I’ve been planting trees in the boreal forest for three years now. My curious nature led me to question everything I saw. “What’s that plant?” “What’s that mushroom?”
So I started reading, learning how to identify plants & fungi, I loved it, I would note every characteristic about every plant. Then I started wondering, are any of these medicinal mushrooms or plants?
That’s when I got deeper into my research and started experimenting myself, but it wasn’t the first time I had experimented.
My First Experience with Mother Earth
If you asked a younger me what I’d be doing in the future, I could have never guessed it.
It was like an inner calling inside me that had been there all along, I just wasn’t listening.
It all came down to a specific moment in my life, at that time, I wasn’t happy with where I was and what I was doing. That day in 2018 I was reading about rites of passages and vision quests.
The idea was to follow a certain framework under certain influences and this would take you on a spiritual journey.
I liked the idea and I thought if there was a way to break myself free from my unhappiness, I had to try it.
I had never been able to truly identify what my true passion was. At that time, I was trying many things but couldn’t pinpoint anything that vibrated with me.
I had to dig deep and take myself into a mental state I’ve never been in before, to see things from a different perspective.
That was my first experience with mother nature. Here’s how it went down:
I planned it out ahead of time, I told my brother about it. I was going to have my vision quest alone at one of our favorite fishing spots, a small lake called Sardine Lake.
At that time I was in Alberta, Canada and it was pretty much just fields and farmland, but that fishing spot was a small oasis of boreal forest in the middle of nowhere. A special grove that reminded me so much of my home province of Quebec.
That place really had something special to it, beautiful black spruce trees surrounded the lake. There were a few planks set up to walk around the luscious mossy bogs that circle the lake. All sorts of wild plants bloomed here, the water was so clear you could see the fish.
My plan was to bring my camping gear, head up this little hill behind the lake, and set camp there for the night.
So I did, when I got into the forest and up the hill, I didn’t waste any time setting up the tent. I got the firewood ready for the night and made sure everything else was safe.
I brought with me two things to help me break free of my current mental state; mushrooms and LSD.
My Vision Quest
What happened that night?
I would say I opened a door within me and found my purpose.
The most memorable moment of my night, the instant where I had my eureka moment, was when I stepped away from the fire to walk into the forest.
The night was perfect; no wind, pure silence, just me and the stars. I laid down on the forest floor, looked up to the stars, and asked myself this question:
“What is the one passion I’ve had since I was a little boy, that’s endured all the phases of my life, and that has never faded away?”
“Is there one? ….”
I really thought it through, I thought back to my childhood. I have countless memories of catching butterflies, looking at frogs, walking barefoot in the grass.
Growing up I had all sorts of pets, from fish to crabs, frogs, snakes, hamsters, and lizards. I loved to build their aquariums down to the detail, exactly like the real habitat in nature.
My favorite TV show was The Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin. I loved to see the nature shots and all the animals he found!
Then one of my first jobs into adulthood was landscaping. Working to naturify the cities, and I loved it!
Ok, so now things were starting to get really clear…
Uncovering My One True Passion
Can you guess what it is now? What I was so oblivious about?
It’s clear, isn’t it? The one true passion that’s never left me my whole life is my passion for nature.
My life purpose is tied with mother nature, it’s tied with the natural world. This is where my soul vibrates the most.
I had strayed from that path, working as a mechanic in the oilfield. That night I decided no more, I would quit my job and walk back into the rightful path.
And to this day, I never regretted my decision.
Now I’ve planted nearly half a million trees and traveled across the globe to experience the natural world.
Honestly, I really don’t think I would have gotten there without my vision quest. The use of natural medicine to break out of my mental state was life-changing.
And this is why I’m here now, ready to share with you some of the wisdom I’ve learned from the natural world.
Open your mind, and your spirit to medicinal mushrooms, your life might just be changed.
2 Medicinal Mushrooms that Can Change Your Life
1. Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis)
How to Identify Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis)
Psilocybe cubensis is a species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. They are identifiable by a few characteristics:
- The Cap: Psilocybe cubensis caps are ivory white with a brown spot in the middle. The cap edges curl inward.
- The Underside: IF you look at the underside of a magic mushroom, you’ll see gills that range from gray to purple color.
- The Stem: Young magic mushrooms have a veil that connects the cap to the stem. As it ages, the two detach and you can see the gray remnant of the veil on the upper portion of the stem.
- Stem Bruising: When you cut or crush one between your fingers, a blue color appears on psilocybe cubensis. It won’t be immediate but you should see it within 20 minutes.
Medicinal Properties of Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms are not legal yet in the United States or Canada. But clinical trials are underway, which is the most appropriate and effective way to advance psilocybin research.
I am not a doctor myself, although I have experimented with them in the past safely, and can agree with some of the medicinal properties listed below. I still don’t recommend anyone to take them without consulting with their doctor or specialist first.
