Types of Mushrooms
for Medicine and Permaculture


There are several amazing types of mushrooms that are excellent choices as natural medicine, as well as species that can be cultivated as part of a permaculture food forest system (an approach to sustainable gardening based on ecological principles). Mushrooms are a rich source of both foods and medicines. Medicinal mushrooms have been shown to possess effective antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and other healing properties.

Mushrooms have been used as effective medicine in a variety of cultures around the world. They continue to be a major part of traditional Chinese medicine traditions and they are gaining popularity in North America.

Types of Mushrooms for Medicine

There is a wide variety of medicinal mushrooms. Here is a short list of some of the best known and most utilized, along with their medicinal properties:

  • Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) – antibacterial, antioxidant, antitumor, antiviral, immune enhancer, kidney tonic, supports lungs & respiratory health
  • Artist conk (Ganoderma applanatum) – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, supports lungs & respiratory health
  • Ling chih (Ganoderma lucidum) – antibacterial, anti-candida, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antiviral, promotes healthy blood pressure, blood sugar moderator, supports cardiovascular health, cholesterol reducer, immune enhancer, kidney tonic, liver tonic, supports lungs & respiratory health, nerve tonic, stress reducer
  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) – edible, antibacterial, anti-candida, antitumor, antiviral, promotes healthy blood pressure, blood sugar moderator, cholesterol reducer, immune enhancer, kidney tonic, liver tonic, sexual potentiator, stress reducer
  • Pearl oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) – edible, antibacterial, antiviral, promotes healthy blood pressure, supports cardiovascular health, cholesterol reducer, nerve tonic
  • Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) – edible, relieves stomach ailments, shows potential anti-dementia properties
  • Enokitake (Flammulina velutipes) – edible, antitumor, immune enhancer

Mushrooms for Permaculture

An excellent use for many types of mushrooms is for companion planting. Many species provide a supportive, symbiotic role for vegetables and other plants, shrubs, and trees. Certain species can be planted with vegetables to form a mutually beneficial relationship that helps create a greater yield of vegetables, improves the soil quality, and produces a fruiting of edible mushrooms.

Some of the mushroom species that can be grown with vegetables include the garden giant (Strophoria rugoso annulata), elm oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius), and pearl oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus). The garden giant does not fruit during the first year, but the elm oyster and pearl oyster do.

Recent research has also shown that some mushroom species can help remove toxins from soil and water. These new arenas of mushroom use are called myco-remediation and myco-filtration.

Growing Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are wonderful, but oftentimes harvesting them from the wild can be challenging. Some species are not easy to find, while others are rare and wild-harvesting them can be damaging to the survival of that species. One way to avoid these potential problems is to grow them yourself. Some species are relatively easy to grow, and with a little bit of care and monitoring can give you a bountiful harvest for years to come. For information about obtaining and growing your own medicinal types of mushrooms, check out Fungi Perfecti in the links section below.

Further Resources

To learn about identifying, harvesting, and using wild mushrooms, consider attending the Wild Mushroom Identification Class.

For information about purchasing different types of mushrooms to grow for medicine and companion planting, check out: Fungi Perfecti

Stamets 2005. Arora 1979.

Return from Types of Mushrooms back to Wild Plants Articles


(360) 793-8709

wilderness survival school catalogRequest Information:
Receive a free copy of our brochure and Wilderness Certification Program Catalog:

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.
We respect your privacy and never sell, trade, or share your information.

Visit the Course Calendar:

course calendar

Recent News at Alderleaf:

Alderleaf in the Media:

Alderleaf in the media

Find us on Facebook:

wilderness survival guideJoin our eNewsletter:
And receive a free copy of our survival mini-guide, Thriving in the Outdoors: The Six Keys to Wilderness Survival!

Learn more