Episode #7 Delicious, Deadly, and Mind-Expanding Mushrooms with Paul Stamets

Body of Wonder Podcast Paul Stamets and Andrew Weil have been enamored with wild mushrooms for decades - and for good reason. Mushrooms have the potential to be delicious, deadly, and even mind-expanding. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of vast underground mycelial (or fungal) networks that inhabit every soil on earth. In fact, it's estimated there are about eight miles of single-cell mycelium in a single inch of soil. Mushrooms have been consumed as food and medicine by many Asian cultures for centuries. Despite their global prevalence, however, mushrooms are often overlooked and sometimes feared by North Americans. Paul Stamets is a mycologist, medical researcher, and author, who has dedicated his life to the scientific discoveries and applications of mushroom?s superpowers. He has performed novel research in many fields including medicine, biosecurity, and toxic environment restoration. In this episode, Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Victoria Maizes speak with Paul about how certain mushroom species can improve health. Paul shares his research in immunology and the promising response some fungi strains may have against devastating viruses that harm bees, livestock, and humans. And we learn some surprising practical tips, like why you may not want to eat the common button mushrooms found in grocery stores. We also discuss the recent research behind psilocybin or ?magic mushrooms? in mental health disorders.

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.

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Hosts

Andrew Weil, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD

Guest

Paul Stamets

Speaker, author, mycologist, medical researcher and entrepreneur, is considered an intellectual and industry leader in fungi: habitat, medicinal use, and production. He lectures extensively to deepen the understanding and respect for the organisms that literally exist under every footstep taken on this path of life. His presentations cover a range of mushroom species and research showing how mushrooms can help the health of people and planet. His central premise is that habitats have immune systems, just like people, and mushrooms are cellular bridges between the two. Our close evolutionary relationship to fungi can be the basis for novel pairings in the microbiome that lead to greater sustainability and immune enhancement.

Paul?s philosophy is that ?MycoDiversity is BioSecurity.? He sees the ancient Old Growth forests of the Pacific Northwest as a resource of incalculable value, especially in terms of its fungal genome. A dedicated hiker and explorer, his passion is to preserve and protect as many ancestral strains of mushrooms as possible from these pristine woodlands. His research is considered breakthrough by thought leaders for creating a paradigm shift for helping ecosystems worldwide.

Paul is the author of six books (including Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World), he has discovered and named several new species of psilocybin mushrooms.

He has received numerous awards, including: Invention Ambassador (2014-2015) for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Mycologist Award (2014) from the North American Mycological Association (NAMA), and the Gordon & Tina Wasson Award (2015) from the Mycological Society of America (MSA). Paul?s extensive work in the field of mycology has earned him an official induction into The Explorers Club (2020) and awarded the 2022 Eco Hero Award. His work has entered into the mainstream of popular culture. In the new Star Trek: Discovery series on CBS, the Science Officer is portrayed by an Astromycologist.... a Lt. Commander Paul Stamets. Paul's work with mycelium is a central theme of this series.

Paul funds research to save rare strains of mushrooms that dwell within the old growth forests. He is a collaborator with numerous scientific organizations and research institutes. Currently he has tested extracts of these rare strains at the NIH (National Institutes of Health/Virology) and with Washington State University/United States Department of Agriculture against a wide panel of viruses pathogenic to humans, animals and bees.

?We are now fully engaged in the sixth Major Extinction (?6 X?) on planet Earth. Our biosphere is quickly changing, eroding the life support systems that have allowed humans to ascend. Unless we put into action policies and technologies that can cause a course correction in the very near future, species diversity will continue to plummet, with humans not only being the primary cause, but one of the victims. What can we do? Fungi, particularly mushrooms, offer some powerful, practical solutions, which can be put into practice now.?

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