Potency of Amazonian Flood Forest Mushrooms
Fungi Amazonica work with indigenous communities of the Nanay River, a tributary to the Amazon River. The reishi mushrooms they harvest are endemic to the secondary flood forests and are a very special variety that are well adapted to their habitat. Eachyear the forest floods, providing a limited window of opportunity for the mushrooms to grow and release their spores before the rising waters put an end to the harvest season. These mushrooms are forced to prioritize quick growth in order to ensure the greatest quantity of spores released in the limited time that’s available. In doing so, the mushrooms become more concentrated in number, softer, and quicker growing. Thus, they become more vulnerable to pests, as the larger numbers attract more insects. This, in turn, brings more parasitic fungi and bacteria; the mushrooms counter this by concentrating more energy into the production of their chemical defense mechanisms, exercising the full spectrum of their genetic potential. It is this unique aspect of the source of Reishi mushroom that makes Fungi Amazonica so exciting! Using fungi harvested from one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems in the world means that our extract will contain a far more complex array of the medicinal compounds found in this noble fungi.
Production of the Extract
Our product is a double extraction of these flood forest Amazonian reishi mushrooms. When we buy the mushrooms we carefully sort through the harvest, making sure that only mature, healthy, and non-contaminated mushrooms are used. This ensures a high quality sustainable product made from mushrooms that have a high medicinal content, which have had the opportunity to shed their spores before being harvested. These mushrooms are then cleaned, shredded, and soaked in alcohol for 3-6 months. The alcohol extract is then drained out and the remaining pulp is heated for several hours to yield a hot water extraction. The alcohol extraction and the water extraction are then concentrated to come to the volume of 2 litres of extract to 1kilo of mushrooms consisting of 40%alcohol extract and 60% water extract.
Use of the Extract
Our reishi mushroom extract is currently available in 100ml. The normal dose is 15-45 drops 2-3 times a day. Use lower doses for regular daily usage and higher doses if you are currently fighting off illness. The extract is best taken with vitamin C as this helps the medicine absorb into the body, as well as providing the building blocks to make use of the immune-modulating properties of the active compounds in the fungi. It can be added to any beverage or taken alone; we recommend it with a glass of fruit juice.
The region of Loreto where we are currently active is one of the poorest regions in the Amazon rainforest. People do not have many opportunities for economic advancement and the villagers usually resort to unsustainable and environmentally destructive agricultural practices to earn their daily income. The typical farming practice here is slash and burn, which means they chop down every tree on a plot of land and use the wood to make charcoal, which they export to the city. They burn all other plant material on the plot.They then plant their crops, which may be productive for 3-4 years,before the soil is exhausted. Then, the farmers move on to cut and burn more rainforest.
In the rainforest ecosystem the soil is very nutritionally poor and the ecosystem relies on the rapid recycling of nutrients due to the intense interaction of fungi,insects, worms, and microbes. When farmers use the wood to make charcoal and export it off to the city, they are hauling off the vitality of the land. When they burn what is left, they are killing off the soil organisms that keep the delicate soil food web alive.What is left is a thin layer of soil that has a limited quantity of fixed nutrients, which is quickly depleted.
Working with these communities to promote the sustainable harvesting of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms offers an alternative source of income that makes use of the forest fungi, a renewable life affirming resource of the rainfroest, without the need to deplete and degrade this wonderfully rich and bio-diverse ecosystem.