Medicinal mushrooms course
This weekend, I went to a Medicinal Mushrooms course, hosted by Courtney Tyler and Michael White.
I arrived in Phoenix Park just a bit after 9. A few people were there already. I think there were around 30 people at the end, some were very late.
Courtney had prepared everything already, there were lots of books, pretty statues of mushrooms and all sorts of intriguing potions.
The first 2 hours of the course were theory about fungi in general, what are mushrooms, how to use them for medicinal purposes, dried, extracted in alcohol, boiled in a slow cooker, etc. I didn’t know most of it, so I learned a lot and after the course, I took some notes and searched even more on my own.
I learned that Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungi. The fungi is the actual organism and it’s pretty much invisible, hiding in the ground, sometimes barely visible as a fine mold.
More surprising to me was that Mushrooms contain chitin, the same substance found in hard shell bugs and crustaceans.
The second part of the course was walking in the park and looking for mushrooms.
The first one was “wood ear”, or “jelly ear”. I have actually eaten it many times in chinese food, but I didn’t know it can be found in Ireland on dead elder wood.
The second was “artist’s conk”, which I knew about since I was a kid because I used to burn it with a magnifying glass, using sunlight. I didn’t know it was medicinal, but I learned that all mushrooms are medicinal. Well, except for the deadly ones…
Then we found the “turkey tail”, mostly researched for fighting cancer, but it has many other benefits.
Next was the “honey fungus” a parasite that eats trees, but produces delicious mushrooms.
Finally, we talked about the “birch polypore”, a mushroom utilised by humans for thousands of years as antiseptic, antifungal and antibiotic, probably used by Bronze Age man to get rid of parasitic worms.
The most interesting to me were the “wood ear” and the “turkey tail”. They are very common and easy to identify and I want to find them and try them for sure!
We came back to the entrance of the park where we had treats, chat and surprise music. It was lovely!
Before we left, Courtney talked about Fly agaric. She is so passionate about this particular mushroom that it’s contagious and of course, I spent a lot of time researching it when I got home.
Fly agaric is considered poisonos, but if prepared properly it has medicinal properties and also psychoactive components.
I’m really happy I went to this course and I’ll keep an eye for the next ones, in 2023.
You can find Courtney at: https://hipsandhaws.com/ and Michael at: https://instagram.com/rural_courses