Herbs & Plants

Pterospora andromedea

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Botanical Name : Pterospora andromedea
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Monotropoideae
Genus: Pterospora
Species:P. andromedea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Monotropa procera Torr.

Common Name: Woodland Pinedrops, Giant pinedrops
Other common names: Giant birds nest, Albany beechdrops

Habitat:Pterospora andromedea is native to North America. It grows from a subterranean truffle that is associated with a good sized Pinus strobus. Dry to mesic forested slopes and ridges.

State distribution: Forty three occurrences of this species have been reported from Michigan, 22 of which are post1978 records. The majority of these are associated with forested dune communities ranging from Ottawa to Keeweenaw County, with concentrations in Keeweenaw, Emmet, and Leelanau counties. Additional occurrences are widely scattered from Ottawa and St. Clair counties in southern Lower Michigan and from Drummond Island to Ontonagon County in the western Upper Peninsula. All occurrences were reported in low numbers ranging from a single individual to 11 stems, or in many cases simply.

Pterospora andromedea is a perinnial plant. It has lack of chlorophyll and has one to several simple, erect stems, from 3-10 dm tall, bearing numerous scale-like leaves and a terminal raceme of numerous nodding flowers. The approx. 6-7 mm long , bell-shaped corolla is white while the sepals and vegetative parts of the plant are reddish to maroon. The stem and sepals are glandular-hairy giving the plant a clammy-sticky feel. The similar, but more widespread and common species Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe) and M. hypopithys (pinesap), also lack chlorophyll, but are typically one half the size of Pterospora or smaller. In addition, the flowers of both Indian pipe and pinesap become erect in fruit, unlike the strongly nodding fruits of Pterospora. Indian pipe also differs in bearing only a single large flower on each stem....CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Status: State threatened
Edible Uses: Stems – raw or cooked. They can be roasted or baked under the fire ‘like mushrooms’.

Medicinal Uses: The stems and berries are astringent, disinfectant and haemostatic. A cold infusion of the ground stems and berries has been used in the treatment of lung haemorrhages and nose bleeds. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Agaricus campestris

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Botanical Name :Agaricus campestris
Family: Agaricaceae
Genus: Agaricus
Species: A. campestris
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Subphylum: Agaricomycotina
Class: Agaricomycetes
Subclass: Agaricomycetidae
Order: Agaricales
Common Name :Khumbi, Banger-chhata,The Meadow Mushroom or Field mushroom

Habitat : Agaricus campestris is common in fields and grassy areas after rain from late summer onwards worldwide. It is often found on lawns in suburban areas. Appearing in small groups, in fairy rings, or solitary. Owing to the demise of horse drawn vehicles, and the subsequent decrease in the number of horses on pasture, the old ‘white outs’ of years gone by are becoming rare events. This species is rarely found in woodland.

Saprobic; growing alone, gregariously, or sometimes in fairy rings, in meadows, fields, lawns, and grassy areas; late fall to early winter (occasionally in summer; sometimes year-long in California); widely distributed and common in North America.

The meadow mushroom, Agaricus campestris, is a beautiful white mushroom that is closely related to the cultivated “button mushrooms” (Agaricus bisporus) sold in North American grocery stores. In most areas it is a fall mushroom and, as its common and Latin names suggest, it comes up in meadows, fields, and grassy areas, after rains. It is recognized by its habitat, its pink gills (covered up by a thin white membrane when the mushroom is young) which become chocolate brown as the mushroom matures, its quickly collapsing white ring, and the fact that it does not discolor yellow when bruised.


Cap: 3-11 cm; convex to broadly convex, occasionally nearly flat; whitish; smooth and glossy to fibrous to nearly wooly or scaly.

Gills: Free from the stem; deep pink becoming brown and then dark chocolate brown in maturity; crowded; covered with a thin white partial veil when in the button stage.

Stem: 2-6 cm long; 1-2.5 cm thick; more or less equal; sometimes tapering slightly to base; with a quickly collapsing white ring; not bruising yellow.

