Many people think they know about Mushrooms because of one or two basic varieties in their salads and a few other recipes.
The fact is that Mushrooms, including several different types that are not normally found on grocery store shelves, contain natural medicines that are extremely powerful, have been collected and used for thousands of years all over the world and are right now being studied by scientists worldwide.
Everyone can benefit from adding Medicinal Mushrooms to their daily diet due the enormous health benefits they provide.
WHAT ARE MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS?
Medicinal Mushrooms are naturally found all around the world, grown on wood, straw and other material, and have been used for thousands of years, especially in the Eastern World, for their incredible health giving and healing properties.
Medicinal Mushrooms have been used in a number of cultures around the world, but are most famous in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are extremely safe to use, with little to no reported side effects.
The reason they are called “Medicinal Mushrooms” is because they are valued as an edible and medical resource . The list of ailments and health conditions they have been used to treat is truly endless. From increasing athletic capability, strengthening the immune system to relieving stress.
Fungi are absolutely necessary for the health of the forest. Plants cannot grow in the forest without fungi in the soil. Mushrooms can only survive with a healthy immune function, which is why many believe they are so valuable to human health.
INTRODUCTION TO 8 MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS
Known in Asia as “The Mushroom Of Immortality“ or “The Great Protector”, Reishi Mushroom has been used throughout history as a tonic to promote well-being.
One of the most famous of all Medicinal Mushrooms, Reishi, Ling Zhi or Ganoderma Lucidium, has a woody, almost bitter taste and is the most famous of all the Medicinal Mushrooms. Reishi has a long history in helping to build a strong immune system, restoring the healthy functioning of the liver and lowering blood pressure.
Reishi has also been used in Traditional Chinese medicine to treat allergies, asthma, inflammation and arthritis.
Reishi Mushrooms have an almost kidney like shape and are found in humid conditions on the stumps of trees in the wild. In the past, they were treasured by Taoist priests, who used the mushrooms in their potions to grant a long and healthy life.
One of the most famous uses of Reishi Mushroom is its effect on the mind and spirit. Reishi is often recommended to stabalise the mind at a profound level, therefore beneficial to those with anxiety. In ancient China, Reishi was used to promote happiness and immortality.
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is an edible medicinal mushroom, rich in B vitamins and Vitamin D. Shiitake contains high amounts of immune-boosting Polysaccharides, and one of them, lentinan, has actually been used in Japan for the treatment of certain immune disorders.
Also called "The Black Forest Mushroom", Shiitake grows in the wild on dead or dying trees, but is now one of the most cultivated mushrooms in the world.
Shiitake has been found to have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties and has been studied on its ability to lower cholesterol, promote the healthy functioning of the liver and increase t-cell count.
Read more about Shiitake Mushrooms here
Cordyceps Mushroom, is a Medicinal Mushroom found primarily high up in the mountains of Tibet and parts of Asia, and has been used in Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years.
Cordyceps is seen as an extremely powerful anti-ageing Mushroom, and is often prescribed to the elderly, and to those recovering from long illnesses.
Cordyceps Mushroom is famously used as a lung tonic, helping to increase endurance and athletic capability. In fact, in the early 90′s, the key ingredient in the Chinese national team’s success was indeed the mighty Cordyceps mushroom.
Cordyceps is also prescribed to those battling fatigue and to help promote the healthy functioning of the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Chaga Mushroom, also known as “The Diamond Of The Forest” grows wild in parts of Europe and Asia, and has been made into a tea for many years in folk medicine in the treatment of certain immune disorders.
Chaga Mushroom was introduced to the western world via Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel "The Cancer Ward", where he wrote on the anti-cancer properties of the mushroom.
Chaga Mushroom grows on the birch tree throughout the world, and is often titled "the diamond of the forest". It has been used to strengthen the immune system, fight viruses and infections and reduce inflammation in the body.
Chaga has an earthy, almost vanilla taste an contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants found in nature, even more than cacao and green tea, which is while it is so valued.
Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)
Trametes Versicolor, of “The Turkey Tail Mushroom” is one of the most researched medicinal mushrooms with some studies suggesting it may have enormous immune enhancing effects.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms grow abundantly around the world, especially on dead longs and has a beautiful appearance (reminiscent of the tail of a turkey)
Turkey Tail Mushroom is often used as an adjunct to certain treatments, by reducing their side effects and enhancing the effectiveness.
Turkey Tail has also been prescribed to reduce phlegm in the body, combat lung disorders and to nourish the spirit.
Known in Japan as “The Hen Of The Woods”, or “Grifola Frondosa” Maitake Mushroom is edible gourmet mushroom prized for its ability to balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels and strengthening the immune system.
Maitake Mushroom grows in clusters on the bottom of oak and dying hardwood trees throughout Japan, Europe, Asia and North America and is often added to cuisines due to its delicious flavour.
There is a growing body of research suggesting that Maitake can be used to help with diabetes by decreasing a person’s resistant to insulin.
Lions Mane Mushroom
Scientists are starting to look very closely at the Lions Mane Mushroom because of its potential to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lion's Mane Mushroom, also called Hericium Erinaceus, is found in Europe, Asia and North America on hardwood, such as oak, walnut and beech. It has a rubbery texture, and is eaten in many gourmet restaurants.
Lion's Mane Mushroom is believed to promote the natural production of Nerve Growth Factor in the body. It is for this reason that Lion's Mane Mushroom is being studied for its effects on the brain developing sensory neurons, with potential against Alzheimer's dementia.
Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors also prescribe Lions Mane to promote healthy digestion, heal nerve damage and accelerate wound healing.
Find out more about this beautiful medicinal mushroom right here
Tremella Fuciformis, or “The Snow Mushroom” is a relatively unknown medicinal mushroom, but it has long been used to clear dryness in the body, and stimulating the healthy functioning of the brain.
Tremella is a white fungus that grows in frilly masses on trees, and are often dried before use. Tremella Mushrooms are often used in dishes, and have a sweet, delicious taste.
Tremella has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote healthier looking skin. Tremella is often used in cosmetics to “enhance beauty”, increase the natural production of hyaluronic acid in the body and to retain moisture in the skin.
Tremella Mushroom has also been used to protect against radiation exposure, enhance circulation and treat neurological damage.
Are There Any Side Effects To Medicinal Mushrooms?
For those who are quite sensitive to natural products, and anyone who is not accustomed to the taste of Mushrooms, it may take a short while for your body to get used to their effects. Sometimes, it is best to start off slow, and gradually build up to a dose which suits you.
Medicinal Mushrooms have been used as safe, natural healing agents for thousands of years worldwide, and there is very little evidence of any side effects. Always consult with your general practitioner before taking any health products alongside your medication.
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How To Take Medicinal Mushrooms
Some Medicinal Mushrooms like Shiitake and Maitake can easily be added to dishes, but other more exotic varieties are best consumed via an extract or in capsule form.
You can also buy whole mushrooms like Reishi and boil them to make a tea.