How Are Medicinal Mushrooms Cultivated?
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Medicinal mushrooms, as their name implies, have been used for long for health purposes. Mushrooms and mycology have been used as remedies for a host of issues, from inflammation to chronic metabolic conditions; mushrooms have had their own set of medical uses in the past. However, in more recent times, as modern medicine began to take over, medicinal mushrooms fell out of favor, with both practitioners and people looking to self-medicate. However, medicinal mushrooms are still consumed and have a lot of benefits, which is why today, we’ll be looking at how medicinal mushrooms are cultivated. 

But first, let’s take a look at some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms available right now and what they are used for the most. Let’s get started. 

Medicinal mushrooms: what are the types?

There are many types of medicinal mushrooms used to treat a variety of issues. Let’s take a quick look at them before we get into the cultivation of medical mushrooms. 

Lion’s mane mushroom

The Lion’s Mane mushroom, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, has been a popular medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine. In fact, it is so popular that it is used more as a dietary addition than medicine, and much of it is due to the fact that it has effects to boost brain power, cognitive abilities, and mood impairments. That makes it an excellent mushroom for people going through mood disorders; however, its scientific validity has yet to be proven. 

Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake are some of the most popular mushrooms across the world, which, aside from their taste and use in cuisines from the East, are also used medicinally. Shiitake are thought to have antimicrobial, anticancer, and immune-boosting properties that make them extremely popular in Eastern medicine, especially in Japan. Shiitake mushrooms are also associated with good dental health and strong teeth, so it’s a multipurpose medicinal mushroom at that. 

Reishi mushrooms

Scientifically known as the Ganoderma lucidum, the Reishi mushrooms are one of the few medicinal mushrooms that survived the takeover of modern medicine and continue to be an integral part of Asian medical lexicology. The benefits it boasts are impressive: they have antioxidizing, immunomodulatory, and anti-diabetic properties, and all of this has elevated the Reishi mushrooms’ status among fungi and mycology experts as the ‘mushroom of immortality.’ However, mycology experts from the West have cast their doubts on the supposed benefits of the Reishi mushrooms, stating that since no clinical trials or data are available, one should consider the Reishi mushrooms with a grain of salt. 

These are the most popular medicinal mushrooms still used in the world today. Now, onto the cultivation of medicinal mushrooms.

Cultivation of medicinal mushrooms: the process

Making mushroom substrate

The substrate is the soil, the substance from which the medicinal mushrooms will grow and derive their nutrients. While many organic compounds are used for making the substrate, the most common ones used are manure compounds or synthetic materials with many minerals. In addition, nitrogen supplements and gypsum might also be used for efficient use of the substrate, as this provides an even more nutrient-rich environment for the mushrooms to grow. By adding water and heat, the process of readying this substrate will accelerate, and you can have a nutrient-rich substrate ready in as few as six days. However, keep the substrate hydrated and heated for two weeks for the best results. 

Spawning the mushrooms

Once the substrate is ready, it’s time to introduce your spores or ‘spawn’. This is the mycological version of planting your seed, but since these are spores, you must be extra careful as it is a rather technical process. The spores themselves need to be introduced to the substrate at a specific distance from each other. This gives the spore room to grow and turn into mycelial growth, which will be discussed in subsequent steps. Once that is done, the substrate is covered with minimal air and humidity so as to encourage the process of mycological growth from spores to the thin white layer of mycelium. 

Exposing the spawn

Once the spores have been introduced to the substrate and the whole package has been enclosed in a plastic container that restricts the access of the substrate to humidity, moisture, and air, once a time of two weeks has passed, you will then need to expose the mycelial growth (slimy white layer on top of the substrate) to oxygen-rich air and moisture since the mycelial growth will need this to grow into the classic capped mushrooms that are used for medicinal purposes. 

Mycelial growth

To encourage mycelial growth, you must expose the white jelly-like matter to an oxygen-rich environment and spray it with water to introduce it to humidity. While in the initial stages, the mycelium does not need any humidity or oxygen, as soon as the growth is considerable, you will need to remove the plastic container or sheet from the substrate and introduce oxygen and humidity to the mycelium. This will accelerate mycelium’s growth In time, depending on the type or breed of the medicinal mushroom, you will have your first yield of those classic capped mushrooms.

Harvesting the medicinal mushrooms

Finally, the process of harvesting comes into play. Harvesting is important and can be considered one of the most crucial aspects of the entire germination and cultivation process. Harvest the mushrooms too late and won’t be consumable since many people are not very fond of the earthy, meaty taste of overripe mushrooms. Harvest the mushrooms too early, and the necessary compounds with medicinal properties won’t synthesize within the mushroom, which is why, as per the type of mushroom, you should always harvest them in time. This will ensure the best possible yield of medicinal mushrooms that you can get from one batch. 

Medicinal Mushrooms

The bottom line

Growing and cultivating medicinal mushrooms can be a bit tricky, especially if you are a first-timer just getting into mycology. With their medicinal properties, these mushrooms make for the best addition to your diet and can be substituted for meat for vegetarians. In short, these mushrooms bring a lot of benefits to the table. Suppose you are looking into the cultivation of medicinal mushrooms and want to do it yourself. In that case, you will need an excellent mycological partner who supports and equips you with the necessary tools for your mycological journey. 

D&N Sporeworks: the best mycological partners you can ask for!

For all your mycology needs, whether it’s spores, syringes, swabs, or entire grow kits designed to ease the process of growing your own medicinal mushrooms, D&N Sporeworks is your partner for the provision of quality products. Our entire catalog is geared towards enthusiasts and to help them get the most out of what mother nature puts in these amazing medicinal mushrooms. Our dedicated team of enthusiasts and helpers is always available to help you navigate your way out of any situation you might find yourself in. For all your mycological needs and for a trip that bests every other you’ve had, check out D&N Sporeworks.

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