Explore the benefits of medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and have gained popularity as of late in modern western culture. Often taken in a powder form, you can find these fungi in many different mediums, including trendy mushroom infused coffees, or one of our custom blended teas. Studies are beginning to confirm the variety of benefits that have been anecdotally associated with mushrooms for millennia. Scientifically rigorous research surrounding mushrooms and their potential therapeutic and scientific benefits has found effectiveness in the treatment of conditions such as cancer, digestive health conditions, liver conditions, and autoimmune issues.

In addition to therapeutic benefits, the list of physical health perks that medicinal mushrooms provide is lengthy (for example brain function enhancing, hormone balancing, immune boosting, and increased cardiovascular health). Each mushroom is unique and provides its own distinct health advantages. 4 commonly known medicinal mushrooms are Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake and Lions mane.

 

 

Reishi 

In Ancient Chinese medicine Reishi is referred to as the “spirit herb”, known for its ability to improve mind, body and spirit. Reishi is also known as the mushroom of long life. The Reishi mushroom contains several bioactive compounds. These compounds include specific polysaccharides, with triterpene being one of the active polysaccharide compounds of Reishi mushroom. It possesses potent anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic and hypolipidemic properties. Triterpenes from Reishi are associated with cancer cell death as well. Ganoderic acid is an important triterpene component which has shown inhibitory properties on cancer. Reishi is also associated with toning the blood, reducing phlegm, eradicating coughing and wheezing, strengthening the visceral organs, and promoting restful sleep.

In one study on a very aggressive form of breast cancer, reishi selectively reduced cancer cell viability and invasion, as well as the expression of key proteins involved in the pathogenesis of breast cancer cells. Reishi downregulated the expression of cancer cells on over 10 different pathways.

Summary of the benefits of Reishi:

  • Anti-tumor

  • Boost digestion

  • Stops coughing and wheezing

  • Boosts immune function

  • Increases oxygenation of the cells

  • Calming, restful sleep

  • Reduce anxiety, depression, and paranoia

Chaga

Chaga has been used by traditional cultures for its health benefits, for hundreds of years. It grows high up on the bark of birch trees in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. This mushroom presents as a hardened, blackened, crusty formation, with the appearance of a bursting tumor on the trunk of a birch tree. Chaga’s most important components, betulinic acid and melano-glucan complexes are derived from the bark of the birch trees the fungus grows on. Chaga is traditionally used as a tea and is revered for its anti-cancer and digestive health benefits.

Recent research has found that Chaga demonstrated hypoglycemic effects in mice, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, reduced oxidative stress, anti-gene mutation properties, and inhibition of liver cancer cells.

Summary of the benefits of Chaga:

  • Mental health

  • Energy

  • Anti-tumor

  • Detoxifies

  • Boosts digestion, improves the appetite

  • Purifies the blood

  • Regulates blood sugar

  • Strengthens the heart

  • Modulates the immune system

  • Effective prebiotic

Shiitake

For hundreds of years, shiitake mushrooms have been a popular food source in Asia. They’re the second most popular and the third most widely cultivated edible mushroom in the world. Today, shiitakes can be found in most grocery stores because of their meaty and versatile flavor, but did you know that they’re packed with B vitamins and have the power to fight cancer cells, cardiovascular disease and infections? That’s just a few of shiitake mushroom nutrition benefitsShiitake mushrooms contain many chemical compounds that protect your DNA from oxidative damage, which is partly why they’re so beneficial. Lentinan, for example, heals chromosome damage caused by anticancer treatments. Eritadenine substances help reduce cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. Researchers at Shizuoka University in Japan found that eritadenine supplementation significantly decreased plasma cholesterol concentration. Shiitakes are also unique for a fungi because they contain all eight essential amino acids, along with a type of essential fatty acid called linoleic acid. Linoleic acid helps with weight loss and building muscle. It also has bone-building benefits, improves digestion, and reduces food allergies and sensitivities.

Summary of Shiitake benefits:

  • Increased cardiovascular health

  • Lower cholesterol levels

  • Fight obesity

  • Increased immune function

  • Increased brain function

  • Anti-cancer properties

  • Anti-infection properties

  • Promotion of skin health

  • Promotion of bone health

Lions Mane

Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow. They have both culinary and medical uses in Asian countries like China, India, Japan and Korea. Lion’s mane mushrooms can be enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or steeped as a tea. Their extracts are often used in over-the-counter health supplements. and have been shown to have a variety of health benefits.

Research has found that lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage. It also has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities and been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers and diabetes in animals. They also contain bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart and gut. When Lions mane are eaten they stimulate the production of NBF and mylelin, two proteins crucial in brain function and neurogensis (the production of new brain cells). 

Summary of Lions Mane benefits:

  • Stimulates neurogenesis

  • Regulates immune function

  • Fights dementia and Alzheimers 

  • Fights inflammation

  • Lower the risk of diabetes

  • Improved cardiovascular function

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Reduces depression

  • Anti-cancer properties