The Commune Collection: Mushroom Magic

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Mushroom Magic taps into the mycelial network to bring connected balance to your daily life. Six medicinal mushrooms are swirled with vanilla and cinnamon to create a sweet-tasting triple extract you’ll be delighted to commune with. Mushrooms are renowned for their amazing ability to normalize and optimize body system functionality in a subtle, natural way. These fungal friends are tinctured for a full moon cycle and then simmered down to extract every bit of shroomy goodness. Read our blog post for more on each of these mushrooms, or just take the the leap into the mycelial world wide web and consume daily for maximal wellness. Commune with the mycelial cosmos.

There’s a lot to love about our fungi friends, let’s talk about some of our favorite medicinal mushrooms, what makes them a powerful herbal allies.

Reishi, Ganoderma spp.

Most commonly commercially available is Ganoderma lucidum, although here on the East Coast of North America we can find Ganoderma tsugae growing on Eastern Hemlocks. Reishi is a polypore mushroom, distinguishable by its shiny red to light yellow ombré appearance, sometimes called varnish shelf (Lucidum in latin translates to shiny & clear). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reishi is known as Ling Zhi and was believed to be the mushroom of spiritual immortality that calmed the shen (spirit). In Western Herbalism we use Reishi for its immune modulating properties (enter polysaccharides). Helpful in autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and for those with deficient immunity conditions as well. It’s an excellent allergy remedy, best taken a few months before allergy season hits to allow for the immune system to balance its production of histamine via basophil and mast cells. Like many mushrooms it has adaptogenic qualities which help the body regulate its stress response. Reishi is calming to the spirit and also cools and protects the liver which can be agitated in autoimmune conditions, but also in times of stress.

Lion’s Mane, Hericium spp. americanum, erinaceus

Have you ever seen Lion’s Mane in real life? What a fascinating and foreshadowing design! Many types of Hericiums are found throughout North America, the most common and widely used being H. americanum and H. erinaceus. Lion’s Mane can be found growing in late fall on hardwoods like maple, beech, oak and birch. It is also widely cultivated for culinary and medicinal use. A delicious mushroom when pan fried with butter and garlic, some say it has a delicate seafood flavor, but that could be interpreted in many ways. Medicinally Lion’s Mane is anti inflammatory, immune modulating, as well as supportive in cancer. Most notably though is its ability to improve brain health. It is referred to as  “Nature’s Nutrient for the Neurons” (it looks like stringy nerve endings!) because of its ability to stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is produced in the hippocampus of our limbic system (the Brain!) which is associated with emotion, memory, learning and the autonomic nervous system. Reduction of NGF production has been linked to memory loss, decreased neuroplasticity and more drastic degenerative brain diseases like alzheimer’s and dementia. After traumatic brain injury, NGF is rapidly generated in response to cytokine production and Lion’s Mane role in recovering from a brain injury is being well studied. Lion’s mane is generally a great tonic for brain health, improving cognitive performance along with supporting your mood, win win!

A brief note on extraction: There are many ways to get the medicine from mushrooms, but it is crucial that the process - whether making a tincture, powder or consuming them in food - includes an extended time of cooking down with water to extract the polysaccharides. This is considered as the water phase. Tinctures that are made with mushrooms are broken down into two phases - water and alcohol - to extract different constituents, as mentioned above in the science of mushrooms medicine. All of the mushrooms we use are extracted via a long decoction before being combined into the formula, and this improves bioavailability and makes a much stronger medicine.

Commune with the mycelial cosmos here.


Mushrooms have a lot to offer and this information is just a glimpse at some of their amazing benefits! These mushrooms and more can be found in our ___. What are some of your favorite mushrooms and ways to consume them?


The Commune Collection: Solar-Power Energy

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Solar-Power Energy harnesses the sun’s healing rays to build up your natural energy reserves through nourishment. This is not a quick fix that will lead to a crash, but rather a gently supportive, mineral-rich remedy that boosts energy by giving your body what it needs to thrive. Abundant, nutritive herbs such as Nettle and Red Raspberry Leaf work together with the flower essence of American Ginseng to bring your physical and etheric bodies into sustainable power. Read our blog post to learn more about these plant allies, and take your solar-powered minerals daily to boost your wellbeing. Commune with renewable energy.

