Habits & Health episode 78 with Jeff Chilton, founder of Nammex, who supply medicinal mushroom extracts to the Nutritional Supplement industry.
He is co-author of The Mushroom Cultivator, published in 1983. In 1989 Jeff established Nammex, the first company to supply medicinal mushroom extracts to the Nutritional Supplement industry. In 1997 he organized the first organic certification workshop for mushroom production in China. Jeff is a founding member of the World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products in 1994 and a Member of the International Society for Mushroom Science.
78 – Jeff Chilton
[00:00:00] Tony Winyard: Habits & Health episode 78.
[00:00:14] Tony Winyard: Welcome to another edition of Habits & Health. My guest today is Jeff Chilton. How are you? Jeff?
[00:00:22] Jeff Chilton: Tony. Nice to be here. Thanks so much for having me.
[00:00:25] Tony Winyard: And here is in British Columbia. You were just tele.
[00:00:28] Jeff Chilton: That’s right. I live on Vancouver island, a small community out on the west coast of the island. It’s actually the surf capital of Canada.
[00:00:39] Tony Winyard: Wow. So for anyone who maybe anyone who doesn’t know anything about British Columbia, what is it famous?
[00:00:46] Jeff Chilton: I guess a couple things, one of which is you’ve got lots of mountains, so you can ski it’s very oriented towards outdoor recreation. The other thing that we have here that I consider to be very important is we still have wild salmon. So we are a culture here that eats a lot of seafood. The natives in this area, their whole society was based around salmon, which they not only fished for in season, but they also dried it and stored it for the winter. So those two things I would say are some of the most important things about British Columbia.
[00:01:29] Tony Winyard: This episode, we are gonna dive into the world of mushrooms. We’re gonna find out a lot more about mushrooms and it’s fascinating topic. How did you get into all this in the first place?
[00:01:39] Jeff Chilton: I grew up in Washington state. So I grew up in this ecosystem out here and it is green out here, Tony. In fact, Washington state is called the evergreen state, because we have vast expanse of evergreen forests. And we also have a lot of lakes and rivers and it rains a lot out here.
So it keeps everything green and so as I was growing up, I had mushrooms all around me. It’s one of the best places in the world for wild mushrooms. And then when I went to university in the late sixties, my field of study was anthropology. Man. I just love the idea of other cultures, how they organize themselves their customs, their languages, and at the same time, as you can imagine, the university of Washington had a mycology department.
Now mycology is to study of fungi. Mushrooms are a part of that. Very large kingdom of fun. So I put the two together actually, and studied the use of mushrooms for food, for medicine and in shamonic rights. But once you leave university with a degree in anthropology, it’s not like there’s jobs out there waiting for you. I decided at that point, Because of my interest in mushrooms that I wanted to learn how to grow mushrooms. So I went to the only mushroom farm in Washington state, a job, very large farm growing, 2 million pounds of what we call the button mushroom. Every year I got a job, I was there on this farm for the next 10 years.
Literally. Living with mushrooms.
[00:03:40] Tony Winyard: And mushrooms is something that it seems to me most people know very little about, and certainly have no idea how important it is to the planet and the vast number of different types of mushroom and so on. Oh wait how many types of mushroom are there? Do you know?
[00:03:57] Jeff Chilton: Oh, there are hundreds of thousands of species.
And, what’s interesting about it is, this kingdom of fungi and this what we would call mushroom space it’s divided into two parts. One part is what we call perfect fungi. And those are our fungi that will produce a mushroom. And then the other side is made up of the molds.
Which are also fungi and most people to some degree are more familiar with molds because they’ve occasionally got out that loaf of bread and went, ah what’s that growing on my bread? That’s a mold and the difference that’s called an imperfect fungus. And the difference is that it does not produce.
Mushroom or what we would call a fruiting body and just to get us off on the right foot here. This organism that we call a mushroom has three, what I would call plant parts. Mushrooms do not have seeds. Okay, so they don’t have seeds. Tony, how am I gonna grow a mushroom? I don’t have a seed to plant well, mushrooms have spores in nature, these spores will float off land on the ground land in wood when conditions are right.
In other words, when moisture is high enough, Those spores will germinate into a very fine filament called the hypha. And when multiple of these hyphae come together and fuse, it will create a network. And this network of these H full strands is called mycelium.
