Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mushroom Magic (Paul Stamets interview)

Wisdom Quarterly; Coast to Coast (subscription) guest host John B. Wells with mycologist and author Paul Stamets (Fungi Perfecti), Feb. 16, 2013

Fly agaric Christmas mushrooms (wiki)
Mushroom expert Paul Stamets, professional mycologist, joins occasional host John B. Wells to discuss how fungi can enhance the health of our bodies, gardens, and forests. 

He attributes our limited knowledge of mushrooms to fear and their fleeting nature, which limits scientists' ability to study them. He muses that the varied effects of mushrooms -- improved health, sustenance, harm, even death -- contribute to our sense of fear: "They are so poorly understood." 

Mushroom Buddha (Mochiunagi/flickr)
However, he marvels that there are over 5,000,000 species of fungi on the planet, constituting more than half of the 10,000,000 total species on Earth of all the organisms combined. (For more on Stamets' research, see video).

He shared numerous instances where the ability of fungi to survive and thrive in extreme environments has provided insights into potential ways for them to improve life on Earth. To that end he reveals how, following the Chernobyl disaster, Ukrainian scientists observed that mushrooms in nearby forests were "hyper accumulating radioactivity" thereby decontaminating large areas of land. 
Mushroom trolls or gnomes on New Year's postcard (gnosticmedia.com)
As such, Stamets suggests that the problem of radioactive fallout facing Japan following the Fukushima disaster may be alleviated with mushrooms. He also talks about how the unique abilities of various fungi to survive could be used to provide food for exploring astronauts and terraforming (making earth-like) planets.

Mushroom garden (Bhakti Omwoods)
Beyond the environmental benefits attributed to mushrooms, Stamets details ways fungi benefit human health. For instance, his mother dealt with cancer after being given six months to live in 2009.
She supplemented deadly chemotherapy with "turkey tail" mushrooms. Today, according to Stamets, she has "no detectable tumors whatsoever," and her case has been called a "best case outcome" by cancer journals.  Furthermore, he cites studies of "lion's mane" mushroom, which was shown to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's in laboratory mice. 
Stamets is enthusiastic about the potential therapeutic applications of "magic" mushrooms, such as psilocybin, because research indicates that they help treat alcoholism and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) calling them "medicines for the soul."
Crushing Economic Update
The show begins with financial analyst Joseph Meyer (straightmoneyanalysis.com) providing an amazing update on the US economy that runs contrary to all mainstream media reports of improvement.

Meyer argues that the US should be returned to the gold standard. He points to indicators in the job and housing markets as well as stagnant income, household debt levels, and weak consumer spending as signs that the economy continues to be troubled despite media claims of a turnaround.
He also calls the increasing consolidation of wealth by a smaller percentage of the population a "recipe for disaster" which cannot sustain itself much longer. In light of the massive gold reserve held by the United States, Meyer surmises that America will be the first nation to return to a gold-backed financial system as the global economy falters.

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