Mushrooms and the liver season
By Penelope A. Domogo, MD
One of the wonderful things about the changing seasons is that we look forward to what the season brings. This anticipation gives us excitement. These are the gentle thrills in life that come naturally and often thus we won’t look for extreme adventure. Isn’t that cool! Like this time of the year that the summer rains have come, we anticipated a lot of things – like the dried grasses will spring back to life, the rainflower and crocus will appear, and mushrooms will dot the mountainsides. And surely they did. I think this is the most exciting time of the year… for kids and adults alike.
We would scour the mountains the morning just after the rains. Especially if the rains were accompanied by lightning and thunder. During our childhood, we would go early to the environs of St. Benedict’s Church to gather “kapotan” (a variety of mushroom that can be eaten raw). We had to be early before the others or else there would be none left for us. It is so thrilling to discover mushrooms under dried pine leaves. It becomes a game with yourself to see if you can detect where the mushrooms are hidden. And when you see one, chances are you will see some more nearby. So if you are in a group and you are scattered, the one who discovers this abundance would holler “Over here!”. Of course, that’s in Besao. You see, Besao is ”kane-kaneg ad US”.
One time I was with a group of mountaineers (iMontanosa) and we climbed Mt. Polis in Bauko and trekked to other mountains nearby and had our thrill of gathering mushrooms. That derailed our objective of climbing Mt. Nintingle. Oh well, that will be for next time.
The amazing thing about mushrooms is that day after you gather them, go look and they are there again! And most often, the mushrooms you gather are more than you can eat. Such is the generosity of nature. And such reflects the amazing regenerative capacity of our liver. (please read last week’s column). What more, you can preserve some kinds of mushrooms naturally so we have all these dried mushrooms from our Asian neighbors. I am also glad to see a friend in Sagada drying mushrooms. In the natural order of things, if a certain food can be preserved naturally like sun-drying or air-drying, then it is good to eat all year round.
This season in our country which is a tropical country is spring in winter countries. This season shows how plants, like us, rejoice with the coming of the rains. Mushrooms are plants, they are fungi. In other words, they are giant “bu-ot” (molds). If you are interested, you can look at these teeny weeny molds under a magnifying glass or a good camera and you can see how beautiful these look on close-up. These molds look like o-ong, sedesdem, damino.
During this season, we have more activities than previously, because the days are longer and in the Philippines, we have the rains. Even with lockdown, people, including senior citizens, should be able to tend their farms to have food for the coming months. Besides, just staying home for so long is not healthy, we need to move. The rains spur us to cultivate our lands and plant beans, corn, peanuts, etc. And yes, gather mushrooms. We are spurred to do general cleaning in our surroundings and homes. Our bodies are no different. Our bodies need to cleanse or detox the accumulated wastes and excesses of the previous season so that, just like the plants, we would be rejuvenated and revitalized in mind, body and spirit. The colon, kidneys, lungs and skin play a major role in this cleansing process but in this season, the organ that is in focus is the liver and gallbladder. By the way, the organs in our bodies work in pairs so the liver is paired with the gallbladder. So when I refer to the liver, I also refer to the gallbladder.
The plants that sprout in this season are just what we need to strengthen the liver. Mushrooms are good for the liver. You see its shape and it’s shaped like the liver. The partidor would know this. The more we know about our bodies and the rest of creation, the more we see how God is caring! “The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food in due season.” Psalm 145:15
Our liver cleanses the impurities and toxins and excesses that enter our bodies – too much sugar and animal fat, too much alcohol, artificial flavoring, coloring and hormones, pesticides, herbicides and other poisons, polluted air and chemically-contaminated water. When our body is overburdened with toxins, the liver will be stressed. When we overeat often, the liver is stressed. Symptoms of liver stress are allergies, headaches, nausea, irritability, foggy thinking, muscle tension, skin eruptions, itching and fatigue. In women, other signs of liver stress include premenstrual syndrome and myoma since the liver must process the excess estrogen out of the blood. When we ignore these early warning signs of liver stress, then the liver will degenerate & develops into fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, liver cysts, liver cancer.
Take heart, our Creator provided since the beginning of time, the best provisions to keep our organs strong and functional. And at this springtime of the year, we have mushrooms and the bitter plants sprouting all around us. The taste of green leafy veggies is categorized as bitter. Claiming these provisions and eating them with thanksgiving will keep our liver and gallbladder happy and healthy and, in turn, will keep us flexible, light and joyous, rebuilding our bodies and putting the spring to our footsteps.***
“Then I will send in your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil.” Deuteronomy 11:14