[00:05:42] Tony Winyard: Right.
[00:05:43] Jeff Chilton: mycelium is the vegetative body of a mushroom.
And we normally don’t see it because it is underground, it’s embedded in its substrate, like that piece of wood or that log. So we don’t see the mycelium and when conditions are right. That mycelium will put up what we call a fruiting body, which is a mushroom and the mushroom will go through various stages of development to the point where it’s grown up.
The cap is there, you see a standard mushroom form under that cap or gills, the gills produce spores. Now we have a completion of this life cycle and this is super important that we’ve got three parts here. Three stages, spore, mycelium and mushroom, you can think of the mycelium to some degree, like a root structure.
It’s the actual body of this organism. You can see it if you’re harvesting a mushroom and you can pull out the mushroom and look in the ground where it’s coming out of, and you’ll see these white strandy thread like filaments there, that’s the vegetative body, we’re walking all the time around and we never notice until all of a sudden we. Oh, look a mushroom where’d that come from the body of this organism was underground and it’s been there for who knows how long, but when we notice it’s because this organism that we call a mushroom has reached a certain size to where now we notice it because we maybe are walking down this same path day after day, and we never see it, but it’s been there slowly developing and all of a sudden it reaches a size where we go, whoa, where did that come from?
And, you know how it is, you think must have come up overnight. no, it’s been there for a.
[00:07:34] Tony Winyard: So if someone takes that mushroom out, how quickly will it regrow? Again, just a mushroom part of it.
[00:07:40] Jeff Chilton: Generally speaking, this, my Celio body is perennial. As long as there is sufficient food for it to consume, it will stay in the same place and grow outward. Until it reaches a point where it’s oh, there’s no more food. So the mycelia will stop. And ultimately, if the food source gets consumed and is gone, this mycelium will die off.
But basically. As long as that’s there every year in season up will come a mushroom. And this is why if you talk to a wild mushroom hunter, oh, where’d you get your mushroom? Sorry. I can’t tell you.
Secret spot. Hunting mushrooms in a way is like a treasure hunt
[00:08:31] Tony Winyard: right.
[00:08:32] Jeff Chilton: and a choice mushroom for many is a treasure.
[00:08:38] Tony Winyard: So much of the world has been urbanized in the last century. And so there’s a lot less forests and Woodlands and so on. So does that mean there’s been a lot of species of mushroom have been lost?
[00:08:50] Jeff Chilton: Let me give you an example of that. In the, oh, in the 18 hundreds in Europe they harvested. 200 tons, 200 tons of truffles.
Today the amount of truffles they harvest is 10 tons.
[00:09:12] Tony Winyard: Wow.
[00:09:14] Jeff Chilton: what happened over harvesting? Actually not what happened was the forests where the truffles grow and the truffle grows in conjunction with tree roots, primarily Oak, those forests have been cut.
And even today a lot of those troubles that they harvest come from. Oak plantations, where they have put this fungal my onto the roots and then planted these Oak trees. And it takes probably 10 years before it gets established to the point where it can produce a truffle. So habitat.
Destruction has really been the issue. And, it’s interesting because that’s the same issue we face all along the west coast of north America, with the salmon used to have massive runs from California to Alaska today in California. Minimal Oregon, Washington. Yeah, minimal.
They have places now where they grow them and send them out to see British Columbia. We’re slowly losing our salmon every year because of habitat destruction of their spawning grounds.
[00:10:30] Tony Winyard: And you touched upon earlier in, when you started talking about mushrooms, one of the things that you were studying was about the medicinal properties of mushrooms. Is that something that you are still quite in to?.
[00:10:42] Jeff Chilton: Oh my company supplies mushroom extracts to the nutritional supplement industry and to the functional food. Industry. And I’ve been doing that since 1989. I established my business nammex in 1989 at a time when really nobody in the north American supplement market had mushroom products. Many herbal companies, all of the green herbs were there, but not any mushrooms.
So that was very new to the industry. I spent all the nineties essentially producing educational materials, telling people these are herbs that have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, you really need to put them into your product line. It, and so it’s been a long.
Journey so to speak. It’s so interesting because when I went to the mushroom farm in 1973, classical Western nutritionist said mushrooms had no medicinal value. No food value,
[00:11:51] Tony Winyard: Right.
[00:11:52] Jeff Chilton: reason they said that was because they’re low in calories.
