158. Mushroom Magic: Nature's Best Medicine For Your Brain & Beyond with Jeff Chilton

Jeff Chilton

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Jeff Chilton, raised in Pacific Northwest, studied ethnomycology at the University of Washington in the late sixties and started working on a commercial mushroom farm in Olympia, Washington in 1973. During the next 10 years, he became the production manager, responsible for the cultivation of over 2 million pounds of agaricus mushrooms per year, and was also involved in the research and development of shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms, which resulted in the earliest U.S. fresh shiitake sales in 1978.

In the late seventies he was a founder of Mycomedia, which held 4 mushroom conferences in the Pacific Northwest. These educational conferences brought together educators and experts in mushroom identification, ethnomycology, and mushroom cultivation.

During this period Jeff co-authored the highly acclaimed book, The Mushroom Cultivator, which was published in 1983.

In the 1980’s he operated a mushroom spawn business and in 1989 he started Nammex, a business that introduced medicinal mushrooms to the US nutritional supplement industry. He traveled extensively in China during the 1990’s, attending conferences and visiting research facilities and mushroom farms. In 1997 he organized the first organic mushroom production seminar in China.

Jeff’s company, Nammex was the first to offer a complete line of Certified Organic mushroom extracts to the US nutritional supplement industry. Nammex extracts are used by many supplement companies and are noted for their high quality based on scientific analysis of the active compounds.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Are you #OnShrooms? If not, why not?! Mushrooms are one of the most popular current wellness trends globally, being spearheaded by health experts and herbalists everywhere. Over the past few years, many outstanding mushroom products have been brought to market and the industry doesn't seem to be losing steam anytime soon.

Jeff Chilton is one of the foremost experts on all things mushrooms and is an absolute veteran of the shroom scene going back decades. He and his colleagues at Nammex introduced medicinal mushrooms to the U.S. nutritional supplement industry back in 1989. And as we stand on the verge of 2019, it's pretty remarkable that medicinal mushrooms are just now starting to hit the mainstream – because the vast history of fungi being used by humans for longevity and consciousness expansion goes back eons. 

Mushrooms have played an enormous role in Jeff’s life since he was young, when a friend came back from Mexico telling tales of Magic Mushrooms. So while in university, Jeff ended up exploring the anthropological history of mushrooms worldwide, including their role in Shamanistic practices.

Jeff didn't find much use for an anthropology degree, as it turns out, so he found himself heading 60 miles down the road to work at Ostrom Mushroom Farms in Olympia, Washington in 1973.

After ten years growing 10s of millions of pounds of commercial mushrooms – the edible kind that you find in grocery stores – Jeff found himself exploring the medicinal side of mushrooms, particularly the ancient knowledge of Chinese herbalists.

But when he tried to bring that knowledge back with him in the 1990s, medicinal mushrooms were a hard sell in the Western world. Even the wellness world wasn’t interested in fungi – luckily for all of us, times have since changed. 

With decades of research and insight, Jeff answers pretty much every question one might have about mushrooms: What’s the difference between culinary and medicinal mushrooms? Are medicinal mushrooms able to heal everything the internet tells me (spoiler: they’re helpful, not magic)? Why is micro-dosing becoming so popular amongst young entrepreneurs and creatives? Were psychedelic mushrooms different 40 years ago, and what place do they have alongside a healthy lifestyle today? 

Answers to these questions and more are revealed in great detail in this comprehensive study of all things mushrooms. Put your headphones on and get ready to take a trip. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Overseeing the growth of 2,000 mushroom crops over the course of a decade – that’s approximately 40,000,000 pounds of mushrooms all together!
  • Starting the United States’ first mushroom conferences
  • The world’s governments that have made PLANTS illegal. The secrets of how and why
  • How our education system shuts down the human mind and creativity
  • The importance of set & setting with psychedelic experiences
  • Surreal microdosing experiences & how microdosing relates to McKenna’s “Stoned Ape” theory of human evolution
  • China actually began cultivating mushrooms as far back as the 12th century
  • The economics of commercial mushroom cultivation VS medicinal supplement production
  • What can go wrong while growing organic mushrooms
  • What makes each species of mushroom unique
  • There’s thousands of species of mushroom in the world... but we can only cultivate about 25 of them!
  • How some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms – cordyceps, reishi, chaga, and lion’s mane – are used to heal the body
  • Why reishi is the mack daddy of adaptogenic mushrooms (and if you’re only going to take just one, make it reishi)
  • Fun fact: chaga isn’t actually a mushroom
  • Don’t listen to everything the internet says – medicinal mushrooms are incredibly helpful, but they’re not magic or a panacea (and shout out to Jeff for having the balls to make this distinction)
  • Why Jeff bought a professional geiger counter after Fukushima
  • The extraction methods for different medicinal mushrooms

More about this episode.

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