Mushrooms are wonderfully complex and powerful. Their effects on our immune systems and brain nerve growth are only now being explored with actionable curiosity by Western science. Traditional Chinese Medicine and indigenous cultures worldwide have celebrated medicinal mushrooms for centuries. Whether an edible mushroom like porcini or a beautiful beast like a puffball, fungi do indeed rule the earth.
What makes a fungus a type of mushroom? Well, fungi don’t share one precise taxonomic definition that relates to the body of a fungus. The term mushroom has been applied to everything from gilled mushrooms to boletes to polypores. According to PG Miles in Mushrooms: Cultivation, Nutritional Value, Medicinal Effect, and Environmental Impact, “ mushrooms don’t have one precise taxonomic definition. Because of this, there are over 14,000 identified species of mushrooms. The kicker? We discover more every day.