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How Mushrooms Can Save the Planet and Keep You Sane

Maya Mushroom Stones from Kaminaljuyu, in Highland Guatemala

Recently I’ve been fascinated by mushrooms.

This seemingly simple living organism is creating miracles on our planet. And there are so many important ways mushrooms are involved, that we have no clue about.

Recently I’ve been hooked on Paul Stamets, who’s famous for his TED talk about how mushrooms can save the world. Please take 16 minutes of your time to watch his talk and see how deep this rabbit hole goes. 

The healing benefits of mushrooms

I hear about the benefits of mushrooms for human health through many different channels, especially from the biohacking community. These benefits include how mushrooms can be used for better brain health, mental health and immune health.

Mushrooms are great adaptogens that can help balance our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. They can nurture the brain, and here I’m not even talking about the famous magic mushrooms. Lion’s Mane mushroom or Chaga are the kinds of mushrooms I am talking about. These mushrooms also have a kind of neurotropic effect, which can help us keep positive and saner. 

Please go back to my article, how to stay sane in 2020 if you want to discover more strategies in this direction.

Also recently, Paul Stamets released an immunity pack called Host Defense, involving certain mushrooms that can boost the immune system.

Just a precaution here: Do not over-consume Chaga or even reishi. If overconsumed, they can have negative effects. Especially the powder form, which can lead to over-consumption, so you need to be careful with it. Dr Paul Saladino, a medical doctor, has some precautions in this direction. 

The importance of Mycelium

Mushrooms are amazing.

There is what we call mycelium, which is on the soil and under the ground. It is a fungus structure that connects all the trees in a forest for example, so they can communicate through the mycelium.

This mycelium structure is all over the planet. Mushrooms are what we see on the surface but the mycelium is like their roots. They are mostly underground and they do amazing things. They decompose organic matter, break down the minerals, and play an important part in the carbon cycle.

Our whole biosphere on the planet is dependent on mycelium. Trees, soil, bacteria, and microbes are dependent on it. 

Fantastic Fungi

I recently watched this amazing documentary called “Fantastic Fungi”.

It talks about how mushrooms are our ancestors. Before dinosaurs, there were mushrooms and we are descendants from them. Okay, let’s say monkeys are our ancestors, or fish are our ancestors. But, mushrooms are our oldest ancestors.

We are basically made up of mycelium as well. My body is a network of mycelium writing to another body of mycelium, which is you. So that gives the notion that consuming mushrooms is very beneficial.

Take mushrooms with care

When you take mushrooms, you need to know what you are doing.

Of course, some mushrooms can kill you. They are poisonous for us, probably so that those toxins do not circulate freely in nature. 

One needs to study mushrooms scientifically. But if you’re consuming the right mushrooms in the right way, they can heal you, and they can even enlighten you. The psilocybin mushrooms, the so-called Magic Mushrooms have this effect.

The healing effect on the brain

Lately, it’s being more and more explored that mushrooms can have a healing effect on the brain. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, a lot of mental and even psychiatric issues can be healed through mushrooms.

There are even some clinics opening up in North America that look at this. And there is a Canadian clinic called Field Trip with branches in New York and Los Angeles. These clinics are working with issues like post-traumatic stress disorders and depression.

Micro-dosing magic mushrooms

Another recent trend is micro-dosing with psilocybin (magic) mushrooms.

There are many different ways to work with these mushrooms. Of course, to be on the safe side, you should consult an expert. There are even medical doctors who work with these things.

I think this is a great way to stay sane in this day and age. I have benefited from this kind of micro-dosing experience with psilocybin mushrooms. Sometimes you can take a small dose and on another day you can take a higher dose. 

The set and setting are super important. Again, you need to know what you’re doing. These are sacred plants, and it’s not a joke. There are a lot of precautions.

For instance, you need to be fasting for at least four hours before consuming them. Ideally, you should be with someone who’s already experienced and who has the spirit of being able to create a set and setting that is vital for a harmonious and healing experience.

Otherwise, I’m not advising you to just take it and go to a party to socialize. I personally can’t do it this way, and I don’t think it’s the best way to use these sacred plants.

Here are two Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast episodes on the clinical use of mushrooms – Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy and Psychedelic Therapy

Learning from indigenous tribes

They can be very healing if you take them in a ceremonial setting.

This is actually what the Mesoamericans and indigenous tribes have done for thousands of years.

That’s why we can see in the archaeological evidence that the Mayans see these plants as sacred. And it’s not just the mushrooms. Some cactus plants, tobacco and some toad skin have also been used.

I have experiences with all of these plants. Toad is not a plant, obviously. We are talking about a special frog here, which has a unique molecule called 5 MeO DMT on its skin. By very carefully dosing it, with the administration of an expert shaman, you can have very strong experience with this Toad. 

These are definitely not things that can be done at home, but it’s worth looking into it.

We are naturally in tune with mushrooms

Mushrooms and our biological structure are very much in tune, as Paul Stamets has been describing.

So for example, if someone takes Ayahuasca or Peyote or another cactus plant like the San Pedro, they may vomit after some time. Especially with Ayahuasca or with another frog poison like Kambo, people vomit a lot. Purging is almost the goal, so your mind and emotions are purified.

