Paul Stamets

Advocate, Author, Businessperson, Scientist

Paul Edward Stamets is a mycologist, speaker, author, medical researcher, and entrepreneur. He says he’s “saving the world, one hypha at a time.” Paul is considered an intellectual and expert in fungi, its habitat, medicinal uses, and production. His lectures and presentations show how mushrooms can help the planet and benefit people’s health. He is the founder and owner of Fungi Perfecti LLC. Among other products, the company makes a line of supplements called Host Defense Mushrooms.

Stuttering Stops, Career Begins

Born in Salem, Ohio in 1955, Paul stuttered from an early age and credits his discovery of mushrooms to stuttering. He was often shy and embarrassed by it, which left him staring at the ground most of the time. With all the time he spent looking at the ground, he couldn’t help but notice mushrooms.

He tried psychedelic mushrooms for the first time when he was 18. He ended up climbing a tree and was stuck there during a heavy thunderstorm. At the time, Paul realized he could die at any moment but also found the experience overwhelmingly beautiful. Looking inside himself, he felt as if he was part of the forest and the universe. As he reflected on his life, he told himself over and over in his mind to stop stuttering. Later, when the storm ended and he headed home, he ran into an attractive woman who was a neighbor of his. Normally, talking to her was nearly impossible because of his shyness and stammer. But this time, they exchanged greetings without incident, to the surprise of them both. His stuttering never returned. This transformation led Paul to devote his life to studying psychedelic and other species of mushrooms.

Paul studied biology and electron microscopy at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and received his bachelor’s degree in 1979. In 1983, he traveled to China with his mentors Gary Lincoff and Andrew Weil. The trip inspired him to extend his research work into Asian varieties of medicinal mushrooms.

Mushroom Milestones

Paul started Fungi Perfecti in 1980, selling exotic culinary mushrooms and giving seminars to educate the public. The company now conducts research and sells supplements, mushroom growing kits, gourmet foods, clothing, and cultivation equipment and supplies.

Collaborating with scientific organizations and research institutes is essential to the work Paul does. He has worked with the National Institutes of Health, Washington State University, and the US Department of Agriculture. Over the years, he has discovered and named several new species of psilocybin mushrooms. His research work covers new medical applications for mushrooms, cultivation methods, and their nutritional properties, among other topics.1–10

Paul has written six books including “Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World” (1996) and “Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.” Also, he has been awarded several patents for a variety of mushroom-centric inventions including pesticides and cultivation tools.

More information on Paul and his work is available on the Fungi Perfecti website, his Twitter feedFacebook page, and via his TED Talks. His 2008 TED Talk, “6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World” has been viewed over 4.5 million times.

    References
  1. Stamets PE. Medicinal Polypores of the Forests of North America: Screening for Novel Antiviral Activity. IJM. 2005;7(3). doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v7.i3.210
  2. Stamets PE. Insights into the Cultivation of Polyporaceae Mushrooms: The Ancient Ones. IJM. 2001;3(2-3). doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v3.i2-3.140
  3. Stamets PE. Potentiation of Cell-Mediated Host Defense Using Fruitbodies and Mycelia of Medicinal Mushrooms. IJM. 2003;5(2). doi:10.1615/InterJMedicMush.v5.i2.70
  4. Taylor A, Flatt A, Beutel M, Wolff M, Brownson K, Stamets P. Removal of Escherichia coli from synthetic stormwater using mycofiltration. Ecological engineering. 2015;78:79-86.
  5. Stamets PE. Antipox Properties of Fomitopsis officinalis (Vill.: Fr.) Bond. et Singer (Agarikon) from the Pacific Northwest of North America. IJM. 2005;7(3). doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v7.i3.60
  6. Abrams DI, Couey P, Shade SB, Kelly ME, Kamanu-Elias N, Stamets P. Antihyperlipidemic effects of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms) in HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral therapy. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2011;11(1):60.
  7. Hwang CH, Jaki BU, Klein LL, et al. Chlorinated Coumarins from the Polypore Mushroom Fomitopsis officinalis and Their Activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Nat Prod. 2013;76(10):1916-1922. doi:10.1021/np400497f
  8. Stamets PE. Techniques for the Cultivation of the Medicinal Mushroom Royal Sun Agaricus-Agaricus blazei Murr. (Agaricomycetideae). IJM. 2000;2(2). doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v2.i2.50
  9. Stamets PE. Notes on Nutritional Properties of Culinary-Medicinal Mushrooms. IJM. 2005;7(1&2). doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v7.i12.100
  10. Eira AF da, Didukh MY, Stamets PE, Wasser SP, Amazonas MAL de. Is a Widely Cultivated Culinary-Medicinal Royal Sun Agaricus (the Himematsutake Mushroom) Indeed Agaricus blazei Murrill? IJM. 2002;4(4). doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v4.i4.10