Albatrellus ovinus, or the Northern truffle, is considered a delicacy in Finland and some other Scandinavian countries. In the USA it is called forest lamb, probably because it resembles a blob of wool. Small round mushrooms, snow white unless they’re damaged, grow under the trees in coniferous woods. When the mushroom’s top is scratched or otherwise damaged, it darkens, making mature Albatrellus ovinus’s cap look patterned and spotted.
Truffle is not the best of names for this fungus. Unlike real truffles, Albatrellus ovinus does not possess a pungent aroma or a strong taste. It is, nonetheless, widely used both in cooking and in folk medicine, especially in the North. Curiously, Albatrellus ovinus has not been known for its healing properties, nor was it used in any kind of tinctures to treat wounds and fever.
This little mushroom was an anaesthetic — people ate it to drive away the pain. When chewing on the mushroom, the patient quickly experienced relief while showing no drowsiness, loss of concentration and other signs of being affected by a drug. Obviously, this made Albatrellus a preferred method of pain relief. Under its influence, unlike with alcohol or hallucinogenic mushrooms, the patient would stay lucid and wouldn’t interfere with the doctor’s manipulations. Albatrellus ovinus was widely used to ease the pain, caused by injury and disease.
In the recent years, studies have confirmed that Albatrellus ovinus contains agents with anaesthetic effect. The mushroom’s pulp contains a substance called Scutigeral able to affect the dopamine receptors of the brain and simultaneously suppress the body’s pain receptors quickly reducing and even eliminating the pain.
The skin is known to have plenty of pain receptors, some of which are responsible for sensations other than pain — heat, inflammation, water retention in the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Mostly these are the work of vanilloid receptors, and these are precisely the ones that Albatrellus affects. Further biochemical research discovered that the fungus contains agents called neogrifolin and grifolin able to impact the pain receptors in the skin directly instantly eliminating pain including heat or pH imbalance-related discomfort. Simply put, grifolin and neogrifolin reduce the pain of burns, acid damage and other kinds of injuries. Moreover, it turned out that the regular use of natural Albatrellus ovinus extract mutes the pain receptors and reduces their reaction to various stimuli while simultaneously reducing the skin’s sensitivity and irritability symptoms. Itching, pain, discomfort, redness and flaking gradually reduce and disappear. It has also been revealed that grifolin and neogrifolin quickly and effectively suppress neurovegetative inflammation in the skin caused by the irritation of nervous fibre and stimulation of pain receptors. And if that’s not enough, grifolin and neogrifolin are powerful antioxidants surpassing in the experimental environment even vitamin E. Antioxidant, antimicrobial, lightening and others activities of Albatrellus extract.
The causes of skin sensitivity still remain a mystery, however it has been established that in people with sensitive skin the activity of receptors susceptible to Albatrellus ovinus’ impact is altered. Given that constant irritation, itching, dryness and flaking accelerate skin ageing by causing pigmentation, thin skin and wrinkles, Albatrellus ovinus extract is recommended for the prevention of ageing in sensitive skin as well as soothing and pain management.
Excerpt from “The Science of Beauty” by Dr Tiina Meder
© Dr Tiina Meder
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