Magic Mushrooms

At the end of this past year, 2018, a small article showed up in the Opinion section of the New York Times. I was grateful a bee friend of mine caught it and sent it to me.

Lilli Carré

Paul Stamets, a renown mycologist, had written briefly on his study of fungi as a way to reverse the devastation of varroa mites and their parasitic diseases visited on bee colonies—wild and honeybees.

I have followed his research for years, waiting for him to create the “silver bullet”, a mycelial remedy that we can finally, FINALLY, feed our bees to keep them from dying.

Stamets writes:

Our research shows that extracts from the living mycelial tissue of common wood conk mushrooms known to have antiviral properties significantly reduced these viruses in honeybee colonies, in one field test by 45,000 times, compared to control colonies. In the field tests, we used extracts from two species of wood conks, the red reishi and the amadou. The famous “Iceman” found in a glacier in 1991 in the Alps. carried amadou in a pouch 5,300 years ago. The red reishi has long been used as an immune-boosting tonic in Asia.

(Will Mushrooms be Magic for Threatened Bees? , NYT, December 28, 2018, Paul Stamets)

As the New Year dawns, wet, snowy and cold here in the Southwest, I feel a glimmer of hope.

Between the Stamets article and perhaps my bee dream, something sings in me that maybe this year can be different—less brutal for my bees, more resources for what ails them. Hope springs eternal…

I will be chasing down the wood conk mushroom extract from Paul Stamets in this new year. I am in love with mushrooms and the possibilities.

According to Wikipedia:

A fungus is any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, fungi, which is separate from the other eukaryotic life kingdoms of plants and animals.

We humans are made up of fungi and bacteria. Our bodies are veritable columns of bacteria made up of these most primitive forms of life species. Sometimes they can overrun our bodies in bad ways. I know. I am still getting over a serious respiratory virus that has inflamed my trachea for weeks on end, leaving me with a miserable cough.

Fortunately, my beneficial bugs have been hard at work and I am getting well.

Image result for Image of body biome

According to accredited practicing dietitian Chloe McLeod, “fungi is like bacteria – it’s found in the gut – and is an integral part of the microbiome (our gut’s ‘ecosystem’, if you will).

“While we are still researching this area, we know that a healthy microbiome is made up of both bacteria and fungi, as well as viruses – all of which are integral to maintaining good health. It’s important that these organisms remain in a beneficial balance, so not over-growing, or depleting. Some research shows that fungi found in the gut impacts inflammation and interacts with the immune system.”

As Stamets notes, in the right balance in nature, beneficial fungi can re-right itself.

Nature can repair itself with a little help from mycologists. Fungi outnumber plants by about 6 to 1; there are two million to four million fungal species, though only about 140,000 have been named so far. Our research underlines the need to save biodiversity for the discoveries to come. (Will Mushrooms be Magic for Threatened Bees? , NYT, December 28, 2018, Paul Stamets)

And so, in this new year, I give praise for the magic of mushrooms in my body and in the world around.

God save the bees! Praise be for fungi!

Image result for images bees foraging on mushrooms

2 thoughts on “Magic Mushrooms

  1. Hi Anita, That mushroom beta glucans can help fight the mite is good news. In case you have not seen the research, there is an issue, which renowned researchers have settled that shows that mycelium grown on grain has more carbohydrates than the effective elements one desires. Enclosed is a link to an article and it has a link to the academic research paper that has proven the point. It is important to read, since Stamets grows all of his mushrooms on grain. His former partner, Jeff Chilton, who founded the company Real Mushrooms grows all the mushrooms in China under strict organic standards. Thus with Real Mushrooms, that is what you get, Beta Glucans, not carbs. If you go to the RealMusshrooms website you can see some of the photos of Jeff in China inspecting the growing plots.

    Full disclosure. I have met Stamets, many years ago at a mushroom conference, and Jeff Chilton (who used to be partners with Stamets and co-authored their first book years ago) is a good friend of mine. They became collaborators starting with their mycology classes at Evergreen College in Washington State. Long story, but there it is. I suggest you study this further so that you might become aware of the way to obtain the greatest benefit from your investment in mushroom products for your bees (and yourself). I take a capsule of Real Mushrooms’ “5 Defenders” every day. The link: (you will have to copy and paste, since I don’t know how to create and easy click-on link) 1. (this one is the academic research article) —

    2. This link is for Real Mushooms: —


    If these links do not work, let me know and I’ll try again (to overcome my clumsy techno abilities).

    Peace and all good for you and for your bees,

    Doug Spence


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