Explore the World of Mushrooms

Explore the World of Mushrooms

For centuries, mushrooms have been a staple used in traditional medicine in cultures worldwide. But now they suddenly seem to be popping up everywhere, and we’re not just talking about “magic” mushrooms. It’s an exciting time as mushrooms are projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the market in the coming years. Let’s explore the world of mushrooms and their myriad of healing benefits.

Reishi mushrooms, also known as the “mushroom of immortality,” have a rich history in Asian traditional medicine. They’re believed to promote health and longevity, and modern research is starting to back up these claims. Preliminary studies suggest that Reishi mushrooms may have anti-cancer properties, reduce fatigue and depression, and offer heart health and blood sugar benefits. They’re readily available in gummies and dietary supplements, but it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before adding them to your routine, especially if you’re on certain medications.

Lion’s Mane mushrooms, with their prominent, white, shaggy appearance that resembles a loin’s mane, have been gaining attention for their potential health benefits. Scientific studies have suggested that these mushrooms may protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, thanks to their compounds that stimulate brain cell growth. They may also help relieve mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, speed recovery from nervous system injuries, protect against ulcers in the digestive tract, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help manage diabetes symptoms.

Turkey tail mushrooms, known for their striking colors, are among the most extensively studied medicinal mushrooms. They have a long-established role in treating cancer and are packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of protective compounds. These mushrooms contain powerful PSPs (polysaccharide peptides) that may strengthen the health and immune system. Like many fungi, they can positively impact gut bacterial balance by enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria while suppressing harmful species. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder turkey tail is a popular natural remedy!

Chaga mushrooms are ugly mushrooms that produce a woody growth on birch trees that look like a clump of burnt charcoal. However, the inside reveals a soft core with an orange color. These date back to the 12th century Europe and are another big player in the functional mushroom market. Chaga extract may boost immunity, prevent chronic inflammation, fight cancer, lower blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol.

Shiitake mushrooms may be the most known mushroom off this list. Tan to dark brown that grows between two and four inches native to East Asia and grows naturally on decaying hardwood trees. They are low in calories and offer many vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting compounds. The extract has been shown to suppress Type 1 diabetes and improve immune response in chemotherapy cancer patients.

Mushroom coffee and cocoa have become a viral craze, with many ads popping up on social media. Companies claim that mushroom coffee decreases the amount of caffeine consumed and helps with things like jitters, inflammation, immunity, stress relief and better sleep. Although most mushroom coffees will contain these mushrooms listed, always check the ingredients and beware that Chaga mushrooms can affect those at risk for kidney stones due to their high levels of oxalates. To maximize the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms, fresh raw mushrooms are better than any supplements or coffees.

Remember, many studies need to be proven in humans for medicinal mushrooms, and the evidence is still minimal. So, what’s stopping you from the therapeutic approach to the world of mushrooms?