5 Medicinal Mushrooms To Try Now
Better Nutrition|September 2021
Mushrooms offer a vast range of potentially therapeutic uses, including enhancing immunity, improving cardiovascular health, promoting detoxification, boosting mood, improving digestion, stimulating memory, and nourishing the body.
By Michele Burklund, ND

Medicinal mushrooms have a profound healing power, and were used thousands of years ago by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese as a means to promote longevity.

These beneficial fungi offer a vast range of potentially therapeutic uses including enhancing immunity, improving cardiovascular health, promoting detoxification, boosting mood, improving digestion, stimulating memory, and nourishing the body.

What makes these “magic” mushrooms so unique? For one thing, fungi and humans are actually more closely related biologically than fungi and plants.

Perhaps that’s why mushrooms make us feel so good! Here’s a quick guide to a few of our favorites:

1 Shiitake (Lentinus edodes): Rich in nutrients, protein, flavor, and medicinal properties, this mushroom has been a prized food in Asia for many years.

It has been studied for its ability to lower cholesterol, support immune function, fight viruses, and promote a healthy cardiovascular system. Shiitake mushrooms are also part of a proprietary Japanese mushroom extract called AHCC—or active hexose correlated compound—which has been shown to enhance immunity and increase the activity of natural killer cells. Found in most grocery stores across North America, these tasty mushrooms can be added to a vegetable stir-fry or sautéed with garlic to enhance their rich, smoky flavor.

2 Chaga

(Inonotus obliquus): Often referred to as the “king of medicinal mushrooms,” chaga is hailed as a superfood because of its powerful ability to support the immune system with beneficial constituents such as beta glucans, melanin, betulinic acid, and superoxide dismutase. Chaga’s micronutrients have also been proven to exhibit anti-aging properties that offer cellular protection against DNA damage. This mushroom is found growing on birch trees in forests in the northern hemisphere. Infuse it into a tea with cinnamon and vanilla, or take it as a tincture or in capsule form.

USE IT FOR: Fighting colds and flu; supporting the immune system; managing stress; nourishing skin and hair; rejuvenating the body.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BETTER NUTRITIONView All

Fresh Marinara Sauce in Minutes

If you have five minutes, then you have time to make this no-stir, no-simmer, über-healthy tomato sauce.

4 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Immune System

Never as a nation have we been more focused on immunity. But in spite of our best efforts, some all-too-common daily habits may be undermining our resistance to infection. Here are 10 sneaky immune saboteurs, and ways to change them.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

Out of the Amazon

Some of nature’s most powerful healers come from the depths of the South American rainforest. Here’s why—and what you should look for in supplements.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

Magnesium for Healthy, Beautiful Skin

Do you need to relax after a stressful day? Are your muscles sore from a tough workout? Is your skin thirsty, sensitive, or breaking out? One simple mineral ingredient can provide relief—magnesium.

2 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

Intermittent Fasting, Decoded

What it is, why it works, and how to do it safely.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

Seeds of Change

In a world filled with snack bars, trail mixes, and other nut-infused treats, Blake’s Seed-Based is rewriting the book on allergen-free snacks.

2 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

Much Ado About Maca

This South American sensation is making its presence known as a world-class tonic that does just about everything.

2 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

The Growing Problem of Toxic Food

In a new book, an MIT scientist sounds the alarm about the health degrading effects of a common weed killer used on many of the crops we eat—and shares tips on how to protect ourselves.

6 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

Pasta e Ceci

A cousin of pasta e fagioli, this cozy soup features chickpeas instead of white beans.

1 min read
Better Nutrition
October 2021

The Power of Fermented Foods

If you want to steer clear of colds, flu, and Covid-19, fermented foods are your friends. They hold the key to a diverse gut microbiome, which enables your immune system to mount its best defense against pathogens.

2 mins read
Better Nutrition
October 2021