If you haven’t noticed, medicinal mushrooms are showing up in everything – from lattes to superfood powders. Varieties like chaga, reishi, and lion's mane have become the next “it” superfoods, and for good reason! With a wide range of benefits like energy support, stress management, and cognitive and gut health, these fungi are definitely worth getting to know (and for the record, they are not the same as psychedelic – or “magic” – mushrooms).
We’ve all heard the term superfood being thrown around with veggies like kale and cauliflower, but it’s about time that these little mushies got given the same label. While traditional mushrooms have obvious nutritional benefits, the fungi that we should all be looking further into are part of a class called medicinal mushrooms. Labelled this due to their medicinal properties, medicinal mushrooms are now being used for a wide range of conditions including fatigue, hormone imbalance and excessive stress. And while they’re relatively new in our world of wellness, they have been used by traditional healers for thousands of years.
It is now common knowledge that beauty and immunity begin in the belly, and you may have already heard of the groundbreaking research of the gut/brain connection (axis). This means that the health of your gut, and more importantly, your gut microbiome, determines the state of your mental health.
Your gut microbiome is a term to describe the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut, and directly impact every system in your body, even the endocrine system (the one that makes hormones). Previously thought to be "made" only in the brain, we now know they are produced throughout the body, and it is within the brains 100 billion neurotransmitters (the cells that send messages in your brain), where these hormones are adequately used, so you can enjoy a healthy body and mind.
So where do mushrooms come into the equation? In many ways, so many in fact that it would take thousands of pages to truly delve into how the various types of mushrooms can impact your cells. So we will focus on the popular mushrooms.
Each medicinal mushroom acts as a prebiotic and antioxidant to feed and nourish the trillions of bacteria inside you, and help destroy the billions of bad bacteria that are linked to everything from depression, anxiety, digestive issues and cancer.
Not only that, but mushrooms like Lions Mane, have been clinically proven time again, to repair, strengthen and stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain, to improve cognitive function, memory and slow down neural degeneration.
Each variety of mushroom has their own unique compounds and therapeutic effects, but they also share a common list of benefits, including:
- Highest source of natural melatonin to aid sleep
- Highest source of natural antioxidants
- Boosted immunity
- Reduction in stress
- Anti-aging benefits
- Enhanced memory
- Improved mood
- Manage depression and anxiety
- Improve endurance
- Decrease fatigue
So let’s take a closer look at a few of the best and most common mushrooms and their related benefits.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are one of the most popular mushrooms when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. Known for their immunity boosting properties and anti-carcinogenic benefits, they also aid in reducing stress and putting your hormones back into balance.
If you’re feeling like you’re in a bit of a “rut” (yep, we’ve all been there!) adding Reishi into your diet is a great natural way to get your zen on whilst also reaping other health benefits.
- Liver support and protection, which also aids in detoxing the body
- Protects against viruses and free radicals
- Boosts immunity by increasing the activity of white blood cells
- Enhances sleep with it’s soothing and relaxation effects
Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) are an antioxidant powerhouse that have over 6 times more antioxidant properties than the beloved acai berry. The Chaga mushroom will provide your body with all the necessary nutrients to fight free radicals and inflammation and will be a great addition to your anti-aging regime.
- Boosts immunity whilst also fighting against bacteria and viruses and reducing inflammation.
- Lowers blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes-like symptoms.
- Contains vitamins and minerals important for improving hair, skin and nails.
- Can repair skin damage caused by UV exposure, pollution and aging.
The Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus), named after it’s unusual look, is a potent medicinal mushroom that's been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Supporting new cell growth in the body and assisting the enteric nervous system, its main function is to enhance mental clarity, memory and focus.
- Enhances cognitive abilities by regulating and renewing cells in the nervous system.
- Stimulates your brain cells which aids memory function, concentration, and can relieve depression and anxiety.
- The high level of antioxidants aids in lowering inflammation, which is extremely helpful for those who suffer from digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Maitake is among the world's most beneficial medicinal mushrooms. This feathered mushroom offers a wide range of health benefits, including its ability to help support healthy blood sugar levels and immune health. It also promotes cellular health and can be used for general wellness or in conjunction with other mushrooms for a synergistic effect.
- The beta glucan content found in the Maitake mushroom protects the immune system, as well as helping ward off any viruses.
- Helps fight against pathogens which is particularly helpful when you’re stressed and have a weakened immune system.
- Helps to promote natural balance and healthy stress responses in the body
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels, reduces insulin production and supports weight management.
Adding a half teaspoon of medicinal mushroom powder to your before bed tea or morning coffee is a great way to reap their significant health benefits. Our 100% certified organic & wildcrafted Adaptogen Mushrooms elixir contain all 4 of the above medicinal mushrooms, so adding this in rotation to your daily diet or supplement routine will encourage long term results. So, with all of these amazing health benefits, what are you waiting for? Try them today!