Flesh: Thick and white throughout; not bruising yellow anywhere, even in the base of the stem; very rarely discoloring a pinkish wine color in wet weather.

Odor and Taste: Pleasant.

Chemical Reactions: Cap surface not yellowing with KOH.

Spore Print: Dark chocolate brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores: 5.5-10 x 4-7 µ; elliptical. Cheilocystidia to 10 µ wide. Universal veil hyphae (on cap surface and stem base) without inflated elements.

The North American forms of this mushroom are apparently numerous–and several closely related (identical?) species have been described, including Agaricus andrewii (cheilocystidia 11-18.5 µ wide; universal veil hyphae with inflated elements) and Agaricus solidipes (spores up to 12 µ long; cheilocystidia absent). See also Agaricus porphyrocephalus.

Edibil Uses:
It is widely collected and eaten, even by those who would not normally eat wild mushrooms. This mushroom is not commercially cultivated on account of its fast maturing and short shelf-life. Culinary uses of the meadow mushroom include eating it sauteed or fried, in sauces, or even sliced raw and included in salads. In flavor and texture, this mushroom is almost identical to the white button mushroom available in grocery stores in the United States. Be sure to rinse well to dislodge any sand, and also watch out for small, white larvae which tunnel through the stems and caps. Among the similar species mentioned above, there have been cases where the deadly toxic destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera) has been consumed by individuals who mistook it for this species. The edibility of specimens collected from lawns is uncertain because of possible contamination with pesticides or other chemicals.

Bioactive properties
Water extracts of A. campestris have been shown to enhance the secretion of insulin, and to have insulin-like effects on glucose metabolism in vitro, although the mechanism is not understood yet.

Medicinal Uses:
Research into fungal dressings for the treatment of ulcers, and bed sores, using fungal mycelial filaments, is on going. In the past, slices of A. campestris were applied to scalds, and burns in parts of Scotland.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

This species was originally noted and named in 1753 by Carolus Linnaeus as Agaricus campestris. It was placed in the genus Psalliota by Lucien Quelet in 1872. Some variants have been isolated over the years, a few of which now have species status, for example, Agaricus bernardii Quel. (1878), Agaricus bisporus (J.E. Lange) Imbach (1946), Agaricus bitorquis (Quel.) Sacc. (1887), Agaricus cappellianus Hlavacek (1987), and Agaricus silvicola (Vittad.) Peck (1872).
Some were so similar they did not warrant even variant status, others have retained it eg. Agaricus campestris var. equestris (F.H. Moller) Pilat (1951) is still valid, and presumably favors pasture where horses have been kept. Agaricus campestris var isabellinus (F.H. Moller) Pilat (1951), and Agaricus campestris var.radicatus, are possibly still valid too. The specific epithet campestris is derived from the Latin campus.

You may click to see :
*List of Agaricus species
*Agaricus campestris at MykoWeb
*Agaricus campestris at Agaricales of the Hawaiian Islands
*Agaricus campestris at Roger’s Mushrooms
*Agaricus campestris at Fungi of Poland


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Herbs & Plants

Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa)

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Botanical Name :Grifola frondosa
Family: Meripilaceae
Genus: Grifola
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Polyporales
Species: G. frondosaDietary supplement
Common Names:    Maitake mushroom , Hen of the Woods

The mushroom is commonly known among English speakers as Hen-of-the-Woods, Ram’s Head and Sheep’s Head. In the United States‘ supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name “Maitake”, which means “dancing mushroom”. G. frondosa should not be confused with Laetiporus sulphureus, another edible bracket fungus that is commonly called chicken of the woods or “sulphur shelf“. The fungus becomes inedible like all polypores when they are older, because it is too tough to eat.

: The fungus is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as a medicinal mushroom, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of  old trees, particularly oaks.

Like the sulphur shelf mushroom, G. frondosa is a perennial fungus that often grows in the same place for a number of years in succession. It occurs most prolifically in the northeastern regions of the United States, but has been found as far west as Idaho.
Plant Class:perennial fungus – (edible mushroom)

Fruit: The fruiting body rises up from a underground tuber-like structure, about the size of a potato. Maitake mushrooms are very large, can grow up to over 50 pounds, occurring as large as 60 cm. The small multiple grayish-brown caps are fused together in a clusterand are often curled or spoon-shaped,overlapping with wavy margins and 2-7 cm broad.
G. frondosa grows from an underground tuber-like structure, about the size of a potato. The fruiting body, occurring as large as 60 cm, is a cluster consisting of multiple grayish-brown caps which are often curled or spoon-shaped, with wavy margins and 2-7 cm broad. The undersurface of each cap bears approximately one to three pores per millimeter, with the tubes rarely deeper than 3 mm. The milky-white stipe (stalk) has a branchy structure and becomes tough as the mushroom matures.

In Japan, the Maitake can grow to more than 50 pounds (20 kilograms), earning this giant mushroom the title “King of Mushrooms.” Maitake is one of the major culinary mushrooms used in Japan, the others being shiitake, shimeji and enoki. They are used in a wide variety of dishes, often being a key ingredient in nabemono or cooked in foil with butter.

Most Japanese people find its taste and texture enormously appealing,  though the mushroom has been alleged to cause allergic reactions in rare cases.

Use in traditional Oriental medicine:

Common Uses: Cancer Prevention * General Health Tonics * Hypertension HBP * Immune System * Liver *
Properties:  Adaptogens* Immunostimulant* Hepatic* Hypotensive*
Parts Used: whole mushroom
Constituents: complex immunostimulant polysaccharides,including beta-glucan starch, amino acids, water, minerals: potassium, calcium, and magnesium, vitamins (b2, d2 and niacin)

The underground tubers from which hen of the woods arises have been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to enhance the immune system. Researchers have also indicated that whole maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids, and may also be useful for weight loss.

Maitake is rich in minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium), various vitamins (B2, D2 and niacin), fibers and amino acids. One active constituent in Maitake for enhancing the immune activity was identified in the late 1980s as a protein-bound beta-glucan compound.

Maitake’s use as an adaptogen?an herb arose in classic Chinese and Japanese medicine. Maitake and its extracts have been shown to significantly boost the immune system and build immune reserves. It also contains a number of polysaccharides ( beta-glucan) that have been shown to fight the formation and growth of tumors, putting maitake in use in cancer prevention strategies. Maitake helps to protect and support the liver and can lower blood pressure and blood-glucose levels, and may also be useful for weight loss.

Maitake mushroom for :Cancer

Maitake is a proven cancer fighter. In laboratory tests, powdered maitake increased the activity of three types of immune cell–macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and T cells–by 140, 186, and 160 percent, respectively. The anticancer compound in maitake, sold commercially as the maitake D-fraction, has shown positive results in American studies on breast and colorectal cancer.

Maitake research:
In 2009, a phase I/II human trial, conducted by Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, showed Maitake could stimulate the immune systems of breast cancer patients. Small experiments with human cancer patients, have shown Maitake can stimulate immune system cells, like NK cells.In vitro research has also shown Maitake can stimulate immune system cells. An in vivo experiment showed that Maitake could stimulate both the innate immune system and adaptive immune system.

In vitro research has shown Maitake can induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines (human prostatic cancer cells, Hep 3B cells, SGC-7901 cells, murine skin carcinoma cells) as well as inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells (canine cancer cells, bladder cancer cells).Small studies with human cancer patients, revealed a portion of the Maitake mushroom, known as the “Maitake D-fraction”, possess anti-cancer activity. In vitro research demonstrated the mushroom has potential anti-metastatic properties. In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an Investigational New Drug Application for a portion of the mushroom.

Research has shown Maitake has a hypoglycemic effect, and may be beneficial for the management of diabetes. The reason Maitake lowers blood sugar is due to the fact the mushroom naturally contains a alpha glucosidase inhibitor.

Maitake contains antioxidants and may partially inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase. An experiment showed that an extract of Maitake inhibited angiogenesis via inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

Lys-N is a unique protease found in Maike. Lys-N is used for proteomics experiments due to its protein cleavage specifity.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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