I wanted to shed some light on fungi as they’ve been in the dark too long 😂
Maitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane and Reishi mushrooms are referred to as medicinal mushrooms because of the numerous benefits each type offers. All medicinal mushrooms contain powerful polysaccharides called beta-glucans, which can help improve your health and longevity because they contain antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You can include them in your diet to help improve your immune system naturally, but you can’t just toss them in a salad (but you can toss them in a soup!)
Dr. Mark Stengler N.D., in his book "The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms," made the observation that all of the independent scientific studies on medicinal mushrooms are based on the use of hot water extracts. The immune supporting polysaccharides common to all medicinal mushrooms are found inside of the cell walls. However, the cell walls of the mushrooms are made from an indigestible fiber called "chitin," the same material a lobster shell is made of. So to get the most out of your medicinal mushrooms put them in hot water or purchase them in capsule form where they have already been hot water extracted and then dried.
Since April is Cancer Awareness Month I thought I would include what the National Cancer Institute has to say about medicinal mushrooms. According to their website (https://www.cancer.gov) medicinal mushrooms have been used for more than 30 years as an approved addition to standard cancer treatments in Japan and China. In these countries, mushrooms have been used safely for a long time, either alone or combined with radiation or chemotherapy. They are being studied to find out how they affect the immune system and if they stop or slow the growth of tumours or kill tumour cells. Turkey Tail mushroom has shown great promise in this regard.
Reishi is particularly good for stress as it has a high content of “triterpenes” which are mood-boosting compounds that have a positive effect on the nervous system and may alleviate anxiety and encourage better sleep. Lion’s Mane is a serious brain food and rare in the fact that it fosters the production of the bioprotein Nerve Growth Factor and myelin (an insulation around nerve fibers) both crucial to brain health. Lion’s Mane has also been shown to improve cognitive health, increase concentration, and alleviate anxiety and irritability. Cordyceps has a long history of use as a libido enhancer increasing energy and endurance particularly in older individuals.
All of these fabulous fungi have much to offer and we can all benefit from their health enhancing nutrients. For further information, stop in to The Hollow Willow and let’s talk fungi!