If you’re up with the latest and greatest wellness trends, you’ll no doubt have noticed mushrooms sneaking their way into the limelight. Forget your usual supermarket pick-ups like cup and portobello—medicinal mushrooms pack an astounding superfood punch.
All medicinal mushrooms are powerful Adaptogens, meaning they support the body to adapt and cope with stress. They all strengthen the immune system and support general health by working on the vital organs. For the best effects, it’s recommended that you integrate medicinal mushrooms into your daily routine and take them as an ongoing part of your health routine—as their benefits accumulate the longer they are taken.
We caught up with Mason Taylor, Tonic Herbalist and Founder of Medicinal Mushroom & Tonic Herb brand, SuperFeast to get his views on the different types of mushrooms you need to know about and how to incorporate them into your cooking.
Chaga is one of the highest antioxidant containing herbs in the world, ranking higher than goji, blueberries and acai. This explains why it has been used traditionally to curb premature ageing and as a longevity tonic. But it gets better… Chaga is a great source of melanin, the pigment that gives us a tan and protects us from UV, making it the perfect mushie for helping protect the skin from sun damage. It’s also one of the most powerful herbs in the world for rebuilding and strengthening the immune system. Chaga is great added to cooked dishes for extra flavour, like a stir fry or spag bol.
Dubbed the “smart mushroom,” Lion’s Mane has gained popularity as a nootropic (used to boost brain performance) in recent years. For optimum memory, alertness and mental performance, Lion’s Mane is the mushroom for you. Traditionally this mushroom was used to support digestive health and as an anti-inflammatory, especially in the gastrointestinal tract.
Lion’s Mane is so good you can eat it on its own; great for sprinkling over salads or adding to coffee for the ultimate brain jumpstart in the morning!
Feeling stressed or anxious? Then Reishi is the mushroom for you. This legendary mushroom has traditionally been used for over 3000 years to calm the mind and nervous system. It is awesome for general wellbeing, including hormone health. If you need some help with getting high quality zzz’s, then try some Reishi in camomile tea just before bed. This mushie is great for the cardiovascular system and it is also one of the greatest immunity herbs in the world.
To get this mushroom into your wellness routine simply add it to savoury dishes; it’s especially great in broths or miso. You can also add it to coffee, tea or just plain hot water for a mushroom tonic.
This is the favourite mushroom for athletes and those wanting to gain maximum physical performance, without depleting the body with stimulants or synthetics. This mushroom restores foundational health to the kidneys and adrenals, helping the body in creating more energy, stamina and physical strength. Cordyceps tastes really good in savoury dishes such as soups and rice dishes (and no, heating mushroom extracts doesn’t compromise their efficacy).
This beautiful mushroom is also known as the snow mushroom. The polysaccharides from Tremella draw moisture into the skin, mimicking the effects of hyaluronic acid. If you’re feeling dried out or looking to improve the texture of your skin through antioxidants and proper hydration, then Tremella is the mushroom for you. Sometimes called the ‘dessert mushroom’ due to its beautiful, slightly sweet vanilla flavour, Tremella is perfect for injecting some sweetness into smoothies, too.
Turkey Tail might not be as well known as some of the other names we’ve dropped here, but it is the greatest immune-boosting mushroom around. Turkey Tail works directly on regulating the thymus to support optimal immune activity. It is high in the protein-bound polysaccharides PSK and PSP, which is thought to explain its ability to elevate both surface and core immunity against dangerous pathogens.
Add Turkey Tail to hot water or a plant-based milk for a comforting mushroom elixir.