Course 17 | Medicinal Mushrooms

Learn basic skills of mushroom identification and explore the medicinal benefits.

General Interest

Length: 5 hours

Instructor: Robert Rogers | Botanist, Clinical Herbalist, Mushroom Expert

This course is within the following program

  • Community Herbalist Program

    Full Certificate Program

    view course

Meet your course instructor

Robert Rogers | Botanist, Clinical Herbalist, Mushroom Expert

Robert Dale Rogers has been an herbalist for over forty-eight years and is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, where he is presently an assistant clinical professor in Family Medicine. He is also an adjunct professor in Graduate Studies at York University in Toronto. He presently teaches plant and mushroom medicine, aromatherapy and flower essences in the Earth Spirit Medicine faculty at the Northern Star College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Robert is past chair of the Alberta Natural Health Agricultural Network and Community Health Council of Capital Health. He is a Fellow of the International College of Nutrition, past-chair of the medicinal mushroom committee of the North American Mycological Association and previously on the editorial board of the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. He is the author of 52 books on medicinal plants and fungi of the boreal forest, including The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle, was released in June 2015 by North Atlantic Books. It documents the tenth generation passing down of over sixty traditional indigenous boreal plants and their medicinal benefit. Mushroom Essences: Vibrational Healing from the Kingdom Fungi was released in July 2016. This book contains 48 mushroom essences prepared under the lunar influence for working with soul connection and depth psychology. It includes one or more case studies, from clinical practice, associated with using these wonders of the underworld. In June 2017, North Atlantic books released Herbal Allies: My Journey with Plant Medicine, including 20 plants of the boreal forest from the perspective of the Cree Thirteen Month Lunar Calendar. Robert guest lectures and conducts walks throughout North America on plant and mushroom medicine.

Course description

There are over five million species of fungi on the planet, and approximately 500 of these are macrofungi that have health benefits. Macrofungi, which we commonly refer to as mushrooms, have extensive historical use as both food and medicine, and their recognized medicinal properties have given them a rightful place in contemporary medicine. 

This course covers mushroom basics, including, and not limited to, the definition of a mushroom, how fungi evolved, and insights regarding their relationship with plants. It explores the differences between a fruiting body and mycelium, and their respective medicinal qualities; whether to wildcraft or cultivate mushrooms depending on their type; and the importance of organic practices in mushroom cultivation. 

Additionally, this course explores twelve of the top medicinal mushrooms on the market. The most recent scientific research related to each of these mushrooms is shared, along with tips for proper identification in the field. When relevant, any cautions or contraindications with pharmaceuticals drugs are provided.

Mushrooms can be consumed as food or through various medicinal preparations. This course provides tips about which mushrooms to add to your diet and how to choose good quality mushroom products. And you can follow along with easy steps on how to prepare mushroom medicines at home. 

There are many misconceptions about medicinal mushrooms, and this course offers explanations to dispel common myths and leads you on a virtual forest walk to identify mushrooms along the way. The stories and research covered in this course are deeply intriguing, hopefully enough to inspire you to add medicinal mushrooms to your herbal practice. 

Upon completion of this course, you will have the ability to:

  • Identify a large variety of medicinal mushrooms and look-alikes
  • Understand various medicinal mushroom preparations and actions
  • Understand how various mushrooms are used for health conditions
  • Distinguish between fruiting body and mycelium products
  • Understand the differences between wildcrafted vs. cultivated mushrooms
  • Know the difference between organic vs. conventional cultivation
  • Prepare mushroom medicines at home

Lesson plan

Section I | Welcome

1. Introduction

2. What is a mushroom?

3. History of medicinal mushrooms

Section II | Myths about medicinal mushrooms

4. Myths about medicinal mushrooms – Part I

5. Myths about medicinal mushrooms – Part II

6. Myths about medicinal mushrooms – Part III

Section III | Medicinal mushroom monographs

7. White button (Agaricus bisporus)

8. Oyster (Pleurotus spp.)

9. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

10. Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus)

11. Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

12. Caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps militaris)

13. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

14. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

15. Liberty cap (Psilocybe semilanceata)

16. Enoki (Flammulina velutipes)

17. Agarikon (Laricifomes officinalis)

18. Amadou (Fomes fomentarius)

19. Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)

20. Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor)

Section IV| Preparation and explanation of red belted conk

21. Red belted conk (Fomitopsis pinicola) monograph

22. Double extraction with red belted conk (Fomitopsis pinicola) – Part I

23. Double extraction with red belted conk (Fomitopsis pinicola) – Part II

Section V| Forest mushroom walk

24. Forest mushroom walk