Also known as the horse hoof tinder conk, Fomes Formentarius is a strange but marvelous occasion when we can watch in wonder as remedies from long ago meet the science of today, proving that nature really is the best doctor.
It may have many names, but mankind has been observing its amazing healing properties for more than 5000 years.
We have listed some of those amazing health benefits of Fomes Fomentarius in this article as well as its tumultuous history, so make sure to scroll through to the end.
What Is Fomes Fomentarius?
First of all, let’s get on the same page by making clear exactly what this wonderful healing herb is. Fomes Fomentarius is a type of fungus that grows only on birch trees.
It makes its way on either dead trees or the ones that are dying, rotting wood or stumps that have already fallen on the ground.
It is quite easy to recognize since it looks very similar to a horse’s hoof, which is where it gets one of its names. When you comes across it in a forest, you will see that it resembles a hoof sticking half way out of a tree.
The fungus varies between 10 and 50 cm in diameter, and can be white or dark brown in color, depending on the environment it grows in.
A very important thing to note here is that Fomes Fomentarius is not edible.
While it does have a sweet smell to it that might lure you into thinking it’s good enough to eat, you should not do that. In fact, if you tried eating it, you would notice it tasted quite acidic and bitter.
If you want to collect Fomes Fomentarius on your own, you should not take the black ones, because they are already dead. Also, do not collect the fungi that have wormholes or that are disconnected from a tree.
The best time to pick up this mushroom is November through April when there are no leaves on the trees and when all the wet portions of land are frozen over.
Fomes Fomentarius Uses in History
This amazing mushroom may seem like a superfood that we’re only discovering now, but the truth is our ancestors knew a lot more about it than we do today.
It is believed that one of the first times Fomes Fomentarius was mentioned was around 2500 years ago when Hippocrates, a Greek physician used it to cauterize wounds. He also stored the amadou mushroom, as he called it, for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties. But more on this later on in our article, when we discuss its health benefits and how you can use them yourself.
Continuing Fomes Fomentarious’ journey through the history of medicine, are you familiar with Otzi, the Ice Man? Of course you are.
When he was found preserved almost perfectly in ice after 5300 years, in the Italian Alps, he carried with him a small pouch in which he had this mushroom. Scientists now believe he would use it as tinder to help him survive the harsh conditions of the environment.
Apart from that, this fungus has also been used in other important cultures around the globe for its medicinal purposes, such as the ancient Indian one. They quickly noticed that the mushroom would help bowl movements and would use it as both a laxative and a diuretic.
The ancient Chinese were quick to pick up on just how many wonderful qualities Fomes Fomentarius had and would use it to fight against different types of cancer, such as throat, uterus, and stomach cancer.
Another interesting aspect of this fungi is that it was also used to make other household items, such as clothes, caps, or even chest protectors.
In olden days, people would also use one of these horse hoof-shaped mushroom as a pin cushion since it kept all the needles from rusting. Apart from that, entomologists have used it for a long time as a board it which they stuck the insects they gathered for their collections.
However, back to its medicinal purposes, it’s very interesting to note that Russian peasants from Siberia would grind it down to a very fine powder, mix it in with their tobacco, and sniff it.
Closer to our times, the fungus was described for the first time in literature in 1753 when it was recognized as a species of its own. This brings us to the health benefits that Fomes Fomentarius has today.
Health Benefits of Fomes Fomentarius
As we mentioned earlier in this article, this particular type of fungus is not edible. However, you can make tea out of it and some other concoctions that will help you fructify its wonderful qualities. Let’s take a closer look at what those are.
1. Fomes Fomentarius protecting the Nervous System
Fomes Fomentarius has a very high content of proteins and minerals that help stimulate the production of the nerve growth factor, otherwise known as NGF. This is a protein in itself and is one of the main building blocks of healthy neurons in the brain.
