The Best Time of Day to Take Different Medicinal Mushrooms
Each medicinal mushroom has its own qualities and healing benefits which give us clues as to the best time of day to enjoy them. Their uniqueness is largely driven by their individual active compound profiles. All medicinal mushrooms contain beta-d-glucans which express themselves differently across the individual mushroom types, and many contain an abundance of unique antioxidants, but some of the key active compounds found in medicinal mushrooms are:
Reishi ~ Triterpenes
Cordyceps ~ Cordycepin
Chaga ~ Betulinic Acid
Turkey Tail ~ Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and Polysaccharide-K (PSK)
Lion’s Mane ~ Hericenones and Erinacines
Tremella ~ T. fuciformis polysaccharide (TFPS)
Are Some Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulants?
Some medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps, Chaga and Lion's Mane are noted to have energising qualities. While this is the case medicinal mushrooms aren't stimulants in the sense that they don't have an immediate effect of speeding up messages between the brain and the body like caffeine does for instance. Instead, they possess a gentler, more arousing action that can accumulate over time bringing about states of steady energy or vitality.
It’s for this reason that there’s no absolute right or wrong time to enjoy any medicinal mushroom, yet their individual qualities make different mushies more suitable for different times of the day. By being mindful of this we’re able to flow with the natural arc or rhythm of the day, supported by a mushie that we might be working with at times when it’s best suited to do so.
Medicinal Mushrooms and the Best Time to Enjoy Them:
Cordyceps is what we like to call a deep energy awakener. Traditionally Cordyceps has been coveted to help build adaptive energy reserves after times of physical exertion and fatigue. Science has since validated the path laid by traditional wisdom studying Cordyceps and its ability to help support the production of mitochondrial ATP. ATP forms the currency of energy within our bodies and supplies fuel to our muscles and keeps us moving. By boosting our mitochondria’s own capacity to produce ATP we’re more likely to find ourselves with steady levels of energy making Cordyceps the perfect shroom to start your day with or enjoy pre working out.
Known to contain over 200 different bioactive molecules Chaga is a true powerhouse of the fungi kingdom. Due to its robust and potent nature, Chaga is another extract we like to enjoy in the morning. Chaga is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world and is also brimming with the anti-ageing enzyme SOD (superoxide dismutase). SOD is essential for longevity as well as energy production as it neutralises free radicals, preventing oxidative damage to cells and tissues. The betulin found in Chaga is also known to have strong immunomodulating properties.
Often referred to as nature's nutrient for the neurons, Lion’s Mane is the mushroom we turn to supercharge our cognitive function. Two of the active compounds found in Lion’s Mane, hericenones and erinacines, are thought to support brain health by stimulating nerve growth factor NGF. NGF proteins stimulate new neuron growth and protect and organise the functions of existing neurons supporting what’s known as brain plasticity.
Lion’s Mane has also been studied for its potential to support positive mood, alleviate stress and promote better sleep quality with anecdotal reports indicating it can enhance REM sleep in particular. While Lion’s Mane is linked to quality sleep it doesn’t need to be taken before bed to make the most of its sleep-supporting qualities. We like to enjoy Lion's Mane during the day to make the most of its mood and brain-boosting benefits.
Turkey Tail is another supreme immune activator with its beta-d-glucans and PSK and PSP being subject to numerous human clinical trials demonstrating the ability to activate our immune response against viruses, pathogens and other diseases. In addition to its immunomodulating capacity, Turkey Tail boasts an impressive array of phenol and flavonoid antioxidants found to have an anti-inflammatory response as well as being a known prebiotic which helps nourish the gut and fortify a thriving microbiome. Due to its robust immune-supporting actions and status as a prebiotic, Turkey Tail is another mushie best enjoyed in the AM.
Reishi mushroom is the queen of calm, coveted for its ability to help lower feelings of mental and physical stress and increase the quality of our sleep. Studies have demonstrated that the beta-d-glucans and triterpenes found in Reishi have the potential to soothe the nervous system promoting a sedative quality that can help ease tension and pave the way for deep sleep. We like enjoying Reishi as an evening ritual, helping to put some distance between any lingering feelings of stress and anxiety accumulated throughout the day and relax before bed.
Tremella’s properties make it a shroom that can be used day or night. However, we find we enjoy it most in the evening, it never failing to live up to its affectionate name the ‘dessert shroom’. Quietly sweet, with a gentle malty-like flavour Tremella is delicious sprinkled on an after-dinner treat, we love it on top of some coconut yoghurt. Brimming with antioxidants Tremella is considered to support a glowing complexion and enhance skin hydration with a capacity to hold 5 times more water than the famed hyaluronic acid, moisturising the skin from inside out. Tremella’s moisture retention properties make it an asset to any beauty routine particularly overnight when it’s estimated that we lose approximately 1 litre of water while we’re sleeping. Tremella also boasts brain supporting benefits with the polysaccharides and beta-d-glucans unique to this shroom thought to promote brain cell growth and act as a neuroprotectant.
Medicinal Mushrooms and the Time of Day That Works Best for You.
When working with medicinal mushrooms or any tonic herb for that matter consistency is key, a small dose over a long period of time is where the real magic happens with the accumulated benefits coming to the forefront. It may sound a bit esoteric but wherever possible we recommend tuning into your body and becoming clear on the intention of why you are choosing to work with a particular mushroom as this can help build it into a part of your daily routine. For instance, if you are gravitating toward Cordyceps for steady energy support throughout the day working with Cordyceps as part of a morning ritual can help to further embody the desired benefit.