Mushrooms also referred to as toadstool, are edible fungus known to provide various important nutrients. They are typically produced above ground, on soil on its food source. A mushroom is somehow like the plant’s fruit, except the ‘seeds’ produced are numerous microscopic spores forming in the gills or pores below the mushroom cap.
Not only are mushrooms a source of food, but some strains possess beneficial properties that can impact the eater’s health positively. These strains are referred to as functional or “medicinal” mushrooms. For thousands of years, they have been used in East Asian medicine for their health-boosting attributes.
Later on in this article, we will dive into the various uses for functional mushrooms, but for now, let us first understand the various types of functional mushrooms.
Types of functional mushrooms
If you look for a functional mushroom today in the market, you will have a hard time choosing what to buy from the vast varieties available. Well, here is a list of the most famous and beneficial mushrooms available:
- Reishi mushroom
- Chaga mushroom
- Lion’s mane
- Turkey tail
As earlier stated, the Uses for functional mushrooms date back centuries in East Asia for boosting one’s health. Let’s take a look at the functions of the mushrooms as mentioned above.
Reishi mushroom was given the nickname “the mushroom of immortality” because of its anti-cancer properties and boosting the immune system. It is also commonly used to reduce stress by supporting healthy and restful sleep.
Chaga mushroom has a traditional reputation of fighting tumors, boosting the immune system, and alleviating chronic inflammation. To best utilize the mushroom’s benefits, you will have to wait for it to mature, a period of 15 to 20 years.
Cordyceps is a parasitic mushroom growing on a live host. The mushroom is thought to increase ATP (responsible for supplying muscles with energy) production in the body. This property is used to assist in energy levels and is mostly found in natural pre-workout formulas.
Lion’s mane has been linked to improving cognitive function and boost brain health. Also can be used to alleviate mild symptoms of depression and anxiety. Traditionally, the mushroom was used by monks to assist them while they meditated.
Shiitake mushrooms for thousands of years have been a medicinal food and a good vegetarian protein source. The mushroom not only has mood-improving effects but is also believed to make your skin glow and hair shine.
Turkey tail mushroom is famous for alleviating chronic inflammation, battling tumors, and boosting the immune system.
Mushrooms are not widely used since they are not as famous as they were thousands of years ago. However, recent research on healthier lifestyles shines a light on them, helping us understand the science behind their traditional uses.
The number of people adopting the uses for functional mushrooms increases as people continue discovering the benefits these mushrooms have to offer.