Honey Mushroom grows in temperate regions around the globe and is a dangerous pathogen to plants yet happens to be an edible form of fungi that works well in recipes ranging from pasta to soup. It contains plenty of antioxidants and is, therefore, has cancer-fighting, blood sugar-lowering properties that could indeed be therapeutic in the treatment of several chronic conditions. It is also one of the largest living organisms on Earth, with some colonies spanning several miles in diameter.
What is there to know more about this medicinal mushroom ? How can one identify it? How can it impact one’s health? Keep reading for everything one needs to know about this interesting form of fungi, plus some other fun honey mushroom facts.
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What Is Honey Mushroom?
The honey mushroom happens to be a genus composed of several types of parasitic fungi that tend to grow on wood. Armillaria, which is the honey mushroom scientific name, is also made up of about 10 different species of mushrooms, including Armillaria mellea, Armillaria ostoyae, and Armillaria tabescens.
Where does honey fungus grow?
Honey mushrooms can actually be found growing in temperate regions around the globe, including areas such as Asia, Europe, and North America. The mushrooms feed on dead plant material and can cause fungal root rot in trees, which does spread through root-like structures known as rhizomorphs.
Typically, these species have long life spans and do form some of the largest living organisms in the world. Although the honey mushroom size can vary quite a bit, the largest fungal colony in the world is actually of the species Armillaria solidipes, which does span 2.4 miles across the Blue Mountains in Oregon.
Some types, such as the ring-less honey mushroom, are edible and considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. However, one needs to cook them prior to consumption, as they are actually considered poisonous when raw.
How to Identify Honey Fungus?
Honey mushrooms can be identified by the stems, which tend to grow together in tight clusters and can also range in color from white to yellowish-brown. Depending on the species, some types do have a distinct ring under the stem while others are ringless.
They can grow in clusters of up to 50 mushrooms, although one is much more likely to spot them in groups of 10–20. Many people also wonder: Does honey fungus smell? In addition to their unique appearance, honey mushrooms also have a slightly acidic odor that can also come in handy when identifying mushrooms.
When mushroom hunting, it is important to look out for deadly galerina, a honey mushroom lookalike that can actually be toxic to humans. Compared to the honey mushroom, deadly galerina is indeed slightly smaller and usually dark brown in color. It also has tan gills and a convex cap that slowly starts to flatten with maturity.
Benefits and Uses of Honey Mushroom
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Honey fungus mushroom is indeed a great source of antioxidants, which are compounds that do help neutralize disease-causing free radicals and protect against chronic disease. In fact, in vitro studies that show that several specific compounds isolated from honey mushrooms can be effective at scavenging free radicals and preventing oxidative damage to cells. You may like to read why mushrooms are good for health
2. Could Help Fight Cancer Cell Growth
While more research is still required to determine how honey mushrooms may also affect cancer in humans, some studies do show that it could also help block the growth and also spread of cancer cells in vitro. For example, one in vitro study found that Armillaria, a compound found in Armillaria mellea, was also able to kill off liver cancer cells. Meanwhile, other research does show that it could even be therapeutic against leukemia and esophageal cancer cells as well.
3. Protects Brain Health
Honey mushroom medicinal properties have the potential to enhance brain function and protect against degenerative disorders. In fact, They are effective at improving neuron function, preventing cell damage and decreasing the buildup of proteins in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. May Stabilize Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can come with serious consequences, ranging from impaired headaches as well as an increased thirst to impaired wound healing and vision problems. It contains powerful antioxidant and blood sugar-lowering properties, which can be used to develop dietary supplements and pharmaceutical products aimed at treating diabetes.
5. Versatile and Delicious
Honey mushrooms are tasty, versatile and also tasty in different recipes. They have a slightly sweet yet earthy flavor as well as a distinct, chewy texture. They can be sautéed for a simple side dish or combined with other veggies to make a nutritious stir-fry. Alternatively, one can use these mushrooms in pasta dishes, soups or stuffings in order to give one’s favorite recipes a kick of extra flavor and antioxidants.
Honey Fungus Treatment
What causes honey fungus? Does honey fungus always spread? And can one kill honey fungus? If one finds this type of mushroom growing in one’s garden, one will probably have a lot of questions about how one can get it under control and stop it from spreading to protect one’s plants.
As there is no chemical treatment currently available for honey fungus, one needs to remove it manually in order to help prevent its spread. Simply remove as well as dispose of any affected plants, including the roots. For large trees, this may indeed require one to contact a professional who is experienced with excavating trees. Then, one needs to be sure to thoroughly disinfect any tools that may have come in contact with the fungus making use of either bleach, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol in order to ensure that one will not spread the fungus any further.
Ensuring healthy growing conditions can also help prevent the honey fungus from growing in the future. Plants need to get enough water and light, plus have plenty of healthy soil as well as space in order to help avoid future infection. One can also choose plants that are more resistant to honey fungus rather than those such as bamboo, oak, beech and yew trees.
Honey Mushroom Recipes
There are indeed plenty of unique and interesting ways to add honey mushroom to one’s diet, from soups to stir-fries and beyond.
Here are few recipes:
• Pickled Honey Mushrooms
• Honey Mushroom Soup
• Heirloom Squash Ravioli with Honey Mushrooms and Sage
• Sautéed Honey Mushrooms