What are medicinal mushrooms? ...and why you should consider them
Mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a branch of medicine in China that uses holistic practices for health and healing. When you think of how mushrooms and fungi regenerate, it makes sense. Many mushroom varieties grow from decaying matter, literally regenerating from their host, and creating something new and revitalized from it. What do we want when we’re feeling slow, sluggish, or sick? To feel revitalized. Regenerated. Learn more about some of the most popular varieties and how they can help you everyday (and no, you won’t hallucinate.)
Lion’s Mane: let’s call this the cognitive mushroom, because Lion’s Mane can help improve focus, memory, and mood. This adaptogenic mushroom can help you feel like you had a shot of caffeine, without the crash.
Cordyceps: can help increase cardiovascular performance, treat fatigue, contain anti-aging properties and anti-tumor effects, and help build the immune system. How? Cordyceps have been found in research to increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), that is essential for delivering energy to muscles.*
Reishi: known as the ‘Mushroom of Immortality’ in TCM and for good reason. Reishi mushrooms are known to help fight fatigue, stress, and anxiety, promoting emotional well being. The first references to Reishi mushrooms date back to the Han dynasty. Yes, that’s over 200 years of natural, regenerative healing. Talk about an ingredient to promote longevity.
Turkey Tail: a beautiful mushroom variety that looks like its name. This velvety mushroom is known for boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, improving gut health, and even used to fight cancer as an addition to other treatments. Studies have shown turkey tail extract to inhibit the growth of some cancer cells, while boosting immune function*.
Shiitake: a variety known for improving energy, aiding digestion, and enhancing the immune system with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-viral properties. Shiitake mushrooms are a heart healthy variety as they can help improve cardiovascular health with compounds found in this fungi like beta-glucans, a type of fiber that interacts with cholesterol in the bowel to lower cholesterol levels.*
Chaga: it looks like its benefits, a solid rock, not like the soft, delicate image of mushrooms that usually comes to mind. Chaga is known to protect against inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, helping to reduce fatigue, increase focus and lower blood sugar. If it does what it looks like, we like to think of Chaga as a building block to longevity.
White button mushrooms: an immune boosting variety with antiviral properties. One of the most common mushrooms consumed because of their ease of use, and we’re lucky for it. White button mushrooms have been shown in research to enhance the activity of critical cells responsible for seeking to protect and repair tissue caused by disease-causing pathogens*.
Looking for an easy way to get medicinal mushrooms into your daily routine? Find these varieties in the happie essentials.
Get moving: try a free angles workout on-demand and see what functional resistance training is all about.
Xu YF. Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016;18(12):1083-1092. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v18.i12.30. PMID: 28094746.
Kıvrak I, Kivrak S, Karababa E. Assessment of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of turkey tail medicinal mushroom trametes versicolor (agaricomycetes). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2020;22(6):559-571. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2020035027
Sima, P., Vannucci, L., & Vetvicka, V. (2018). β-glucans and cholesterol. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 41(4), 1799-1808.