Humans have used mushrooms for healing and maintaining health for thousands of years. They are a crucial component of traditional East Asian medicine, and indigenous people worldwide have used functional fungi for centuries.
Modern science has now begun to catch up, and there is a growing body of evidence supporting mushrooms' wellness properties. Therefore, many people are becoming curious about mushroom supplements and how to take them.
This article explores some of the best-known benefits and which mushrooms have the most potential. Here's everything you need to know.
The Healing Properties of Mushrooms
Experts estimate that there are around 2000 species of edible mushrooms. They are a valuable nutrition source, packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals while being low in calories and fat. Around 270 of these mushroom species are also thought to possess therapeutic properties.
Although humans have a longstanding relationship with these fungi, we have only just begun to understand their full potential. In recent years, many scientists have set out to study the healing power of mushrooms.
They have discovered that fungi are rich in health-promoting compounds such as beta-glucan polysaccharides. These complex molecules interact with our digestive and immune systems to promote a natural state of balance and well-being. Certain mushroom species also contain unique compounds that provide additional benefits.
What Mushrooms Have Healing and Wellness Properties?
Many different mushrooms have beneficial properties, but some have been studied better than others. Our current knowledge suggests that the following mushrooms have some of the most well-researched benefits:
Lion's mane has been used as a culinary and functional mushroom in East Asia for centuries. Its name comes from its shaggy appearance, and it grows across the northern hemisphere. Although it is rare to find it in stores, this mushroom is a real delicacy. Its flavor has been compared to seafood.
Lion's mane contains chemicals believed to promote cognitive health and function. People take it to support memory, focus, alertness, and more.
Turkey tail mushrooms are another staple of East Asian medicine, although they grow in many areas around the world. They are one of the most widespread fungi and are easily recognizable by their concentric rings, which resemble a turkey's tail. They grow on rotting wood, and it is not unusual to see hundreds of these fungi clustered on a single log or tree.
These fungi are a fantastic source of polysaccharides, and people use them to support immunity, gut health, and general well-being.
In East Asian culture, reishi is sometimes known as "the mushroom of immortality." It is featured in many myths and legends and is renowned for its healing properties. True reishi grows in Asia and is rare in the wild, adding to this mushroom's mystery. However, several related species grow worldwide and may have similar properties.
Reishi is rich in polysaccharides and also contains triterpenes, which give the mushroom its bitter taste. This combination makes reishi a wonderful healing mushroom, used to support immunity and vitality, balance stress, and promote restful sleep.
Cordyceps is also prized in East Asian medicine. Many different species grow worldwide, but the best known is native to the Himalayas. It thrives at high altitudes, where it acts as a parasite on certain species of caterpillars. However, it has become rather rare in the wild due to habitat loss and overharvesting. Nowadays, most cordyceps are cultivated.
These unusual fungi contain a unique compound called cordycepin, which is thought to have a range of benefits. People use cordyceps for various reasons, including supporting energy, endurance, and athletic performance.
Chaga is not technically a mushroom but a fungal mass known as a sclerotium. It grows on birch trees in northern areas of Asia, Europe, and America and has a long history of use in Siberian folk medicine.
Chaga's benefits are largely due to its relationship with birch trees, from which it derives many of its active compounds. It has potent antioxidant properties, and it is used to support immunity, digestion, and metabolic health.
Shiitake is probably best known as an edible mushroom and is popular throughout Asian cuisine. It has a delicious earthy flavor and a satisfying texture, making it an excellent meat substitute. However, shiitake mushrooms have powerful healing properties too.
Shiitake is one of the most thoroughly researched functional fungi and is full of beneficial polysaccharides. These mushrooms are often used to support immune health and general well-being.
Maitake is another delicious fungus that is popular throughout Asia but also grows in North America and Europe. It is sometimes known as "hen of the woods" due to its distinctive feathery appearance. It has a more subtle flavor than shiitake but is equally delicious and healthy, too.
This mushroom is another excellent source of polysaccharides, often used to support immunity and wellness.
How to Use Mushrooms for Healing and Wellness
Some of these healing mushrooms are delicious and can be added to your favorite dishes. However, some are woody and bitter, making them unpleasant to eat.
Fungi like reishi, turkey tail, and chaga are traditionally simmered in water to make mushroom tea.
Unfortunately, the process can be too time-consuming for most people's hectic lives, and not everyone enjoys the taste.
Therefore, the best way to enjoy mushrooms' healing properties is to take a daily supplement. Here at VidaCap, we have various options, including capsules, powders, and gummies. We also offer specific mushroom blends, such as our Mushroom Capsules for Sleep.
Check out our products to find the ideal supplement for you and start your healing mushroom journey today.
Mushrooms for Healing and Wellness: Summary
Humans have known about the healing power of mushrooms for centuries. They are nutritional treasure troves with a number of unique health benefits.
VidaCap offers a range of functional mushroom supplements to suit every need, so why not give them a try today? Or learn more about mushrooms' healing properties in our blog.
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