6 Medicinal Properties of Psilocybin Suggested by Early Research:
- Treats Depression. (1)
- Relieves Symptoms of Obssesive Compuslive Disorder. (2)
- Helps Control Addiction to Drugs such as Alcohol, Cigarret, and Cocaine. (3)
- Reduces Cluster Headaches. (4)
- Reduces End of Life Psychological Distress. (5)
- Helpful to Reduce Anxiety for Patients with Cancer. (6)
- Helpful To Treat Pandemic-Related Mental Health Problems. (7)
Where to Find Magic Mushrooms
If you live in the right area, you can find some species of magic mushrooms growing almost anywhere.
Never eat any mushroom you’re not 100% sure you’ve identified correctly, it might just be a poisonous one. You especially want to look closely at your mushrooms, because there are species that look similar to psilocybe cubensis, like the death cap (Amanita phalloides).
Additionally, don’t pick any mushrooms growing in places where they could’ve been contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. The best is just to pick some in completely natural sites because they can also pull toxins from the ground.
Now, where do they grow?
Psilocybe cubensis is found on cow (and occasionally horse) dung, sugar cane mulch, or rich pasture soil.
What countries do they grow in?
In North and Central America: The Gulf Coast states and the southeastern United States, Mexico, in the Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, the Caribbean countries Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guadalupe, Martinique, and Trinidad.
In South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Peru,
Southeast Asia: including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia,
Other: India, Australia (including Tasmania), New Zealand, Fiji, and possibly Nepal and Hawaii.
Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis) appear from February to December in the northern hemisphere and November to April in the southern hemisphere.
Where You Can Buy Magic Mushrooms Online
Here are a few reputable sites where you can buy psilocybe mushrooms online:
Again, buy and use this medicinal mushroom at your own risk. I do not suggest you to, you should consult a doctor or physician first. I have no link or affiliation with these websites.
1. Blue Goba
Growing mushrooms since 2007 and their website operating since 2018, it’s a trusty and reputable site to buy from.
2. Myco Labs
They sell microdoses, have a variety of products in many forms. They also have a great educational section if you want to read more on the subject.
Mungus is a huge website, they sell leaf, edibles, LSD, CBD, concentrates. Anything you’d be looking for, definitely worth a look.
How to Use Magic Mushrooms
I’ve tried magic mushrooms in a few different ways and there’s one I recommend above all.
Chop up your magic mushrooms and make a tea:
They don’t taste that great, but when in a tea, you can add honey or other things to change the flavor while keeping the properties.
It’s simple enough:
- Boil some water.
- Chop your mushrooms and put them in a cup.
- Fill the cup with hot water.
- Steep for 10 minutes.
A good dosage is from 1-3 grams per tea. The effect of psilocybin lasts up to 8 hours on your body so be prepared. It might possibly be the most thought-provoking 8 hours of your life.
You should always try mushrooms with a trusted friend your first time, in case anything happens.
It can cause anxiety and mental confusion, but if you’re surrounded well in a familiar environment, it should go smoothly.
What I like to do is change the environment periodically. Don’t stay in one place for too long, try to go outside to get some air, or try to meditate somewhere special.
Microdosing Magic Mushrooms
If you don’t want to go through an intense 8-hour trip, microdosing might be for you.
Effectively, when you microdose, you take a small capsule with magic mushroom powder in it. The dosage is so small that the effects on you will be minimal but still noticeable.
How much is a microdose?
A normal microdose is from 0.4 to 0.5 grams of magic mushrooms.
Here’s what microdosing magic mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis) can do for you:
- Sharpens Your Senses
- Opens Neural Pathways
- Boosts Creativity
- Boosts Energy
- Calms Anxiety
Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? I have no idea why this is still illegal.
2. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a true medicinal mushroom, as it serves little to no purpose other than that. But what a powerhouse medicinal mushroom it is!
How to Identify Chaga
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus that grows only on birch trees. It looks like a black mass on the tree, it’s quite solid and if you break a piece off, the interior ranges from a yellow to brown color.
Chaga’s favorite host is paper birch and is found growing most often in the colder climates, especially the boreal forest range.
It’s basically a parasitical fungus that drains the minerals from the birch tree until it dies. For this reason, I only recommend harvesting Chaga from a live birch tree to ensure you get the highest quality fungus.
It’s also a good idea to bring a sturdy tool when Chaga hunting because they have a firm hold to the tree.
Medicinal Properties of Chaga
Chaga has an extensive range of properties that make it a medicinal mushroom, you can almost call it the holy grail of medicinal fungus.
Within all medicinal mushrooms, Chaga contains one of the highest amounts of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s been used for centuries by many civilizations around the world and in modern-day is getting plenty of attention in pharmaceuticals.
Scientific research has isolated each effect to its source and found the following medicinal properties from Chaga:
- Sugars and carbohydrates: Contain chitin, lignin, cellulose beta glucose. These modulate the immune system, reduce allergies, psoriasis, and stress. It balances sugar levels and blood cholesterol.
- Phytosterols: Ianosterol, inotodiols, ergosterols, fecosterols, others. These are powerful therapeutics with antiviral and anticancerous properties, inotodiol is anti-mutagenic.
- Sterols: Betuline and betulinic acid: These are also antiviral and anti-cancerous, they stop the protein synthesis in tumor cells. These are particularly useful against stomach, colon, and liver cancer, and also reduce cholesterol levels.
