How to start with medicinal mushrooms
Mushrooms have traditionally been used for thousands of years as powerful healers, to stimulate the immune system and promote well-being and longevity.
However, many people tend to group mushrooms in the category of “vegetables” or in the category of “psychedelics”. Medicinal mushrooms, also known as functional mushroom, are just beginning to be celebrated again in the mainstream as the powerful medications they have always been.
If you are new to the use of mushrooms, which are not actually vegetables, but mushrooms, because of their health and their healing benefits, it can be confusing to figure out which ones to start with.
There are many varieties of mushroom that have health benefits, but we are going to cover four common medicinal mushrooms, and where to start when adding them to your self-care regimen.
It is important to keep in mind that the medicinal mushrooms that we cover here as part of a wellness protocol are not psychedelic mushrooms, that is, they will not make you hallucinate!
Key benefits of medicinal mushrooms
1. Fight cancer
Mushrooms have been prized for their unique ability to fight and prevent cancer. They create a specific type of immune cells that seek out and destroy dangerous cancer cells.
According to medical studies, mushrooms anticancer compounds play a crucial role as reactive inducer of oxygen species, inhibitors of mitotic kinases, antimitotic agents, inhibitors of angiogenesis and lead to apoptosis, and ultimately control the proliferation of cancer.
This means that mushrooms can inhibit Tumor formation protects DNA from damage and stops cell mutation, while protecting healthy cells and increasing the body’s ability to detoxify from dangerous substances.
2. Improve immunity
It has been shown that mushroom contain specific compounds and substances that can improve almost all body systems.
Mushroom can help decrease inflammation and also help to alkalize the body, which are associated with better immunity and a lower risk of disease.
Mushroom must have strong antibacterial and antifungal compounds only to survive in their own natural environment, and these specific compounds can be isolated from many mushroom and used to protect human cells.
That is why common antibiotics are derived from mushroom extracts. The long chain polysaccharides, particularly the alpha and beta glucan molecules, are mainly responsible for the beneficial effect of mushroom on the immune system.
3. Improved nutrition
A medical journal recently published nine studies on mushroom that detailed a wide variety of health benefits.
A dietary analysis found that mushroom consumption was associated with better diet quality and better nutrition.
The consumption of dried white button mushroom extract was as effective as taking supplements of vitamin D2 or D3 to increase vitamin D levels.
Eating foods rich in vitamin D can help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, disorders of the state of mood and bone loss.
It was also found that adding one or two servings of dried shiitake mushrooms has a beneficial and modulating effect on the function of the immune system and improves health and vitality in general.
4. Protect the health of the heart
It has been shown that mushroom reduce cholesterol levels naturally and prevent the arteries from hardening, which are risk factors for heart disease.
At the same time, they can raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and also contain powerful phytonutrients that help prevent cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels and form a buildup of plaque, which maintains a healthy blood pressure and improves circulation.
5. Energy and brain health
Mushroom are a great source of B vitamins, which help support adrenal function, increase energy levels, support brain function, help neurotransmitter function, support a healthy metabolism and also lower stress levels.
Certain types of mushroom are also adaptogens that help lower cortisol levels and help your body cope with stress. Mushroom can also support and balance mood levels and help neurodegenerative diseases related to age.
Popular medicinal mushrooms
If you have been curious about adding medicinal mushrooms to your life, here is a general description of four of the most common medicinal mushrooms and the welfare benefits for which they are known.
Reishi is a soothing mushroom that reduces inflammation and is used to reduce stress and help sleep. It is an amazing mushroom to take in the evening, or anytime you want to relax.
In addition to its relaxing properties, reishi is also powerful for immunity. It is another fungus that has been promising for cancer.
Studies have shown that beta-glucans in reishi could help stop the growth of tumors. Start with reishi by preparing an afternoon tea calmly (or, as with the other mushrooms, you can easily find the reishi capsules).
The Chaga mushroom is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune stimulation properties and is the perfect mushroom to add to your daily wellness routine.
It has been shown that Chaga helps reduce inflammation and fights free radicals, and has been shown in studies that have anti-cancer properties.
If your goal is to keep your immune system strong during the winter months, start by brewing a cup of chaga tea (you can find it in tea bags, powder that dissolves in hot water or you can boil the current fungus in hot water).
Chaga can be particularly useful to take if you feel you are about to get sick.
Cordyceps is often used for performance and suprarenal support, helping to increase energy and endurance.
For that reason, it is a popular mushroom to take before a workout. When you add cordyceps powder to coffee, you can mitigate the shock you might feel with coffee and help provide more stable energy.
Studies have shown that the cordyceps mushroom reduces fatigue and improves resistance. As with chaga and reishi, you can start by taking cordyceps as a tea with hot water, mix it in your coffee or take it in capsules.
4. Lion’s mane
The lion’s hand is used for concentration and brain health, which makes it the perfect mushroom to work or study.
It is also used to support the nervous system, improving concentration and memory. Lion’s Mane has shown in studies that it helps in neuroprotection and neuroregeneration, which can improve cognitive function.
Add the lion’s drink to your favorite drink or smoothie or take it in capsules to prepare for a more productive and creative day.
All four of these mushroom can be powerful additions to your wellness routine, supporting your energy, stamina, concentration, immune system, sleep and more.
Again, you can add mushrooms to your coffee, tea or simply take them as capsules. If you want to buy whole mushrooms, you can find them at your local health food store or at the farmers market.
Quality, quantity, and considerations about Mushrooms
When it comes to mushroom supplements, there are two main types: mushroom concentrates / extracts, and whole-food mushrooms that are raw and ready to eat or powdered whole-grain foods.
The consumption of raw mushrooms or the use of a mushroom powder product, in general, is the easiest and most common option.
It is recommended that you start taking the powder variety in small doses, daily if possible. Start with ¼ -1/2 teaspoons and slowly increase your dose in a couple of weeks until you reach a tablespoon a day.
The dose can be very personal, so experiment with the dose that works best for you. Start slowly, investigate and listen to the way your body responds to the product.
If you are looking to experiment with mushroom tonics for a specific health problem, seek the professional advice of a doctor, a naturopath or an expert in the field.
If you choose to eat your raw mushrooms, make sure they are organic. It is known that mushroom concentrates heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants, so that healthy growing conditions are a critical factor.
Also, avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are picking up. There is a series of toxic mushrooms that grow in nature and resemble edible varieties, so it is easy to confuse them unless you have experience and know what to look for.
Now go and start experimenting with these powerful medicinal mushrooms! You will soon discover what your favorites are and the best ways to take them.