Rabu, Ogos 25, 2010

Never underestimate power of mushrooms



Every other week I hear something new and amazing about the medicinal and cosmetic benefits of mushrooms. The latest is a study out of Tufts University in Massachusetts, where researchers found that eating white button mushrooms can boost the body's immune system and protect against viruses and tumors. Mushrooms are so powerful that scientists are now looking to see if they can be used to fight influenza -- good news, with the fear of a flu pandemic looming on the horizon.

Extracts of medicinal mushrooms long have been used in China, Japan and Korea to treat disorders ranging from allergies, arthritis and bronchitis to cancer, especially of the stomach, esophagus and lungs. Today, scientists are finding that those ancient healers might have been on to something.

More research is needed to discover the potential cosmetic benefits of mushrooms, as well. And not just button mushrooms -- there are literally thousands of species, many of which could have their own unique healing properties. We already know that mushrooms are anti-inflammatory, making them a great weapon against inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema.

As well as being high in vitamin D and selenium, mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, which are proven to help protect your skin against wrinkles caused by sun exposure. But if you're not crazy about mushrooms -- or you just don't eat enough of them -- there are still plenty of ways to take advantage of their benefits. I love Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Supplement, which comes in a little medicine dropper bottle you can toss in your purse so the immune system booster is handy when you need it.

There are some great mushroom topical products on the market, as well. In addition to its Mega-Mushroom drops, Origins also makes an eye serum that combines mushrooms with fellow antioxidants ginger, turmeric and resveratrol, and Aveeno's Active Naturals Positively Ageless Rejuvenating Serum is designed to promote cell renewal and improve signs of photoaging.

Selasa, Ogos 17, 2010

Mushroom, mists and mellow fruitfulness

Hares and hedgerows as autumn comes early to the summerhouse

Scandinavian autumn woods are packed with fat porcini (ceps)

If the old saw holds about an abundance of berries heralding a coming cold winter then the Danish coast (where the summerhouse is) is set for another corker.

rugosaBanks of sweet smelling rugosa line the coast

Have never seen the hedgerows bursting with so many brambles, hazels, crab apples, red and yellow mirabellas. But this being Scandinavia only the rugosa hips are ready to pick. Though if not yet fruit, then fungus.

toadSpot the toad

You can see where the Noma guys get their inspiration as the woods and roadsides are a forager's dream. Here you see boletus of every description, though our favourites are still the ceps.

blueAnyone know the name of this meadow flower please?

Short and squat with fat creamy bodies (the mushrooms, not me), we pretty much stick to eating them on toast, perhaps with parsley and garlic, though this year's first harvest made for a perfect omelette – the shrooms' sweet woody flavours thrumming in fresh, proper farm eggs.

wildA handful of hedgerow

Our few apples and pears are not ready yet either but our first blackcurrants made for a lip-smacking jam, cooked just this side of sharp.

jamOur first blackcurrant jam

Butterflies, beetles and dragonflies of every hue too, acid green dragonflies, for all the world like Apocalypse Now 'copters (you almost expect a Wagner or Hendrix soundtrack) mating on the wing.

blueBlue butterflies fill the beach hedges

Huge green flying beetles crash into the wondows and lie stunned upside down. Delicate blue butterflies and bees making the most of the heather and thistle flowers (we would cycle though clouds of thistle 'fairies).

barleyBarley for Danish beer

The farmers are just starting harvest with oat, wheat and barley fields the colour of posh people's cords.

pinkBee making the most of late summer

Tiny little spider webs in the morning grass like Thai fishing nets, with frogs and toads jumping happily arounds. In the evening, big raspberry and rhubarb skies with rolling sea mists colonising the hollows.

sweetAnother unknown flower, sorry. Suggestions?

But back now and on to the allotment tomorrow with Howard. How is everyone and their gardens?

---- Guardian UK

Isnin, Ogos 02, 2010

Mushrooms used to make eco-friendly packaging

Mycobond, a composite material made from mushroom roots and agricultural waste, is grown around structures to create customized packaging.

A new type of packaging made from the roots of mushrooms consumes only a fraction of the resources used to make traditional foam packaging.

By LiveScience Staff / July 28, 2010


In addition to tomatoes and peppers, your next garden could grow packaging materials.


A new product made out of agricultural waste and mushroom roots is now showing up in shipped products across the country. The composite material, called Mycobond™, requires just one-eighth the energy to produce and generates one-tenth the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material.


Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute undergraduates Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer are developing a new, less energy-intensive method to sterilize the agricultural waste, killing spores that could otherwise compete with the mushrooms.


Instead of steam heat, the new sterilization method will involve cinnamon-bark oil, thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil.


"The biological disinfection process simply emulates nature in that it uses compounds that plants have evolved over centuries to inhibit microbial growth," McIntyre said. "The unintended result is that our production floor smells like a pizza shop."


Here's how the green product grows: The mycelia (vegetative part of a fungus, like a mushroom) grow around and digest agricultural starter material, such as cotton seed or wood fiber in a dark environment at room temperature. The materials are shaped by a customized, molded plastic structure in which they grow.


Once fully formed, each piece goes through the sterilization process. With the new cinnamon-bark treatment, Bayer and McIntyre hope the entire process can be packaged as a kit, allowing shipping facilities, and even homeowners, to grow their own green packaging materials.


McIntyre and Bayer founded Ecovative Design of Green Island, N.Y., to bring their idea into production. Ecovative has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

----- The Christian Science Monitor
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