The Chinese and the Egyptians were among the first people to appreciate the value of the mushroom. Egyptians associated mushroom with immortality and since they revered their Pharaohs, they included mushroom as a specialty in the diet of the royal family. Many countries in Asia and Eastern Europe have been fascinated by the mushroom for years. China in particular associated it with longevity. As such, these cultures included it in their diet and had fun with it in the process, by organizing communal mushroom hunting errands.
Others like the Romans, however, went to the extreme by castigating the mushroom for its poisonous potency since it apparently killed their Emperor Claudius in a premeditated murder.
Today, the mushroom is part of expensive cuisines in luxurious restaurants all over the world. It is also used as a medication as it provides precious ingredients for modern medicine. Mushroom is also used as an effective leavening and fermentation agent in food processes. In 2008, UC Davis published a review of medicinal mushroom research and encouraged further research by way of clinical trials.
Subsequently, the mushroom has ceased to be just a wild incidental growth from decomposing material and has taken up its place as a commercial crop. Of course, the species that are best suited to wild growth are left to continue in their habitat, and still get hunted reminiscent of the good old days.