Which Medicinal Mushroom is Right for You?

Which Medicinal Mushroom is Right for You?
iStock/rootstocks

Mushrooms,​ ​with​ ​their​ ​earthy, umami​ ​flavor, dense chewiness, and culinary versatility,​ ​have​ ​long​ ​been​ ​used​ ​in​ ​cuisines​ ​all​ ​over​ ​the world—they’re​ ​a​ ​staple​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Japanese​ ​diet,​ ​in​ ​numerous​ ​European​ ​regions​ ​they​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​the center​ ​of​ ​recipes such as risotto and Chicken Marsala,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​they’ve​ ​long​ ​been​ ​a​ ​popular​ star ​ingredient in dishes ranging from mushroom ragout to portobello burgers. Mushrooms have been such a longtime favorite there​ is even​ ​a mushroom-centric​ ​cookbook, titled “One Hundred Mushroom Recipes,”​ ​that​ ​dates​ ​back​ ​to​ ​1899.

Recently,​ ​the​​ ​other​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​mushroom—those​ ​with​ ​medicinal​ ​properties—have​ ​been attracting​ ​the​ ​attention​ ​of​ ​wellness​ ​communities​ ​so​ ​much​ ​so​ ​there​ ​is​ ​now​ ​a​ ​crop​ ​of​ ​new companies​ ​that​ ​sell​ ​blends​ ​and​ ​singular​ ​varieties​ ​of these​ “ancient”,​ ​healing​ ​mushrooms​ ​in​  accessible,​ ​on-trend​ ​manners:​ ​infused​ ​into​ ​chocolate,​ for example, ​in​ ​colorful,​ ​single-serving​ ​packages,​ ​and even​ ​in​ ​coffee.​ ​All​ ​of​ ​these​ ​products ​are​ ​readily​ ​available​ ​at​ ​health​ ​food stores.​ ​The​ ​mushrooms,​ ​when​ ​combined​ ​with​ ​ingredients​ ​like​ ​coffee​ ​and​ ​stevia,​ ​are​ ​convenient (you​ ​can​ ​easily​ ​throw​ ​a​ ​few​ ​packets​ ​in​ ​your​ ​bag)​ ​and,​ ​quite​ ​surprisingly,​ ​delicious​ ​(assuming you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​pallet​ ​that​ ​parallels​ ​your​ ​conscience).

So, is​ ​this​ ​another​ ​wellness​ ​hype,​ ​or​ ​should​ ​we​ ​pay​ ​attention?

​Medicinal​ ​mushrooms​ ​have wide-ranging health and wellness​ ​properties​—they​ ​can​ ​be​ ​beautifying,​ ​energizing,​ ​disease-fighting,​ and ​anti-inflammatory.​ ​Numerous​ ​brands​ ​also​ ​make​ ​mixed-mushroom​ ​concoctions​ ​now,​ ​i.e.​ ​beauty​ ​blends​ ​and energy​ blends—and​ ​they’re​ ​well​ ​worth​ ​a​ ​try.​ ​Depending​ ​on​ ​your​ ​tastes,​ ​it’s​ ​recommended​ ​that you​ ​experiment​ ​with​ ​various​ ​ways​ ​of​ ​incorporating​ ​the​ ​mushrooms​ ​into​ ​your​ ​diet.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​don’t mind​ ​semi-bitter,​ ​and​ some ​very​ ​strange​ ​flavors,​ ​each​ ​can​ ​be​ ​taken​ ​plain.​ ​For​ ​those​ ​who​ ​cringe​ ​at​ ​the thought​ ​of​ ​consuming​ ​something​ ​that​ ​tastes​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​“off,”​ ​try​ ​the​ ​chocolates​ ​(or​ ​make​ ​your​ ​own!)​ ​or blend​ ​the​ ​mushroom​ ​powders​ ​with​ ​your​ ​morning​ ​coffee.

