Medicinal and Culinary Uses of Mushrooms and Truffles

Medicinal and Culinary Uses of Mushrooms and Truffles


Medicinal and Culinary Uses of Mushrooms and Truffles



Mushrooms and truffles have prominent standing in our cuisine as well as medicinal history. Labeled as neither fruit nor vegetables, they fall under the category of parasitic fungi. They are unable synthesize their own proteins and carbohydrates and hence leech on the nutrients produced by other plants and trees. Their reproduction via spores allows them to propagate without seeds and hence can manifest in different areas without reliance on seed carrying evolutionary methods.

• Reference in Hadith: (الكماة).
• Reference in Quran: Mann (المن).
• Arabic Name: Mushrooms are called Fatr (فطر), Trufflesa are called Kamaat (الكماة).
• Latin/Botanical Name: Common edible mushrooms (Agaricus Bisporus), truffles (Tuber).
• English Name: Earthnut, truffle, mushroom.
• Urdu Name: Khumbi Mann.


Quranic References of Mushrooms and Truffles

Following are the Quranic references of mushrooms and truffles. While not explicitly mentioned, they fall under the category of “Mann” and hence are officially mentioned in the Holy Quran:

• Surah II (Al-Baqarah-the Heifer), verse 57.
• Surah XX (Ta-Ha-Mystic Letters T.H.), verse 80-81.


What are Mushrooms?


With over 50,000 known species, mushrooms are classified as fungi, with the fruit body of the mold being labelled as the fungus. The actual mycelium in fact spreads throughout the ground in expansive networks which can span over several thousand square meter. Mushrooms cannot be labelled as plants, as they lack chlorophyll to synthesize their own food and steal it from their host. While most mushrooms only steal nutrients, some form symbiotic relations with their host and provide benefits as well. Among all mushrooms, roughly 25% are non-poisonous and non-toxic, which makes them edible. However, from this only roughly 4% have actual nutritional value and taste, which emphasizes their proper identification before consumption.


What are Truffles?


Truffles are fungi belonging to the family of Terfeziaceae (desert truffles). The fruiting body is close to oval in shape with small protrusions on the surface and has a strong, distinct fragrance. The rich, unique flavor of truffles makes them highly sought after and since they are seasonal, it further adds to their value.
Truffles grow underground, there they absorb nutrients from plant roots. A fruiting body typically reaches 10 cm in length after growing from April to June and can be harvested between November and March. It forms symbiotic relations with its hosts, providing it nutrients and in some cases performing nitrogen fixing in return for the nutrients it saps. Truffle hunters use trained dogs to sniff out truffles from the ground by relying on the aroma they give off when they are ready for harvest.


The Main Differences Between Truffles and Mushrooms

Following are the main differences between truffles and mushrooms:

1. Scarcity


Mushrooms can grow in almost any location, provided their spores can reach there. With its numerous varieties and propagation through spores, they can quickly grow in different areas under conducive environment. However, truffles require more specific conditions and grow underground, which makes finding them even more difficult. People train dogs to sniff out truffles.

2. Growth


Mushrooms can be found growing anywhere above the ground and can be easily farmed by providing them the right conditions. Truffles grow near tree roots from which they sap nutrients for growth. They are specific to seasons, unlike mushrooms, which makes them even harder to farm.


3. Cuisine


Mushrooms have a mild flavor, which makes them suitable for usage as side dishes and addition as an ingredient. Truffles have a very rich and deep flavor, which makes them perfect for being the main dish itself.



4. Availability and Variations


Mushrooms are available throughout the season and have numerous varieties. In comparison, truffles have a very short seasonal life and have much less edible varieties.




Nutritional Information

Following is the nutritional information of white mushrooms per 100 grams, verified by the USDA National Nutrient data base.

No. Nutrients Unit Value per 100 g
01 Water g 92.45
02 Energy kcal 22
03 Protein g 3.09
04 Total lipid (fat) g 0.34
05 Carbohydrate, by difference g 3.26
06 Fiber, total dietary g 1
07 Sugars, total g 1.98
08 Calcium, Ca mg 3
09 Iron, Fe mg 0.5
10 Magnesium, Mg mg 9
11 Phosphorus, P mg 86
12 Potassium, K mg 318
13 Sodium, Na mg 5
14 Zinc, Zn mg 0.52
15 Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 2.1
16 Thiamin mg 0.081
17 Riboflavin mg 0.402
18 Niacin mg 3.607
19 Vitamin B-6 mg 0.104
20 Folate, DFE µg 17
21 Vitamin B-12 µg 0.04
22 Vitamin A, RAE µg 0
23 Vitamin A, IU IU 0
24 Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 0.01
25 Vitamin D (D2 + D3) µg 0.2
26 Vitamin D IU 7
27 Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 0
28 Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.05
29 Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0
30 Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.16
31 Fatty acids, total trans g 0
32 Cholesterol mg 0

Following is the nutritional information of truffle per 100 grams, verified by the USDA National Nutrient data base.

No. Nutrient Unit Value per 100 g
01 Energy kcal 284
02 Protein g 9
03 Fiber, total dietary g 70
04 Carbohydrates, total g 73
05 Potassium mg 754
06 Iron mg 32% RDI
07 Magnesium
08 Sodium, Na mg 35
09 Calcium 15% RDI
10 Vitamin A IU 0% RDI
11 Vitamin C 0% RDI
12 Vitamin D 0% RDI
13 Vitamin B-6 5% RDI
14 Total Fat 0.7
15 Fatty acids, total saturated g 0
16 Fatty acids, total trans g 0
17 Cholesterol g 0

Benefits of Truffles According to TibeNabvi

According to scholarly consensus, derivations from Ahadith as well as narrations by Sahaba, it appears that the reference is towards truffles. Hence, we will be discussing the benefits of truffles according to tibenabvi:

1. Antioxidant Properties


Truffles contain strong antioxidant properties, which makes them excellent to counter cellular damage caused by free radicals. It is also good for delaying the natural aging process of the body.



2. Loaded with Nutrients


From proteins to trace minerals, truffles are loaded with specific nutrients which are otherwise hard to get from other sources. Hazrat Abdullah Bin Abbas (RA) said that The Holy Prophet (SAW) came to us & said that “When Jannah (الجنة) smiled Kamaat (الكماة) dropped on earth & when earth smiled Kabr (الكبر) grew” (Tibbun Nabawi: 666).


3. Antiseptic Qualities


In an experiment, the aqueous extract of Terfezia claveryi Chatin brown truffles was tested against escherichia coli, staphylococcus aureus and staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria. The test yielded surprising results, with the truffle extract displaying remarkably strong antimicrobial activity inhibition. Hazrat Suaheeb (RA) said that The Holy Prophet (SAW) quoted “For your beneficial, Kamaat (الكماة) is present, that are among Mann (المن) & its water is cure (شفاء) for eyes (للعين)” (Abu Nu-aim: 258).


4. Possible Aphrodisiac


While it has been labelled as an aphrodisiac since ancient times, researchers have yet to confirm whether the rumors are true. The smell closely resembles the male pheromone androstenone, which is why it is often confused with the effects. Its high protein and complex amino acids are being research to verify the claims as an aphrodisiac.


5. Cure for Depression


Truffles have been found to provide cure from depression as it contains polyhydroxy sterol glycoside, also called tuberoside. Moreover, it contains 4 additional ergostanes which affect cellular activities.



6. Zero Cholesterol


Truffles contain zero cholesterol, making them perfect for people suffering from medical conditions related to cholesterol. Combined with its list of nutrients, it provides the trace elements required for activating metabolism and burning fat.



7. Rich in Proteins


Truffles pack close to 30% protein content with complex amino acids that are hard to get from an average diet. In cases of following keto diet, it can be relied on to provide protein.




8. Treating Eye Problems


Truffle extract drops have displayed a remarkable potential for treatment of trachoma, which is caused by bacterial infection. Not only does it inhibit the bacteria but accelerates the overall healing process as well. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) said that some people use to say Kamaat (الكماة) are small pox (جدرى) of earth. The Holy Prophet (SAW) responded by saying “Kamaat (الكماة) is among Mann (المن) & its water is cure for eyes & Ajwah (dates) are from Jannah ( الجنة) it saves from Poisoning” (Ibn Ma-jah: 3582; Book no. 31).
There have been reported cases of Sahaba using the extract itself as well. Qatadah says that Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه said that he took 3 or 5 or 7 Kamaat (الكماة) & drew out water from them & collected the water in a bottle & used the water for a slave eye disease & her eyes got cured (Tirmizi: 2211; Book No. 28).


Mirza Mussawer Mirza Mussawer is a software engineer and blogging enthusiast with special interest in Tib-e-Nabvi. Islam has an embellished history in medical sciences with its core belief in healing of both spirit and body. By following Tib-e-Nabvi, one can follow the ways of The Holy Prophet (SAW) and achieve complete healing and restoration without any side effects.