CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Medicinal Mushrooms of Western North America

By Robert Rogers & J. Duane Sept
2020; Calypso Publishing
PO Box 1141, Sechelt, BC, Canada V0N 3A0
ISBN: 978-0-9952266-2-3
95 pp.; $14.95

Duane Sept and Calypso Publishing have produced a number of very good titles on wild berries, flowers, and trees of the Pacific Northwest region. Their books are always small and very portable, and very slickly done with excellent glossy photos—nicely sized, too. Medicinal Mushrooms of Western North America is their newest offering but not their first on mushrooms (that would be Common Mushrooms of the Northwest).

While there are quite a few choices for guidebooks to mushrooms in the Pacific NW, there are not many that focus on purportedly medicinal mushrooms. The best, hands down, is the The Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Rogers. That book has been out for many years now and should be quite familiar to most people interested in wild mushrooming. It’s an excellent desk reference but not so portable, given its hefty size. The new Medicinal Mushrooms of Western North America by Rogers and Sept is a nice companion, small enough to fit into any pack, very affordably priced, and an excellent book for the beginner or casual forager in the region. Medicinal Mushrooms of Western North America features very clear, nicely-sized photos of all species depicted, with clearly written descriptions, “traditional uses” and “medicinal uses,” habitat, and the authors give many of the other names that a given mushroom goes by (I find this to be very helpful).

Regular readers of FUNGI Magazine will be familiar with Rogers’s descriptions of species which include chemical analysis, protein and fatty acid content, and other nutritional information. Medicinally important compounds are discussed along with scientific findings based on in vitro studies, animal models, etc. I particularly enjoy reading “traditional uses” of these mushrooms by Native Americans; and it’s this information that I think makes Rogers’s Fungal Pharmacy such a gem. Although I personally prefer Common Mushrooms of the Northwest, this new offering by Calypso makes a great addition for those wanting to learn more about medicinal mushrooms.

— Review by Britt Bunyard
— Originally published in Fungi