No, no, NO! Not those mushrooms! The mushrooms I’m talking about won’t make ya high as a kite, or to think that a tree is the BEST thing in the whole wide world and oh look! Look at the beautiful stars. My god, we are such tiny humans in this big ol‘ world. Dudeeeeeee….life is so awesome….and weird…lots of things are weird…milk jugs, instructions on a shampoo bottle…
No. Not talking about those mushrooms. Sorry. The ones I mean are a lot less fun, but a whole lot better for you. Sit back and enjoy this VERY informative post…
While some people enjoy them as food, others use them for medicinal purposes. Although we may not think of them as herbs, there are at least 270 types of mushroom that are known to have some serious therapeutic properties. In fact, the practice of using mushrooms in Chinese herbal medicines has been recorded in early records of the Materia Medica.
Have you noticed how mushroom tonics, elixirs, and coffees, have been popping up all over social media and in many of your favorite trendy health spots? Well, it’s because these magic mushrooms have some pretty amazing health benefits!
Mushrooms have become one of the most scientifically studied superfoods, and as a result, quite a few scientific studies on medicinal mushrooms, especially in Japan, China, and Korea, have confirmed their traditional uses as well as their many health benefits. Their research has shown us that different types of mushrooms have incredible benefits for our hormones, immune system, energy levels, and our brain. They can even improve our mood and mental acuity!
Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
While much attention in recent years has focused on the various immunological and anti-cancer properties of some mushrooms, they are now also known to offer you some other potentially important health benefits. These added benefits can include antioxidants, anti-hypertensive and cholesterol-lowering properties, liver protection, act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
These properties have grabbed the interest of many pharmaceutical companies, who view medicinal mushrooms as a rich source of innovative biomedical molecules.
Different Types of Medicinal Mushrooms and Their Benefits
Below is a list of some popular medicinal mushrooms which can greatly boost your health when cooked properly and eaten, or when taken as a supplement.
- Cordyceps: This Chinese fungus is used as a tonic and restorative. Because of its restorative properties, it is known for improving athletic performance. Cordyceps can be bought whole, and used in stews and soups, while its powdered form is used for tea. You can even get cordyceps extracts in liquid or capsule form.
- Lion’s Mane: This nontoxic medicinal/culinary mushroom, is believed to stimulate nerve growth. A Japanese study published in 2009, focused on how Lion’s Mane could improve one’s mild cognitive impairment. Researchers found that test scores of study participants improved over the course of the 16-week study when taking this mushroom in tablet form.
- Maitake: This Japanese mushroom is also known as the “hen of the woods” because it grows in large cluster forms which resemble the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen. You can find these mushrooms dried or fresh, or as an extract in most gourmet foods stores, or upscale supermarkets. This mushroom has anticancer, antiviral, and immune-system enhancing effects and can also help to control high blood pressure and your blood sugar levels.
- Reishi: These mushrooms are often called the “queen of mushrooms” due to their powerful adaptogenic effects on mind and body. While used strictly a medicinal mushroom and not a culinary one, this mushroom is known to have a woody and hard, bitter taste wise. The mushrooms can be bought either dried or ground, and used in teas. They can also be bought as a liquid extract and in capsule form. Reishi can improve your immune function and inhibit the growth of some malignant tumors. It also has significant anti-inflammatory effects, can reduce allergic responsiveness, and protects the liver.
- Turkey Tail: This is a purely medicinal mushroom with proven anticancer effects. One should use its’ extract in liquid or capsule form. Also known as Coriolus versicolor (multicolored mushroom)
- Shiitake: Shiitake mushrooms are known for their flavorful, meaty taste, and contain a substance called eritadenine, which encourages the body’s tissue to absorb necessary amounts of cholesterol and lower how much which is circulating in the blood. Shiitakes also have antiviral and anticancer effects. Dried of fresh mushrooms can be found in most grocery stores and before eating, one should remove its stems and slice thinly.
- Chaga: Chaga is a powerful adaptogen which modulates the immune system. Research has shown that it can help fight off viral infections and possibly even cancer, particularly of the liver, lung, and brain. These mushrooms are jam-packed with antioxidants to help your body fight inflammation and boost your energy.
- Enoki: Enoki mushrooms have amazing anticancer and immune-enhancing effects. These slender white mushrooms have a mild taste and are good for soups and salads.
There are SO many species of mushrooms out there that are highly poisonous to humans. Keep in mind that it is not suggested for you just to go out and gather your own mushrooms for consumption. Regardless, it is better if you leave your mushroom supplementation to the professionals, who are using strict methods of extraction and preparation for your mushroom consumption protection. ALWAYS consult with your health-care provider before adding mushrooms to your daily lifestyle!
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