“The elixir of long life”
The Greek physician Dioscordes named the agarikon mushroom “elixirium ad longam vitam,” which literally translates to the elixir of long life. It’s useful for a variety of ailments, from tuberculosis to cancer… to perhaps even menstrual symptoms. In fact, the English herbalist John Gerard wrote at some point in the 1500s: “[agarikon] provoketh the urine and bringeth down the menses... and purgeth stools.”
What’s so great about agarikon mushrooms?
Agarikon mushrooms are lesser known, but equally (if not more) powerful than many medicinal mushrooms, specifically for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. Agarikon are the oldest and longest living mushrooms with a lifespan between 70 to 100 years (most mushrooms live for a few months - a year or two at the most)!
Most often found in the branches of old trees, they are large in size – as big as a 5 gallon bucket – and resemble a beehive with white and brown lines on the outside.
Agarikon mushrooms have been famously used as healing tonic for over 2000 years. They are used in central and eastern Europe, Siberia, and throughout North America as a treatment for many ailments and infectious diseases
They are beautiful to look at but their growth rate is very slow. Because of this, they are considered rare and valuable. They do not taste particularly good - they have a very bitter taste and thus are best consumed in capsules (even tinctures can taste quite…strong)
Health Benefits of Agarikon
Agarikon as an antiviral:
A plethora of research on Agarikon is now underway based on the preliminary finding that this mushroom possesses antiviral abilities to combat viruses and bacteria. Research has found that Agarikon reduces the impact of cellular damage created by viruses and that the routine intake of Agarikon aids the body’s defense system against many viruses.
In fact, the chlorinated coumarins from agarikon mycelia has proven to be useful for the treatment of pulmonary diseases, especially tuberculosis and pneumonia. On that note, the agaric acid found in agarikon is a treatment that’s often used as an anhidrotic agent to stop excessive sweating in patients with tuberculosis. In the past, agaric acid was also used as an irritant, an antidiarrhoeal and a bronchial secretions reducer.
Consuming agarikon can reduce inflammation while also helping to combat both bacterial and viral infections. The triterpenoid compounds in Agarikon are most active defenders against cowpox, bird flu, swine flu, tuberculosis, and HIV.
Agarikon as an immune system supporter:
Mushrooms like Agarikon are power houses for your immune system. The beta glucans present in them prevents diseases from entering the body. Other polysaccharides in Agarikon activate important immune cells such as cytokines, T cells, and natural killer cells which boost the immune system.
Agarikon as an anti-inflammatory:
Agarikon is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation helps to protect the body against harmful exposure such as infection, trauma, and bacteria. Access to inflammation may harm the tissues and is associated with inflammation related diseases. Agarikon helps fight against pain caused by arthritis, joint issues, sciatica, and other inflammatory diseases.
Agarikon is an age-old, trusted, and versatile mushroom with many benefits that are constantly being studied. Outside of its already known benefits as an antiviral immune support agent, agarikon is also being studied in relation to its anti-tumor properties.
Due to their bitter taste, they are generally not recommended for eating but are safe for consumption via capsule and/or powder form. As always, it is advisable to consult your doctor before self medication.