But with the mushrooms, there’s no vomiting. I’ve never heard of such a case. Because the structure of the mushroom is so much in tune with our biological structure, you don’t have to vomit it out. It’s creating new neural pathways in your brain. You completely digest this mushroom. So that makes a big difference.

That’s why it’s a more friendly plant medicine that you can integrate into your life (although technically it is not a plant).

Also, that’s why it’s very important to do this experience in a fasted stage so your body can fully make use of these molecules.

By consuming them a couple of times within a timeframe of one or two weeks, the benefits will add up. One way is to combine high dose days with micro-dosing days. Of course, you must be dosing your high doses really well. You don’t want to initiate a crazy experience. They are meant to be safe and sane.

Using mushrooms can heal your depression.

It can really help you resolve your problems. Basically, it can resolve things that you can’t find a solution for, because your brain starts working in the highest optimum stage. You can have enlightening thoughts just before or after the peak of the journey. It’s a very meditative experience.

Sacred Mushrooms of the Mayans

When we look at the Mayan civilization, we see that they have also been using these sacred plants. In the last couple of decades, archaeologists have discovered these mushroom stones.

They provide evidence that the Maya, as well as the Aztecs, have seen these plants as sacred. They were worshipping these mushrooms because of the experiences they have been offering human beings.

Unfortunately, mushrooms have been abused and misused in many different ways. This is not good for the spirit of the mushroom.

Ideally, we need to honour and appreciate the sacredness of these plants. They are not to be taken in a childish and immature way. This is very important because the spirit of the plant can also mess you up. If you abuse it, it might abuse you as well. So the respect, gratitude, and the feeling of humility are all very important things.

One should keep in mind that they are not profane, they are sacred experiences. 

The evolution of our consciousness

Mushrooms have probably had a very big impact on the evolution of our consciousness as well.

This idea is expressed by the famous stoned ape theory by Terence McKenna, who also worked diligently with the psychedelic molecules and sacred plant medicines.

He argued that the mushrooms have been abundant in nature for millions of years, which is also stated by Paul Stamets, based on contemporary scientific evidence. So at some point in the evolutionary stages, some of the groups of apes consumed these mushrooms and it helped tremendously with their evolution. Although this is just a theory, it makes a lot of sense, at least for me. 

Since our biology is mostly the same as our early ancestors, mushrooms are still our friends. After all, we are made up of mycelium, as Paul Stamets says.

Mushrooms also help us evolve spiritually. This is a possible explanation of the deep and immense intuitive capacities of the Mayan people throughout history. The sacred Mayan calendar (Tzolkin) with its 260-day cycle, has a very intuitive nature. It’s not predominantly based on astronomical observations. It’s based more on inner journeys.

Psychonaut is a new term coined for people who are kind of inner astronauts and who have inner journeys that help to bring out this kind of wisdom. So psychonauts don’t go out to space, they go inside their own space.

A light of hope

I think mushrooms hold a light of hope, while there are so many negative things happening on the planet today.

Political tensions are rising, we are losing fertile soil for growing food and chemical agriculture is still very dominant. There are still companies and lobbies like Monsanto and other genetically-modified seed companies. And with the current pandemic, a major financial crisis is developing and governments are getting more technocratic. 

I recently listened to another excellent podcast by Dr Zack Bush. He talks about how viruses are becoming more deadly because of the toxic agricultural practices that we are using.

Our DNA is getting deformed, our cells are getting more vulnerable to these viruses and pandemics are becoming more abundant because of that. He also mentions we have a seven-year window in which we can radically transform our agricultural practices to save the world and save life on the planet. Otherwise, we will continue down a really serious negative spiral, which will start the end of all life on the planet, starting with the life in the oceans.

Following the footsteps of Paul Stamets, we have witnessed that mushrooms provide some excellent solutions to this problem in a couple of different ways. In that sense, I see the mushrooms and the mycelium playing a key role.

There are thousands of different types of mushrooms, all with different functions. And they can evolve in very different ways. As Stamets has exhibited, mushrooms can clean the oil spills. They also consume radiation as a source of energy. They provide an excellent natural alternative to pesticides.

Using mushrooms to help save the planet

Mushrooms can save life on the planet in a fascinatingly quick way.  But it requires the consciousness of humanity to take conscious action.

We need to start understanding how these mushrooms and mycelium work and start making use of them.

Today there are companies that create leather or even furniture from mushrooms. These products are completely eco-friendly. Mushroom kombucha is very helpful for health, as well as the other immune system boosting mushrooms. Lion’s Mane mushroom is very good for the brain. Psilocybin mushrooms are very helpful for awakening, healing ourselves, healing human connections, and overcoming depression. 

Our civilization is having a pandemic of mental diseases. Some recent developments give me a lot of hope. For example, the state of Oregon has now legalized the medical use of psilocybin mushrooms. There are also clinics and doctors, psychiatrists working and experimenting with these mushrooms and helping people recover their mental state in a very effective way. Potentially, its effects are more sustainable than those of pharmaceutical medicines.

Please see the notes section for all the links about the abundant knowledge on how mushrooms can heal you and keep you sane. 

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on mushrooms, and if you use them in your daily life.

Until next time.



Wikipedia: Entheogenics and the Maya

ScienceDirect: Hallucinogenic drugs in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures

Maya Mushroom Stones from Kaminaljuyu, in Highland Guatemala

Fantastic Fungi: How to Take Action

Johns Hopkins launches center for psychedelic research


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