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Mesima, Black Hoof, or Son-Gen mushrooms (scientific name Phellinus Linteus) are a type of fungi belonging to the basidiomycete genus of shelf mushrooms with well-known medicinal properties. Mesima mushrooms have been consumed for centuries in traditional Asian medicine for treating several health ailments and boosting longevity. It is said that royals and emperors in China and nearby regions such as Korea and Japan, considered this mushroom as the “fountain of youth”. Their name “Mesima” translates to “short” in Japanese, suggesting that they are short and have no stems. Their North American name “Black Hoof” derives from the fact that their shape resembles a dark horse hoof.
Where To Find Mesima Mushrooms And When
Mesima mushrooms grow natively mainly in Asian regions such as China, Korea, and Japan. However, you may stumble across variants of mesima mushrooms in North America. They grow on the trunks and branches of hardwood trees and especially mulberries, willows, and oaks either on their own or in small clusters of three to four fruiting bodies. Although their peak season is unknown, the mushrooms grow in mild to cool temperatures. This suggests that their peak season is likely to be the fall.
How To Identify Them
Mesina mushrooms have an irregular hoof-like shaped cap that ranges from an orangey-yellow to a dark brown hue. The more mature the fruiting body is, the darker its cap color will be. Their underneath surface has pores rather than gills and the color of the surface ranges from pale yellow (when young and fresh) to brown (when mature or dried). There is no visible stem and the mushrooms grow in a shell-like manner from their natural substrate (such as a tree trunk). They have no strong smell, but their taste is bitter when taken in raw or dried form.
How to Grow Them
It’s difficult to grow mesima mushrooms at home because they prefer to grow in their natural habitat. In addition, their growing time can reach up to 7 years in some cases, depending on the substrate you are using. There are, though, a few places online and offline that sell liquid cultures or inoculated dowels for growing them on old tree logs. Here are the basic steps for growing them:
- Collect a long hardwood or softwood tree log around 5 feet long (1.5 metres). Then drill several holes evenly distributed along the length of the log of 1 ¼ inches (3 cm) in depth each.
- Insert the inoculated mesima mushroom dowels into the holes (make sure they are clean and sterilised first). Then seal the ends with melted cheese wax to prevent any contamination.
- Keep the log moist at mildly cool temperatures. Keep spraying the log, if necessary, once every two weeks.
- If your wood substrate is mulberry, birch or willow, you should notice some growth after 3 to 4 years. If you are using an oak or ash tree log, it may take 6 to 7 years for any considerable growth to occur.
Health Benefits Of Mesima Mushrooms
Mesima mushrooms are very popular in Asian countries and now also in the Western world for their medicinal properties. The fungi contain substances like beta-glucans, amino acids, lectin, polysaccharides, ellagic acid, caffeic acid and inoscavin amongst others. These compounds are responsible for its antioxidant, antiviral, anti-tumor and anti-bacterial properties. Studies examining the effects of Mesima mushroom extracts have found that the fungi can yield the following benefits:
- Immune system regulation. Polysaccharide substances found in mesima mushrooms may support the regulation of immune system responses and activate or suppress excessive responses when necessary.
- Women’s health. Consumption of mesima mushroom supplement has been found in a study with female subjects to lower cytokine levels and thus boost fertility levels in women who are trying to conceive. The mushrooms may improve the general health of breast cells.
- Cancer-fighting. Extracts of mesima mushrooms have been shown, in some clinical trials, to kill colon and prostate cancer cells and protect healthy cells from the side effects of chemotherapy.
- Diabetes regulation. A study using a water-based extract of the fungi lowered blood glucose levels in rats which took the extract for several weeks.
In addition to the above, mesima mushroom extracts are used to treat excessive menstrual or intestinal bleeding. They can also be used to control allergic reactions through the regulation of immune system cells.
How To Cook Mesima Mushrooms
Because of their bitter taste, mesima mushrooms are not popular in the culinary world. They are most prevalent in dry powdered form in teas and other drinks and dishes. You may use a small dose to boost the nutritional value of your teas, smoothies, soups, sauces and stews. Some describe its taste as being like strong coffee. If you wish to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your coffee and cocoa drinks, here is a quick and easy recipe to try:
Mesima Mushroom Ice latte
- ½ cup milk of choice
- ½ cup of ice-cold water
- 2 espresso shots or ½ teaspoon instant coffee
- ½ teaspoon mesima mushroom powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 to 8 ice cubes
- Dissolve the mushroom powder in a big glass of ice-cold water. Add the instant coffee or espresso shots and stir.
- Add the vanilla extract, ice cubes and finally pour in the milk.
These mushrooms grow only in certain regions and are difficult to cultivate at home. Therefore, we suggest that you purchase them in dried or tincture form. This allows you to benefit from their medicinal properties instantly without investing any excess time, effort and resources.