Solar Power Energy was destined to be. So many of our customers and clients struggle with lagging energy, chronic fatigue, and general exhaustion. Their solution? More coffee. Our solution? More minerals!

Solar Power Energy combines four of our favorite energy rich plant allies and American ginseng energetic essence for a powerful, yet gentle, nourishing energy boost. This isn’t your usual caffeine rocket to the stars, this is a slow, gradual build over time, a deep drink of water for your nervous system and adrenals.

Read on for more on the plants of Solar Power Energy…

Nettles - Urtica dioica

Stinging nettle is native to many parts of the world and subspecies of nettle can be found naturalized on almost every continent. Nettle is traditionally used as medicine, food and fiber. From spring stews to medicine to cordage, nettles may well be near the top of every herbalists most used and most adored plants list.

Historically, nettles has been used for everything under the sun. It is a renowned nourishing plant, rich in minerals, vitamins & protein. A prized spring green, one of the first to emerge and continues to be edible through early summer. Energetically it is considered gently warming and it is drying - just think of a sunny spring day after rain. It’s flavor is mineral-y and salty, evident in its medicine. In herbalism it is used to support the elimination pathways, remove excess fluids, provide nutrients to support the building of blood, and promote anti-inflammatory & antihistamine actions in the body. The sting of a nettle hair contains formic acid which stimulates an immune response, bringing blood and anti inflammatory compounds to the affected area, helpful in cold arthritic conditions and injury. It’s beneficial drank through pregnancy to relieve water retention through its diuretic action and help provide nourishment, including much needed iron. It can be used as a tonic to down-regulate allergic reactions and should be taken a month or two before known allergens are on the loose, pine pollen anyone? Alongside other spring herbs it provides foundational nutrients that aid the healthy growth of skin, hair & nails. It is a general tonic that is gentle and nourishing for all types of conditions. Many herbalists consider it not only a valuable medicine, but a daily staple in supporting the body.

Burdock - Articum lappa

Burdock has been used traditionally in western herbalism “to purify the blood,” or what we now call an herbal alterative. Burdock supports all of the elimination organs, with an affinity for the liver as well as the lymph. Burdock is cooling and moistening, good for hot and dry conditions that manifest as inflammation. Often theses are conditions that show on the skin such as acne, eczema/psoriasis, rashes and boils. It is also helpful when the lymph is experiencing congestion that results in hard, swollen and painful nodes which is also common with the conditions listed above and in cases of infection. It pairs well with other lymph clearing spring herbs like violet and cleavers. Burdock can eaten as a young root and is known as gobo in japanese, often prepared in long cooked soups and stews. It is rich in the prebiotic starch inulin which feeds the good bacteria - probiotic - of our gut. In supporting a healthy gut to cleansing the blood, burdock’s medicine reaches far and wide in our bodies and is a valuable and safe medicine to use daily.  

Red Raspberry Leaf - Rubus idaeus

Raspberry leaf contains a variety of vitamins and minerals and is commonly taken as a daily tonic in various preparations to support of a wide range of conditions. It is considered cooling and drying which gives it an astringent quality that supports the tissues of the body, known in herbal medicine as a tissue tonic. Raspberry leaf is a traditional tonic for the generative organs. It is well known for its use in pregnancy and for its affinity to the uterus, toning the tissue and providing important nutrients including iron. Helpful where there is excessive bleeding or fluids, pain from cramping and prolapse of not only the uterus, but other pelvic areas as well. These astringent benefits can be applied to different systems of the body. Useful in conditions like leaky gut, loose stools, bleeding gums, ulcers and any other situation that involved laxity of the tissues. The leaf along with the berries, is rich in antioxidants providing anti inflammatory support for the tissues as well, a true tissue tonic!

