Medical mushrooms, also known as medicinal mushrooms or functional mushrooms, are a group of fungi that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems, particularly in Asian cultures. These mushrooms are known for their potential health benefits and have gained significant popularity in recent years. There are some types of medicinal mushroom such as Reishi, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, Turkey’s tail and more. Here will provide information on a selection of well-known ones:

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum):

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi is often called the “mushroom of immortality” due to its reputation for promoting longevity and overall well-being. It supports the immune system, helps manage stress, promotes relaxation, and may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes):

Shiitake Mushroom freshh

Shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. They are known to support the immune system, help regulate cholesterol levels, possess anti-inflammatory properties, and may have antitumor and antimicrobial effects.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus):

Lion’s Mane mushrooms

Lion’s Mane is recognized for its potential cognitive benefits. It may enhance memory, focus, and mental clarity. Additionally, it has neuroprotective properties, stimulates nerve growth, and may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Cordyceps Mushroom (Ophiocordyceps sinensis):

Cordyceps militaris

Cordyceps is renowned for its energy-boosting and performance-enhancing properties. It may increase stamina, improve exercise tolerance, and support respiratory function. Cordyceps also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and may enhance libido.

Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus):

Dry chaga

Chaga is known for its potent antioxidant properties. It supports the immune system, promotes healthy digestion, and may help reduce inflammation. Chaga extract is also believed to have anticancer potential and can be beneficial for skin health.

Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor):

Turkey Tail mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, particularly beta-glucans, which support immune function. They have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, aid in digestion, and may be beneficial for individuals undergoing cancer treatments.

It’s important to note that while medical mushrooms offer potential health benefits, they are not meant to replace conventional medical treatments. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before incorporating them into your routine, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are used in traditional medicine for their long list of health benefits, including brain boosting, cholesterol lowering, blood sugar balancing, stress relieving, and immune-stimulating effects. They are also an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some medicinal mushroom extracts, such as shiitake, maitake, and lion’s mane, have promising lab results in humans. Other mushroom supplements, such as turkey tail and chaga, may help prevent or slow the growth of cancer cells. They are also thought to stimulate higher brain function.

Mushrooms are a natural source of antioxidants

Mushrooms contain protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help the body eliminate free radicals. These free radicals are the byproducts of metabolism and other bodily processes that can cause oxidative stress. They are also excellent sources of ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that humans cannot produce.

Mushroom polysaccharides can alleviate hyperglycemia and may be used as alternative antioxidant therapies for diabetic complications. They are also effective against lipid peroxidation and have been shown to possess anticancer, antihypertensive, and antifungal properties.

Boost your immune system

Mushrooms also have a strong immune-stimulating effect and help prevent stress-related disorders. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, making them a great immunity booster. The antioxidant content of mushrooms includes selenium and ergothioneine, which are essential for a healthy immune system.  They can boost your immune system, helping your body fight off illness and infection. The mushrooms contain natural chemicals called polysaccharides, which stimulate parts of the immune system to kill bacteria and viruses. This helps your body defend itself from diseases like cancer. Mushrooms are powerful immunomodulators that can boost your immune system when it’s low and help you dial it back up when it’s overactive.  They’re also adaptogens that help you control stress and fatigue. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense), for example, has been used in East Asia for centuries to boost the immune system and increase energy.

Good source of B vitamins

Mushrooms are also a good source of B vitamins.  These vitamins are important for keeping your adrenal glands functioning properly, and they help your body convert carbohydrates into energy, especially important for vegetarians and people who don’t consume meat for health reasons. Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins and choline, which play important roles in metabolism, neurotransmission and cell function. They also contain ergosterol, which can be converted to vitamin D with exposure to ultraviolet light. Reishi mushrooms extract (Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense) and shiitake are among the best sources of this vitamin. They contain thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and folate (vitamin B9). In addition, they are the only vegan, non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D.

Good source of protein

Mushrooms are also a good source of protein, which is particularly useful for people on a plant-based diet, helps you build muscles and maintain a healthy weight. 50g of dried shiitake provides the daily recommended amount.  In addition, they contain healthy compounds such as beta-glucan and selenium. The lion’s mane mushroom, for example, has been shown to be effective in fighting cognitive decline and dementia. It contains hericenone, a compound that can prevent Alzheimer’s and improve memory function.

Many different types of mushrooms contain a compound that prevents high cholesterol levels. They also have substances that keep blood cells from sticking to arteries, which can improve circulation and reduce the risk of heart disease. Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure.

In addition, Mushrooms are rich in dietary fibre and have been shown to be beneficial in the prevention, alleviation, and healing of numerous diseases.  They also contain a healthy compound called beta-glucans, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of tumors. It’s also being used in China to help cancer patients cope with radiation and chemotherapy. It’s also being used in China to help cancer patients cope with radiation and chemotherapy, but they need more research to be widely adopted and there are no clinical trials on these supplements in humans yet.

Ye Tao