Five medicinal mushrooms people consume to help their health

For thousands of years, when healing came primarily from the earth’s own resources, mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes. As of today, 270 varieties have been classified to be of safe medicinal value.

If you are already eating mushrooms as part of your regular diet you are probably reaping some of their health benefits already. But there are so many species to choose from, and each can have differing properties.

(If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, don’t despair. You can still gain the benefits through supplements like Host Defense.)

Collectively, mushrooms have been credited with the ability to regulate your mood, decrease anxiety, relieve stress and even protecting against cancer.

But before you go running to look for the best new mushroom recipes, or to find out which mushroom supplement is the best for you, let’s look a bit deeper. Here are five of the most popular medicinal mushrooms that can help with many areas of your overall health.

1) Shiitake (Lentinula Edodes)

This meaty but mildly flavored mushroom is found most often in Asian cooking. It is commonly added to stews or soups as a fantastic way to add rich flavour.

Shiitake are packed full of Vitamin B and C, and are a strong antioxidant. They are known for increasing the strength of your immune system, thanks to its antiviral and anti-microbial properties. As the cherry on top, shiitake can also help to lower bad cholesterol levels.

2) Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus)

This species of mushroom has been popularly used by as a way to help maintain brain health and memory.

There have been studies that have shown promising results in the fields of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. Lion’s Mane can also help give your immune system a boost during cold and flu season. It has also been used to help with anxiety, depression and menopause.

3) Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)

Also known as “Hen of the Woods”, Maitake mushrooms are well known for their rich flavour when used in teas.

Drinking a regular Maitake tea is thought to help prevent cancer and lower your blood pressure. Powerful antioxidants make the Maitake mushroom perfect for strengthening your immune system. 

4) Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)

This bright and lovely fan shaped mushroom is so powerful in strengthening your immune system that it is a popular supplement for people with HIV/AIDS.

Turkey Tail is also used to help fight cancer in some countries, and support harsh treatment methods that weaken your system. On a more regular basis, it has been used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world to help with faster healing for colds and flus.

5) Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)

The Reishi mushroom has been renowned for centuries to help improve longevity and build a strong immune system. In actual fact, the biggest benefits of the Reishi are its anti-inflammatory effects that can help joints, muscles, and soft tissues repair quicker and stay healthier, causing you to “feel” younger.

Reishi supplements are popular as treatment for anxiety and helping to maintain healthy adrenal function. It also works as an effective antidepressant, allergy symptom relief and asthma treatment.

Please note: This article does not constitute health advice. We do not condone consuming any mushroom not available from your local supermarket without seeking professional advice. And always recommend speaking with your doctor about any health issue.

Photo by Florian van Duyn