Mushrooms are not just for the forest floor, or those looking for a psychedelic experience.
Certain mushrooms have been used throughout history for their medicinal benefits. Now research is catching up with folk medicine.
Join me for a stroll through the magical mushroom kingdom.
These unique fungi have been shown to have some fantastic things for your energy, brain, hormones, and immune system.
Chaga has been used in traditional medicine in eastern Europe in a variety of health problems such as stomach diseases and tumors. Research is now validating antiquity as chaga shows many health benefits.
Inflammation is linked to just about every chronic and autoimmune health problem. One study found chaga was able to reduce the pro-inflammatory nitric oxide and cyclooxygenase.
Chaga is jam-packed with antioxidant power, having the ability to scavenge harmful free radicals. Think berries on steroids!
Chaga also has been shown to be able to fight off viruses. In one study, the water-based extract of chaga exhibited antiviral activity against common viral infections such as the flu. This superfood medicine was also shown to have immune balancing effects as well.
Do you struggle with brain problems such as brain fog or memory loss? Lion’s mane mushrooms are increasingly studied for their neuroprotective benefits. Nerve Growth Factors (NGF) found in this mushroom can regenerate and protect brain tissue.
About a dozen studies have been published on the neurodegenerative properties of lion’s mane so far. One small-scale study gave lion’s mane to patients four 250 mg tablets containing 96 percent mushroom powder three times a day for 16 weeks. Those who took the lion’s mane powder showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo group.
Lion’s mane also has been shown to be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression. Post-menopausal women who consumed lion’s mane baked into cookies showed less anxiety and depression and also had better concentration in just four weeks.
Turkey tail, named for its colorful stripes, is probably the most promising mushroom as far as research is concerned. Many of the studies centered around the medicinal benefits of mushrooms have been small-scale studies. Turkey tail is, at this point, the most well-researched mushroom in larger scale studies.
Turkey Tail has two powerful polysaccharides called PSP and PSK (or Kreskin) which is at the center of a $5.4 million collaboration between Bastyr University, the University of Washington and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Researchers found that taking Turkey Tail daily improves immune function when dosed daily to women with stage I to III breast cancer. PSP has been shown to significantly enhance immune status in up to 97 percent of cancer patients.
Unlike most pharmaceutical drugs, Turkey tail also showed no negative side effects in the study.
Cordyceps is the anti-ager of the mushroom kingdom.
One study out of China found that cordyceps extract was able to dramatically increase powerhouse antioxidants superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. This special fungus also decreased pro-inflammatory monoamine oxidase and lipid peroxidation activity which causes us to age.
A double-blind placebo-controlled trial also found that cordyceps acted like an adaptogen, or hormone balancer, helping people struggling with fatigue increase their levels of energy and endurance.
A staggering 50 percent of America is either pre-diabetic or diabetic, and that number will most likely grow if we continue to progress the way we have been. Studies have shown that the polysaccharides and triterpenes in reishi extracts decreased excessive fat storage seen in people struggling with weight gain and lower blood sugars in diabetics.