They’re cropping up in every single place—from espresso to chocolate—with claims about their mystical properties. But there’s nothing magic about medicinal mushrooms. They’re backed by dozens of research that help their skill to enhance immune perform, scale back irritation, defend towards most cancers, and extra.
While all medicinal mushrooms share comparable compounds, every selection has its personal delicate variations and distinctive advantages. New to ’shrooms? Here’s a starter information to the six hottest—and best-researched—choices.
These savory ’shrooms have been used for hundreds of years in Asian tradition in each culinary and medicinal functions. And since they’re acquainted, versatile, and scrumptious, shiitakes are a good way to begin your mushroom journey.
What they do. Lower ldl cholesterol, scale back blood strain, defend towards atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), and enhance cardiovascular well being. Shiitakes additionally scale back irritation, enhance immune response, inhibit bacterial and viral infections, and should defend towards most cancers.
What to search for. You’ll discover recent shiitakes in most well being meals shops, or search for dried shiitakes in bigger grocery shops or Asian markets. Shiitakes are additionally obtainable in powdered kind, or as dietary supplements or tinctures.
How to make use of them. Shiitakes have a gentle, meaty style that’s excellent for mushroom recipes. To use recent shiitakes, take away the woody stems, chop the caps, and add to sautéed greens, lentil soup, or roasted root greens. Soak dried shiitakes in heat water till softened, then drain and use as you’ll recent shiitakes.
These thick, beefy mushrooms are characterised by their kidney-shaped cap and shiny reddish-orange colour. Also often known as Ganoderma lucidum, lingzhi, or the “mushroom of immortality,” they’ve been utilized in conventional Asian medication and delicacies for greater than 2,000 years to deal with liver illness, hypertension, insomnia, and extra.
What they do. Improve immune perform, defend towards viral infections, inhibit most cancers cell development and tumor development, and defend towards quite a lot of cancers, together with breast, prostate, and colorectal. Reishi mushrooms may additionally ease nervousness and melancholy, scale back stress, enhance sleep, and promote cognitive well being.
What to search for. Whole reishi mushrooms are onerous to search out, and their powerful, woody texture make them tough to prepare dinner with. Look for them in Asian markets, or purchase them in powdered kind or in capsules or tinctures.
How to make use of them. Reishi mushrooms are bitter, in order that they’re finest used with sturdy, pungent herbs and spices that masks their taste. Simmer dried reishi mushroom slices with garlic, ginger, and onions, then pressure for a therapeutic broth or soup base. Or stir a spoonful of powdered reishi right into a garlicky mushroom-tomato sauce.
Not tech-nically a mushroom, chaga comes from a fungus that grows in chilly climates, totally on birch timber. It seems to be like a bit of charred wooden, however has a tender, sensible orange inside. It’s a staple in Russian, Asian, and Scandinavian folks medication, often consumed as a tea to enhance immunity and increase resistance.
What it does. High in antioxidants, it protects towards irritation by inhibiting inflammatory compounds. Chaga additionally fights viral and bacterial infections, improves immune response, and should defend towards most cancers.
What to search for. You’ll discover chaga in powdered kind, or in capsules or tinctures. It’s additionally bought in dried chunks or powdered as an ingredient in mushroom-based espresso substitutes.
How to make use of it. Chaga has an earthy, barely bitter taste that’s excellent as a espresso different—simply simmer dried chunks of chaga in water, then pressure. Or warmth coconut milk, then whisk in chaga powder, cocoa powder, and honey or agave to make a therapeutic mocha.
Like chaga, it’s not technically a mushroom. Instead, cordyceps is a fungus that grows on caterpillars within the mountainous areas of China. Modern variations are grown on grains, often rice, in order that they’re vegan. Cordyceps has been utilized in Asian medication for hundreds of years to deal with fatigue, enhance intercourse drive, and increase vitality.
What it does. Improves bodily efficiency, and quickens muscle restoration after exercises. It seems to work by enhancing mobile vitality, rising insulin sensitivity, and bettering blood circulation. Cordyceps additionally has immune-boosting and cancer-preventive properties.
What to search for. Whole, dried cordyceps could be very onerous to search out, however some specialty outlets and Asian markets carry it. In normal, you’ll discover it in powders, capsules, or tinctures, or as an ingredient in mushroom-based espresso options.
How to make use of it. Cordyceps has a gentle, earthy taste that comes with simply into many recipes. Use cordyceps powder in DIY vitality bars: Combine dates, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, and cordyceps powder in a meals processor; grind right into a paste and kind into bars or balls.
5. Lion’s Mane
This massive, white fungus has lengthy, shaggy spines that resemble a lion’s mane—therefore the identify. Also often known as Hericium erinaceus or hedgehog mushroom, lion’s mane grows on hardwood timber in North America, Asia, and Europe, and has been historically used to help mind well being.
What it does. Supports cognitive well being and reminiscence and protects towards cognitive decline by selling manufacturing of nerve development issue, crucial within the growth and survival of neurons, and regulating cells within the nervous system. Lion’s mane may additionally ease nervousness, scale back melancholy, and enhance sleep.
What to search for. You can discover complete, recent lion’s mane mushrooms at specialty shops, farmers’ markets, and a few massive grocery shops. Or search for it in powders, capsules, tinctures, or mushroom-based espresso substitutes.
How to make use of it. Lion’s mane mushrooms have a agency texture and gentle taste that’s paying homage to lobster. Cut them into steaks and sauté in butter or olive oil with garlic and black pepper.
6. Turkey Tail
This fan-shaped fungus with alternating concentric circles in crimson, orange, and brown hues, resembles a turkey’s tail—therefore the identify. Also often known as Coriolus versicolor or Trametes versicolor, turkey tail is historically utilized in China and Japan to help immune perform and promote total well being.
What it does. Protects towards most cancers by stimulating the immune system, inhibiting proliferation of most cancers cells, and lowering tumor exercise. It may additionally scale back the dangerous unwanted side effects of chemotherapy. Turkey tail additionally has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral exercise, and might defend towards HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) an infection.
What to search for. You can purchase complete, dried turkey tail on-line or in some Asian markets or specialty shops. Or search for it in capsules, tinctures, or powders.
How to make use of it. Turkey tail mushrooms have a savory taste with a really chewy texture that’s finest in soups or broths. Soak dried turkey tail in heat water till softened, then drain and simmer with shiitakes, portobellos, and different mushrooms for a flavorful broth. Or add a spoonful of powder to a smoothie with bananas, almond butter, coconut milk, and vanilla extract.