In that decade, low calorie food was a non-food.
Now we look at it, different mushrooms are high in protein, 20 to 40%. They lack one central amino acid they’re high in carbohydrate, but the carbohydrates are slow acting carbohydrates. Like manitol. Tray Holos mushrooms. A lot of that carbohydrate is fiber. They’re feeding our microbiome. It’s a really nutrient dense food.
Good level of B vitamins, B one, two and three high end potassium and phosphorus. It’s just a excellent food. And I’m always telling people look, the first thing you should do, if you’re thinking about consuming mushrooms in some way is put them into your diet. It’s a really fabulous, I call it the missing dietary link.
And if you look out at Asia or Europe, they’ve been eating many different mushroom species for thousands of years. And in fact large studies that they’ve done out in Asia, where they ask people about their diet and they have seen that people that have mushrooms in their diet. Live longer than people who don’t.
I believe that I think it’s a fabulous longevity food.
[00:13:22] Tony Winyard: You mentioned that there are so many different types of mushrooms. So how would someone know, which are the most appropriate ones to eat for them?
[00:13:29] Jeff Chilton: I think the main thing is your local market. know, I never advocate that somebody goes out and collects mushrooms and then decide they’re gonna eat them because you have to have it properly identified. For one, most of those mushrooms don’t taste good. It’s like going out there and grazing on plants you don’t know about, and you’re eating ’em and they don’t taste good at all.
It’s the same with mushrooms. Most of them do not taste good, but there are, let’s just say 25 or. Wild mushrooms. That taste really good. And so that’s why you have so many wild mushroom hunters out there that are going out every fall in the season to collect these mushrooms, because it’s just a fabulous food and it’s free
And in fact, this is interesting too, Tony, in the 17 hundreds in the UK, they called.
Mushrooms poor man’s meat.
[00:14:24] Tony Winyard: Wow. In supermarkets in England, typically there’s only, there’s not a very wide range. From what I can remember, there’s three or four different types of mushrooms, usually.
[00:14:37] Jeff Chilton: yeah. The, UK’s got very robust industry mushroom industry for the. Button mushroom, which you’re, which you primarily see. And they call it the button mushroom because they harvest it at a very immature stage. The reason they do that is because it gives it a good shelf life. I like the button mushroom. That’s what we were primarily growing on the mushroom farm that I worked on. It’s a very good mushroom. It does have functional qualities as well, but now in north America, we have at least another six. Species that are being cultivated that you’ll find in our market.
You’ve got oyster mushrooms, myTalk mushrooms, she talkie mushrooms, lions main. So you can get a much broader selection now of mushrooms and, in China, which I visit all the time, they’ve got probably 12 to 20 different species that they eat over
[00:15:35] Tony Winyard: Wow.
[00:15:35] Jeff Chilton: A lot of people don’t know this, but China produces 90% of the world’s mushrooms.
[00:15:40] Tony Winyard: Wow.
[00:15:40] Jeff Chilton: They produce 90% of everything else too, but
[00:15:44] Tony Winyard: And so is it quite a staple in their diet, in many Chinese homes?
[00:15:48] Jeff Chilton: It is. It’s the same there as a lot of other places, depending on the species. Some of the mushrooms will be more expensive than others. Just like over here, boy, if you look for a button mushroom, it’s relatively inexpensive. I don’t know. $5 a pound, maybe something like that.
But some of the others are 10, $15 a pound, even in China, they have that. So again, it’s just it’s price dependent, but they do in Asia they’ve been consuming. Lots of mushrooms much longer than we have. It’s a pretty much staple in the diet when we go over there where there’s constantly mushrooms in the food that we’re eating, of course.
And other parts of the world too. You look at Eastern Europe, you look at France, Italy for some reason we’re UK and north America have been behind the curve. And we’re just catching up and I just, again, consider it the forgotten food, the, a missing dietary link.
And I think it’s important for people to put mushrooms into their diet.
[00:16:44] Tony Winyard: In, in the last year, I’ve watched a couple of documentaries on mushrooms. I can’t recall the title. Now I, there was it Paul Dennett (Paul Stamets) or something? He was,
[00:16:53] Jeff Chilton: think you’re thinking of fantastic fungi. That was
[00:16:55] Tony Winyard: oh yeah, that was one of them. And I also read a book about mushrooms and yeah, I I was just astounded by some of the facts that I was hearing both in the documentaries and in the books and it’s yeah, there are so many benefits from eating mushrooms on a regular basis.
