Notes from my talk at the Radical Mycology Convergence

Here’s a link to the Google doc if you’d like to download these notes and recipes from today’s talk:

Radical Mycology Convergence- Make your own Medicinal Mushrooms Extract (120 min.) 

Session V – Friday, 2:00 pm 

The Rhize Stage With Courtney Tyler of Hips and Haws Wildcrafts

A hands-on workshop discussing a diverse range of tasty and health promoting methods to incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your diet, your regime, your palate. 

We will discuss, taste, explore how and why to add more mushrooms into your diet. How to pickle or ferment them, etc. We will talk about why making medicine from mushrooms is so different than when working with plants. How mushrooms impact our micro-biome (our myco-biome) and how they benefit our immune system. We will learn about how to best extract the medicinal compounds from fungi and have a hand-on section making medicine to bring home with you.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,

to front only the essential facts of life,

and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,

and not,

when I came to die,

discover that I had not lived.


“Mushrooms emerge from beneath the forest soil and from the trunks of old and dead trees—their mycelia decompose organic wastes and bring forth fruiting bodies that can heal us, nourish us, or transform our consciousness.” —Sean Donahue

Courtney Tyler- based in Wicklow Ireland- Hips and Haws Wildcrafts

Preserving the wild harvests through fermenting, vinegar oxymels, shrubs, alcohol – tinctures, brewing my own, kombuchas, meads, sugar as syrups and cordials etc. 

Deepening my knowledge of medicinal mushrooms combined with my other skills has lead me on an exploration of concoctions and I love to share how I bring these preparations into my every day life. While preserving the wild and at the same time increasing their bioavailability, nutrition and flavour in the process. 

Simply eating more mushrooms in any and all forms is an important way to improve our health. Mushrooms are made from chitin and their cellular structure is a type of insoluble fibre which can positively impact our micro-biomo or our ‘myco-biome’ by feeding the bacteria in our gut- thereby increasing gut bio-diversity. Our myco-biome is already full of fungi, viruses, and dead bacteria which are a contributing factor to our gut health- the fungi in our guts perhaps consuming the dead bacteria etc and having some function in our immune systems. 

Mushrooms effects on promoting vitality and increasing immune function is well documented. They can help to reduce inflammation, prevent cancer, combat heart disease or fight off colds, combat allergies and infections and help balance blood sugar levels and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms. There are many current studies that help us understand their exact mode of action that supports this historical use. 

From a dietary perspective mushrooms are low in calories, high in proteins, fibre, iron, zinc, essential amino acids, vitamins & minerals. It appears that mushrooms are prebiotic – they feed the bacteria in our gut and improve and promote diversity in our gut- therefore they help our body strengthen itself and fight off illness (bacteria, viruses and other fungi). They also do this by maintaining physiological homeostasis and restoring our body’s balance and natural resistance to disease. 

Mushrooms contain active polysaccharides, one of which is a type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan. This compound activates parts of your immune system, including immune cells called natural killer cells and macrophages, and by so doing it increases your body’s ability to fight infection and possibly even stop the growth or progression of tumours.

Mushrooms also contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.

Reference longitudinal studies that show the increased longevity and decreased morbidity and dis-ease from higher and more regular mushroom consumption.

Stephen Harrod Buhner: 

“One of our greatest fears is to eat the wildness of the world.

Our mothers intuitively understood something essential: the green is poisonous to civilization. If we eat the wild, it begins to work inside us, altering us, changing us. Soon, if we eat too much, we will no longer fit the suit that has been made for us. Our hair will begin to grow long and ragged. Our gait and how we hold our body will change. A wild light begins to gleam in our eyes. Our words start to sound strange, nonlinear, emotional. Unpractical. Poetic.

Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken.”

The differences between using plants and fungi as medicine: the cell structure and how to best extract the beta-glucans and beneficial polysaccharides by long slow exposure to water- such as a slow cooker. Adding these to broths, smoothies, ice cube trays, sauces- any way you can! 

Making the broth decoction with shiitake mushrooms (or giant Polypore, or Maitake, or TurkeyTail) and then using some of the liquid and the mushrooms themselves to make the Momofuku pickle. And use the broth for a ginger miso mushroom broth. 

Vit D and exposure to sunlight. Fungi, like animals producing Vit D on exposure to sunlight and the importance of this vitamin for many metabolic functions. In Ireland at least, many of us are deficient in this. How to do this best: sliced or gills up in direct sunlight for up to 4 hours. 

