Agarikon: Medicine from the Old-growth Forest
Agarikon – Fomitopsis officinalis is also known as Quinine Conk and is said to be one of the rarest mushrooms in North America that only grows in old growth forests, has been used by humans for over 2000 years as medicine.
In August of 2016 while on a family canoe and camping trip in Wells Grey provincial park in BC, I was surprised and delighted to come across this rare and special Agarikon mushroom growing in the wild.
Agarikon is a perennial polypore that is said to be the longest living mushroom that grows exclusively on conifers in old growth forests. The one pictured here that I found could easily be over 50-60 years old.
I did not harvest it, but with reverence simply took a few photos, tasted a few drops of the liquid coming of out of the bottom (called guttation) and then left it there to continue on living in the eco-system.
One day I would like to return to the area again and hopefully still see this mushroom growing.
Native cultures viewed this fungus as protective and valued its medicinal and spiritual use.
Fungi hero and mentor, Paul Stamets shares that many studies have revealed a host of potent anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and ant-bacterial compounds that have been shown to have efficacy against things like tuberculosis, staphylococcus, e-coli, as well as pox and numerous flu viruses.
If you are interested in learning more and have a few minutes to check out this cool video featuring Paul Stamets and a team of researchers searching for Agarikon you can find it here:
Have you ever found Agarikon in the wild? Is Agarikon a mushroom you have consumed in any of the medicinal mushroom products you consume? If inspired, comment below…