Coprinus comatus is a medicinal fungus in Hungary, which belongs to the Agrucis family. In 2009 it was awarded ’the Fungus of the Year’ title in Hungary. In addition to its extremely high biological value, it is a delicious variety and a popular kitchen ingredient.
The species was first described in 1780 by Otto Friedrich Müller; a Danish biologist had named Agaricus comatus before Christiaan Hendrik Persoon gave the current name of the fungus in 1797.
It is widely used for soups, sauces, roasts, garnishes, salads, fried mushrooms, egg dishes, as well as a mushroom puree and mushroom soup.
It is made up of a distinctive stalk and cap. The tip of its cap is brownish in star shape and the rest of the fungus is greyish-whitish. Its name in Hungarian language (gyapjas tintagomba, literally ‘woolly ink-mushroom’) is partly due to its characteristic cap, which is covered by dense flakes and fluffs which shape is elongated in the vertical direction. Partly due to the fact that when the fungus is aged, its cap is melted into a black, ink-like liquid. Its growth is extremely fast, depending on the effects of the environment, the whole body is developed for up to 2-3 days. Usually, they settle individually, rarely in group of 2-3, or in full mass. Its pulp is white, soft, and has a pleasant smell and taste.
It is found throughout Europe, which is able to settle in a variety of places, as it is not particularly sensitive to soil. It is a saprobionite species, it is found in grasslands, in grasslands, gardens, roadsides, ditches, sports grounds, waterfronts, animal farms, and rarely in forest soil rich in humus. From plain areas to high mountain ranges, it can settle anywhere. From April to November we can search for it in its natural habitats.
It is particularly interesting about it, which has been discovered over the last few years, that it has actually a predatory, carnivorous lifestyle. It also breaks down the harmful nematodes found in the soil, which is not unique to large mushrooms, but is a rare property.
What is contains
Mushroom-related studies found that it contains significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, each of which is found to be unusually balanced in this species. In addition, its protein concentration is significant. The fresh sporophore contains 8-13% dry matter, in which protein content is 22-38 %. Its nutrient value is demonstrated by the fact that all 20 amino acids are found in the mushroom, including 9 essential amino acids (i.e., vital but cannot be obtained by human): histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
The mineral content of the fungus (100 g, dried form)
- 930 mg potassium,
- 7 mg sodium,
- 74 mg magnesium,
- 2 mg iron,
- 27 kg calcium,
- 1 mg manganese,
- 3 mg zinc,
- 1 mg copper.
There are 74 grams of vitamin C, B3, 39 mg of vitamin B3 (niacin), 3 mg of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 1 mg of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in 100 grams.
Its beneficial effects
In folk medicine in the Far East, it has been used as a curative treatment for digestion and haemorrhoids for a long time. Additionally, it has a positive effect in the following areas:
Reduces glucose level in blood
The main effect of the fungus is related to the carbohydrate content, which improves the use of glucose and reduces the blood glucose level due to its beneficial influence on pancreatic insulin production.
Scientists at the University of Florida reported in 2017 that one of the proteins (Y3) of Caprinus comatus could bind to certain types of proteins on leukaemia cells. This process generated cascades of enzymes that killed 90% of leukaemia cells, suggesting that this fungus can be a promising for new types of leukaemia treatments due to the protein content of Y3.
Enhances immune system
A comparative study showed that Coprinus comatus showed the highest lectin activity among the medicinal fungus. Lectins are complex proteins that have a positive influence on metabolic processes such as cell division, ribosomal protein biosynthesis, cell agglutination, and the immune system. For this reason, this mushroom can also help losing weight.
Additional therapy for sarcoma and some hormone-dependent tumours
Several studies found that some components of this mushroom are able to block receptor sites for sex hormones on tumour cells. This result in the activity of cells in hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer, that is, Coprinus comatus can inhibit tumour cell growth in these diseases.
- Park HJ, Yun J, Jang S-H, Kang SN, Jeon B-S, et al. (2014) Coprinus comatus Cap Inhibits Adipocyte Differentiation via Regulation of PPARc and Akt Signaling Pathway. PLoS ONE 9(9): e105809. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105809
- Pohleven, J., Korosec, T., Gregori, A. (2016): Medicinal mushrooms. Published by MycoMedica
- Hideyo Miyake, Tsuneo Takemaru and Tatsuo Ishikawa (1980). Sequential production of enzymes and basidiospore formation in fruiting bodies of Coprinus macorhizus. Archives of Microbiology, 126 (3), 201-205.
- Cornish, Jim. Coprinus Comatus: the Shaggy Mane. Fungi Magazine, Volume 5 – No. 4, Fall 2012 ISSN 1941-4943
- Freedman, Louise. The Mycological Society of San Francisco Cookbook, (1987) Louise Freedman & MSSF http://www.mssf.org/cookbook/shaggymane.html
- Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprinus_comatus
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- Jancsó G. (2007): Húsevő a gyapjas tintagomba? Magyar Gombász Vol. 5 /No. 18/ 16-17.