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How fungi will save the world

Here are some ways we can harness the power of fungi to heal the environment, and our health. Shop All

For the last 15 years, I’ve been doing “PR” for the fungi world. While I grew up foraging for wild mushrooms and medicines on my family farm in Finland, when I first tried Cordyceps while marathon training in my early 20s, I knew more people needed to know about the power of the humongous world of fungus. 

Unfortunately, most of the western world (USA especially) is very mycophobic. We shy away from mold, fear fungus, and consider a button mushroom on a pizza quite exotic. Needless to say, mushrooms have needed a hefty dose of better PR. 

Luckily, mushrooms are on the rise, culturally, culinarily, and medicinally. And if you’re reading this, there’s a high chance that you’re already curious about this humongous world of fungus.  Seriously. The world of fungi has so much to give. Here are some some fun(gi) ways to start: 

Giving back (mycoremediation)

It’s likely that you care about our environment, and are worried about the havoc that climate change is already wrecking on our planet. If you are focused on giving back, mushrooms can be a powerful ally. Mycoremediation is a fancy word that means using fungi instead of bacteria or time to break down waste (or better in combination with them). Mushrooms are the great decomposers in our world, and can literally eat plastic. It is much more sustainable (and sometimes faster) than using traditional remediation methods. There are some amazing universities doing mycoremediation studies, as well as mycoremediation organization are a great place to start. 

Giving health (functional mushrooms)

Some estimate that more than 40% of pharmaceuticals available today (including penicillin!) use mushrooms in their production. A wide range of functional mushrooms that can help support optimal health and performance, so that you can succeed in your life. Try adding Lion’s Mane to your coffee to turn on your focus and productivity. Or if you’re feeling run-down often, add Chaga to support your immune system. I truly believe every entrepreneur out there needs more Reishi, the best mushroom for stress in their daily routine. 

Giving creativity (psychedelics)

While slowly gaining legality, psilocybin (psychedelic component from select mushrooms) is now fairly widely used throughout the startup world to boost creativity. Whether microdosed, or in therapeutic settings, many people are now boasting of the benefits of partnering with psilocybin. I am an advisor at a therapeutic, legal, retreat center in Amsterdam. I have seen incredible creative breakthroughs, and deep self-understanding come from their 3 to 5 day supervised retreats. Hopefully there will be more centers like this available across the world in the near future (including very soon in the state of Oregon). 

If you’re not ready to try psychedelics, Lion’s Mane mushroom is a functional mushroom that is 100% legal and has been known to help with creativity and focus. 

Giving experience (sustainable packaging/fabrics)

Subbing leather, plastic packing materials, and lumber with fungi is now possible. Even NASA is investigating using mycelium (mushroom’s “roots” to be overly simplistic) in building structures in space.  Adidas, lululemon, and Stella McCartney are bringing in a leather sub that is made from fungi to bring more sustainability to the fashion industry. Look for these next time you’re shopping for your yoga mat and outfit!  

I thoroughly believe that partnering with the fungi kingdom will result in a better world, for all of its inhabitants. I’d love to hear how you are partnering with our fungi allies! Tag us @FourSigmatic so we can see! 

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Tero Isokauppila is the founder of Four Sigmatic. Tero’s roots (or mycelium, if you will) are in Finland, where he grew up growing and foraging natural foods on his 13th generation family's farm. He later earned a degree in Chemistry, Business, and a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition at Cornell University. An expert in all things related to nutrition, health, and wellness. Tero is the author of two best-selling books: Healing Mushrooms and Healing Adaptogens.

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