A First-timer’s Guide to the Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms have been an integral part of traditional healing modalities and longevity practices across the globe for centuries.
The ever-increasing scientific research into the health benefits of mushrooms has seen the world of fungi re-emerge into the light validating traditional wisdom and bringing the notion of the power and potential of mushrooms to nourish the body, mind and spirit into mainstream consciousness. And perhaps this is what brings you to be reading this journal entry today!
The realm of medicinal mushrooms, or as they are sometimes referred to functional mushrooms, is a truly fascinating space. We like to think of each medicinal mushroom as having its own unique personality characterised by the health benefits and states of being they have the capacity to bring about. They have the ability to ease stress, support sleep, elevate memory, focus and mood, elevate energy, and boost immunity and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you are diving into using medicinal mushrooms for the first time, it might feel a little overwhelming. But don’t sweat it! We’re here to play matchmaker and introduce you to some medicinal mushrooms that may end up becoming lifelong friends!
Medicinal Mushrooms as Adaptogens
The term adaptogen or adaptogenic is prevalent within health and wellness circles. But what does it mean and why should we use them?
If we think of our body and vital systems as having an 'inner reserve' or a well of resources to draw from, when stressors arise, whether they be physical, mental, environmental, or chemical, we're able to draw from this inner reserve, respond to the stressor, and maintain balance rather than being overcome by it.
Adaptogens support this inner reserve and our resilience to stress working to support all systems in the body such as the immune, neurological, endocrinal, circulatory, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Each adaptogenic substance exerts different influences on different systems.
Many medicinal mushrooms, including the mushroom extracts we have at Inner Atlas Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, Turkey Tail and Tremella are classed as adaptogens working in their own unique way.
Medicinal Mushrooms and their Benefits
Each medicinal mushroom has multiple benefits but let’s keep it simple and run through some of the key benefits you might be seeking and which mushies deliver the goods!
Stress, Anxiety and Mood
Reishi ~ Stress and Anxiety
When it comes to keeping states of stress and anxiety at bay, we always turn to Reishi mushroom first. We love Reishi for her ability to guide the body back to a peaceful state of balance. Reishi can help to manage stress levels by calming and supporting the nervous system which in turn promotes feelings of relaxation.
Lion’s Mane ~ Mood
Lion’s Mane mushroom is another great option for managing stress, helping to support a balanced mood. A 2010 study on a group of women experiencing depression and anxiety reported an overall improvement in mood, depression, irritability, and anxiety after working with Lion’s Mane over a 4-week period.
Energy & Athletic Performance
Cordyceps ~ Energy
We like to think of Cordyceps as a deep energy awakener, used to combat fatigue and replenish energy levels without stimulation. Cordyceps has been widely researched for its potential to support the production of ATP. ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the body's primary energy supply source and is essential to fuel our muscles and keep us moving.
Chaga ~ Endurance
Another popular mushroom among athletes and those looking to support their physical resilience is Chaga. As one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants in the world, Chaga is known for its capacity to alleviate physical signs of fatigue and support stamina.
Reishi ~ Sleep
We love enjoying Reishi before bed. Its potential to soothe the nerves and promote a gentle sedative quality can help support a restful night's sleep. The accumulative effect of taking Reishi mushroom across a long-term basis was also shown to increase states of deep sleep.
Lion’s Mane ~ Sleep
Lion’s Mane is known for its ability to reduce stress levels and alleviate states of anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, there’s increasing anecdotal evidence regarding Lion’s Mane mushroom’s capacity to increase REM sleep levels.
Tremella ~ Skin Hydration
This snow-white, jelly-like mushroom is often called the beauty shroom, and with good reason! Bursting with antioxidants Tremella mushroom is known to support radiance skin texture and tone while also enhancing skin hydration by moisturising the skin and fascia from the inside out. Tremella has even been shown to have the capacity to hold 5 times more water than the popular skincare ingredient hyaluronic acid
The 6 medicinal mushrooms we offer through Inner Atlas Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga, Turkey Tail and Tremella each support healthy immune function in their own individual way. For the most robust immune support, however, we turn to Reishi and Turkey Tail.
Reishi ~ Immune Support
Reishi mushroom is regarded as one of the most superior immunomodulating adaptogens. If the immune system is underactive the beta-d-glucans in Reishi are thought to balance and bolster the immune response to fight colds, flu and viruses. On the other hand, if the immune system is overactive in the case of allergies and autoimmune conditions Reishi can help calm the immune response, again bringing it closer to homeostasis.
Turkey Tail ~ Immune Support
Turkey Tail and two of its active compounds polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK) have been widely studied for their capacity to support the immune system. PSK and PSP have been found to help regenerate white blood cells and stimulate the creation of natural killer (NK cells) which are essential for enabling the immune system to ward off pathogens and fight infection when it strikes.
Additional Medicinal Mushroom Benefits
This is a quick list of some of the other incredible benefits of medicinal mushrooms. We’ve included links to some of our related blog posts if you’re looking to dive deeper into further reading.
Memory, Focus & Cognitive Support
As one of the most potent natural sources of antioxidants in the world, Chaga offers potent support against states of inflammation.
A Final Note
Medicinal mushrooms are indeed amazing and can go a long way to elevate your health and well-being but they are not a panacea and work best with a self-care game that's on point. Wherever you can be sure to nourish yourself with whole foods and a balanced diet, exercise, connect with your loved ones and those around you, spend time in nature, hydrate and get some sleep.
For any specific health concerns, or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding we always recommend chatting with your healthcare practitioner before incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet to make sure the mushies you’re interested in are right for you.
Our Superior Quality Medicinal Mushroom Extracts
- Guaranteed Potency ~ containing greater than 30% beta-D-glucans.
- Certified USDA & EU Organic.
- Fruiting Body Only ~ 100% real mushrooms with no added fillers or mycelium.
- Wood Grown ~ sustainably wild harvested and semi-wild cultivated * with the exception of Cordyceps.
- Lab-tested for potency and purity.