When many people think of “taking mushrooms,” they picture someone consuming psychedelic mushrooms, sometimes referred to as magic mushrooms. These types of ‘shrooms are often associated with intense hallucinations, which may lead to feelings of happiness and euphoria or paranoia and anxiousness, depending on how the individual responds.
But there is another type of ‘shrooms out there: medicinal mushrooms. These aren’t the kind that will make you experience hallucinations. Instead, they can actually address some of the most pressing health concerns without making you feel high or loopy at all. Learn more about what medicinal mushrooms can do and which ones are the best to take for your unique health needs.
What Are Medicinal Mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms aren’t anything new. In fact, they’ve been an important part of Eastern medicine for centuries due to their impressive health benefits. We’ll explore those benefits in more detail later in this guide, but it’s important to know that each type of medicinal mushroom has its own distinct health advantages.
In recent years, there’s been a renewed interested in medicinal mushrooms, especially with a greater availability of concentrated mushroom extracts. So instead of having to consume huge quantities of raw or whole mushrooms, the health benefits can be obtained by taking a simple supplement.
Despite the name, medicinal mushrooms aren’t intended to replace traditional medicine. However, they have been the subject of numerous studies as Western medicine catches on to this natural health hack. The results have found that medicinal mushrooms can be used as supplements to potentially improve health outcomes. In this guide, we’ll provide an introduction to the top six types of medicinal mushrooms:
- Lion’s Mane
- Turkey Tail
Lion’s Mane for Mental Clarity
Lion’s Mane is like a natural brain booster. It’s a great option for people who want to get rid of brain fog and enhance their cognitive function and concentration. Some people may even find that Lion’s Mane helps with memory. That’s likely due to the fact that it contains nerve growth factor (NFG) and myelin — both of which are important for brain health. When NFG and myelin are improperly balanced, it may contribute multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease.
Another upside to taking Lion’s Mane is its potential to relieve anxiety and reduce irritability. Like many other medicinal mushrooms, it is packed with antioxidants and helps to strengthen the immune system as well.
Reishi Mushrooms for Relaxation
Reishi is best known for its calming properties. It’s a popular medicinal mushroom for relieving anxiety and helping to promote better sleep. Reishi also has mood-boosting compounds which may help to ease depression. It can sharpen focus and promote healing as well.
As if that weren’t enough, Reishi has also been studied for its potential to help with weight loss, regulate the immune system, and potentially fight cancer cells.
Shiitake for HPV Treatment
Shiitake mushrooms are known for their healthy heart benefits when included as part of someone’s diet. They may help to lower cholesterol levels and prevent plaque buildup. In some studies, these mushrooms have been found to help maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.
A Shiitake extract called AHCC also has very exciting potential health benefits. It’s been shown to help rid the body of the human papillomavirus (HPV) on paps— the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. It’s known as the “HPV Supplement” and is a great supplement for overall reproductive health in both women and men.
Chaga to Antioxidant Benefits
Chaga mushrooms are highly coveted for their powerful antioxidant effects. They’re so rich in antioxidants, in fact, that they can be help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.
The antioxidants in Chaga mushrooms also help to minimize signs of aging skin by reducing oxidative stress. These mushrooms may also lower low-density lipoprotein (also known as the “bad” cholesterol) and may even prevent or slow the growth of cancer.
Turkey Tail for Fighting Cancer
The high levels of antioxidants in most medicinal mushrooms are helpful for fighting cancer. But Turkey Tail mushrooms also helps to stimulate the immune system polysaccharide-K (PSK) — a natural compound so effective that it’s actually a product approved in Japan to help treat cancer.
Turkey Tail has actually been found to improve survival rates for some individuals with cancer. It can also help to boost the immune system in people currently going through chemotherapy. It’s important to note that Turkey Tail isn’t administered as a substitute for other treatment options. Instead, it’s used to help support other types of cancer treatment.
Cordyceps for Energy and Performance
Fatigue and low libido are common problems many people can relate to. Cordyceps are a type of medicinal mushroom that can help to address both issues.
These mushrooms are known to stimulate energy, which can help with regular daily activities when you’re feeling sluggish. Because Cordyceps help body utilize oxygen more efficiently and enhance blood flow, some athletes also use this supplement to boost their performance and speed up post-workout muscle recovery. Those same effects also mean that Cordyceps may help to improve sex drive.
Getting Started with Medicinal Mushroom Supplements
If you know that a particular type of mushroom from this list could enhance your health, it’s time to start shopping for quality supplements to add to your daily routine.
Not sure which type of mushroom is right for you? Options like Mushroom Rx combine all six mushrooms listed here to provide a wide range of health benefits through one simple supplement.
Remember to discuss your options with a healthcare professional before adding new supplements to your daily routine.