Has anyone else noticed mushroom tonics, elixirs, and coffees, are popping up all over Instagram and in many of our favorite trendy health spots? Well, it’s because ‘shrooms have some pretty amazing health benefits!
Magic mushrooms (not talking about the trippy kind!) have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Indigenous cultures used these powerful superfoods in teas, soups, etc. and now wellness companies like Moon Juice, Four Sigmatic and Sun Potion are making it easy for us to benefit from the functional fungi. Medicinal mushrooms are available in a variety of forms: powdered, capsules, extracts, drinks, and whole food.
Mushrooms are one of the most scientifically studied superfoods. Research shows that different types of mushrooms have incredible benefits for your brain, hormones, immune system, energy levels, mental acuity, mood, etc. So who wouldn’t want want to embrace the ‘shroom!? Here are six popular medicinal mushrooms and what they can do for your health:
Reishi is your drug-free Xanax.
Reishi mushrooms are often called the “queen of mushrooms” due to their powerful adaptogenic effects on mind and body. Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, reishi tea has been used for thousands of years as an immune and longevity tonic.
Reishi helps to regulate the hormonal system and lower cortisol levels, so it’s perfect for helping you wind down and relax. It’s also awesome for sleep–it has been shown to enhance both the quality and quantity of deep, slow wave sleep.
Studies also show it can also be helpful in lowering blood sugar in diabetics and decreasing excess fat storage.
Use it to boost your immune system, relieve stress and anxiety, feel more balanced, and get deeper sleep.
Chaga is your inflammation-tamer.
If you’re working on lowering inflammation in your body, chaga should be your new best friend. Chaga mushrooms are jam-packed with antioxidants to help your body fight inflammation and scavenge free radicals.
Chaga is a powerful adaptogen which modulates the immune system. Research has shown that it can help fight off viral infections and possibly even cancer, particularly of the liver, lung and brain.
Use it to fight inflammation, support immunity and provide sustained energy.
Cordyceps is your pre-workout energizer.
It’s not a stimulant, but instead an adaptogen which supports your adrenal glands and helps your body produce and maintain consistent energy levels. Cordyceps increases cellular oxygen absorption, so it can be beneficial for those with asthma as well as athletes. It helps fight fatigue, boosts strength and stamina, can improve exercise performance and expedite recovery from hard workouts.
As an antioxidant powerhouse, cordyceps is also an anti-ager!
Use it to defy aging, provide long-lasting energy, improve athletic performance and speed up recovery.
Lion’s Mane is your all-natural brain booster.
Lion’s Mane stimulates production of NGF (Nerve Growth Factor), a bioprotein that plays a critical role in the maintenance, health and regeneration of neurons in the brain. (FYI – A lack of NGF is considered one of the causes of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases.) Lion’s Mane helps improve memory, boosts creativity, helps with concentration and improves mental clarity.
Use it to optimize cognitive performance for working and studying.
Shiitake is your old reliable.
Shiitake mushrooms have been a symbol of longevity in Asia for more than 6,000 years. Shiitakes are easy to come by in the grocery store and provide a great food source of B vitamins, vitamin D and zinc. They boost the immune system and have been shown to have cancer-fighting and tumor-inhibiting properties. There is also some evidence that shiitake mushrooms support cardiovascular health by helping to lower cholesterol levels.
Use in cooking for a delicious way to support a healthy heart and immune system!
Turkey Tail is your immune-boosting big gun.
Turkey tail has strong antiviral and antimicrobial properties making it effective preventing and/or treating the common cold and flu.
Turkey tail mushrooms have two powerful polysaccharides called PSP and PSK which are being extensively studied in research, specifically for their effects on boosting immune function in cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
Turkey tail may also have some gut healing benefits as it contains prebiotics, which nourish beneficial bacteria in the microbiome. You may experience smoother digestion while supplementing with turkey tail.
Use it to boost your immune system, fight disease and aid digestion.
More Ideas For Using Medicinal Mushrooms
- Brew up a Reishi Elixir as a nightcap after a stressful day.
- Swap out your regular coffee for Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane before crushing your morning to-do list.
- Add Chaga Elixir to your smoothie or drink a cup mid-morning at the office if everyone is coughing and sneezing around you.
- Mix Brain Dust (which includes Lion’s Mane) into your Matcha Latte for a focused morning.
- Down a Mushroom Coffee with Cordyceps before your morning HIIT class.
- Brew a Mushroom Hot Cacao with Cordyceps after lunch to squash sugar cravings and keep you energized all afternoon.
- Grab some shiitake mushrooms at your local farmer’s market or grocery store and sauté them up with ghee, garlic and onions for a delicious immune-boosting side dish.