Medicinal Mushrooms

  1. Reishi​,​ ​otherwise​ ​known​ ​as​ ​Ganoderma​ ​lucidum,​ ​is​ ​quickly​ ​becoming​ ​a​ ​darling​ ​of​ ​the mushroom​ ​world.​ According to Dr. Axe,  ​reishi mushrooms ​enhance​ ​athletic​ ​performance​ ​and​ ​oxygenation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​blood, improve​ ​cardiovascular​ ​health​ ​and​ ​immunity,​ ​improve​ ​difficulties​ ​with​ ​the​ ​liver,​ ​and​ ​act​ ​as​ ​a calming​ ​agent.​ ​For​ ​those​ ​who​ ​have​ ​a​ ​difficult​ ​time​ ​feeling​ ​centered​ ​and​ ​calm​ ​before​ ​bed​ ​(or ever),​ ​reishi​ ​may be an​ ​excellent​ ​go-to​ ​supplement, according to the book “Herbs for Long Lasting Health.​” ​​Four​ ​Sigmatic​​ ​makes​ ​a​ ​mushroom​ ​elixir​ ​that when​ ​mixed​ ​with​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​hot​ ​water,​ ​unsweetened​ ​almond​ ​milk,​ ​and​ ​stevia,​ ​is​ ​​delicious.
  2. Lion’s​ ​Mane​,​ ​though​ ​considered​ ​a​ ​culinary​ ​mushroom,​ ​has​ ​incredible​ ​medicinal​ ​properties.​ ​It’s energizing,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​don’t​ ​do​ ​well​ with ​caffeine,​ ​it’s​ ​an​ ​excellent​ ​alternative:​ according to Dr. Axe, ​it​ ​provides​ ​you with​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​calm,​ ​focused​ ​energy,​ ​making​ ​it​ ​a​ ​great​ ​option​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​on​ ​your​ ​desk.​ ​Lion’s Mane​ ​is​ ​also​ ​an​ ​immunity​ ​booster,​ ​may​ ​help​ ​fight​ ​cancer,​ ​and​ ​aid​ ​with​ ​digestion.​ Om Mushrooms​​ ​has​ ​an​ ​energizing​ ​blend​ ​that, has a somewhat bitter flavor but ​works​ ​quite​ ​well.
  3. Chaga​​ ​helps,​ ​primarily,​ ​with​ ​immunity—and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​that​ ​stems​ ​from​ ​how​ ​it​ ​boosts​ ​and​ ​regulates the​ ​immune​ ​system.​ As noted by Medical News Today, ​it​ ​increases​ ​the​ ​body’s​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​produce​ ​antibodies,​ ​and​ ​helps​ destroy​ ​abnormal​ ​cells.​ ​It​ ​also​ ​fights​ ​free​ ​radicals​ ​(the​ ​source​ ​of​ ​numerous​ ​diseases)​ ​and inflammation.​ ​With​ ​its​ ​immunity-fighting​ ​capabilities,​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​good​ ​mushroom​ ​to​ ​incorporate​ ​into your​ ​fall​ ​and​ ​winter​ ​supplement​ ​routine.
  4. Cordyceps​​ ​is​ ​energizing​ ​and​ ​stimulating—especially​ ​for​ ​the​ ​libido—because​ ​it​ ​stimulates​ ​the flow​ ​of​ ​oxygen​ ​to​ ​the​ ​cells, according to Dr. Weil. ​It’s​ ​an​ ​effective​ ​option​ ​for​ ​those​ ​with​ ​difficulties​ ​with​ ​their​ ​nervous system,​ ​and​ ​may​ ​help​ ​with​ ​depression​ ​and​ ​anxiety.
  5. Maitake​​ ​is​ ​excellent​ ​for​ ​those​ ​with​ ​blood​ ​sugar​ ​issues,​ ​including​ ​diabetes.​ Cancer Research UK has found that it can ​reduce​ ​tumors,​ ​and​ ​thus​ ​may be​ ​an​ ​ideal​ ​mushroom​ ​for​ ​cancer​ ​prevention​ ​and​ ​treatment.
  6. You’ve likely had shiitake​​ ​mushrooms​ ​already,​ ​whether​ ​un-knowingly​ ​or​ ​not,​ ​as they’re​ ​frequently​ ​used​ ​in​ numerous types of ​cuisine.​ ​They’re​ ​delicious​ ​and​ ​have​ ​an​ ​incredibly​ ​satisfying​ ​texture, and​ ​they’re​ ​also​ ​much​ ​more​ ​nutritious​ ​than​ ​most​ ​other​ ​culinary​ ​mushrooms: they contain vitamins and fiber, as other varieties do, but they’re also a superfood.​ ​Shiitakes​ ​can strengthen​ ​and​ ​stimulate​ ​the​ ​immune​ ​system​ ​and​ ​fight​ ​bacterial​ ​growth,​ ​fight​ ​cancer​ ​and​ ​the effects​ ​of​ ​chemotherapy,​ ​and​ ​help​ ​to​ ​limit​ ​the​ ​body’s​ ​absorption​ ​of​ ​cholesterol, according to Dr. Mercola and Dr. Weil.​ ​They’re​ ​easier​ ​to find​ ​in​ ​stores​ ​than​ ​other​ ​mushrooms​ ​on​ ​this​ ​list,​ ​as​ ​they’re​ ​available​ ​in​ ​the​ ​produce​ ​sections​ ​of most​ ​grocery​ ​stores.​ ​The​ ​Trader​ ​Joe’s​ ​shiitake​ ​mushrooms​ ​are​ ​an​ ​affordable​ ​and​ ​delicious​ ​option.

