Many mushrooms have healing properties:
The use of mushrooms as medicine can be traced back thousands of years in cultures around the world. In China, usage of Ganoderma lucidum (the Reishi mushroom) was first documented around 500 BC. In the Italian Alps region, the frozen body of Otzi (who died approximately 3,300 BC) was found in 1991 carrying Piptoporus betulinus on his tool belt, potentially as a treatment for internal parasites. The Chinese Materia Medica lists dozens of mushrooms used for a range of medical conditions from arthritis and irregular menses to the enhancement of life force (chi) and the treatment of numerous forms of cancer. Modern science has backed up this rich history of anecdotal evidence with countless double-blind human trials and in vitro (lab-based) studies. Much of this modern research comes out of Asian countries. All of this evidence and history has led to a rather extensive (yet still growing) list of medicinal mushrooms and their variety of applications.
Growing the medicinal mushrooms follows the same principles and practices used to cultivate edible and remediative fungi (indeed, many of the above species fall into these two categories as well). For many species, one need only cultivate the mycelium instead of going through the difficult and intensive practice of growing the actual fruiting bodies (the mushrooms) of the fungus. While the fruiting bodies of the above species contain medicinal compounds, the mycelium itself may contain significant quantities of the same or similar compounds. Medicinal mushroom capsules sold in stores are often simply comprised of “myceliated brown rice,” literally mycelium that was cheaply grow on brown rice, dried, powdered, encapsulated, then sold for an incredible markup. Better products actually contain powdered fruitbodies. But for the mycologist, learning to produce your own myceliated brown rice is a cheap, simple, and powerful ability when developing a skill set for self sufficiency and medication.
These are a demonstrated method of mushroom production which can double as CO2 generators in the greenhouse:
As CO2 Generators
In IAF Podcast Episode 26 we spoke to medicinal mushrooms, but I did not explore fungi much further. There are, indeed, other fungi varieties specifically bred to release CO2 as they grow through a medium: