The Healing Power Of Medicinal Mushrooms
Reader's Digest UK|June 2021
When you think of valuable mushrooms, you might think of gourmet truffles or posh porcini, but mushrooms are more than just a risotto filling
Katie de Klee

Medicinal mushrooms are rapidly becoming part of the wellness movement, and their magical properties have nothing to do with psychedelic trips. Funghi make up an entire living kingdom, and modern scientists are starting to understand that mushrooms are closer in DNA to humans than they are to plants. They “breathe” oxygen and release carbon dioxide, they digest rather than photosynthesise, and mushrooms even produce their own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

Our ancestors were fascinated by mushrooms; the benefits of reishi mushrooms were recorded in texts as early as the 29th century BC and ancient healers brewed up chaga mushroom teas and used puffballs to treat wounds. Mushrooms are the original superfood; indigenous cultures have used these powerful funghi for thousands of years, but for a long time we have underappreciated their role in supporting life on earth. What we are only beginning to now understand is their mighty health-promoting potential— mushrooms can help us to fight illness, focus on work, alleviate stress and enhance our general wellbeing.

Adaptogenic mushroom tonics, elixirs, coffees and lattes are popping up in all the trendiest health cafes and stores. Companies like Four Sigmatic, Moon Juice and Sun Potion are helping us to appreciate the uses and doses of these powerful shrooms.

Mushroom powders are great additions to smoothies and superfood lattes, and are readily available as blends, capsules, teas and tinctures.

Make yourself a reishi hot chocolate to soothe you to sleep, swap out your morning coffee for a lion’s mane latte, or add chaga to your smoothie if you’re feeling a bit run down. Wondering what you’re going to have for supper tonight? Go grab some shiitake mushrooms from your local shop. You’re about to find out why. Here’s a list of our favourite shrooms…

REISHI

Ganoderma lucidum

Reishi, the “Queen of Mushrooms”, is often referred to as nature’s Xanax because it is a natural relaxant. Popular in Eastern medicine and known as the mushroom of immortality in ancient China, the reishi mushroom has a bitter taste but immense health benefits.

Reishi is one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms; it is known for its calming properties and ability to soothe the nervous system. The mood-boosting properties of reishi are due to the compound triterpene, which aids sleep and eases anxiety.

Reishi has been reported to help with weight loss, and contains betaglutens that support a healthy immune system and is even believed to battle cancer cells in the body.

CHAGA

Inonotus obliquus

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