Telluride Mushroom Festival 2023: Co-Founder/Keynote Speaker Dr. Andrew Weil!

The Telluride Mushroom Festival is back for the 43rd year in a row. In just a few weeks from now, the Town of Telluride will be taken over by amanita hat-wearing, mold- and spore-worshipping mycelium fanatics.

Sorry, the 2023 Telluride Mushroom Festival is sold out. And there is no waiting list.

Go here for more on the history of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. (Scroll back to 2009.)

For the down low from Festival co-founder and keynote speaker Dr. Andrew Weil on the “Mushroom Renaissance,” please read on. And listen to Dr. Andrew’s podcast.

Dr. Andrew Weil,, courtesy, Healthy Lifestyle Brands.

Millions of dollars are now being spent by the likes of hedge fund billionaires and companies such as Google to hack the code of life and push the human life span past what in the scientific community is considered the apparent max (of 120 years). But based on hieroglyphics dating back almost 5000 years, Egyptians already held the secret to immortality: mushrooms.

“The delicious flavor of mushrooms intrigued the pharaohs of Egypt so much that they decreed mushrooms were food for royalty and that no commoner could ever touch them. This assured themselves the entire supply of mushrooms. In various other civilizations throughout the world, including Russia, China, Greece, Mexico and Latin America, mushroom rituals were practiced. Many believed that mushrooms had properties that could produce super-human strength, help in finding lost objects and lead the soul to the realm of the gods….,” said

In truth, mushrooms have been exalted as a superfood since the beginning of time, recognized by Greek physician Hippocrates and in Chinese medical texts for their healing properties.

In the 15th century, at the height of the Renaissance, diet manuals asserted that the key to a happier existence was eating closer to the source, namely mushrooms.

After the conquest of Mexico in the 16th century, Catholic priests observed the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms by natives, who later shared their visions of The Future. Was it magic? Short answer: no, psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in about 200 species of mushrooms.

In the 17th century, the Sun King, King Louis XIV, was allegedly the first to grow mushrooms in his kingdom in special caves near Paris. Soon, the French introduced mushrooms into haute cuisine.

During the 1800s, folks rebelled against domestic cooking and went out into the woods to forage for the original prehistoric remedy.

By the late 19th century, across the pond, Americans were cooking up mushrooms in our own kitchens.

And today? Given a growing trend among foodies to favor farm-to-table or locally sourced taste treats, mushrooms are more popular than ever, with entire cookbooks devoted to their preparation. And that is a good thing because mushrooms contain some of the most potent natural medicines on the planet.

But wait, there’s more.

Much more…

Over the past few years, but really picking up a head of steam in 2022, mushrooms are making big headlines. This shroom boom or “Mushroom Renaissance” is the subject of Dr. Andrew Weil’s keynote talk at the upcoming Telluride Mushroom Festival, which he co-founded back in 1981.

The pandemic’s DIY addiction helped fuel a foraging frenzy and grow-it-at-home craze.

The plant-based eating movement is helping drive demand for fungi-derived food substances, no doubt spurred on by concerns for the environment. And personal health and self-care fanatics are lacing their coffee with reishi-cacao mix and sprinkling adaptogenic mushroom protein powder into their smoothies.

Vegan leather from fungi mycelium is inspiring top fashion designers, including Stella McCartney, Hermes, Adidas, Lululemon and Gucci.

Mushrooms are being employed in bioremediation to clean up after disasters like wildfires and oil spills because mushrooms are know to thrive on waste. (For more, ask Telluride Mushroom Fest regular “Rad” Tradd Cotter.)

And one day soon we could be insulating our homes with materials derived from fungi.

The global mushroom market was valued at $58.8 billion in 2021 and should reach an estimated $86.5 billion by 2027, according to market research firm IMARC.

So could mushrooms really be the world savior we’ve been seeking?

Dr. Andrew Weil weighs in….

Dr. Andrew Weil, more:

An internationally recognized expert on medicinal plants, drugs and addiction, alternative medicine, and the reform of medical education. Dr. Andrew Weil is a leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, the approach to healthcare which encompasses body, mind, and spirit.

Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Andrew is founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology, and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. The Center is the leading effort in the world focussed on developing a comprehensive curriculum in integrative medicine.

Dr. Andrew is also a founding member of the Telluride Mushroom Festival, this year August 16 – August 20, 2023. Since 1981 the event has celebrated all things mycological including the newest advancements in mushroom science.

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