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BD Now! Immune system boost & bio-remediation with mushrooms

The recent issue of Resurgence magazine had a cookery
article on medicinal mushrooms, extolling their use as
immune system boosters (esp. reishi & shitake) - dried
& powdered in ginger tea simmered 40 minutes-1hour or
added to soups, etc.

This issue has another mushroom article by Paul
Stamets, on-line at
http://www.resurgence.org/2005/stamets232.htm which
mentions the immune system benefits but focuses on his
work with a variety of bio-remediation projects using
oyster mushrooms.

from the Stamets article:
As the tarpaulins were lifted from the other
companies' modules, the odour of oil was overwhelming.
Their piles remained starkly devoid of any life. When
the tarpaulin came off ours, the mound was literally
blanketed with oyster mushrooms, some as big as twelve
inches in diameter. Hundreds of pounds of oyster
mushrooms ultimately arose from this diesel pile.
Subsequent laboratory tests found virtually no toxic
oil residue in either the soil or the mushrooms, the
result of enzymes and acids that the fungi release
that break down such molecular complexes. This finding
is especially significant because hydrocarbons are the
basis for many other toxic industrial products,
including most pesticides and herbicides.

But the really exciting part of the story is what
happened next. After the mushrooms matured, flies came
in and laid eggs in them. Maggots appeared, birds flew
in, and other small mammals began to eat the mushrooms
and the maggots. The birds and animals carried in
seeds, and plants started growing. The mushrooms
initiated a process that led to rapid habitat
recovery. The polluted pile of dirt was transformed
into an ecosphere of life. That's what these mushrooms
are: keystone species that precipitate a catalytic,
downstream reaction that invites other life forms.
This is what Nature can do, but she needs a little
help from us.

Oyster mushrooms are one of the prime candidates for
breaking down petroleum-based and hydrocarbon-based
contaminants and pesticides. They are by far the
easiest of any mushrooms to grow, and they'll grow on
almost anything: old chairs, soggy money, or coffee
grounds. (They're also delicious and contain
lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering agent.)

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