It’s surprising how many people start smiling when it comes up that you pick mushrooms. There are a lot of people who have childhood memories about mushroom-picking, but nowdays most of them don’t have time for it. For beginners, usually on their first mushroom tour it turns out if it’s love at first sight or not. Most of the time, it is! Especially if they are lucky enough to do it together with one of the ‘famous oldies’ who have a lot of exciting stories to tell. In memory of uncle Nehéz Zoli.

Most people know Pálfalvy György as MushroomGyuri, whom mycology is both profession and hobby. He used to educate, market, and examine mushrooms. Nowdays he mostly leads tours and works as a partner of restaurants. Our family has been visiting the forests with him for almost two decades. He handled every silly and over and over asked questions with incredible patience. His grandfather took him as a child to pick mushrooms and large variety of plants, that’s why we had a difficult job to decide which one to put into this post. Finally he chose shepherd’s purse and linghzi mushroom.

  • At my grandmother’s and godmother’s house, a large variety of plants were drying and hanging on the veranda. I remember camomile, nettle and acacia mostly. My parents yet had a connection to the land, just like similar people with peasant roots. They didn’t teach me anything particularly, instead, as we were living our everydays, I picked up the knowledge, gathered and used what grew around us. I’m grateful for the heritage, that I can believe in the healing power of the herbs and not a single day goes by for me without drinking a herbal tea or using some kind of herb. I gladly try new, unknown things, shepherd’s purse was one of them.
  • I’m curious about this, because I use shepherd’s purse as well. I make tincture of it, which gives quick help for the tired muscle after a hard training.
  • One of my friends had PMS (premenstrual syndrome), with brutal bleeding and painful cramps. Two cups of shepherd’s purse per day helped her masterfully. The pain ceased, and now instead of 8-10 days of suffering, her period lasts only 3-4 days with minimal bleeding. I dry and hang up the upper 10-20cm of shepherd’s purse, after I grind it and use one teaspoon for each cup. She starts to drink it one to two days before her predicted period and she continues drinking it until her period lasts.
  • It’s been decades that your life is all about mushrooms. We picked together plenty of early morels, but for me the best experience was when I found the first death cap of my life. My heart was beating in my throat as we carried it to show you.
  • Basically, there are two types of mycologists: ‘tummy-mycologist, who picks for culinary purposes for themselves or for others, and the explorer who is motivated by the pleasure of the discovery and gaining knowledge. None of them is better or worse than the other. Usually the explorer also loves the mushroom food, and the tummy-mycologist also gets excited about a ‘huge catch’.
  • Medicinal mushrooms have a huge tradition in some places, but in reality we don’t know much about them. It’s an enormous world, waiting for research.
  • In Chinese pharmacies we can buy a huge variety of medicinal mushrooms, or think about the chaga mushroom, which is mentioned in Szolzsenyicin’s book ‘Rákosztály’. It’s less common here, giant puffballs were used for healing the bleeding wounds of animals. I pick and use the lingzhi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) for medicinal purposes. I heard a couple times that lingzhi mushroom grown in Hungarian forests is not effective. I think it’s nonsense, I have very positive experiences with it. It has a vitalizing effect, you become less exhaustible, most people notice as a first affect that less sleep was enough for them. I consume them as a cure, two times a year, for one month, two times a day as an infusion or with kefir, but you can put it into coffee as well. For a long time, I cooked them in my moca pot, I mixed grounded coffee with a bit of mushroom grist. The lingzhi mushroom is solid, so it has to be grounded, and we get a cotton-like structure. Be prepared for a bitter taste, and also put it into a filter or tea-ball, otherwise swimming fluffs in the tea can be very annoying.
  • As we were talking about this article, uncle Nehéz Zoli came into question. I have to admit, I can thank my love for mycology for him. We recalled common stories and we tried to find out his secret.
  • Yes, but we only made an attempt. He had huge knowledge, great sense of humour. He was dedicated, in his 80s he still visited forests and fields looking for the beauty of nature with an open mind. He is an example for every nature-lover.

MushroomGyuri, namely György Pálfalvy can be contacted at +36 70 946 7257, and also, you can join his Facebook groups: „Év gombája választás”, or „Császárgalóca legyen újra gyűjthető gomba!”

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