March 14, 2020

Lion's Mane on a Bear's Head

He approaches the cash register. A man in his early forties, bald. Alex starts by telling me his story.
He has a lot against conventional medicine. He was a bus driver, a fact he often recalls by moving his arms as if turning an imaginary and disproportionately large steering wheel. When his cancer was diagnosed, it had already spread to his bones. Despite the chemotherapy, he was progressing toward palliative care. That is until he discovered the benefits of CBD oil on the internet. He takes drops of it every day now. He is convinced that he has been completely cured of cancer for over a year by now.
Strengthened by this conviction, he worries about the cognitive after-effects of the illness (or perhaps of the treatments). He has come here to buy Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus, hedgehog or pom-pom mushroom). He read Paul Stamets, the famous guru of medicinal mycology, for whom Lion’s mane is an antidote to all kinds of neuro-degenerative diseases and conditions such as memory loss, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more. And these mushrooms even look the part: a white ball, like a snowball, covered with needles that together create a kind of white bear’s head (another name for these hedgehogs).

In the summer, mushrooms of the same genus can be found in our forests: Bear’s head tooth fungus (Hericium americanum) and Comb-tooth fungus (E. corailloides). The buzz around Lion’s mane’s alleged health-benefits has almost completely overshadowed its culinary qualities: due to its colour, texture and flavour, this mushroom is often likened to crab meat.
Alex leaves with a bag of dried Lion’s mane. Will he return to his old job? He didn’t say. He now knows Mycoboutique has Lion’s mane in all its forms: dried, like he chose, but also fresh, in growing kits for the indoors, in dowels for inoculating logs, and even in syringes. It’s your choice!

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