Did you know that mushrooms aren’t plants? Or that certain mushrooms are becoming one of the most sought-after health foods? We’ll explore what mushrooms really are, identify which are the best mushrooms for amazing health and exactly how they can improve your health.
What Are Mushrooms?
We’ve recently discovered that mushrooms are genetically a lot more like human beings than like plants.
These fungi mainly occupy a hidden kingdom, metabolize nonliving organic matter, breaking down dead plants and absorbing the nutrients from that organic matter, just like a compost pile does. They can even slow climate warming in forests, according to recent studies.
Mushrooms build their cell walls from chitin, the same material as the hard outer shells of insects and other anthropods, unlike plants, which can’t produce chitin. Cool, huh?
Some mushrooms decay logs, others are friends with living trees or grow out of soil, decomposing leaves, dung, mulch or compost. Others form fairy rings that may be spread over hundreds of square miles and be hundreds of years old.
Others still can live anywhere, with fruiting bodies that develop in a huge array of beautiful forms and colors. All they need is a little moisture to grow their fruit, and they begin to plump up and produce mushrooms.
8 Popular Medicinal Mushrooms
Now when it comes to health, the medicinal mushrooms are where it’s at. There is no competition. Two-hundred seventy species of mushroom have been known to have therapeutic properties, and many appeared in the ancient records of the Materia Medica.
The large number of scientific studies on these mushrooms in the past three decades, particularly in Japan, China and Korea, has unearthed confirmation of their huge health benefits.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms.
- Readily found in China, Europe and in the oak woods of the U.S. Pacific Coast, where it grows on fallen hardwood trees
- Resembles turkey tails, with its bands of white, gray, brown, black, blue and red
- Has been shown to be effective against several cancers
- Lowered cholesterol in animal studies
- Has demonstrated antiviral activity, possibly even inhibiting HIV infection
- Found worldwide
- Has a hard, woody texture and shiny, varnished appearance
- Has semi-circular or kidney-shaped caps in a variety of colors
- Enhances blood oxygenation, reducing altitude sickness, according to studies
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Supports liver and helps with hepatitis B patients
- Potent action against sarcoma
- Regenerates bronchial epithelium, and has been shown to improve bronchitis and bronchial asthma
- A white-to-gray mushroom that grows in dense rosettes found in the woodlands of China, Europe and Eastern and Central North America
- Has anti-cancer actions and is used in the treatment of lung and other cancers
- Has demonstrated anti-tumor activity in in vitro and in vivo animal studies
- Helps reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy
- Stimulates and enhances immune system
- Supports liver health, alleviating chronic hepatitis symptoms and aiding patients with cirrhosis
- Considered a gourmet mushroom with a flavor like lobster or eggplant
- A snow-white, globe-shaped fungus with downward cascading, icicle-shaped spines that grows on dead or dying broadleaf trees
- Helps in the treatment of esophageal and gastric cancers
- Promotes proper digestion and fights gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastritis
- Enhances immune system, particularly protecting the gastrointestinal tract
- Co-exists with birch trees in some of the harshest and coldest climates in the world
- Has a hard, tough and woody texture
- Has a dark black outer layer and a golden brown interior
- Contains iron, copper, potassium, selenium, calcium and a selection of amino acids and enzymes
- Anti-cancer potentials, is antiviral and antiplatelet
- Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
- Helps the body deal with stress
- Grows at high altitudes in the Himalayas
- Folk healers from the region use it to treat cancer, diabetes, asthma and erectile dysfunction
- Contains beneficial fatty acids, amino acids and sterols
- Demonstrated anti-tumor, anti-diabetic, radio-protective and anti-platelet effects in animals
- Enhances exercise and athletic performance and resistance to fatigue
- Most widely cultivated mushroom after common white button mushroom
- Contains high levels of calcium, selenium, vitamin B2 and vitamin C
- Is found on fallen broadleaf trees in the wild in the U.S.
- Potent immune-booster
- Has antitumor and antiviral properties
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Grows common in the Eastern U.S., Europe and Asia at the base of trees, in clusters
- Spoon-shaped, tongue shaped or fan shaped caps
- Known in Japan as the “King of Mushrooms” because it can grow to a weight of 20kg in some cases
- Shown to inhibit tumor growth by enhancing the production of interleukins and lymphokines
- Regulates blood sugar and cholesterol, good for Type 2 diabetes
- May help reduce blood pressure and raise “HDL”, or good, cholesterol
- Boosts the immune system thanks to its high antioxidant content
- Helps with weight loss
Letting Mushrooms Into Your Diet
So how can you get these benefits? Buy some mushroom products and consume them every day!
Many medicinal mushrooms come in gel caps or as a loose powder that can be guzzled with your morning smoothie, juice or sprinkled on food. They can also be purchased in formulas and as coffees.
A liquid mushroom supplement is certainly one very fast way of getting your mushrooms into your digestion system. You can find liquids that have been through cold water extraction, hot water extraction and ethanol/alcohol extraction processes.
Mushroom-infused versions of existing products are popping up all over the place. Many of these products are of good quality and are fun to try.
However, make sure you source your products from expert companies who understand Chinese medicine, extraction techniques and how to combine mushrooms to great effect. Some of the most beneficial substances found in medicinal mushrooms are locked up and can only be released through extraction.
Did Someone Say Mushroom Coffee?
Four Sigmatic is one quality mushroom product company we trust. They produce coffee substitute products that support the adrenal glands and super health.
Go and incorporate some mushroom action into your life….there’s plenty to chose from!