- Antioxidants: Polyphenols, phenols, melanins: they limit the nasty oxidation processes within cells. Enzymes: Destroys free radicals that accumulate as we get old, these free radicals cause problems like inflammatory diseases like arthritis, neurodegeneratives, cardiovascularies, auto-immunes, and cataracts. The phenols and enzymes also have anti-aging properties if applied on the skin as a balm (mixed with honeywax or essential oils). Melanin is useful to treat skin inflammation like psoriasis and eczema.
- Vitamins: B2, B3, b5, D, and K
- Minerals: In form of salts, Chaga contains silicium, copper, iron, aluminum, manganese, magnesium, sodium, zin, potassium.
Not all of these can be extracted by steeping Chaga in hot water, some have to be extracted in alcohol.
- Water soluble: Sugars, some antioxidants, vitamin B groups, and minerals.
- Alcohol soluble: Lipids, some antioxidants, vitamins D and K.
The source of the information regarding Chaga as medicinal mushrooms come from a book by Roger Larivere: Plantes comestibles et medicinales de la foret boreal.
Where Chaga Grows
Chaga grows exclusively on birch trees, you won’t ever see it growing on another tree.
Around the world, birch trees are found in Canada, Russia, northeast China, and northern areas of Europe and the United State.
The best time to pick Chaga is during winter when the trees are dormant. That’s when chaga stores the most nutrition.
Where to Buy Chaga Online
1. Chaga Mushrooms.ca
Chagamushrooms.ca has been operating since 2020, it’s a modest medicinal mushroom selling platform that is straight to the point.
- A great choice because they harvest sustainably: “we only take larger Chaga Mushrooms always leaving some behind so that the host tree will continue to live and the Chaga Mushroom will re-grown.”
- You know it’s a reliable source: “We only take from live trees, and do our best to never harm the host tree.
2. Wild Alaska Chaga
Operating since 2015, you know they are a veteran in the medicinal mushroom business. Proudly made in the USA, you’ll be supporting American business.
They have a wide variety of products like tea bags, chaga chocolate, tinctures, and more. Definitely worth a look.
How to Use Chaga Mushrooms
In 2020 I fell ill to some infection that doctors still haven’t been able to identify. My symptoms were not getting better and the hospital tests were so far apart. So I decided I wasn’t going to wait around and tried to see if chaga could help the situation.
Here’s how I prepared my chaga:
I live in Quebec, Canada and chaga is not so hard to find if you wander through a birch grove. I happened to know a few spots and I found some on a hike.
How to Dry Chaga
I took the big piece of chaga I had and used the fine side of a cheese grater to grind it down into a powder. Then I placed the ground chaga in a tin container by a well-ventilated window.
After about 2 days and some shaking around, the powder was fully dried. After that, I just stored it away in a mason jar in a cool, dark place.
How to Prepare Chaga
I have this tea steeper, what I’d do is add a teaspoon to it and let it steep in hot water. This would make a dark brown tea that looks similar to coffee.
I drank it like this a lot, its got a pleasant earthy flavor. I also added some chaga mixed with coffee into a filter to make a blend.
Both ways turned out very nice, the coffee felt less acidic and the tea was smooth.
How Chaga Helped Me Personally
I was ill in 2020 and decided to give chaga a try:
I drank chaga tea for a good 4-5 months, and my illness wasn’t magically disappear but it wasn’t getting any worse which was a good sign.
Now in late 2021, my illness isn’t a concern anymore, and doctors say my body show signs the healing is complete.
I think without the Chaga tea, it could have been much worse. I had informed my doctors I was using chaga as a medicine, and they had no opposition to it. What they had to say is that it probably gave my body an extra boost to fight the illness.
Here are some things that I did notice:
Dosage: You have to be careful not to put too much chaga in your tea or coffee. A high concentration of chaga brings too many minerals and vitamins into your body and your kidneys might have some problems filtering it all.
I had minor kidney pain for a couple weeks that I think was from the Chaga tea.
I noticed this and made some adjustments. When I reduced down my dosage, the kidney symptoms went away.
Focus Enhancing: I was writing a lot at that time and I can say Chaga tea really helped me focus. There was definitely something to it similar to caffeine or theine. Not sure if it’s the combinations of its vitamins, carbs, and minerals but I can attest to it.
I know there are many more medicinal mushrooms like reishi and turkey tail but I haven’t experienced with them personally. Since I wanted to make this article a little more personal, I’ll leave it at those two mushrooms.
I can only say good things about magic mushrooms and chaga as medicinal mushrooms. I believe both are safe to use, chaga is legal but psilocybe mushrooms aren’t legal yet but I’m confident they will be in the future.
The world of fungus is truly magical, I think humans have a much deeper connection to them that is currently credited.
A future where humans are more interconnected with fungus is a bright future. Both for spirituality and science, embracing mushrooms won’t take us back, it’ll take us leaps ahead.
If you found this article interesting, you might also like to look into Boreal Forest Medicinal Plants.
Stay curious my friends!