The Unique Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

mushroom, medicinal mushroom

The Unique Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

The use of medicinal mushrooms dates back thousands of years due to their wide variety of benefits ranging from enhancing energy to protecting the body against infection. There has been a resurgence of interest in mushrooms over the recent past, so much so that many scientists believe mushrooms are superfoods. 

I have highlighted some popular medicinal mushrooms and their multiple benefits incorporating 100% pure powders with high levels of actives.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane, or Hericium erinaceus, is an edible medicinal mushroom with long shaggy spines resembling a lion’s mane. Lion’s Mane mushrooms may be eaten raw, cooked, dried and steeped as tea. 

Lion’s Mane mushroom contain many biologically active substances which have beneficial effects on the whole body especially the brain, heart, and gut.

The brain’s ability to grow and form new connections declines with age, which may explain why mental function gets worse in older adults. Research suggests that certain compounds found in Lion’s mane may induce Nerve Growth Factor synthesis in nerve cells meaning that they can stimulate the growth of nerve cells and repair damage1.

Research in adults with mild memory problems associated with ageing found that those taking Lion’s mane mushroom extracts had better brain function than those that took the placebo2.

Some of the major factors for cardiovascular disease include obesity, high levels of triglycerides and oxidation of cholesterol, which sticks to the walls of arteries. Animal studies have shown that Lion’s Mane mushroom improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels3.

There are multiple other ways that Lion’s Mane mushroom supports the heart and blood vessels, but of course human studies are needed for this. 

Cordyceps

Traditional Chinese Medicine describe the use of Cordyceps as a powerful tonic to enhance energy, improve appetite, stamina and endurance4

Cordyceps mushroom is a superb energy giving fungi. Small studies have indicated that taking Cordyceps benefits energy levels because of the increase in the amount of ATP, a molecule found in every cell of the body that provides energy. This is why Cordyceps is often recommended to take for exercise and performance. 

Two controlled trials have shown that Cordyceps improves exercise performance in older adults5. Cordyceps has also been shown to regulate female hormones, increase libido in women and may improve sperm health6.

Chaga mushroom

Chaga or Inonotus obliquus, is not actually a mushroom but a prized black woody canker that grows on birch trees. The first medicinal uses of Chaga originated out of Russia around the 16th Century when it was used as a tea to enhance stomach health.

As Chaga mushrooms grow on birch trees, many of the active compounds in birch trees end up in Chaga mushrooms. The black outer layer is rich in melanin which may be beneficial for our skin. There are over 200 studies showing Chaga’s promising health benefits to support the immune system, digestion as well as displaying antimicrobial properties and having adaptogenic properties7.

Chaga is widely available in supplements and teas but do ensure that the material is derived from the fungi grown on birch trees and not lab-cultivated Chaga mushroom.

Reishi mushroom

Often referred to as the “mushroom of immortality” or sometimes the king of mushrooms, Reishi mushrooms display a wide range of benefits. 

Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum, also known as lingzhi, has one of the oldest written records in medical texts. Chinese monks used Reishi for promoting calmness specially to help with meditation and the ability to focus. One study using Reishi extract demonstrated its ability to help men with lower urinary tract problems8.

Two compounds found in Reishi medicinal mushrooms have been shown to have significant hypoglycemic effect helping to reduce elevated blood sugar levels and maintain lower blood sugar levels even after 24 hours9.

We know that consumption of antioxidant-rich plants may help to protect the body against diseases since antioxidants protect our cells from oxidative damage. 

Reishi mushroom teas and supplements must be made from the fruiting body which contains higher levels of beta-glucans and other active compounds. Reishi has been shown to be antioxidant rich and these antioxidants were found to be absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream10

Currently research into the treatment of bacterial and viral infections is concentrating on compounds that inhibit viral and bacterial replication. The use of antibiotics to eradicate infections has led to strains that are resistant making it important to find new compounds to treat infections. Reishi mushrooms have been found to contain compounds that inhibit viral replication and help prevent bacterial growth in the body11.

Reishi mushroom has a long and impressive range of potential benefits and explains why patent applications for Reishi have increased as scientists extract specific compounds from this mushroom for different applications.  

Why DIRTEA mushroom products?

DIRTEA partner with the best mushroom farmers to grow and extract the most potent and pure medicinal mushrooms in powder form for their multiple benefits. Based in the Fujian province, these mushroom farms are nestled in hardwood forests that consistently deliver high quality organic mushroom extracts.

DIRTEA mushroom teas are completely natural, 100% vegan and are potent extracts of medicinal mushrooms that support a wide range of health concerns including alleviating occasional stress, enhancing energy, supporting the immune and respiratory systems as well as protecting the body from free radical damage.

References 

  1. Lai, P. L., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K. H., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom.
  2. Spelman, K., Sutherland, E., & Bagade, A. (2017). Neurological activity of Lion’s Mane (hericium erinaceus). Journal of Restorative Medicine, 6(1), 19–26. https://doi.org/10.14200/jrm.2017.6.0108.
  3. Hypolipidaemic Effect of Hericium erinaceum Grown in Artemisia capillaris on Obese Rats, Mycobiology. 2013 Jun; 41(2): 94–99.
  4. Panda, A. K., & Swain, K. C. (2011). Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 2(1), 9–13.
  5. Yi, X., Xi-zhen, H. & Jia-shi, Z. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 10, 187–192 (2004).
  6. Jiraungkoorskul, K., & Jiraungkoorskul, W. (2016). Review of Naturopathy of Medical Mushroom, Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, in Sexual Dysfunction. Pharmacognosy reviews10(19), 1–5.
  7. MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Chaga mushrooms: Benefits, tips, and risks. Medical News Today. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318527#Nine-potential-benefits.
  8. Noguchi, M., Kakuma, T., Tomiyasu, K., Yamada, A., Itoh, K., Konishi, F., Kumamoto, S., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., & Matsuoka, K. (2008). Randomized clinical trial of an ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Asian journal of andrology10(5), 777–785. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7262.2008.00361.x
  9. Hikino H, Ishiyama M, Suzuki Y, Konno C. Mechanisms of hypoglycemic activity of ganoderan B: A glycan of Ganoderma lucidum fruit body. Planta Med. 1989; 55:423–8.
  10. Wachtel-Galor S, Szeto Y. T, Tomlinson B, Benzie. F I. F. Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi): Acute and short-term biomarker response to supplementation. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2004; 1:75–83.
  11. Eo S. K, Kim Y. S, Lee C. K, Han S. S. Antiviral activities of various water and methanol soluble substances isolated from Ganoderma lucidum. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999; 68:129–36.

 

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