Discussion of simple cold alcohol extractions with enzymes present and the efficacy of amanita muscaria prepared in this way for external pain relief and for potential micro-dose (brain fog due to Lyme or post menopause, for alleviation of anxiety, etc) 

Fungi and animals evolving alongside each other and our shared receptors and neurotransmitters (such as AM and Acetocholine and Psilocybin and Serotonin and mushrooms in general and ergothioneine (an amino acid we are often lacking but have the receptors for). 

And the medicinal efficacy of plantain – plantago lanceolata – my experience in it for use against insect bites and then the correlation of the mushroom flavours in the flowers and seeds. The endophytic relationship of snowy wax caps within the cell walls of the plant and their enzymes that attract and consume insects- how these enzymes can be utilised in a spit poultice to break down the problematic insect bites inflammation and allergy response. Ref: Fred Gillam and Natasha of the Wild Side of Life. Discuss my testing with horse fly bites. Bee stings too.

Button mushrooms and gluten sensitivity- eating raw mushrooms to introduce the enzymes needed to counteract accidental or problematic gluten ingestion. (Fred Gillam Wild Side of Life)

Discuss Birch Polypore-  Fomitopsis betulina- aka: Razor Strop fungus or white chaga, more sustainable and abundant than Chaga (in Ireland at least). Like chaga both derive some of their medicine from the birch tree. Long tradition of use in medicine as an antimicrobiano, anticancer and anti-inflammatory agent. Pharmacological  studies Anti-viral and gut conditions, anti-parasitic, neuroprotective and immunomodulating activities of this mushroom. 

Razor stropping- at barber shops- cut a strip from the fungus, dried it, attached it to a flat wood and used it. As a sharpening agent , giving their blades an antiseptic, anti-fungal and styptic wipe- very clever! (Also a wild band-aid).

ID features: found prolifically on birch, often forming a visually stunning stairway leading up the tree of grey-whitish brackets, guiding our eyes upwards to heaven. Otzi, How to harvest and dry it- collect fresh young juicy brackets. Simple (decoction) tea. Lemon, honey, ginger. Spectrum of edibility when young. Bitter.

Elderberries proven anti-viral compounds. Nice combination when mixed with BP. Also good action on gut issues with BP- have heard great success with IBS like symptoms.

Ginger acts as an additional anti-viral, adds flavour and helps the synergy of the other herbs together. Stephen Harrod Buhner – Herbal Anti-virals 

Fermentation of mushrooms: Pascal Baudar. Noma. Kimchi. Dehydrating. Texture. Salting down to preserve. Jerky. Beefsteak. Ceps. *Fermentation as a method of decarb of FA (alternatives are milk/ yogurt, lemon)

Gomasio. Samples. Great way to add some wild everyday including powdered mushrooms. *Be sure they are okay as raw powdered mushrooms, like ceps. *I see lots of people adding powdered shiitake or other and should not! 

Recipes to share: 


A Japanese food condiment generally made with 5 parts toasted and crushed sesame seeds to one part salt. 

I love it just like that but usually cannot resist adding a bit of wildness to it, to sprinkle as my version of salt seasoning to my savoury meals. 

My favourite optional extras: seaweed flakes, nettle seeds, dried mushroom powders (in particular porcini ‘dust’ which is simple the dried and powdered and very tasty older cep caps-  pure mushroom hit of flavour).

Elderberry and Birch Polypore Anti-viral Syrup

Decoction of Birch Polypore in slow cooker for 12-36 hours. If using dried elderberries you could add them at the same time, same for the ginger root. 

Strain and combine this liquid decoction. Optional extras: cloves, licorice and star anise used in moderation. 

Add in an equal amount of apple juice concentrate, sugar of choice and or honey. The honey must be cooked or it will ferment if raw. Use raw honey for additional medicinal benefits but consume sooner, and or keep in the fridge. 

*I always add a shot of alcohol into the bottles before adding the syrup (and/or infused vinegars at the boiling stage to increase acidity and therefore shelf life). 

Ginger miso broth with medicinal mushrooms

DAMN GOOD DASHI by Katie Sanderson 

Dashi is a type of cooking stock that is sometimes considered the backbone of Japanese cuisine. I personally think it’s about time that we started incorporating it more into our diets too. It’s the simplest way of extracting the flavour of seaweed, an instant pick me up and a great source of iron and nutrients.

By cutting the seaweed up there is an increase of approximately 35per cent more umami and very obviously a greater tasting stock.