[00:17:10] Jeff Chilton: Yeah. And look we talked earlier about the different parts of this fungus. Mushrooms and their MyUM that MyUM is breaking down organic matter. Think about all of the plant matter every year, perennial plants leaves branches from trees. You have all of this organic matter out there.
If there weren’t organisms to. Decompose that and repurpose that we’d be up to here in all of that plant matter. And fungi in general and their MyUM is breaking that down. They’re part of this whole cycle of decomposition, repurposing all of the organic matter back into humus for plants to utilize further.
So it’s part of the natural cycle and. It’s interesting because we’re learning so much more about microorganisms in general and they’re out there underfoot. We don’t notice them because we can’t see them. So it’s an invisible group of organisms. That’s doing all of this wonderful work.
And so yeah it’s a very interesting ecosystem out there and fungi are a major part of.
[00:18:28] Tony Winyard: And there’s been, you mentioned Lion’s mane before and is certain. Types of mushroom, which seem to be getting very popular now. So lion’s main is it? I forget there’s another
[00:18:41] Jeff Chilton: Rahi. Yeah.
[00:18:43] Tony Winyard: And there’s a couple of others, which I can’t recall that are often, if you listen to many sort of like health podcasts or so on, they often mention some these mushrooms.
[00:18:53] Jeff Chilton: Let me go through a few of them and just talk about the benefits of each one. Have first of all, let me just ask you, have you ever been to a mushroom farm?
[00:19:01] Tony Winyard: No.
[00:19:03] Jeff Chilton: I think one in a hundred people I ask that have said, oh yeah, I’ve been to a mushroom farm. The reason is generally because they’re all being grown indoors,
[00:19:13] Tony Winyard: right.
[00:19:13] Jeff Chilton: so you can drive right by a mushroom farm and not even know what’s going on. It’s not like looking out into a field of corn or wheat or something like that.
So it’s a, wow. How do you know what’s going on here stuff, but have you ever seen a Rashi.
[00:19:28] Tony Winyard: I’m not sure. I dunno.
[00:19:31] Jeff Chilton: Rahi mushroom is got a cap like a Rams horn. It’s a beautiful spiral type of cap. It’s red. It’s Woody, you don’t eat Rahi mushrooms. You make them into a tea. They’re very bitter, but it’s one of the premier. Functional mushrooms out there. And it’s one of the highest in the compounds that have the immunological properties, which is the beta glucans.
And it also has compounds in it called terpenoids. The terpenoids are very good for the liver. Our circulatory system and then the beta cans are and the beta cans are shared by all of the mushrooms. They make up 50% of the cell walls. The beta cans are what give mushrooms, their immunological properties.
And it’s really interesting because the research scientific research out there on betaglucans has shown us a couple things. One of which we actually have a receptor. In our lower intestines for beta glucan specifically. So whether we eat mushrooms or supplement with them, they will hit those receptor sites and then they will potentiate Cytokines and basically immune cells.
So whether it be macrophages or T cells or NK cells, they will potentiate those when they are needed. So that’s one of the things about. Functional mushrooms in general is I look at them for prevention, for preventive medicine and this, my basically full, my basic philosophy on health is diet is our foundation. We have to have a good diet to be healthy, just no way around it. There’s other things, obviously there’s exercise there’s fresh air, clean water, all of these things, but diet, if you have a bad diet, you’re going to be facing a lot of illness in your life. Mushrooms.
Are part of prevention and they’re sitting in the background. So when you’re consuming mushrooms, that’s just a way that you can help. Prevent disease. And if you get, let’s just say, you’re you have a virus or something else they’re gonna be there helping you to meet that challenge. And Tony, that’s the other thing for me about health in general?
I think Too often people talk about fighting this and fighting that. And in north America they love war metaphors. I don’t, I look at it as a challenge. We meet the challenge because ultimately we are all cooperate to some degree and there’s some competition there as well, but we’re all part of the. Larger organism, the natural world. We have to eat things out of the natural world. We’re out there breathing in the air in the natural world. People don’t know this, but the air, if you actually would sample. The air on a Petri dish or something. There are so many spores and bacteria and you name it that we’re breathing in all the time.
