Fantastic Fungi is the brilliant new documentary that’s taking our mycelium-filled world by storm. Loved by mycophiles and mushroom novices alike, the film summarised everything that we’ve long believed to be true: Mushrooms can quite literally save the world.
So, what’s our Fantastic Fungi review here at Natura Mushrooms?
A solid 5 stars.
Directed by Louie Schwartzberg and narrated by Brie Larson, Fantastic Fungi has it all. Awe-inspiring footage. Thought-provoking science. And of course, Paul Stamets, world-renowned Mycologist, researcher and mushroom advocate. Best-selling authors have also come to the party, including Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone and Andrew Weil.
So, What Is Fantastic Fungi All About?
As humans, we’ve long considered ourselves to be the dominant species. But Fantastic Fungi takes that belief and capsizes it.
It guides us through the magical world beneath our feet, giving the viewer a feeling of blissful insignificance. Mushrooms were the first evidence of multicellular organisms. They were the start of all life. And they’re the end of all life, too.
Mycelium (the roots of the mushroom) contain more networks than our brain does neural pathways. Yep, mushrooms are incredibly smart in their own way. They have an amazing ability to communicate with trees and nature.
So, if anything, Fantastic Fungi strips humans of our ego.
It opens our eyes to the fact that our intelligence and communication aren’t necessarily superior. And maybe nature has a plan that’s bigger than us.
Our Fantastic Fungi Takeaways
The Stoned Ape Theory
Terrence Mckenna, an American ethnobotanist, was the first person to develop the Stoned Ape Theory alongside his brother, Dennis McKenna. The theory suggests that the Great Apes would hunt and forage across a range of different environments, which eventually led to the consumption of mushrooms.
And unsurprisingly, the consumption of Psylocibin (aka magic mushrooms).
The theory proposes that over time, Psylocibin changed the structure of their brains. It led to a higher level of consciousness, with scientists suggesting it was responsible for the development of art, language and technology. And ultimately, the evolution of humans.
The majority of people have heard of Penicillin. It refers to a group of antibacterial drugs that revolutionised medicine.
In 1928, Penicillin was discovered by a fortunate accident. And by the 1940s, it became the first type of antibiotic that doctors administered. Penicillin was the answer to a whole range of infections and diseases – and ultimately impacted injury and death rates in World War II.
But remarkably, did you know that Penicillin comes from a species of fungi?
That’s right, Fantastic Fungi taught us that mushrooms are responsible for the medical breakthroughs we often take for granted today.
Relationship with Trees
Fantastic Fungi briefly touches on the relationship between trees and mushrooms. The term for this is Mycorrhiza, which refers to the symbiotic relationship between plant roots and mushrooms. The plant makes organic molecules for the fungus to use, and in return, the mycelium network gives the plant water and nutrients.
But the relationship goes deeper than that. Which is why we dedicated an entire blog post to it here: What is Mycorrhiza? Definition, Types and Benefits.
Bees and Mushrooms
Fantastic Fungi also explores the relationship between mushroom mycelium and bees.
Many of us are aware (and concerned) about the unexplained decline in honeybee populations. But a ground-breaking discovery found that the mushroom mycelium from Reishi and Amadou mushrooms could decrease the presence of Deformed Wing Virus and Lake Sinai Virus (what is believed to be the cause of bee population decline).
Yep, mushrooms may offer a fighting chance for the honeybee (and humans). We wrote a blog post on it here: Saving The Bees: Could Mycelium Hold The Secret?
Mushrooms and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder. It affects individuals and families all around the world, causing brain connections and cells to die off.
But according to Fantastic Fungi (and scientific research), mushrooms could hold the answer for this, too.
Studies suggest that a diet of Lion’s Mane may boost memory and prevent cognitive decline. We wrote a blog post on it here: The Lion’s Mane Nootropic: Can a Mushroom Really Boost Your Brain Power?
How to Watch Fantastic Fungi
This blog post has barely scraped the surface of the awe-inspiring documentary, Fantastic Fungi. The film also touches on the use of mushrooms in Mayan culture, Psilocybin and cancer, mushrooms as a pandemic response, mushrooms for cleaning oil spills and so much more.
You have to see it to believe it.
If anything, Fantastic Fungi explores what so many humans have raised an eyebrow at. The fact that fungi aren’t just a nutritious food or hallucinogen for partygoers.
Fungi are responsible for the beginning of life and the end of life. The world as we know it is all thanks to the humble mushroom. So, we’re not being dramatic when we say mushrooms can quite literally save the world.
Interested in using mushrooms to enrich your mind, body and spirit? Shop our mushroom range today.