Are you looking for natural, effective ways to boost your health and immunity? If so, then medicinal mushrooms may be the answer! Medicinal mushrooms are powerful fungi that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. They are packed with beneficial nutrients and offer a range of health benefits. In this blog post, we'll be discussing the four most powerful medicinal mushrooms for supercharging your health. Read on to discover how these amazing fungi can help to improve your overall well-being.
Use Cordyceps for:
Alleviate asthma or bronchitis
Cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom with a history dating back to the Tang Dynasty in AD 620, is highly valued for its ability to increase energy and reduce fatigue. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1,300 years and is known for its ability to boost athletic and sexual performance, as well as alleviate asthma and bronchitis.
Cordyceps spores grow out of the mummified carcasses of insect larvae, usually caterpillars, and are found primarily on the Himalayan Plateau. Harvesting them from the wild is extremely challenging and expensive, but they are available in cultivated forms that are vegan-friendly.
Cordyceps contains beta-glucans that deliver oxygen to the body on a cellular level, decreasing the occurrence of disease and increasing energy and stamina. It also significantly boosts adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, the body’s main energy supply source required for all cellular processes.
Cordyceps is effective in counteracting the lethargy that often accompanies aging and is popular among athletes seeking to perform at peak levels. It has been credited with the success of China’s Olympic women’s track-and-field team in 1993, where no banned substances were detected. Cordyceps is a general rejuvenator that can benefit anyone, particularly during illness recovery.
The Insane Power of Fungi
Cordyceps belongs to the Ascomycetes family of fungi, which also includes morels and truffles, as well as Penicillium, the mold responsible for producing penicillin, and ergot fungus, which is known for producing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), the world's most potent hallucinogen. The fact that these diverse members of the same family can have such different uses - from highly valued culinary ingredients to powerful mood-altering drugs and essential antibiotics - highlights the remarkable range of capabilities found within the fungi kingdom.
2. Shiitake Mushrooms
Use Shiitake Mushrooms for:
Clear glowing Skin
Shiitake mushrooms are a versatile and widely cultivated member of the fungi kingdom. Their popularity as a culinary delicacy in Asian and American cooking is well-known, but shiitake also offers numerous health benefits. From improving skin appearance to supporting liver function and lowering cholesterol, shiitake is a true superfood.
Shiitake has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries and contains essential amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins that are beneficial to the body. Its immunomodulating and cardiovascular benefits have been studied extensively, with one of its bioactive compounds, eritadenine, showing promise in reducing cholesterol levels. Additionally, shiitake's polysaccharide, lentinan, has been shown to stimulate white blood cells and support liver health.
Shiitake can be consumed fresh or dried, as a supplement in capsule form, or as an extract. It is identifiable by its brown cap and white stem, and commercially grown in sawdust or grain. However, log-grown shiitake is more potent and therefore preferable.
In summary, shiitake is a rare superfood that offers a variety of health benefits and can be easily incorporated into one's diet.
3. Maitake Mushrooms
Use Maitake Mushrooms to:
- Manage Weight Naturally
Stabilize Blood Sugar
- Improve Digestion
Maitake, also known as the "dancing mushroom," is a valuable addition to any medicinal mushroom list. Historically, foraging for maitake was a challenging task that the Samurai undertook with great effort, hence the mushroom's name. Maitake is also referred to as "sheep's head" and "ram's head."
Maitake is recognized for its powerful immunomodulating properties, especially due to its beta-glucan polysaccharides, which are found in many other medicinal mushrooms. However, what sets maitake apart is its SX-fraction, a water-soluble compound that has the potential to counteract the effects of Syndrome X. Syndrome X, a combination of risk factors such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess fat, can significantly impact a person's health and wellness. The SX-fraction can potentially lower blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and body weight, making it a potential aid for people with diabetes or obesity. Moreover, the SX-fraction also works as an adaptogen, stabilizing blood sugar levels in those who are hypoglycemic. By addressing the root problem, maitake's health benefits can positively impact overall health and wellness. In the case of diabetes, stabilizing blood sugar levels and eliminating insulin resistance may potentially reverse kidney and renal damage caused by the condition.
Maitake has a unique feather-like cluster-like form that resembles the feathers of a fluffed chicken, which is why it's also known as "hen-of-the-woods." This healing mushroom primarily grows at the base of oak or elm trees in the northeastern parts of Japan and North America. Maitake can be consumed fresh or dried and is popular among chefs worldwide. Additionally, it's often taken in powder form after undergoing an extraction process.
4. Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Use Turkey Tail Mushrooms to:
Treat the common cold and flu
Aid in Digestion
Help Heal Infections
Turkey tail is a highly regarded medicinal mushroom, named for its fan-like shape that resembles the tail of a turkey. Its fruiting body displays concentric circles of different colors, giving it its Latin name meaning “of several colors”. This mushroom can be found almost everywhere, growing on dead or fallen hardwood trees, stumps, or branches, making it easy to forage. It has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine due to its strength and tenacity.
Turkey tail contains polysaccharides and triterpenes, similar to other medicinal mushrooms, that give it immunomodulating properties to support and regulate the immune system. However, it has unique beta-glucans, including polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP), that are responsible for its anticancer properties. PSK and PSP can stimulate the activity and creation of immune cells, helping to fight infections and regenerate white blood cells lost during aggressive cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. PSK has been more extensively researched than PSP and is the best-selling anticancer drug in Japan. PSP, however, has been found to be more powerful than PSK, promising for future cancer treatments. Turkey tail has also been successful in treating bone marrow damage caused by cancer treatments and infections like HPV and hepatitis C.
Turkey tail can be recognized by its fan-like shape and multicolored concentric bands in shades of brown, black, deep red, blue, and green. Unlike other medicinal mushrooms, it has a thick, leathery texture and small pores on the underside instead of gills. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and is readily available for foraging due to its ubiquity.
Side Effects and Dosages
It is important to exercise caution when using medicinal mushrooms, especially for those who are taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, certain diabetes drugs, and intravenous glucose. This is because these whole foods can potentially interfere with the effects of the drugs, leading to unexpected results or doubling up on treatment. While medicinal mushrooms can still be beneficial for these conditions, it is recommended to consult a doctor before use and to gradually increase the dosage. Pregnant women and individuals regularly taking prescription medication(s) should also consult a doctor before consuming mushroom supplements. It is important to note that while overdosing is not typically an issue, this information should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind.
As with any supplement or natural medicine, it is best to start slowly and work your way up to higher dosages to let your body adjust.