It’s just part of life. , nobody should think of. Life as living in a bubble and we have to be, like sterilizing everything. No, you would not live that way. So mushrooms are part of prevention. I consider them a basic food that we need for that Rahi mushroom will be. Helping to potentiate your immune system.
And also it has these terpenoids, which are very bitter compounds. Most of what we call functional mushrooms. And we basically have identified 10. That we think are the most important. And I’ve done that by looking at traditional Chinese medicine, what are they using? How long have they used it? Are they still using it?
And then I will go out into the scientific literature and say, is there any scientific basis and backing for what this traditional Chinese medicine has told us? Put those two together, and then we’ve got 10 mushrooms that we focus on. So Rahi is really one of the best. And I considered it like one of the top of the functional, maybe the top.
If somebody said what’s the, if I should take one, I just say take Reishi. One that’s similar to Reishi is what’s called Turkey.
Turkey tail is also one that you do not eat. It’s not an edible mushroom, you’d put it in a tea. And it also is a very good mushroom for immunological potentiation.
And it, it is actually been developed into a drug product in Japan called. PSK. And in China they have a similar one where they’ve they have basically grown this out concentrated it, fractionated it into a more concentrated form. And in Japan, they use it as an adjunct therapy for things like cancer, that type of thing.
So these mushrooms have very powerful compounds in the, in.
[00:25:14] Tony Winyard: And so you mentioned about the 10 that you’ve now that list down to 10, could you mention the other eight? You just told us about two of them. Could you mention
[00:25:20] Jeff Chilton: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The I’ll mention them specifically right now, and then we can delve into each one individually.
[00:25:26] Tony Winyard: Yeah,
[00:25:28] Jeff Chilton: now I’ll start with the ones that are actually edible. So if you see them in the marketplace, Grab them
Number one after Rahi would be. And I’m just gonna list, not in any particular order, a shiitake mushrooms.
[00:25:41] Tony Winyard: right.
[00:25:41] Jeff Chilton: Fabulous edible.
[00:25:43] Tony Winyard: Mm.
[00:25:45] Jeff Chilton: mushroom lions main cordyceps. I’ve talked about Turkey tail. tremella and the final one would be phellinus and some of these are what we’d call fleshy fungi that you can eat others. Like Rahi are hard Woody. Grow off of trees and they are, if you’re just using them yourself, you would make a tea out of them. With all of these particular mushrooms, what we do is we will extract them and ultimately make a very fine powder from.
Extraction and that extraction could be what we call a one-to-one, where it’s, where it keeps all of the, everything there that we are extracting including the fiber will, will maintain. And then in some cases we’ll make extracts that are potency of, let’s say eight kilos of dried mushrooms. Down into one kilo of mushroom extract powder.
And of course we have to filter all the fiber out to create that one kilo. So we will make those two different extract types what we would then ultimately sell. Chiaki and my talkie. Lots of great. Science behind the immunological benefits and so much of the science and this is what’s interesting.
So much of the science are all scientists are all interested in finding specific. Compounds, because they’re interested mostly in, is there a pharmaceutical here that we can get into? We don’t go that way because we’re interested in the whole. Herb the whole mushroom. We want everything in there because we feel like that’s more important, but science and pharmaceutical companies they’re out there.
They’re fractionating everything trying to, and then they’ll take one individual compound and they’ll run a bunch of tests with that. Nope, not good enough. Nope. Nope. Nope. Oh, this one looks interesting. Let’s go further with this. So this is the same thing that has happened. All of these different mushrooms scientists are in there.
What is the real active there? Of course on a more macro level, it’s the beta glucans than with ratios, the terpenoids. So there are these compounds. Have you ever heard of Ergothioneine
[00:28:22] Tony Winyard: then it sounds familiar. Yeah.
[00:28:24] Jeff Chilton: Is a compound that. Mushrooms are one of the few foods that produces them in reasonable quantities. And what’s interesting is we do not manufacture Ergothioneine and yet they find it in different parts of our body and they’re going, what’s it doing there? What’s it function? They’re not quite sure, but they think of it as a very powerful antioxidant because it’s in areas of high oxidative stress.
But. This is something I think that moving forward, we’ll hear a lot more about and how important this is. It’s very much another compound called glutathione, which more people are probably aware of, but this is something that’s in mushrooms. This Ergothioneine we test for that. So shiitake and maitake very good immunological properties.
