· By Richard Gray
Exploring the Potent Power of Medical Mushrooms
Medical “adaptogenic” mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to promote health and treat a variety of ailments.
Today, these mushrooms are gaining popularity as "nootropics," supplements that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
One mushroom that has received particular attention in recent years is Agaricus Blazei, also known as the Brazilian mushroom.
Agaricus Blazei is a potent source of antioxidants and beta-glucans, which are believed to have immune-boosting properties.
In this article, we will explore the powerful benefits of medical mushrooms like Agaricus Blazei and other popular nootropics, and how they can support overall health and well-being.
Top 7 Medical Mushrooms To Add To Your Diet
1. Agaricus Blazei Mushrooms
Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM) popularly known as ‘Cogumelo do Sol’ in Brazil, or ‘Himematsutake’ in Japan, is a mushroom native to Brazil, and widely cultivated in Japan for its medicinal uses.
These mushrooms have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes and are believed to have several health benefits. Agaricus Blazei is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Aside from its nutritional value Agaricus blazei Murill extract is high in immunomodulating polysaccharides and has many mind-blowing health benefits that have been said to boost natural killer cell activity, suppress tumor growth, improve immune response, and aid those with high cholesterol. (1)
Mushroom beta-glucan extracts have shown promise to support the reduction of blood sugar levels, triglyceride, and cholesterol. (1)
Teachers, nurses, and others whose jobs demand frequent travel may all benefit from taking an Agaricus blazei supplement in order to strengthen their immune systems.
This dietary supplement is known for its powerful antioxidant properties making it a great addition to all types of diets.
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Benefits of including Agaricus Blazei into your diet:
- May Improve Immune System Health and Function
- May Reduce Inflammation
- May Help Fight Cancer Cells
- May Support Digestion and Metabolism
- May Reduction in Risk of Diabetes
- May Support Healthy Cholesterol
- May Normalizes Liver Function
Suggested reading: Can Agaricus Blazei Improve Quality Of Life During Chemotherapy?
2. Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a medicinal mushroom used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine.
Reishi has been extensively researched and is thought to possess a variety of beneficial health properties. They also contain several active compounds including polysaccharides, triterpenes, proteins, and peptides which are believed to be responsible for their therapeutic effects.
Studies have suggested that consuming Reishi mushrooms may aid in diminishing inflammation and oxidative damage, strengthen immunity, better heart health, hamper the growth of cancer cells and even ameliorate symptoms related to diabetes. (2)
Additionally, it can help improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety levels while promoting relaxation. (2)
One way to reap the potential health benefits of Reishi is by taking them in supplement forms, such as mushroom powders or capsules.
Taking too much reishi mushroom extract may result in some undesired effects, such as abdominal unease or looseness of the bowels due to its elevated fiber content.
It should also not be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding without consulting your doctor first, as there have been no safety studies conducted on these populations.
Benefits of including Reishi into your diet:
- May Boost Immune Support
- May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
- Could Fight Fatigue and Depression
- May Improve Heart Health
- May Improve Blood Sugar Control
- May Have Antioxidant Status
3. Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga mushroom is a type of medicinal mushroom native to cold climates, primarily found in Russia and Northern Europe.
For centuries, this medicinal mushroom native to cold climates has been utilized by traditional healers, mainly to boost immunity and overall health.
They grow on birch trees and resemble burnt charcoal when harvested.
Though research is ongoing, some scientific studies indicate that chaga extract may provide certain health benefits.
Chaga mushroom has been linked to a wide array of potential health benefits, such as stimulating the generation of white blood cells that fight infection and diminishing inflammation connected with autoimmune diseases. (3)
It has been found to contain compounds that can protect against free radicals, potentially leading to improved cardiovascular health; its elements have also demonstrated a capacity for reducing cholesterol and boosting energy. (3)
Animal and test-tube clinical trials found that chaga extract may boost immunity, improve cardiovascular health, prevent chronic inflammation, fight cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce cholesterol. However, more human studies are needed.
For optimal results, it is recommended to consume one to two tablespoons of chaga mushroom extract or tea daily, twice a day before meals. If desired for flavor enhancement purposes, adding honey may be beneficial.
It is essential not to exceed the recommended dosage amounts prescribed by healthcare professionals or nutritionists familiar with your medical history before starting any supplementation regimen involving this particular fungi species.
Benefits of including Chaga into your diet:
- May Boost Your Immune System
- May Fight Inflammation
- May Prevent and Fight Cancer
- May Lower Blood Sugar
- May Lower Cholesterol
4. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake are edible mushrooms native to East Asia. They have tan to dark brown caps that grow between 2 and 4 inches long (5 and 10 cm).
Shiitakes are fungi that naturally occur on decaying hardwood trees but are commonly consumed like vegetables. Today Shiitake mushroom supplements are rising in popularity due to their health benefits.
Shiitake are low in calories. They also offer good amounts of fiber, as well as B vitamins and some minerals.
They also boast polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols, and lipids, some of which have immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, and anticancer effects. (4)
The amount of bioactive compounds in shiitake depends on how and where the mushrooms are grown, stored, and prepared. (5)
Compounds in shiitake have antimicrobial properties, though you’re unlikely to gain benefits from eating the mushrooms themselves. Shiitake with higher vitamin D levels may improve your bone density.
Chaga mushroom has been linked to a wide array of potential health benefits, such as aiding in heart health, boosting immune health, potential anticancer activity, and strengthening bones. (6)
Benefits of including Shiitake into your diet:
- May Aid Heart Health
- May Boost The Immune System
- May Contain Compounds With Potential Anticancer Activity
- May Have Promising Antibacterial And Antiviral Effects
- May Strengthen Your Bones
5. Cordyceps Mushrooms
Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects.
