reishi, Birch Polypore and possibly a few other stragglers. For me this means just a few walks left this year. My walk schedule will be pretty limited in the month of October. I have been out a bit recently and found very little, that doesn’t mean there’s not good stuff out there but I have been waiting for some rains to come through before I schedule anything. Basically if it rains in the Asheville or Black Mountain area, than a few days later I will most likely try and do a walk. Just keep an eye on the calendar. Coming this month and through winter I’m excited to add destination hikes! If your new to the area, visiting or simply haven’t explored as much as you’d like. I have been exploring this area for many years and have come to know some really sweet spots, waterfalls, balds, overlooks, historical places and other destinations. Every week I will feature a different one and guide a group along the trail. Most hikes will be between a half hour and hour drive and hikes could be several hours long. I would like to thank everyone who came out for mushroom walks this year, I had some truly lovely groups.

So some news and happenings for October. East Asheville tail gate market ends this friday the 27th. It’s been a good season, thanks to all who came out to support me and there will be a holiday market so stay tuned for that. The Black Mountain Market goes until the end of November and I plan on being there every Saturday except two. On October 12th I will be at the Yancy County market in Burnsville and then again on November 9th. There’s plenty of good tailgating left!

***this event has been cancelled****

Also on Saturday, October 12th, from 1:30-4pm, which is after the market, in Burnsville, I will be doing a presentation at Kate’s Garden Refuge. You can follow this link to register: https://katesgardenrefuge.com/event/the-healing-power-of-medicinal-mushrooms/

I will be presenting on Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Lions Mane mushrooms and talking about some edible and poisonous ones as well. Kate will be doing a singing bowl mediation afterwards by donation. If you’ve never done this you really should, it’s a truly amazing, relaxing experience!!

Another big announcement is that I will be doing a workshop at the LEAF festival!! You can follow this link to see myself and the other healing arts presenters: https://www.theleaf.org/healing-arts/

I will be talking about the good and bad mushrooms in our region, I’ll have tea samples and also be doing a short mushroom hunt. I’ve been volunteering and going to the LEAF festival since I moved here 9 years ago and I super excited to be a part of it as a presenter.

This months mushroom is the fore mentioned Birch polypore. This mushroom is a bracket fungus. It is a polypore, which means no gills. These grow almost always only on Birch trees. They can fruit on the tree for up to a whole year. They start off white and over time turn a tanish brown color. This mushroom was one of the things Ozti, the iceman mummy found frozen in the Alps in the 90s, was carrying on him. You can eat the young version of these mushrooms and they aren’t bad at all. However it’s main uses come in the medicinal properties it holds. It is used as an immune tonic, it is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It is being studied for both cancer and HIV treatments. It also is good to help start fires! I admired this mushroom for years, always wondering what it was used for and upon learning all about, I use it now in my medicine cabinet.

Hope you all get out in the beautiful fall weather and enjoy some hiking, camping, foraging or just sitting on your porch.

“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom” —Thomas Carlyle

Reishi- Ganoderma Lucidum-Ling Zhi

Reishi mushroom is considered the queen of medicinal herbs, and is often known as the mushroom of immortality. It’s history is long and extensive, especially in Chinese medicine. Reishi is undoubtedly one of the prettiest mushrooms I have seen. In our region it grows abundantly, mostly on Hemlock and Pine trees. It grows from spring to winter. It’s hard to mistake this mushroom for any other. When young the white and yellow outside bands are edible and can be quite tasty. The whole mushroom is highly medicinal. In a lot of research it is said the stems contain the most concentrated values, but no doubt the whole mushroom is packed with medicinal goodness.

Reishi has been used for centuries in medicine making . One of my favorite facts about it’s history is that monks have consumed it to deepen meditation practices. Reishi has a powerful calming effect on both mind and body. It is regarded as an ‘herb of spiritual potency’. In Chinese folklore it was believed to bring people back from the dead and traditionally was given from a woman to a man to show interest.

Reishi health benefits:

Protects against:

  • inflammation
  • fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • frequent infections (urinary tract, bronchitis, respiratory infections, etc.)
  • liver disease
  • food allergies and asthma
  • digestive problems, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome
  • tumor growth and cancer
  • skin disorders
  • autoimmune disorders
  • diabetes
  • viruses, including the flu, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
  • heart disease, hypertension, high blood presure and high cholesterol
  • sleep disorders and insomnia
  • anxiety and depression
  • kidney disease

Overall Reishi promotes great health and longevity while reducing the risk of life shortening conditions. There is infinite research published about this powerful mushroom. Reishi feeds the three treasures- Jing, Chi and Shen- mind , body and spirit!

Lions Mane – Hericium Erinaceus

Lions Mane has quickly become one of my favorite mushrooms. I find it a beautiful sight, finding one in nature is an exciting event. Loads of research is coming to light on the power of this beauty. It’s taste is similar to crab meat. Lions Mane is mostly found on decaying trees. It has shown wonderful brain enhancing properties, especially in the fight against Alzheimer’s and Dementia diseases. It is considered a toothed fungus. It is very popular in Chinese and Japanese medicine. Throughout history it was reserved for royalty and it is revered by a sect of Buddhist monks that wear garments known as suzukake, that resemble Lions Mane mushroom.

Health Benefits:

  • Helps relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Speeds up recovery of nervous system injuries
  • Regenerates brain cells
  • Protects against ulcers in digestive tract
  • Reduces heart disease risks
  • Helps manage diabetes symptoms
  • Fights against cancer
  • Improves focus and memory
  • Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Boosts Immune system
  • Helps heal skin wounds

Lions Mane can resemble a mushroom known as Bears Head Tooth. Also known to have medicinal properties.

Turkey Tail – Trametes Versicolor

Turkey Tail, also known in Japan as Cloud Mushroom, is a very common yet extra special little mushroom. If you hike any amount in our region or the Northern hemisphere for that matter, you are sure to run across these guys. Another beautiful looking mushroom that comes in all sorts of lovely colors, blues, browns, purples, grays and greens. It is always striped and it’s distinguishing factor is it’s all white bottom. There are several similar look alikes, none are bad or poisonous, they just don’t have the medicinal punch that Turkey Tail does. You can find these on downed branches or rotting trunks, they also will grow on healthy trees. Turkey Tail has been recognized by the FDA for it’s studies around cancer and chemotherapy. It is widely used by patients to rebuild immune systems weakened by chemo treatments. I believe it is one of the most noticed but over looked mushroom in the forest.

Alittle history of Turkey Tail, it has been used in Japan and many Asian cultures since the 15th century. The oldest discovered mummy, dating back 4,000 years, had Turkey Tail in his medicine kit! It’s believed he used it for it’s antibiotic and natural parasite killing qualities. Turkey Tail is revered in Aztec rituals and the Egyptians gave it pharaohs and kings.

Health benefits:

  • Prevents and treats the common cold and flu
  • Can support chemo patients
  • May combat breast cancer
  • Helps treat HPV
  • Aids digestion
  • May help HIV/AIDS patients
  • Boosts immune system
  • Packed with anti-oxidants
  • May improve insulin resistance
  • combats fatigue
  • good for canine issues

False Turkey Tail: