Medicinal mushrooms are a part of traditional Chinese medicine and folklore remedies to boost the immune system, boost energy levels, and to improve longevity and overall well being.
What are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms contain compounds called beta-glucans known to have healing abilities. Beta-glucans can help modulate the immune system, thereby boosting health in various ways. Medicinal mushrooms are available in the following forms:
- Fresh and dried mushrooms
- Mushroom teas
- Tinctures and extracts
- Capsules and supplements
- Medicinal mushroom powders
- Mushrooms used in foods and beverages
Top medicinal mushrooms:
The top medicinal mushrooms include chaga mushrooms, reishi mushrooms, cordyceps, lion’s mane, turkey tail, shiitake, and maitake mushrooms. We have listed the top medicinal mushrooms based on the scientific reports available.
Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) is used in traditional medicine to manage diabetes. A 2015 study using an animal model showed that maitake mushroom broth had a beneficial effect on the glucose levels of laboratory rats.
Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) are rich in antioxidants. They eliminate free radicals and slow down the aging process. They also can potentially help lower LDL or bad cholesterol. Chaga mushrooms are usually used to make medicinal tea, but you can also buy chaga powder and include it in your smoothies, juices, or even your morning cup of coffee.
C) Turkey tail
Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is a popular mushroom. Its shape and variety of colors resemble the tail of a wild turkey. This antioxidant-rich mushroom has powerful immune-boosting properties and help to suppress inflammation. Dried turkey tail mushrooms are often simmered in hot water for half an hour to get a health-enriching broth.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi) are known as the mushroom of immortality. Research studies show that this mushroom has a beneficial effect on the immune system and can help lessen fatigue. You can use dried reishi mushrooms in your soups and stews. Alternatively, you can make Reishi Tea using our easy recipe instructions or use the tincture in your daily smoothies or juices.
The polysaccharides present in cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis, Cordyceps militarist) have an anti-fatigue effect on the body, making these medicinal mushrooms a natural supplement to increase energy. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial with 37 healthy elderly Chinese participants revealed that a fermented product containing Cordyceps sinensis helped to increase oxygen uptake and aerobic capacity.
Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are delicious in stir-fries, risotto, and soups and prized for their earthy, distinctive umami flavor. These selenium-rich mushrooms improve immunity and overall health. They have not just been used in traditional Chinese medicine but also Japanese, eastern Russian, and Korean medicinal remedies.
G) Lion’s mane
These long shaggy white mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) help to boost cognitive function and sharpen memory. Japanese researchers found that volunteers (age 50-80 years), diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, who took 250 mg tablets containing Hericium erinaceus powder three times a day for 4 months showed a marked improvement. The other name of this mushroom is hou tou gu or yamabushitake.