For many years, Paul Stamets sought and studied Agarikon, a beehive-shaped mushroom thought to be the longest living mushroom in the world! This unusual mushroom is a big wood conk, native to the old growth conifer forests of North America and Europe, growing in the temperate conifer forests of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
In 65 A.D. in Materia Medica, the first known herbal medical manual, the Greek physician Dioscorides described Agarikon as the elixir of long life. In ancient Greece, Agarikon was used for treating respiratory illnesses, night sweats and tuberculosis. This ancient mushroom demonstrates strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
In Agarikon, Ancient Medicine for Modern Times, published in the Huffington Post, Paul Stamets reports, “In the wake of the Sept. 11 attack, our team submitted more than 500 samples of diverse mushroom extracts to the BioShield BioDefense program, administered cooperatively by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. After many panels of tests, the species that stood out was Agarikon.
Of the 11 strains of Agarikon from North America that were tested, a few showed exceptionally strong activity against viruses including pox (cowpox), swine (H1N1) and bird (H5N1) flu, and herpes (HSV1, HSV2) viruses. In several sets of tests, dilutions of our natural ethanol extracts against flu viruses exceeded the potency of the positive drug control — ribavirin — against flu viruses by a factor of 10 or more. Most recently, a team of Russian researchers has confirmed the strong antiviral activity of Agarikon against H5N1 flu virus and found that Agarikon is comparatively non-toxic to human cells (Teplyakova et al., 2012).
Paul Stamets believes that many medicinal solutions may reside within the biological populations of our natural habitats. In Dr. Nathan Wolfe’s book The Viral Storm: The Dawn of the New Pandemic Age, he reports that the transmission of viruses is virtually unstoppable since we have international air travel and the co-mingling of genomes. Perhaps Agarikon and other polypore mushrooms hold medicines that will become precious in the times ahead.
Possible Medicinal Benefits of Agarikon:
We should save our old growth forests as a matter of national defense. Paul Stamets
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