Fans of Super Mario play with them. Doctors study them. Chefs around the world cook with them.  polka dot shroom bars They appear overnight, disappear just as fast and leave no find of their visit. Students of this world are called mycologists and now, the fungus is being looked at as a possible treatment for cancer, PTSD-post-traumatic stress disorder and some psychological disorders.

Mushrooms, sometimes called toadstools, are fleshy bodies of fungus that grow above ground on soil or on a food source. They are separated from the plant world in a kingdom all of their own called Myceteae because they don’t contain chlorophyll like green plants.

Without the process of photosynthesis, some mushrooms obtain nutrients by wearing down organic matter or by feeding from higher plants. These are known as decomposers. Another sector attacks living plants to kill and consume them and they are called unwanted organisms. Edible and toxic varieties are mycorrhizal and are available on or near roots of trees and shrubs such as oaks, pines and firs.

For humans, mushrooms may do one of three things-nourish, heal or poison. Few are benign. The three most popular edible versions of this ‘meat of the organic world’ are the oyster, morel and chanterelles.

They are used extensively in food from China, Korea, The japanese and the indian subcontinent. In fact, China is the world’s largest producer creating over half of all mushrooms consumed worldwide. Most of the edible variety in our supermarkets have been grown commercial on farms including shiitake, portobello and enoki.

Eastern medicine, especially traditional Chinese practices, has used mushrooms for centuries. In the You. S., studies were conducted in the early ’60s for possible ways to modulate the immune system and to inhibit cancerous growth growth with extracts used in cancer research.

Mushrooms were also used ritually by the natives of Mesoamerica for thousands of years. Called the ‘flesh of the gods’ by Aztecs, mushrooms were widely consumed in spiritual ceremonies by cultures throughout the Americas. Cavern works of art in the country and Algeria reflect ritualized consumption dating back as far as 9000 years. Inhibited by Christian authorities on both sides of the Atlantic, psilocybin use was covered up until Western psychiatry rediscovered it after World War II.

A 1957 article in Life Journal called “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” sparked the interest of America. The following year, a Switzerland scientist named Albert Hofman, identified psilocybin and psilocin as the active compounds in the ‘magic’ mushrooms. This encouraged the creation of the Harvard Psilocybin Project led by American psycho therapist Timothy Leary at Harvard University to study the effects of the compound on humans.

In the one fourth century that followed, 40, 000 patients got psilocybin and other hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline. More than 1, 000 research papers were produced. Once the government took notice of the growing subculture open to implementing making use, regulations were enacted.

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