In addition to all of these amazing benefits and properties, all of the plants in Solar Power are incredibly rich with minerals, which builds our nutrition and reserves, supplying us with a deep well of energy when used over time. Commune with renewable energy here.




Plant Profiles

Multitudes of Mushroom Magic pt. 1

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We’re big fans of mushrooms here at Wooden Spoon Herbs. They’re an essential part of the ecosystem, both within us and around us. They help the plants we rely on communicate, remediate toxins in our environment, provide a myriad of benefits to our bodies and so much more.

Scientists are just beginning to understand the powerful impact mushrooms have on our planet (and beyond!?). Mushrooms have been used medicinally for a very long time, the over 5000 year old Otzi knew a thing or two about the magic of mushrooms long before modern science could confirm their properties.

Exploring the world of mushrooms is a whole new adventure, stepping outside the plant realm, since technically, mushrooms aren't plants! Many medicinal mushrooms can be found in the forests around us, and while we won’t be taking about how to ID them, it’s worth looking into for your bio region. Luckily for those less inclined to go scour the woods for elusive fungi, there are ways to get their medicine with ease. From local farmers markets to small scale growers and herbalists, mushrooms are becoming more widely available both as medicine and for culinary exploration.

Before we discuss some medicinal mushrooms we use (and love) here at WSH, let’s get scientific and talk about some of the constituents that give them their medicine.

Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides are water-soluble sugar molecules bound together in a long chain. This structure binds water, fat, sugar, dissolved minerals and creates a “reservoir” for slower absorption and interaction within the digestive tract.

Because of this we can consider them demulcent herbs (just think ooey gooey mucilaginous quality). Demulcent herbs aid in slow sugar absorption (hypoglycemia), assist in bowel movement (aperiant) and provide absorbable sugars for our friendly gut bacteria (prebiotic). Polysaccharides are most well known for their support of the immune system. One immune system mechanism of action happens first in our gastrointestinal tract by means of trickery! Polysaccharides'- structure is similar to that of bacteria, so when they interface with our gut lining (specifically at our peyer’s patches in the small intestine) they elicit a non specific  immune response. This non-specific action falls into the category of immunomodulators in herbal medicine. Immunomodulators essentially modulate the immune system into balance by either upregulation or downregulation of immune activity. They can be very beneficial in conditions such as chronic infections (when upregulation is needed) and autoimmunity or allergies (downregulation). Some other benefits of Polysaccharides worth mentioning: they have been shown to assist in apoptosis of cancer cells (self induced explosion), support the production of SOD (our bodies own super powerful intrinsic antioxidant), and have a wide range of anti-inflammatory compounds. Types of polysaccharides commonly found in mushrooms include beta-glucans, proteoglycans, cellulose, chitin, glucose and fructose.

Triterpenes

Triterpenes are a broad category of specific structured compounds found in plants. They are volatile in structure and quite small, some so small they can pass blood to brain barrier which is very crucial in providing herbal treatment for certain conditions. Their volatility makes them alcohol soluble and classifies them as lipid substance which interfaces in the liver where fats are processed. Triterpenes have a similar structure to cholesterol, allowing them to fill receptors and prevent overproduction of cholesterol. (Fun fact: Cholesterol is a natural antioxidant produced by liver. It’s our bodies natural response to injury and inflammation of capillary structures.) Triterpenes have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, regulate histamine response, hypotensive and sedative.

Proteins

Proteins are long chains of amino acids that essentially provide the building blocks for our bodies. Along with providing dietary nutrients, proteins found in mushrooms provide the raw materials our immune system needs to build protector cells like T cells and monocytes.

Mushrooms also contain phenols (antioxidants), sterols (hormone structure compounds and vitamin D production), enzymes (catalyze metabolic function to produce nutrients for the body to use), a wide range of minerals and so much more!


There’s a lot to love about our fungi friends, and soon we’ll be back to talk about some of our favorite medicinal mushrooms! Stay tuned.

by Megan Matthers