Lion’s Maine has shown properties to enhance cognition. Now, these days are you familiar at all with what are called nootropics?
Lion’s main is a star in the nootropics area. Why? It has these compounds that stimulate what’s called nerve growth factor and nerve growth factor organizes and promotes the manufacturer of neurons.
[00:29:46] Tony Winyard: All right.
[00:29:47] Jeff Chilton: That’s an ongoing process, but as you get older, You start to lose your ability to produce this on the same level as when you’re younger. So in Japan, they did some really interesting studies on lions main, where they had two groups of people, 30 in each group. One was a control group. These were older people.
They gave them a whole battery of tests to start off. One group then got three grams of lion’s main mushroom per day. The other one, just again, the placebo after 120 days, they gave them tests again. And the group that was taking the lion’s main, showed better scores than the placebo group. So they speculated that, okay, this has shown an effect on cogniti. And memory. And then the group that was taking the lion’s main stopped taking it. After 30 days, they tested the two groups. Again, both groups were down to base. Which was an interesting finding. So they’ve done a number of clinical trials with lions main. That seems to show that there are certain benefits for cognition, for memory and, look I am not gonna say, oh, they will definitely help your memory.
Anything like that. I don’t really make claims for our products. I just. Basically try to relate the scientific information that’s out there. The tests that they’ve done, some tests are good. Some tests are not good. Sometimes scientific tests are skewed one way or another, and how they write it up will make a difference.
You really have to look very close. Who is it that sponsored the test? It’s interesting Tony, because a lot of the. Tests into mushrooms that they’ve done in Japan sponsored by the Chiaki mushroom growers of Japan. Myki mushroom growers of Japan. Okay. As long as I know that, That’s important.
And so I can look at the tests and I can base some of my decisions, knowing that fact. So my talking Inaki, I think the science is pretty good. They’re delicious. Why not put them into your diet or. If you feel like supplementing fine supplement with them. Another mushroom, which I might not have mentioned, have you ever heard of cordyceps
[00:32:21] Tony Winyard: Yeah. Yeah. Is again, that’s another one it’s been very popular recently. Isn’t it?
[00:32:26] Jeff Chilton: Cor decept, traditionally is wildcrafted up in the foothills of Tibet. And in season people go out on their hands and knees trying to find this. And what it is it’s called caterpillar fungus. Because this small little CEPS grows off a caterpillar, this caterpillar hibernates while it’s hibernating, it doesn’t know this, but there are spores of this fungus in the ground where it hibernates these spores germinate.
They get inside the caterpillar, they consume it completely. And then in the summertime, it puts up a little small that doesn’t look like a regular mushroom. It looks like a blade of grass. They call it winter worm, summer grass. This has become so popular in China that they can sell it for $15,000, a dried kilogram.
[00:33:26] Tony Winyard: Wow.
[00:33:29] Jeff Chilton: So Cortis has been traditionally used for fatigue. You get tired. You can’t get out of an illness. They’ll give you corsets. Now in the supplement market, they use it for athletes like to use Cortis for workouts or anything like that. Is it gonna give you this extra boost? I can’t say whether it will or not.
You people could try it out. I think, and one of the things, let me just say this about a lot of supple. Y, it’s not going to do anything for you tomorrow or the next day. It’s not oh, I’ve got a cold coming on. I’m gonna take this mushroom supplement. A lot of people are thinking in terms of, I want, this ibuprofen, it, will make my aches and pains go away in an hour.
That’s not how they work.
[00:34:18] Tony Winyard: We’ve been talking about the sort of medicinal properties and so on and the benefits, and one of the things that, there’s been a lot more, there seems to been a change of stance, certainly in the UK and the us and many other countries on some of the kind of hallucinogenic mushrooms, like psilocybin and so on.
And they’re. They had a very negative image for in the sixties and seventies, Timothy leery and people like that. But now there seems to be a different take on them. It seems to be, people are be a bit, bit more open minded again, to, to some of those things.
[00:34:52] Jeff Chilton: As a child of the sixties I saw that up close and personal because there was a prohibition. Just there was a prohibition on cannabis since 1937, there was a prohibition on cannabis. And so my generation was and have seen this prohibition right from the very beginning as we came of age. I have friends that have been in jail for cannabis
[00:35:21] Tony Winyard: right.
