Hate mushrooms on pizza? Think portobello belongs nowhere near your burger? Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to eat these slimy little guys. We’re here to talk about the benefits of certain types of mushrooms when taken medicinally. From putting mushrooms in your coffee (it’s not gross and you can’t taste it, trust us) to taking dried capsules of your favorite medicinal blend, these uniquely named fungi have a surprising host of health benefits.
A history of medicinal mushrooms.
For thousands of years, medicinal mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine and gained even more popularity in North America recently. We’re even seeing these funghi pop up in ultra-trendy drinks like reishi lattes. But don’t worry, they’re usually taken in powdered or capsule form. It’s also super easy to add a spoonful of powdered mushroom to your smoothie, daily veggies, or even in your coffee!
The medicinal mushroom is an array of health benefits. They are brain boosters, hormone helpers, anti-oxidants, and so much more. However, each mushroom is different and offers distinct advantages for different individuals.Shroom studies are still relatively new to Western medicine, and solid evidence for humans needs far more research. But they are still safe for most people to use as supplements to your healthy lifestyle, so let’s take a closer look at the top four mushrooms and learn what makes them so great.
- Lion’s Mane
Stay with us as we dive into more detail on each of these powerful mushrooms and why you might want to start adding them to your diet.
No, it’s not for bravery. Lion’s Mane mushroom can help provide a brain boost. If you have been experiencing any anxiety or caffeine-induced brain fog, try adding some lion’s mane to your cup of joe to help boost your mental clarity.
This mushroom looks like a pom-pom (or, an abstract lion’s mane) and boasts an incredible number of antioxidants and immune-boosting support. It has many benefits to your brain health but is unique in its ability to stimulate bioprotein nerve growth factor (NFG) and myelin. Both of which are essential for brain health with imbalances contributing to diseases like Alzheimers and other neurological diseases.
Lion’s Mane will truly help your brain ‘roar” with improved cognition, increased concentration and alleviated anxiety. Add it to your tea, coffee, or smoothies in the morning for an additional boost.
Relax with reishi. These little guys are as chill as it gets when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. In fact, they are so relaxing that it helps to reduce your stress and overall cortisol levels (leading to weight loss).
Reishi doesn’t just chill you out. It keeps your immune system up and could even fight cancer cells.
The calming properties of reishi come from its abundance of triterpene, a mood-boosting compound. Reishi users have said that these mushrooms have helped their anxiety, depression, and sleep. Like Lion’s Mane, the triterpene in reishi can promote healing and sharpen your focus.
Reishi is best consumed in your tea, hot chocolate or chocolate desserts. Mushroom mousse anyone?
Chaga is a special one with its high level of antioxidants to help fight free-radicals and inflammation.
These mushrooms are dark black and combat oxidative stress (just like dark fruits, blueberries, and elderberries!). This can help prevent skin from showing signs of age, prevent the growth of cancer cells, and can also lower cholesterol.
Chaga powder is a great addition to morning smoothies after your workouts (as it is an anti-inflammatory) or when combined with a spicy chai.
Another energy-booster to the rescue. Cordyceps are here to save the day.
Take them in the morning (capsule form) pre-workout for an extra boost or take them after your morning exercise to keep the momentum going all day. This mushroom stimulates both your energy and libido since it helps the body to use oxygen and enhance your blood flow. Athletes love taking cordyceps for this reason, too.
Could cordyceps improve your coordination? That might be a stretch but it has been shown to improve exercise and athletic performance while also helping with muscle recovery.
Take it in powder form pre or post workout to help with your energy and recovery!
Let these four powerhouse mushrooms join your supplement regime or better yet, add them to your foods and drinks that you make on the regular (you won’t taste them, we promise). Just a tablespoon or two a day will do… or you can get them in capsule form from your natural pharmacy. This might be easier if you don’t like the taste or texture of the mushroom powder, but you won’t know until you try!
Remember to discuss any potential drug interactions with your doctor before adding these “magical” mushrooms to your diet on the regular. Despite them being natural foods, there can still be interactions and side effects like upset stomachs or allergies.
So, which of these mushrooms have you tried or are looking forward to trying? Let us know in the comments below which of these mushrooms you would like to add to your daily routine.