... and I'm not talking about the ones that make the floors look funky. Mushrooms are not just for the forest floor, or those looking for a trip, certain mushrooms have been used throughout history for their medicinal benefits, and now (just as with raw fermented foods and probiotics!) research is catching up with folk medicine.
These special fungi have been shown some amazing things for your energy, brain, hormones, and immune system.
Here’s my top 5 mushrooms.
Chaga has been used in traditional medicine in eastern Europe in a variety of health problems such as stomach diseases and tumors. Research is now validating chaga shows many health benefits.
Chaga is jam-packed with antioxidant power, having the ability to scavenge harmful free radicals. Think berries on steroids!
Those who struggle with brain problems such as brain fog or memory loss can feel the effects of this powerful mushie - Lion’s mane mushrooms are increasingly studied for their neuroprotective benefits. Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) found in this mushroom have the ability to regenerate and protect brain tissue.
Lion’s mane also has been shown to be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression.
Turkey tail, named for its colorful stripes, is probably the most promising mushroom as far as research is concerned. Many of the studies centered around the medicinal benefits of mushrooms have been small-scale studies. Turkey tail is, at this point, the most well researched mushroom in larger scale studies.
Turkey tail is ideal for those dealing with gut issues, such as candida overgrowth.
Cordyceps is the anti-ager of the mushroom kingdom.
One study out of China found that cordyceps extract was able to dramatically increase powerhouse antioxidants superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. This special fungus also decreased inflammatory activity which causes us to age.
A double-blind placebo controlled trial also found that cordyceps acted like a hormone balancer, helping people struggling with fatigue increase their levels of energy and endurance.
Reishi is very magical and a more well-known mushroom, it can down-regulate alpha-glucosidase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down starches into sugars. This magic mushroom was shown in research to decrease excessive fat in people struggilng with obesity, and help to lower blood sugar in diabetics. They've also been found to help with kidney problems and wound healing in diabetics.
I am seriously stuck lately on a classic winter treat: hot chocolate.
Now I have a recipe for my hip hot chocolate already. But then I discovered Harmonic Arts beautiful immunity-boosting mushroom blend with raw cacao and I was freaking out!
Here's the list of Ingredients: Organic Raw Cacao Powder, Organic Coconut Sugar, 5 Mushroom Dual Extract Powder (Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Lion’s Mane).
Now the coconut sugar you cannot really taste, which is good, it means they didn't load it up in there, so I add my own raw honey to my mug. What could be better than chocolate that you know is also healthy for you??
The healing power of mushrooms blended with the blissful qualities of raw cacao is really one of those perfect combinations.
According to Harmonic Arts' site, the chocolate acts as a carrier helping to drive the mushrooms deeper into the body, and the mushrooms soften the stimulating qualities of Chocolate. Open up the senses and balance the mind, body, and spirit with this easy to make, great tasting hot or cold beverage.
I am not a huge mushroom fan on their own, but I also don't require 'hiding' healthy foods in other foods in order to 'get it down.' However, I do love mushroom blend supplements for their immune supporting properties, especially for the winter season when everyone is trying to avoid getting sick, and what better way to get your mushrooms in (other than a fancy soup perhaps?) than a hot cup of steamin' cocoa.
When it comes to using mushrooms as a superfood much of the research and clinical experience shows that they are more effective when taken as a multi-mushroom combination. This means mushrooms are effective on their own, but they work even better as a team! As many of the superfood mushrooms contain similar chemistry, the combination gives a more full spectrum of the phytonutrients they contain.
Synergistically they all work together to enhance the overall qualities that this group of healing mushrooms are most known for. It's also a calming and relaxing drink, much like an evening tea and incredibly easy to introduce to your daily routine. Want to get some too? I get mine from Harmonic Arts on the Island. I love their company so much because their mission is:
To proliferate the use and access to high quality wild and organic plant medicine in our community, both near and far. Kin-ecting the healing power that our natural world has to share with all of us. In doing so, we reciprocate love and respect for the health of our environment, planet, home and body.
P.S. Please don't go wild mushroom hunting unless you are with someone you seriously trust as a wildcrafter or food forager.