[00:35:22] Jeff Chilton: growing these psychoactive mushroom.
So it’s a very real thing. And today, fortunately, this prohibition starts, started with cannabis first using it medicinally, and now recreationally. It’s fine. It’s completely legal now in Canada. What’s going on in the UK. What’s wrong over there. it’s funny. They still have the prohibition on it.
I don’t get it. Is Canada really leading the way on this for you guys? I, and look, when I was there I told you I was in the UK back in the. Late sixties, 1968, great music. We bought some hash while we were there and it was wonderful and was enhanced our experience when we were out listening to all these great bands that you had there.
But I think we find, what it takes generations to just die and go away because, people, a lot of it, I think was the prohibition was against the counter culture.
It was like, who are these people? Look at the way they dress look at their long hair. They’re smoking pot instead of drinking, we’re gonna make.
Everything illegal that they do. And we’re going to persecute them. Not only that they’re, anti-war what’s going on. So we faced that in the sixties. And now with those generations being gone and new thinking people have gone there’s benefits. And cannabis is now legal in, in many states in the United States.
And now they’re looking at psychoactive plants. And mushrooms, especially for use in addiction issues mental health issues end of life issues. And this is like research has started up again. That was completely shut down in the sixties. And it’s amazing to think that it’s taken. 50 years. But the prohibition itself, I, I would say started in 1937 so it’s been 80 years really of this prohibition.
And instead, what did they do? They allowed drugs, like alcohol drugs, tobacco out there, legal, killing people, creating havoc in many ways, all of the issues in terms of alcohol abuse. Unbelievable. So I look at this as a very good sign and here in British Columbia psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, They can now get a license from health, Canada to actually utilize mushrooms.
In their practice. So I heard a presentation six months ago by a practitioner here in British Columbia talking about the some of his patients that he’d been using mushrooms with and the benefits that he’s seen from that. So this is something very real. I’m hoping that this will continue.
And to some degree, it’s funny to some degree, Canada leads the way in certain areas and others it’s still way behind,
[00:38:51] Tony Winyard: Right.
[00:38:52] Jeff Chilton: So I consider it really positive. Have you ever had any mushroom experiences.
[00:38:56] Tony Winyard: No, it’s something I’ve I’m interested to try, but it’s not readily available. Put it that way. Yeah.
[00:39:04] Jeff Chilton: Yeah I’m sure if you looked hard enough, you could find people there. The other thing too, is these mushrooms grow wild in in the UK. There’s certain species. Again, you have to have the right person identifying for them but, let me tell you in the world today, there are. Tens of thousands of tons of these psychoactive mushrooms being produced every year,
Just unlimited quantities. So they’re readily available certainly in north America, not hard to find now we’re slowly moving to a point, I think in Canada and in the us, there’s one state in the us that is legal.
Psychoactive plants that would be Oregon. They passed a law on that. I think maybe Colorado or Denver might have a similar law where they have legalized the use of mushrooms, psychoactive mushrooms. I think we’re on the right track. People know a lot more. One of the things about it, Tony is that back in the sixties, we did not have guides. And you know what happens when you make something illegal, you push it underground and then people can. Advertise. Hey, I’m a guide. I’ll help you we didn’t have guides. So there was use, there was abuse and, for better, for worse a lot of people did have the experience and most of it was very positive and that I think ultimately was just part of the path we’ve been on now.
All of this time. And finally, it’s starting to become more mainstream and, I’m excited and I hope that this does carry on because I think psychoactive mushrooms have a real, a role to play and can be very.
[00:40:55] Tony Winyard: Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned about how beneficial they are for depression and mental health in so many other areas. So it definitely, yeah it’s encouraging to see how many different studies are taking place now about around all of that area.
[00:41:11] Jeff Chilton: And, I think to me, one of the big issues is that the amount of pharmaceuticals that are being prescribed now,
For depression for various mental issues, the amount of pharmaceuticals that are utilized in the U starting sometimes with children at age five and six. Oh, your child’s got a little bit of an issue.
If we just give him this drug every day, he’ll sit quietly in class. I’m shocked. At that. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m in or on this side of all of that, I do not take any pharmaceuticals myself. I, there is a role for some of them antibiotics, but so many of. I think are doing more damage than good.
And right now pharmaceutical companies have got way too much power. They have way too much influence. They spend millions of dollars on politicians and their campaigns. It’s very corrupt.
