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The Miraculous Morel Mushroom

AKA: Morchella esculent in the L. family: Morchellaceae. More common names are morel, common morel, true morel, morel mushroom, yellow morel, sponge morel, Molly Moocher, haystack, and dryland fish.

Propagation/Description: It is commonly found in eastern North America and the Midwest but can also be found in Brazil. The pitted yellow-brown caps measure 2–7 cm broad by 2–10 cm tall and are fused to the stem at its lower margin, forming a continuous hollow. The pits are rounded and irregularly arranged. The hollow stem is typically 2–9 cm long by 2–5 cm thick, and white to yellow. The fungus fruits under hardwoods during a short period in the spring, depending on the weather, but it is also associated with old orchards, woods, disturbed grounds and burnt areas. It is said to be more difficult to propagate these mushrooms than thought but can be done with lots of time and care. In nature, these spores travel by air, but to cultivate morels in a desired area, you must capture them in a slurry. Soak a freshly picked morel in a bucket of distilled water overnight. Broadcast this slurry around an area you have previously found morels growing, or around the base of mature or dead ash, elm, oak, or apple trees. In a newly "seeded" area, it will take three- to five-years for a network of underground filaments called mycelium form. The mushrooms, which are the fruiting bodies, are the last stage of growth. This is not a perfected technique and there are other techniques that can be tried. A lot of the success of propagating morels depends on climate, conditions, location, and the quality and type of morel spawn.

Folklore/History: The fungus was originally named ''Phallus esculentus'' by Carl Linnaeus in his ''Species Plantarum’‘ in about 1753 and given its current name by Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries in 1801. The species has been named the state mushroom of Minnesota and was the first state mushroom of any state. Later studies thought it was native to the United States, but more recent studies believe that it may have originated in the Mediterranean basin or Asia. Another study believes that they can possibly trace the ancestry back to 129 million years ago, during the beginning of the Cretaceous Period! In many parts of Europe, morel mushrooms have been considered a delicacy for centuries. They were especially popular in France, where they were known as the "mushroom of kings."

Medicinal: The fruiting body of the Morel Mushroom (M. esculenta) contains a wide range of active constituents like vitamins, proteins, steroids, minerals, polysaccharides (a carbohydrate (e.g. starch, cellulose, or glycogen) whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together), and polynucleotides (a linear polymer whose molecule is composed of many nucleotide units, constituting a section of a nucleic acid molecule). Its active compounds possess significant cardiovascular protective, antitumor, immunomodulatory (A substance that stimulates or suppresses the immune system and may help the body fight cancer, infection, or other diseases), antiparasitic, hepatoprotective (the ability of a chemical substance to prevent damage to the liver), antibacterial, antiviral, and antidiabetic (control blood glucose levels) properties. Their nutritional composition was reported, including sugar, amino acid, fatty and organic acid, and mineral profile. Morels are a natural fungal product which has been reported to possess broad-spectrum biological activities against bacterial infections such as methicillin-resistance Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and is believed to possibly be even more effective than antibiotics. Another study suggested that it found Morels are a beneficial prebiotic that can assist with metabolizing sugars in the gut, thus assisting with lowering the sensitivity to sugars for people with Type 2 Diabetes, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia.

Spiritual: There are spiritual connotations in many cultures across the world. Most involve good luck, prosperity, New Beginnings, intuition, growth, healing, fertility, ancestral connection, and creativity. These attributes ask that we practice with love, care and appreciation when applying these principles. A good practice to keep in mind when foraging for morels is that it is important to give thanks to Mother Nature for her generosity and blessings so that you can continue harvesting them year after year!

Summary: There have been hundreds of scientific studies done on Morel mushrooms over the years and what has been discovered is the uses and benefits of these little fungi confirm the uses and treatments in various cultures across the world for many millennia. Our earth is so much older and wiser than any of us can ever hope to become, and we should all learn show appreciation for the blessings she provides us. Morels are a testament to this.


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