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Medicinal Mushrooms – The Top 5

Medicinal Mushrooms – The Top 5

Medicinal mushrooms are a staple in Asian healing for eons.  They have now found a place in Western culture, though their acceptance is still in its infancy.

Science and research is just starting to catch up and confirm the medical benefits of these mushrooms.

And what is phenomenal about these mushrooms is that they also taste wonderful so you can get your medicine in delicious recipes.  For both for healing and prevention, what a way to support our bodies!

Let’s look at just five of the most common, and most recognizable, medicinal mushrooms.

  1. Chaga

medicinal mushroomsChaga contains antibodies that work to fight off pathogens and give your immune system a boost. Along with fighting bacteria, chaga also helps your body fight ulcers.

Packed full of antioxidants, chaga can help fight cancer cells and other impurities in the body while at the same time protecting and strengthening your healthy cells.

The antioxidants in chaga also have the added benefit of helping lower blood pressure, which can help protect against cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, chaga helps regulate the immune system’s functioning.

The inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system response has been shown to lead to so many chronic issues such as allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and many more.

Science has identified betulinic acid, ergosterol peroxide, and inotodial as essential elements of chaga that act as anti-inflammatory agents protecting and promoting greater health.


  1. Cordyceps

medicinal mushroomsCordyceps are known for being able to increase libido, as well as testosterone and estrogen levels.

It is also recognized, especially by athletes, for boosting metabolism and stamina, and speeding recovery by increasing ATP. ATP is the the carrier of chemical energy in cells, and improves how the body uses oxygen.

Cordyceps are also thought to improve lung function, helping people who are suffering from respiratory ailments.

Like chaga, cordyceps are an excellent source of antioxidants.

Cordyceps, as a miracle mushroom, also stimulate apoptosis, which helps fight off defective or dangerous cells such as cancerous cells. They have also demonstrated an affinity for shrinking tumors.

More official studies of the effects of Cordyceps on the body may lead to new diabetes treatments. Cordyceps extract has already been shown to decrease insulin resistance and lower fasting blood glucose level.

  1. Lion’s Mane

medicinal mushroomsJust like the previous mushrooms discussed, lion’s mane is an immune system booster as it contains plenty of antioxidants and polysaccharides.

Lion’s mane also contains compounds which stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).

NGF could be a valuable tool to treat people with nerve damage, but NGF itself can’t pass through the blood-brain barrier, meaning that injecting it into patients doesn’t help. However, lion’s mane works to indirectly cause an increase in NGF. Lion’s mane mushrooms are the only mushrooms that possess this specific trait.

Additionally, lion’s mane works to protect your nervous system through the growth and production of myelin.

Lion’s mane has the potential to help with some neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis since it works to fix damaged nerves that are lacking in myelin.

Like other mushrooms, more health benefits can be released with heat and water. But to get the most out of lion’s mane, you’ll want to supplement your intake with one of the commercially available “dual-extract” lion’s mane products.

  1. Reishi

Beautiful Reishi MushroomReishi mushrooms will largely affect your overall mood and your immune system.

Containing several polysaccharides, reishi mushrooms stimulate and boost the immune system, much like the previous mushrooms discussed here. It helps the body fight viruses and bacteria by stimulating the production of T-cells.

Similar to other medicinal mushrooms, reishi contains polysaccharides, which creates a significant increase in “natural killer” cells. In other words, reishi helps fight cancer cells and shrink tumors.

In addition to all of the other health benefits, reishi can act as an anti-inflammatory agent to help with conditions like allergies or asthma.

Reishi can also have an effect on our hormones, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms with chemical compounds knows as triterpenes. This can create an overall feeling of well-being and help result in a better sleep quality.

  1. Maitake

medicinal mushroomsMaitake possesses anti-inflammatory properties, is an immune booster, lowers blood sugar levels, and fights cancer.

Like cordyceps, maitake has been shown to decrease insulin resistance and resting blood sugar levels.

But what really distinguishes maitake from other medicinal mushrooms, is the number of ways in which it is able to help fight cancer. Like other mushrooms on our list, maitake contains antioxidants that work to fight cancerous cells.

However, they also contain the compound, D-Fraction. This compound has proven to suppress the growth of tumors. Another compound found in maitake, known as Z-Fraction, shows similar effects.

Maitake stimulates the body’s natural production of T-cells, which are known as “natural killers”. T-cells and certain white blood cells are known to destroy cancerous cells.


Wrap up

The information on medicinal mushrooms is quite abundant.  The ability to find many of these mushrooms is not as abundant.  We have found some sources online which we will provide in a separate article.  In the meantime, these are available for medicinal purposes in the form of powders and supplements.

Additionally, more obscure medicinal mushrooms are just as fascinating and just as, if not more so, effective.  We look forward to bringing these to you.

We look forward to bringing you more of the wonderous benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

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Mushroom benefits

Susan Sugar

Susan is a psychotherapist and health coach who takes a holistic and integrative approach to having the best life possible. She knows the importance of our foods in dealing with depression, anxiety, our health and general well-being. After facing the possibility of cancer she began exploring ways to help her body, mind and spirit have the best resources to fight the cancer cells. What started as an intriguing research became a passion. Now, she wants to be sure that you have any and all information you need on how these magnificent fungi can help you have the best life possible.

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