[00:42:27] Tony Winyard: Absolutely. Time’s pressing on there’s a question I always ask all of my guests and I’ve primed you for this already. Is there a book that’s moved you in any way that comes to mind?
[00:42:39] Jeff Chilton: One of the books that I read back in the sixties, which for me was. A very important book and resonated so deeply. And it was a book called Island by Aldous Huxley,
[00:42:52] Tony Winyard: Oh,
[00:42:54] Jeff Chilton: a and the theme of it was to some degree, a ideal. It was look what we could have if we organized our society in a different way. And one of the interesting parts about it was that when children reached the age of 18, they had a coming of age ceremony where they actually used psychoactive mushrooms. So generally speaking that book and I highly recommend it to anybody. It was just such a wonderful look into what could be. And the whole thing was based around getting back to the natural world.
Today people are just alienated from the natural world. People who live in cities have to go. And take a tour to see how their food is grown. It’s the detachment. And I think that leads to tremendous alienation
And, with this digital society, Digital world bearing down on us, which has many benefits, like what we’re doing right now, but it also has a lot of downsides, like all of the zombies out there with their face and their phone everywhere they go.
So yes, island highly recommend that.
[00:44:13] Tony Winyard: And if people want to find out more about you and your products and social media and so on, where would they.
[00:44:22] Jeff Chilton: nammex.com namme x.com is our website. We actually have a menu there. That’s education. got a lot of super educational materials, including slide shows how we grow our mushrooms, how we process them. So there’s a ton of information there. And then we have a retail site where we sell direct to consumer over the internet.
And that is real mushrooms.com. Real mushrooms.com also has a lot of really good information. So if you wanna learn more, please come to those two sites and look at the educational materials there because we’ve got a lot of it. And it’s really great.
[00:45:15] Tony Winyard: and you mentioned real mushroom site, could people in the UK buy them and would they still be fresh by the time they got here? Or how’s the situation with
[00:45:23] Jeff Chilton: Certainly, and remember, we’re not selling fresh mushrooms,
Right? We’re selling essentially. Mushroom extract powders. And in many cases they’re a supplement in capsules. So that’s, what’s being sold in. I know that real mushrooms now, I’m pretty sure you can get them on Amazon, UK.
The other site that does a lot of worldwide sales is I herb. Dot com that’s a good one as well. We sell it off the website, but we don’t sell it internationally from the real mushrooms website. That’s just, difficult.
[00:45:57] Tony Winyard: Okay. Finally, Jeff, is there a quotation that particularly resonates that you like.
[00:46:03] Jeff Chilton: Yeah, there, there are many, one. Would always say is and this comes from the sixties as somebody that grew up during a war that we all protested. And that is question authority very important. And then let me leave you with an ancient Chinese poem and this is like a Zen cone. It’s something that relates to mushrooms, but I find it. Interesting. So here it is without leaves without buds, without flowers, yet they form fruit as a food. As a tonic, as a medicine, the entire creation is precious.
[00:46:48] Tony Winyard: And do you know who said that?
[00:46:52] Jeff Chilton: I don’t it I’ve found it and all they know is it’s an ancient Chinese poem.
Yeah, it’s beautiful though, because they’re talking about a mushroom as no leaves, no buds, no flowers, and yet it forms a fruit fruiting body and you’re like food tonic and medicine. It’s just yeah, it’s really an interest.
Poem. And to me it describes something that is, I love this, the last one, the entire creation is precious and that’s the way I just think of nature in general.
[00:47:27] Tony Winyard: Jeff, I really appreciate how much you’ve informed us about mushrooms and the whole area around mushrooms. It’s been really informative. So thank you very much.
[00:47:39] Jeff Chilton: You’re very welcome, Tony. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you today.
[00:47:44] Tony Winyard: Lovely. Thanks, Jeff.
Next week is episode 79 with Gavin Andrews, who is the managing director for Heartmath in the UK and Ireland. HeartMath is a system of breathwork self-regulation techniques and biofeedback technology.
We’re going to learn a lot more about what is coherent breathing. And how does it help people in many different ways around their health? So that’s next week, Gavin Andrews, episode 79. And if you know anyone who would get some, real benefits from mushrooms and some of the discussion we’ve had today with Jeff Chilton, please do share the episode with them. And i hope you have a great week
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