In the traditional medicine of older civilizations, mushrooms have played important roles. They are not strangers to modern medicine either. Actually, they may be used even more in the future, as scientific research reveals their potential to treat various diseases.
For example, Penicillin, the first man-made antibiotic that ushered in a new era in medicine, was made from a natural substance with antibiotic properties found in a strain of Penicillium mold – a microfungal species.
Researchers believe that there are many other fungi that contain substances with various properties that are waiting to be discovered. More recently, some studies revealed that even psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (psilocybin being a psychedelic compound in some fungi) appears to be effective in treating a wide range of psychopathologies.
Two years ago, the FDA called psilocybin an “innovative therapy”, in the hope that this would speed up its research. Researchers buy mushroom spores from top providers for clinical studies. Some of the most recent clinical studies specifically look at the impact of this substance on major depression and other diseases. However, because hallucinogenic substances are not legal, research is rather difficult and there are still no conclusive results, although there are sufficient reasons to believe that these resources may be useful in clinical practice in the future.