Recommended​ ​Brands​

​Om​ ​Mushrooms

Om Mushrooms offers both single-mushroom powders such as Reishi and Lion’s Mane, and signature blends that can enhance beauty, energy, athletic performance, and immunity. They can can be blended into coffee drinks, smoothies, and other recipes, with water, or be taken on their own. All of the mushrooms are 100% organic.

​​Four​ ​Sigmatic

Four Sigmatic makes taking medicinal mushrooms, well, fun—the mushrooms are blended with ingredients like stevia, so the flavor isn’t as mushroom-y. The company’s  mission it to make mushroom supplements delicious, and it does. Four Sigmatic offers mushrooms in hot cacaos, coffee, and matcha products. The Reishi Powder is sweet and each serving is packaged individually, so they’re portable and easy to consume.

 

Moon​ ​Juice

Amanda Chantal Bacon’s enterprise, Moon Juice, is a beloved juice shop in Los Angeles—and its  infamous Dusts are now finally available to those who don’t live in LA. Available for a variety of uses, enhancing libido, beauty, sleep, and clarity of mind (each named aptly), the dusts contain mushrooms (often reishi), along with other ingredients like longan, astragalus, salvia, andand stevia, and can be blended into smoothies or water.

 

NutriVita

NutriVita focuses on the purity and quality of its mushrooms. Because a small amount of mushroom powder goes a long way, NutriVita’s recyclable packaging preserves the freshness of the mushrooms. —and they’re recyclable. and does not exclusively sell mushrooms, but the Its website has extensive information on the suggested uses each of their mushroom products, and the straight-forward products are ideal if you’re interested in a specific breed of fungus. 

Recipes​

Chaga​ ​Almond​ ​Latte

Ingredients

1​ ​heaped​ Tbs​p. Chaga powder
1​ ​cup​ ​of water
1/2​ ​cup​ of ​unsweetened​ ​milk
Cinnamon​ ​to​ ​taste
1​ ​slice​ of ​fresh​ ​ginger
Dash​​ of​ ​pepper
1⁄4​ tsp. ​almond​ ​extract
Stevia​ ​to​ ​taste

Directions

Mix​ ​all​ ​ingredients​ ​and​ ​heat​ ​in​ ​saucepan​ ​over​ ​stove—easy,​ ​delicious,​ ​and​ ​good​ ​for​ ​you.

Shiitake​ ​Stir​ ​Fry

Ingredients

5​ ​cups​ ​shiitake​ ​mushrooms
1⁄2​ Tbs​p. ​olive​ ​oil
1⁄2​ Tbsp. tamari
1⁄2​ Tbsp. ​fish​ ​sauce
Fresh​ ​ground​ ​pepper
2​ ​green​ ​onions
Toasted​ ​nori​ ​strips

Directions

Heat​ ​oil​ ​in​ ​pan and ​brown​ ​the onions. Add​ ​the mushrooms a sauté​ ​until​ ​tender. Remove​ ​from​ ​heat and​ ​add​ ​soy​ ​and​ ​fish​ ​sauces. Garnish​ ​with​ ​toasted​ ​nori​ ​strips.

Related on Organic Authority 

The Benefits of Mushrooms: 10 Ways to Use the ‘Super Fungus’
A Season For Fungi: 3 November Mushrooms
Foraging for Mushrooms: The Guide

Note! This article contains affiliate links that support Organic Authority to help pay the bills, keep the lights on and keep Organic Authority free for everyone to enjoy!