(I have recently made some updates to Flowery Prose. Excerpts from this post were originally published on 26 July 2010 under the title “Odds ‘n’ Sods”).
And now, a few words about a mushroom. A visit to a new massage therapist last week inspired me to do a little research on a fungus I had never heard of before: Ganoderma lucidum, or Lingzhi, the so-called “Mushroom of Immortality.” It’s a bracket fungus that has a widespread distribution, covering North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, but the wild forms prefer to grow on certain species of maple trees and are actually very rare finds. Ganoderma is instead mostly cultured indoors in sterile environs. Apparently this fungus possesses a huge range of healing powers, including the ability to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, AND lower blood sugar. As well, ganoderma is being tested as a hopeful candidate to prevent cancer metastasis. It may also strengthen and prevent liver disease. Finally, it is used to prevent certain influenzas due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Sounds like an all-around good deal, perhaps. Ganoderma is usually taken as a tea or in capsule form, as it is way too bitter to be eaten. I tried a cup of tea and I didn’t taste the bitterness. Alas, despite the appealing taste, my sensitive Western stomach wasn’t too impressed. I guess I’m going to have to pin my hopes of gastrointestinal immortality on something else!
Speaking of fascinating fungi, a roundabout link offered recently via the University of British Columbia’s Botany Photo of the Day led me to seek out timelapse video of Geastrum saccatum, or earthstar, on You Tube. Interesting stuff to watch, and not just for botany-nerds. (And just so you know, earthstar is extremely toxic, not to be consumed in any amount).