Your top 8 questions on medicinal mushrooms

What are medicinal mushrooms?

Medicinal mushrooms (not to be confused with magic mushrooms!) have a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are 'medicinal' as they have many varied health benefits. Aside from being nutritional powerhouses, they can also have a supportive effect on our immunity, gut, nervous system, brain, inflammation response, energy metabolism, and blood sugar balance.

How do medicinal mushrooms work?

Medicinal mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides called beta-glucans which bind to different receptors in the body in order to restore balance to our immune function and maintain overall good health.

Mushrooms produce these compounds as a defense mechanism in environments with other competitive micro-organisms, but we can also benefit from these compounds by including medicinal mushrooms in our diet and supplement regimen.

What are the main medicinal mushrooms?

The most popular mushrooms are Lion's Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Chaga, and Shitake.

What is Reishi mushroom good for?

Reishi mushroom is traditionally known as the 'Mushroom of Immortality'. It has adaptogenic properties, which means it can help to modify our response to stress making us more resilient to mental, emotional and physical stressors.

This mushroom can enhance our energy, nourish the endocrine system, and support the immune system. I would use this one if you are feeling in need of a nervous system tonic to help with anxiety, stress, and sleep.

Which medicinal mushrooms should I take?

They each have different properties, so it depends on what benefits you would like to see from taking medicinal mushrooms. As they don't provide a 'quick fix', it's best to take them consistently and you will see the effects over time.

Good combinations are Reishi and Cordyceps if you would like to focus on immunity and energy, or Turkey Tail and Lion’s Mane together for balancing mood and supporting gut health.

Which medicinal mushroom is best for inflammation?

Most medicinal mushrooms support a healthy inflammation response due to their antioxidant properties. Chaga mushroom is an antioxidant powerhouse, so it could be a good option for fighting free radical damage and inflammation in the body. It is known as the King of the Mushrooms, traditionally used for skin, stomach, and intestine disorders.

What is the most powerful healing mushroom?

That depends! Historically Lion's Mane mushroom was used as an all-rounder because of its effect on the entire body. Not only does it support digestion, sleep, energy, and mood, it is also known as the mushroom for the mind due to its effect on Nerve Growth Factor synthesis.

Clinical studies have shown an improvement in cognitive function, understanding, and memory in those using Lion's Mane mushroom. If you are looking to improve your brain functioning capacity, then this is the mushroom for you!

How to use medicinal mushrooms

For therapeutic use, it is best to take medicinal mushrooms away from food so the absorption isn’t affected. This could be in a liquid, powder, or capsule format. Having said that, I would always follow the directions for use on the product you choose.

We stock Bristol Fungarium tinctures which we recommend adding to water and juices, or if you prefer a hot drink Mushrooms 4 Life latte powders could be a good alternative.

A general guideline from Bristol Fungarium around breaks from medicinal mushroom supplements is to take a 3-5 day break every 4-8 weeks.