The poor maligned toadstool – it is unsightly, squat and entirely misunderstood. Mushrooms may be the ugly stepchild of the natural world, but certain varieties offer a huge variety of lovely benefits – from protecting your body against stress to supporting better digestion.
Traditionally we tend to think of mushrooms (also known as toadstools, and “shrooms”) either as risky wild poisons or pizza toppings, but did you know that some of the 1.5 million varieties on earth today can support and heal the human body with natural chemistry? The fungi that produce mushrooms are a part of the Fungal Kingdom and more closely related to humans than any plant. Humans share almost 50% of the same DNA with mushrooms, making them very bioavailable.
Of the over 1.5 million different types of mushroom on earth, we’ve identified only a fraction of the varieties, let alone learned their health potential as supplements. You may imagine mushrooms lurking in dank caves, growing on dark soil – but many mushrooms grow on trees, absorbing nutrients from them as a source of food. All mushrooms contain beta glucans, which have been found to help fight inflammation and aid the immune system. Promisingly, many mushrooms also contain powerful ingredients that have been found to neutralize free radicals.
Many of the mushrooms used as health supplements are classified as adaptogens … substances that contain nutrients and healthy chemicals that protect the human body from the effects of stress, and help it to repair the damage that stress can cause. Some varieties also benefit the digestive system, supporting and balancing the gut. Today I’m excited to tell you about four beneficial mushroom varieties … all of them adaptogens and all of them offering unique support for the human body.
Long used in eastern medicine, Reishi mushrooms are now becoming increasingly popular and valued in the modern world.
Chaga mushrooms are tree-dwellers. They grow on the bark of birch trees, and pull nutrients from that source.
Popular Cordycep mushrooms are the best-selling fungi in the country. They are harvested from caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China (weird huh?), but most supplements are grown in a laboratory.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms have natural neurotrophic properties for concentration, focus and memory. They are very popular for brain health, especially as people age.
The Best Way to Shroom
Mushrooms have a lot to offer your body. But the million dollar question is how to access the benefits of these natural supplements. Many mushrooms are best prepared as a decoction … a medicinal drink created by boiling plant materials. It is, unfortunately, not as easy as it sounds. Accessing quality mushroom material and preparation for beneficial decoctions can be daunting.
Luckily for us there are several options for powerful natural mushroom supplements available in easily accessible forms. These convenient products cut out the work of preparation, blending guess-work and labor. I have personally used – and strongly recommend – several products from Four Sigmatic, which are available online and at many health food stores. This way cool company creates different mushroom elixirs and blends that are both palatable (dare I say tasty?) and effective … most ingestible by just adding water. They also have a very popular blend of coffee and supplemental fungi.
Four Sigmatic offers the kind of quality that consumers can trust. They conduct extensive testing to ensure there are no heavy metals, pesticides or other harmful chemicals that can occur in lower-quality products. The products are organic, vegan and easy to use … and (maybe less important) Four Sigmatic makes using mushroom supplements feel really cool.
Leave a comment below and let me know how shrooms work for you!