The blood barrier will often prevent NGF from entering our brains. Therefore, outside simulation is crucial in order to make sure the brain can produce this protein by itself. When the brain cannot go through with this process independently, we can develop severe conditions such as dementia, which is a degenerative illness.
Therefore, if we can secure an exterior source of NGF, all the better. It will make sure we can preserve our cognitive health.
2. Promotes Healthy Skin and Thick Hair
More often than not, Fomes Fomentarius comes in a dark brown color. You can sometimes find it in red as well, depending on the tree it lives on, the weather, and the general environmental conditions. Nevertheless, its dark color means that the mushroom’s outer appearance is rich in melatonin.
This is an antioxidant that determines what color or shade our skin, hair, and eyes will be. Apart from aesthetic purposes, melatonin also plays a crucial role in the health of these three parts of our bodies.
Melatonin protects our DNA and, more importantly, it helps it regenerate. That’s how you can harness the power of Fomes Fomentarius to help your flaky skin or dry hair.
We mentioned above that the best time of year to collect this fungi, if you want to do it on your own is in the winter months. That’s a hugely significant aspect of its growth.
The fact that this mushroom can thrive in cold, dreary months when there is very little sun speaks volumes about its power to act as a barrier against wind, freezing temperatures, rain, and snow.
It will help you get rid of age spots, blemishes, and redness. Apart from that, seeing as it’s so rich in melanin means that it will help shield your hair from the damages of the sun, and simply keep your skin taught and smooth as long as possible.
3. Fomes Fomentarius improves the Quality of Your Sleep
Sleep deprivation is now an affliction that most people suffer from, some without even knowing it. It’s caused by stress, bad diets, harmful living environments, and toxins.
However, what should be even more worrying about it are the long-term effects sleep deprivation can have on the human body. It can lead to obesity, muscle pain, irritability, and, paradoxically, even more stress.
Fomes Fomentarius is a natural sleep supplement that you can take right before you go to bed every night. It will relax you and make sure you drift off peacefully. You can make yourself a cup of delicious tea that will keep you sleeping soundly throughout the night. The recipe is down below.
4. Fomes Fomentarius relieving Asthma Symptoms
Fomes Fomentarius is rich in antioxidants that will boost your immune system. In the process, they will also fight against the inflammation in your lungs, otherwise known as asthma. Apart from that, the horseshoe mushroom will also stabilize your mood in a very natural way.
This means that it will calm down those feeling of anxiety, panic, stress, fear, chest tightness, and shortness of breath that one usually feels when and asthma attack happens or is about to happen.
The amazing thing about using this fungi is that it does not have any known side effects and it does not cause any addiction. However, you are advised to try it out first and see if you are not allergic to it, rather than wait until you have your first asthma attack to use it.
5. Fomes Fomentarius boosting your Immune System
Yes, these amazing little mushrooms can help boost your immune system as well. The process is very simple. They are packed to the brim with antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory compounds that will fight an infection if you already have it or keep them at bay so they don’t bother you anymore.
To begin with, they are excellent at modifying cytokines. These are a type of inflammatory cells that will works against the white cells in your body and suppress them. Therefore, they will make you a lot more susceptible to catch the common cold or the flu.
Second of all, the horseshoe mushroom has a very high count of polysaccharides. They will help keep up the structure of your cells, which is quite essential since we are talking about the immune system.
It’s also very important to note that these two compounds that are to be found in Fomes Fomentarius seem to go hand in hand with traditional, Western type of medicine such as radiation and chemotherapy. They increase their productivity.
Since we’re on that topic, it’s good to know that one side effect of chemotherapy is that it reduces the production of cells that are supposed to manage your immune system.
This process is called bone marrow suppression. The mushrooms will reduce the suppression and can shrink tumors in some people.
6. Fomes Fomentarius helping Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects millions of people across the world. Western, traditional medicine typically prescribes steroidal or non-steroidal drugs as well as ibuprofen for the pain for every patient that suffers from it. However, the answer to this illness may be simpler than you think, if you look at Fomes Fomentarius.
