Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional folk medicines in cultures that range from Siberia to China and Japan. Mushrooms are enjoying recent popularity as many nootropic coffees and teas are now adding medicinal mushrooms to their ingredients. While they look catchy on labels, what are some common medicinal mushrooms and how can they help you?
Medicinal mushrooms can boost the immune systems, hormones, antioxidants, sexual health, well-being, cognition, energy, and exercise performance.
One of the uniting benefits of most medicinal mushrooms is that most of them boost or stimulate the immune system. Some of their immune system effects are due to their beta glucans, or polysaccharides; but often, medicinal mushrooms have unique constituents which modern medicine is beginning to identify and understand.
Most of the conclusive evidence about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms are based on studies that are performed with either animals or in-vitro research, but a few medicinal mushrooms have made their way to clinical trials with humans. It’s worth keeping in mind that some of the purported benefits on the newer products which are incorporating medicinal mushrooms may be based on an extrapolation of data and results from animal studies.
Some of the most common medicinal mushrooms you may encounter are: Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps Militaris, Chaga, and Reishi.
- Well-known for its cognitive boosting properties
- Also used for promoting mood and wellbeing
- Believed to influence BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) in preliminary animal studies
- Well-known for its effects on exercise performance
- Combats fatigue
- Boosts testosterone
- Promotes anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant properties
- Well-known to support urinary health in males
- Boosts energy and mood
- Promotes antioxidant activity
- Supports energy levels
- Stimulates immune response
- Enhances memory
Mushrooms have been used traditionally in teas, but they are now available in powders that are extracted from dried mushrooms. It’s important to make sure that the sources of your mushrooms are legitimate and that they are tested for impurities. Since mushrooms are a fungus, the conditions under which it is grown need to be controlled and reputable.
In addition to seeking out high-quality mushrooms that have been appropriately sourced and tested, the material on which they are grown can really impact the quality. For instance, Reishi mushroom that is cultivated on a grain medium will absorb some of the grain. The grains are starches which can impact the amounts of beta-glucans that will be contained in the mushroom, and the beta glucans are the primary active constituents of Reishi. If you purchase Reishi that is grown on starch, it may not be as effective as Reishi that is cultivated differently. The brand name of mushroom extract, Nammex, does not grow Reishi on grain.
The medicinal mushrooms available from Pure Nootropics use the brand Nammex which uses 100% organic whole fruiting bodies of the mushrooms. Nammex mushrooms are considered medical grade mushrooms, and if you’re beginning to explore the world of medicinal mushrooms, it is a safe way to get started.