Market for Wild Medicinal Mushrooms
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: David W Smith
Posted: Before April 1998

Do you know of a market for non-cultivated ‘medicinal’ mushrooms?... mainly, "Kawaratake" or "Yun-zhi" (Trametes versicolor) but also, Schizophyllum commune, Ganoderma applanatum, Ganoderma tsugae, Fomitopsis pinicola, and Fomitopsis officinalis. These fungi are commonly used in Japan and China, and I am looking for an outlet here in the U.S. Hoping you might be able to shed some light.

It is not clear whether you are seeking to buy these mushrooms or find a potential distributor who might sell mushrooms you are trying to sell. If you are trying to locate these for your own use, we do not know anyone carrying them. If you have them for sale, see our comments below.

The commercial market for medicinal mushrooms is still limited in North America. Recently, growers were having difficulty selling several hundred kilograms of good quality reishi mushrooms. In our attempt to assist them we learned that at least one distributor of bulk medicinal herbs had tried reishi but could not move enough inventory and decided to drop reishi. We feel the distributor acted prematurely because the interest in reishi is has yet to take off in North America. We fully expect reishi will become a viable specialty crop in the near future. The plant’s immuno-modulating properties are likely to become important as the baby-boomers age.

The limited market for reishi suggests that the market for other wild medicinal mushrooms will be limited also. With specialized marketing it may be possible to create interest, but be prepared to allocate resources to educating the public about these mushrooms. Even under the best of circumstances, it takes at least three years to develop a market for a new herb.

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