Not the magic kind (sorry to disappoint) or even the button mushrooms at your supermarket. We are talking functional mushrooms. Commonly found in powder form at health food stores. More recently these mushroom powders have even been spotted being added to latte’s to make adaptogenic tonics and coffees.
Medicinal mushrooms are not just another fad, used for millennia in ancient traditions for their healing properties. These fungi are making a comeback and here’s why you need to get yourself a daily dose of shrooms.
What exactly are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are a handful of species known for having therapeutic bioactive metabolites.
Bioactive metabolites are compounds that have an effect on the organism that consumes it. I.e. caffeine.
To fend off threats in their natural habitat mushrooms produce antibacterial compounds. Which is why many modern day antibiotics are derived from microscopic fungi. Medicinal mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides that are antiviral and immune stimulating and phenolic compounds that are strong antioxidants.
Why should you use medicinal mushrooms?
Different species offer different therapeutic benefits. Here is a break down of some of the best kinds.
The cool variety traditionally used to relax the mind, encourage sleep and strengthen the immune system. Science has found reishi to be anti-inflammatory in nature making it the perfect powder to have to chill out and recover.
This is the most studied mushroom that is highlighted for its benefits on cardiovascular health. Containing B-Glucans (a type of polysaccharide), maitake improves cholesterol levels and help manages blood sugar levels. Chinese medicine uses it to increase vitality and generate energy.
Traditionally brewed as a tea, chaga is used to treat cancer, various infections and even gastrointestinal disorders. Science has found daily chaga intake can support a healthy gut micro-biome. If you are struggling with bloating or flatulence, start adding chaga powder to your coffee.
Once referred to as “Himalayan Viagra” due to its wide range of uses. Cordyceps most promising benefits are improving cellular energy. This enhances physical performance and helps burn body fat. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties also help fend off aging.
Is one for the immune system. Chinese Medicine uses it to cure colds, improve circulation and preserve over all health. Feeling constantly run down or sick? Shiitake stimulates the immune system by increasing the production of many immune cells such as natural killer cells whilst lowering inflammatory markers.
How do you get all of these mushrooms?
With the mushroom trend exploding (and hopefully staying) you can buy these powders at most health food and whole food stores across the country. Add them into your morning coffee or tea with oat or coconut milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of MCT oil for a complete healthy adaptogenic latte.
Adaptogenic – property that helps your body adapt to stressors such as perceived stress, infections and strenuous exercise.
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