I am always talking about my fascination with mushrooms on workshops and retreats. I love them, I think they're amazing and I wish more people knew about their health giving benefits. Our humble portobello and button varieties are naturally high in vitamin D2 and the more exotic chanterelles, oyster or enoki are all super nutritious in their own right but there are over 38,000 mushrooms with medicinal uses so I'm going to share with you my favourites and a few tips on where to buy them and how to use them.
please note, this page is for informational purposes only. If you have any health concerns, or if you are on medication and are considering using any of these mushrooms, please consult with your doctor or health care professional first.
Medicinal mushrooms are wonderful to include in our diet especially over the cold winter months as they help support our immune system and help us fight off infections.
A note about preparation - they need to be heated to extract the beneficial properties so if you buy them in their dried form, you need to make a brew - boil mushrooms then simmer for a few hours before consuming. You can also find mushrooms in an extracted powder or tincture form which means they are ready to consume (ideally duel extract for maximum benefits) . You can add powders to food or drinks and the tinctures can be added to water or dropped directly under your tongue.
CORDYCEPS is one of my go to mushrooms for stamina and endurance, when you need a natural gentle energy lift and don't want to reach for caffeine. This incredible mushroom increases oxygen uptake in the body and enhances cellular energy production so it can reduce fatigue without depleting the adrenals. It's also useful for respiratory problems, asthma & bronchitis. It's easy to use in powder form - add hot water and drink as a tea. I tend to source cordyceps from either Hybrid Herbs or Raw Living
CHAGA is a rich source of anti-oxidants (even higher levels than blueberries, goji, chocolate or green tea) which help protect the body against free radical damage. Chaga has the potential to be used in cancer treatment as it contains betulin (a precursor to betulinic acid which inhibits cancer promoting enzyme topoisomerase). Chaga also contains high levels of beta-D-Glucans which help modulate our immune response and can be helpful dealing with numerous conditions in particular inflammation, fatigue, yeast and fungal infections. It also helps promote a healthy liver, intestines & blood sugar. Chaga has a rich smooth taste and is delicious mixed with chocolate, added to drinks or mixed in with your favourite raw or cooked savoury dish for a delicious depth of flavour (it works really well with mushroom soup, risotto or stroganoff). Again, I source these from either Hybrid Herbs or Raw Living
REISHI - as with most medicinal mushrooms, Reishi promotes a healthy immune system and increases vitality. It is particularly beneficial for calming for the mind, good for stress relief, anxiety, depression & sleep disorders. Due to it's ability to calm the nervous system, it can help enhance a sense of inner peace. It can also help improve memory, focus and concentration. It has an incredibly bitter taste so it is naturally beneficial for the liver and is known to help alleviate chemotherapy side effects (nausea /kidney damage). Reishi also helps reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar levels and help with autoimmune diseases. It is good to get our palate used to bitter flavours but if you don't fancy it bitter, mix it into a creamy drink with cinnamon, maca and/ or turmeric. Purchase from Hybrid Herbs or Raw Living
LION'S MANE - another phenomenal mushroom with incredible benefits. It enhances the immune system, the GI tract and has anti- tumour and anti-microbial properties. One of it's most fascinating properties is its ability to help regenerate the nervous system and help rebuild the myelin sheath. It can help improve neurological function and cognitive abilities improving memory and concentration. It has also been used to elevate mood and treat mild depression. It has a very mild flavour and is easy to add to drinks or food.
Find at Hybrid Herbs or Raw Living
If you are looking for more detail on any of these mushrooms, I would highly recommend this website - NYISHAR who sell high quality products and Paul offers incredible information and brilliant youtube videos.
These books are also worth exploring:-
A good introduction to medicinal mushrooms.
If you already know your mushrooms and have several packets of mushrooms powders or know where to source your mushrooms from them this is a great book. A lot of fascinating information and recipes.