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  • Ellen King Rice

Agarikon: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms

Agarikon or Laricifomes officinalis is an impressive fungus that grows in a large "beehive" shape. It is a perennial polypore that can live for many decades, and it has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory medicine and to treat respiratory illnesses. Profoundly respected, carved samples of agarikon were often interred as a symbol of regard when a shaman was laid to rest.

Testing by Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti in conjunction with researchers from the University of Illinois showed agarikon reduced replication in cowpox, bird flu, swine flu and herpes viruses.

You can read about that research here:

This fungus contains a special compound, “agaricin” or “agaric acid” which is now made by pharmaceutical companies.

In our area, agarikon prefers old-growth Douglas fir. If you find a specimen, please leave it alone! There are plenty of places to purchase sustainably cultivated mycelium capsules for use as a supplement. For instance, Agarikon mycelium can be purchased in capsule form from and in powder form from other on-line sites. (Note: “Agarikon” is NOT the same as “Agaricus” which is a genus of mushrooms that includes the grocery store “button” mushrooms).

This post ends the 2019/2020 Winter "Naked Came a Fungus" adventures. Thank you, area writers for your wit and charm in delivering all sorts of interesting reads inspired by mycology. We hope readers will continue to support Feline Friends and area authors. Onward now, to spring! Photo by Dick Culbert. Used via Creative Commons

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