Stalking the Wild Caterpillar Fungus
Cordyceps is one of the precious medicinals of the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia. It’s a wild grown substance that has only recently begun to give up the secrets to how it can be cultivated so that its health benefits can be enjoyed by more than a privileged few.
In this part two conversation with mushroom researcher and grower Jeff Chilton we hear about his recent trip to China for an international mushroom conference and get the low down on some exciting news about the “winter bug, summer grass”
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- Why China has become the Middle Kingdom of the mushroom cultivation world
- Some highlights of the recent international mushroom conference in China
- The amount of research on mushrooms being done in China is staggering
- Mushroom growing environments
- There are over 800 types of medicinal mushrooms
- Triterpenes and the Liver
- Cultivating morel mushrooms
- Ghost moths and Cordyceps spores
- Science, as good as it is, has not tracked down the active constituent in Cordyceps
- Different types of Cordyceps
- One fungus one name
- Cultivation of Cordyceps
- Beta glucans, Alpha glucans, erogosteral, and ergotamine
- Chaga: mushroom of the moment
- The effect of Lion’s Mane on the nervous system
Jeff Chilton, raised in Pacific Northwest, studied Ethno-mycology at the University of Washington in the late sixties. In 1973 he started work on a commercial mushroom farm in Olympia, Washington. During the next 10 years he became the production manager, responsible for the cultivation of over 2 million pounds of agaricus mushrooms per year. He was also involved in the research and development of shiitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms which resulted in the earliest US fresh shiitake sales in 1978.
In the late seventies he was a founder of Mycomedia, which held 4 mushroom conferences in the Pacific Northwest. These educational conferences brought together educators and experts in mushroom identification, ethnomycology, and mushroom cultivation. During this period Jeff co-authored the highly acclaimed book, The Mushroom Cultivator, which was published in 1983.
In the 1980's he operated a mushroom spawn business and in 1989 he started Nammex, a business that introduced medicinal mushrooms to the US nutritional supplement industry. He traveled extensively in China during the 1990's, attending conferences and visiting research facilities and mushroom farms. In 1997 he organized the first organic mushroom production workshop in China.
A founding member of the World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products in 1994 and a Member of the International Society for Mushroom Science, Mr Chilton's company was the first to offer a complete line of Certified Organic mushroom extracts to the US nutritional supplement industry. Nammex extracts are used by many supplement companies and are noted for their high quality based on scientific analysis of the active compounds.
Links and Resources:
Here are some highlights from Jeff's recent trip to China for the 10th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference