Origin: The word mushroom is derived from the French word for fungi and moulds. One day, around 1650, a melon grower near Paris discovered mushrooms growing on his growth fertilizer. He decided to cultivate this new exotic delicacy commercially and to introduce it in exclusive Parisian restaurants. It was at that time that the mushroom was given the nickname ‘Parisian mushroom’. Later on, the French gardener, Chambry, discovered that the caves had just the right cool and moist environment for cultivating mushrooms, afterwich a large-scale mushroom cultivation developed in the caves around Paris.

Fungi were most likely cultivated for the first time around the year 600 in Asia. In Europe, the first cultivated fungi, the mushroom, was introduced in the 17th century. Mushrooms were introduced into the Netherlands for the first time at the beginning of the 19th century, but it was not until after the 1900s that they were cultivated on a large-scale in the marl mines in Limburg. In the early years, the mushroom was still very exclusive and only available to the elite. However, since then, better and more effective methods have been developed and there has been a huge increase in mushroom cultivation. It was only after 1950 that the Dutch consumer became familiar with the mushroom, and in the meantime, there are various areas in the Netherlands that specialize in the cultivation of mushrooms, mainly south of the great rivers. The Dutch mushroom cultivation is especially known for the strict control it keeps on the cultivation.

In the last 50 years, the Netherlands has grown into the largest mushroom production country within the European Union, with an annual production of 270 million kilograms and more than 10,000 jobs. Next to China and the United States, the Netherlands holds 3rd place in the market. China is in first place with 70% of the world’s production. Every year, millions of tons of mushrooms are cultivated worldwide.

Scientifically: A mushroom, or toadstool, is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source.
Mushroom, the conspicuous umbrella-shaped fruiting body (sporophore) of certain fungi, typically of the order Agaricales in the phylum Basidiomycota but also of some other groups. Popularly, the term mushroom is used to identify the edible sporophores; the term toadstool is often reserved for inedible or poisonous sporophores. There is, however, no scientific distinction between the two names, and either can be properly applied to any fleshy fungus fruiting structure. In a very restricted sense, mushroom indicates the common edible fungus of fields and meadows (Agaricus campestris). Umbrella-shaped sporophores are found chiefly in the agaric family (Agaricaceae), members of which bear thin, bladelike gills on the undersurface of the cap from which the spores are shed.

The sporophore of an agaric consists of a cap (pileus) and a stalk (stipe). The sporophore emerges from an extensive underground network of threadlike strands (mycelium). An example of an agaric is the honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea). Mushroom mycelia may live hundreds of years or die in a few months, depending on the available food supply. As long as nourishment is available and temperature and moisture are suitable, a mycelium will produce a new crop of sporophores each year during its fruiting season.

Usage: Mushrooms are one of the most favored food items. It is used in savory dishes all across the world. Apart from culinary use,  Mushrooms contain antioxidants as well as compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. The topical use of these natural compounds promotes healing and fights inflammation. Mushroom extracts are often used in skin products for treating skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and acne.  

Below are some DIY with mushrooms:

-    Take 3-4 mushrooms, make a paste with a teaspoon of yogurt and water. Apply this paste on the face for 5-10 minutes. Rinse later. This paste helps in adding plumpness to the face and clears out any blemishes.
-    Boil some chopped mushrooms with water. Once the water is reduced to half and chilled. Use this water as a face mist. This helps in keeping the skin hydrated.
-    A paste of mushroom with oatmeal works excellent as a moisturizing scrub. 
-    Mushroom water is an effective hair rinse. It helps in strengthening the roots and making the tresses smooth.