In order to spread beyond the host's body, these fungi use the host's tissue as a template for their own, sprouting long, thin stems.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has relied on hand-collected, dried insect and fungal remains for generations to cure exhaustion, illness, renal disease, and a lack of libido drive in its patients.
Many alleged health benefits have led to the rise in popularity of Cordyceps extract supplements and other items.
There have been approximately 400 different species of Cordyceps identified, but just two—Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris—have become the focus of health studies.
This type of mushroom has been shown to improve measures of exercise performance in older and younger adults, but not in well-trained athletes, has anti-aging properties, and has the potential to treat cancer, elevate blood sugar levels and decrease inflammatory markers in animals. (7)
Cordyceps sinensis is difficult to harvest so, therefore, has a price tag of more than $9,000 USD per pound. (8)
Benefits of including Cordyceps into your diet:
- May Boost Exercise Performance
- May Improve Brain Function
- May Contain Anti-Aging Properties
- May Have Potential Anti-Tumor Effects
- May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
- Possible Benefits for Heart Health
- May Help Fight Inflammation
6. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms (hericium erinaceus), also known as “yamabushitake”, have a history of both medicinal and culinary uses in Asia and Europe. (9)
Lion’s mane is composed of two parts: the visible fruiting body (the mushroom) and the mycelium, which is the bottom structure that resembles roots. Both the fruiting body and the root-like mycelium contain compounds that offer potential health benefits.
The potential benefits of lion’s mane mushroom are numerous and span physical, cognitive, and mental health. (10)
The reported health-promoting properties of the mushroom fruit bodies, mycelia, and bioactive pure compounds include antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, anti fatigue, antihypertensive, antihyperlipodemic, antisenescence, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective properties and improvement of anxiety, cognitive function, and depression. (11)
Benefits of including Lion’s Mane into your diet:
- May Regulate Blood Sugar
- May Improve Brain Health
- May Reduce High Blood Pressure
- May Promote A Healthy Nervous System
- May ProtectH Heart Health
- May Protect Kidney Health
- May Protects Liver Health
7.Turkey Tail Mushrooms
The medicinal mushroom Trametes versicolor (Tv, Turkey Tail) is often made into a powder from the mushroom's mycelium and the fermented substrate it grew on.
It contains polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK), which are used as medicine.
The turkey tail mushroom's potential to improve immune system health is perhaps its most remarkable feature. (12)
It has been noted that people use turkey tail mushrooms to improve response to cancer medicines and radiation. It is also used for muscle strength, fatigue, UTIs, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. (13)
Benefits of including Turkey Tail into your diet:
- May Be Packed With Antioxidants
- May Contain Immune-Boosting Polysacharopeptides
- May Improve Immune Function in People With Certain Cancers
- May Enhance the Efficacy of Certain Cancer Treatments
May Enhance Gut Health
FAQs in Relation to Best Medicinal Mushroom
What is the most effective medicinal mushroom?
There are several medicinal mushrooms that are widely studied for their health benefits, and each one has its unique properties and potential benefits.
Depending on what your needs are you can simultaneously use mushroom blend supplements to optimize the health benefits.
It's important to note that while these mushrooms have been widely studied for their potential health benefits, they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any new supplement or medication.
Which medicinal mushroom is best for immunity?
In our opinion, Agaricus blazei organic mushroom extract powder is one of the best medicinal mushrooms to boost immune function.
This powerful superfood contains scientifically verified active compounds (fruiting bodies) that help to boost and strengthen the immune system.
Studies suggest that the extract powder of Agaricus blazei mushrooms may be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory, activating natural killer cells, and elevating antioxidant levels.
Additionally, Agaricus blazei has been found to contain high amounts of polysaccharides which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune response. Agaricus blazei is a great supplement for those seeking to advance their general health and welfare.
How can I add medicinal mushrooms to my diet?
There are several ways to add medicinal mushrooms to your diet. Here are some ideas:
- Mushroom Supplements: You can find high-quality medicinal mushroom supplements in various forms such as capsules, powders, and tinctures. Supplements are an easy and convenient way to get the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, especially if you don't like the taste of mushrooms.
- Mushroom Tea: You can make tea with dried mushrooms by simmering them in water for about 15-20 minutes. This method is an excellent way to get the benefits of the mushrooms while also enjoying a warm, soothing drink.
- Mushroom Powder: You can add the mushroom powder to smoothies, and oatmeal, or even sprinkle it on top of your meals. Mushroom powders are available in various forms, such as Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps.
- Mushroom Broth: You can make a nutritious broth by simmering mushrooms with other vegetables and herbs. This method is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of mushrooms in a delicious, warming meal.
Mushroom Recipes: You can find various mushroom recipes online, such as soups, stews, stir-fries, and even desserts. Experimenting with mushroom recipes can be a fun and creative way to add medicinal mushrooms to your diet.
In conclusion, medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their potential health benefits.
Today, scientific research continues to explore the potent power of medicinal mushrooms, including Agaricus Blazei, Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail.
These mushrooms are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds that may support immune function, reduce inflammation, boost energy, and promote overall well-being.
Whether you prefer to take mushroom supplements, enjoy mushroom tea, or incorporate mushrooms into your meals, there are various ways to add medicinal mushrooms to your diet.
Disclaimer: It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before adding medicinal mushrooms to your routine, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any underlying medical conditions.
With their potent power and potential health benefits, medicinal mushrooms are certainly worth exploring.
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