It is jam packed with anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the activity of inflammatory mediators the likes of cytokines, nitric oxide, and prostaglandins. When their action is reduced, they also combat cell inflammation.
7. Fomes Fomentarius managing Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetes
In recent years, more and more people have been reporting that broths made of medicinal mushrooms have yielded results when it comes to their anti-hyperglycemic function. This means that they have the potential to do one or more of the following.
- control glucose
- inhibit the absorption of glucose
- increase the release of insulin
- manage how the body metabolizes carbohydrates
- attenuate inflammation
- act as an antioxidant
- protect against the damage of beta cells
However, it’s important to note that there is still very little research done in this area to significantly prove that medicinal mushrooms can manage and control insulin levels on their own in diabetic patients. Therefore, you are strongly advised to use them as a supplement to your diet as opposed to your actual medical care.
8. Fomes Fomentarius keeping Your Heart Healthy
We’re back to the wonderful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that Fomes Fomentarius has for this one. It is precisely these components that will keep your blood vessels safe and healthy.
Apart from that, this fungi can lower your LDL cholesterol, which is your bad type of cholesterol. Not to mention that they will make sure your blood pressure remains at optimal levels at all times, so that your hearts and blood vessels do not have to take the strain.
Vitamins and Minerals in Fomes Fomentarius
It’s crucial to mention that this type of mushroom is ripe with vitamins and minerals that will help you lead a healthy and stress-free life. Here is a list of all the amazing ingredients that this natural product can pack.
- 15 % protein
- 66 units of vitamin D per 100 grams
- only 3.5 % fat
- 760 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams
- polyporic acid C
- vitamin B35
- fomentaric acid
- 70 % complex carbohydrates
- glucose oxidase enzymes
How to Consume Fomes Fomentarius
As previously stated, you may be tempted to taste or even eat this precious fungi since it has a sweet, fruity smell. However, you would find that it tastes quite acrid.
Therefore, the best way to enjoy all its health benefits is to use it in infusions, barbecues, or directly applied to your body. And here’s how.
1. Make an infusion out of it
Take one tablespoon of finely diced Fomes Fomentarius and boil it in 1.5 cups of water for 20 minutes. Make sure your water is pure or filtered. Do not use tap water. Once you let the fungi infuse, you will notice that it turns golden brown. The taste will normally not require any sweeteners such as honey or sugar and has been described as delicious and birchy.
Here’s an important tip – when you have finished the tea, don’t throw away the dregs, meaning the left over bits of Fomes Fomentarius that you have infused. They are still fit to be used.
Add more hot water to them and make more tea. Stop using them only when you notice the tea comes out clear.
2. Chew a bit of mushroom
If you have small problems with your teeth, you can always chew a bit of Fomes Fomentarius. However, make sure it’s not too much at a time, and don’t swallow it.
Tip – If the raw mushroom is too hard on your sore teeth or gums, soak it first to make it easier to chew.
3. Rub it on your feet
Some people who are avid users of this mushroom advise you to use it on your feet as well if they are cracked and dry. First soak your feet in hot water until the skin feels soft.
Then take 100 grams of small, dry Fomes Fomentarius mushrooms and rub them on the soles of your feet until you feel that all the dry and dead skin cells fall off.
As opposed to pumice, this will not only help you shed the dead skin, but it will also heal the cracks in the soles of your feet.
4. Add Fomes Fomentarius to your barbecue
Although you should never cook with this mushroom per se, you can still use it to add flavor to your food. For instance, some recommend to place a few of the tinder pieces of Fomes Fomentarius on the grill if you’re making a barbecue. This should give it a very unique, woodsy flavor that you are not likely to taste anywhere else.
Fomes Fomentarius has a whole plethora of health benefits that can help your entire body from your neurons down to the cracked soles of your feet. Apart from that, it’s completely natural and does not cause addiction or side effects. All in all, it has been nature’s little way of taking care of us for the past 5000 years.