The Fungus Among Us
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It's a Fungusful World!
Fungus in Our Lives
Fungal Science
Finding Fungi
Funky Fungi Facts
Fungal Folklore
Mushroom Models
Fungal Fun
Meet the Mushrooms: Fungi A-Z
  Fungal Folklore

Phallus ravenelii
Ganoderma applanatum

Throughout history, folk healers have employed many medicinal qualities of the fungus kingdom—some real and others imagined.

The antibiotic properties of moulds have been known for countless generations. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Knights Templar used mould extracts to treat infected wounds. Fungi have also been used in Europe as remedies for boils and abscesses, in gargles to treat throat infections, as laxatives, as contraceptives, and to remove skin blemishes.

The Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) has been used in Europe to treat rheumatism, epilepsy, gout, and skin cancer-but it was also blamed for outbreaks of cholera and madness! Puffballs have many uses. Their dried spores were used to staunch the flow of blood from wounds or nosebleeds; smouldering puffballs were once used to transfer fire from place to place; and beekeepers in some places still blow the spores of the giant puffball into hives to narcotize the bees.

Oriental herbalists have been using Reishi mushrooms (Ling Chi or Ling Zhi: Ganoderma lucidum) for some 4,000 years. These mushrooms are claimed to be effective against many ailments, including arthritis, several cancers, heart disease, and hepatitis. In western Africa fungi have been used to treat venereal diseases.

Less likely remedies include the wearing of a Cramp Ball (Daldinia concentrica) in the armpit to protect oneself from cramps. Other fungi have been claimed as aphrodisiacs-the recipe for one such potion calls for boiling a toad with some mushrooms in spring water. Young men in Lapland would carry a fungus (Trametes suaveolens) hanging from their waists when courting. Trametes has an anise-like odour that may work as an attractant, a deodorant, or not at all!
Fairy Rings and Fungal Superstitions
What's in a Name?
Poisonous Fungi
Fungi and Witchcraft
Magic Mushrooms
Fungi in Art and Literature

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