Wanting to give your health regime a boost with medicinal mushrooms? You are not alone. These spectacular superfoods have been used for thousands of years to treat a host of ailments and diseases from cultures around the world, especially in Asian countries. Lucky for us, medicinal mushrooms have made their way to the West, offering up a smorgasbord of benefits.
But with over 1.5 million varieties in the magical world of mushrooms, it can be overwhelming finding the right fungus. To help narrow down your search, here are five medicinal mushrooms that should be a part of your diet.
Let’s dive in…
Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grows in the high plateaus of Nepal and Tibet. Once available only for the Emperor’s highest court and Chinese nobility, cordyceps has been used in healing practices due to its remarkable medicinal properties. This fungus may not only help prevent cells from aging, but also enhance athletic performance and combat lung cancer, lymphoma, and colorectal carcinoma.
Reishi has been dubbed the “Mushroom of Immortality,” and for good reason! It has been sought out for centuries by emperors, Buddhists, sages, Taoists, monks, and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. This therapeutic powerhouse is bursting with a gamut of curative compounds, including triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and various key polysaccharides. This medicinal mushroom is used for a wide range of health reasons, from boosting the immune system and supporting cardiovascular health to alleviating depression and treating prostate, colon, and breast cancer.
Seems like every health food store is serving up chaga these days—and why not? Since 17-century Russia, this fantastic fungus is celebrated the world over for its health benefits and antibacterial properties. Brimming with antioxidants, consuming chaga has been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, promote cardiovascular health, regulate blood sugar, and treat lung and liver cancer.
Made up of long, mane-like tendrils, it is easy to see how this mushroom got its name. Lion’s mane is praised for its brain boosting benefits, including calming the mind and improving memory. It has also been shown to fend off conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. More than just brain food, lion’s mane may also protect the lining of the gut, promote healthier digestion, treat mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increase recovery from damage to the nervous system.
Rounding out our list of magnificent medicinal mushrooms is shiitake. Found in grocery stores everywhere, this mushroom is more than just delicious—it also packs powerful health supporting properties. Shiitake has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, treat heart disease, and remedy asthma and chronic fatigue.
Whether you are a mushroom connoisseur or a fungus newbie, there are a myriad of health benefits from medical mushrooms that are just too important to ignore.
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