As this year's equinox already makes its graceful passing, the marking point of balance and coming seasonal change, I find myself filled with a quiet delight and wonder. Each season has its magic, and though this special time of year is a time of endings and going within, it also gifts us with its fruits if we are willing to look a little deeper...and lower to the ground! Marvelous medicinal mushrooms!
Living on the coast we are spoiled with how many species of mushrooms abound. I remember standing under a mushroom-clad maple tree with my first teacher, and marveling when she said laughing: "almost all mushrooms are medicinal!"
Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years and are often called "Longevity Herbs" due to their use in such a wide array of ailments. Many are adaptogens, meaning they help your body to deal and adapt to all forms of stress, physical and emotional, and help normalize the body's functions. A small serving of Oyster or Shitake mushrooms a few times a week can lower cholesterol up to 12% by stimulating receptors in the Liver to clear it from the body. Most have great immune boosting and antitumor activity as well, including Maitake and Reishi.
Mushroom season is a beautiful reminder that nature always provides us with the right medicines for the right seasons. Try replacing white Buttons with any of these delicious medicinals as a great way to stay well through the season!
Marvelous Mushroom Soup
1 Tbsp. olive or coconut oil
1 1/2 cups salted chicken or vegetable broth
2 diced onions
10 cloves garlic
1 "thumb" of ginger
2 cups Shitake, Maitake, Oyster and/or other medicinal mushrooms
1 cup julienned Kale
4-6 Tbsps. Miso
Cayenne to taste
In a large pot, sauté onions, garlic and ginger in oil until soft. Add 8 cups of water, broth, mushrooms, and cayenne and any other spices, salt or pepper if desired. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 hours. Remove from heat, and enjoy your autumn longevity soup!
By Carley Smith, Chartered Herbalist and Iridologist | eldertree.ca