Don’t wipe the white-ish powder off the seaweed. Seaweeds are a great source of Glutamic acid and thus naturally occurring MSG. ( that’s what the white stuff is)

Use Japanese Kombu, Irish kelp or Irish Dillisk (or use what you have!) (cut it up into thin ribbons).

Place the cut up seaweed in the cold water and let steep for a half hour, place on a gentle heat not letting the temperature rise above 60C/140F. For thirty minutes until the flavour is to your liking. (Put seaweed aside for pickling). Or
 Prepare daishi the night before by leaving Kombu in cold water and letting steep overnight. This will keep in your fridge for 3-5 days.

Then add your mushrooms such as dried shiitake or mushrooms of choice to the slow cooker with your seaweed dashi and simmer for 30 minutes up to 36 hours (the more time, the more medicinal compounds are extracted into your broth). Strain out the mushrooms and put them aside to pickle in the Momofuku recipe below this one. 


Add 1 litre Dashi, 
1 TB Miso, 1 TB Tamari
 soy sauce:  Heat your dashi, whisk in miso and tamari.
 Add your flavourings. Chopped carrots, cooked pumpkin, crispy fried mushrooms, lots of spring onion, coriander etc.

Momofuku inspired Balsamic Shiitake Pickle

Makes enough for a litre container

This recipe has my adaptions below.

2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms (tough stems removed and kept for stocks) **(definitely better with dried mushrooms over fresh- it improves the finished texture) **(also good with other good texture firm dried wild mushrooms).

½ cup soy sauce (I used Tamari- with some koji added!) but any soy sauce will do.

½ cup sherry vinegar (I used Balsamic)

¹⁄³ cup sugar (honey also works!)

(*Optional- I added seaweed in too!)

1 piece (7.5cm) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into coins of a thickness that will be delicious pickled

1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl or a pot, and just cover with boiling water. Let stand 15 or so minutes. Reserving one cup of the soaking liquid, drain the mushrooms and slice them. 

**(Alternatively do this in a slow cooker for 36 hours for maximum medicinal benefits and flavour!)

2. Combine the mushrooms, soaking liquid, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the contents cool down to room temperature. 

**(I add the seaweed at the end rather than boil it).

3. Decant the contents of the pan into a jar and chill well – these taste best straight from the fridge.

These will last for months in the fridge as long as covered in liquid. Enjoy the liquid. It’s as good and precious as the mushrooms are!

Chocolate covered Jelly Ears

Try soaking the dried Jelly Ear mushooms in interesting liquids, juices, liqueurs, etc: I prefer elderberry liqueur but have used Kahlua or whatever I have) before drying a little again, then covering in chocolate to make something quite like an interesting “turkish delight”.
Fergus Drennan aka Fergus the Forager might be the one who first came up with this idea?

Medicinal Mushroom Chocolate Mousse/ Mushroom Hot Chocolate (thanks Barbara Faibish)

50g cacao butter

2T coconut oil

3T cacao powder

3T coconut palm sugar, or sweetener of choice

2t mushroom powder of your choice (I used lion’s mane and cordyceps)

½ cup of cashews soaked for a few hours and then drained

dash of vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

2 cups of warm water or mushroom tea (but use mushroom tea of course! I used a decoction of Turkey Tail, Chaga, and reishi- but you should use whatever you have!)

Optional extras: coconut milk, hemp seed powder, protein powder or other extracted mushroom powders.

Melt the cacao butter and coconut oil slowly in a bain marie.  Add the melted butter and oil to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and 2 cups of mushroom tea.

Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  You can add more sweetener, more mushrooms, more cacao.

This makes a comforting and warming drink. I add less cacao butter if I want to drink it as a hot chocolate drink. Alternatively pour into ramekins, set in the fridge and you have a delicious chocolate mousse dessert. This mousse is delicious as is, perhaps dusted with some cacao powder, but to bring it to another level, top with coconut milk kefir or yoghurt and sprinkle with bee pollen or other pleasing garnish. 

Fly Agaric extract –  external remedy for pain

Slice fresh caps and cover in vodka. Shake regularly and strain after 4-6 weeks. 

Apply 3-4 drops externally at the site of pain, as needed. 

Here’s an interesting video about the science of cooking mushrooms.

Courtney on Welcome to Mushroom Hour

Courtney Tyler

Hips and Haws Wildcrafts

phone- +353 (0)86 376 4189

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