Medicinal mushrooms have been highly praised for their marvelous health benefits for thousands of years now. Nowadays, people are obsessed with super-food with nutrition and health going the mainstream. Anything that can grant them remarkable health benefits, they buy it without any second thought.
My Grandfather was a bit of a mushroom buff. He’d pull over on the side of the road at the glance of seeing a mushroom to pick. I have heard stories of how he took my mom and her siblings mushroom picking in the woods as kids and then they’d go home and fry them up to eat.
I did not know the benefits of mushrooms until I was much older and even then, did not quite understand the holistic benefits.
But mushrooms are packed with power and if you take the time to understand the varieties and how to prepare them- you can have quite a tasty treat on your hands!
If my Grandfather were only here to see my love for mushrooms and my ultimate favorite, mushroom tea (see below).
Living life on the go either traveling a lot or as an over-the-road truck driver can be challenging. But with a little prep, you can have yummy treats that satisfy your sweet tooth and at the same time feed your body amazing benefits. Welcome to the world of mushrooms!
Top Best Medicinal Mushrooms
There are several different types of mushrooms and it can be confusing to know which is which. But each type has its own benefits.
In today’s world, there are many ways to take in the benefits of medicinal mushrooms. In today’s market, there are capsules, teas, powders, whole mushrooms, and convenient blends to take orally or add to a smoothie or a recipe like the two I am sharing with you today!
Here is my shortlist of Medicinal Mushrooms and what you need to know when shopping for your health.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms have the most potential benefits among all of them. More specifically, Red Reishi is believed to give the best results, vary in a range of colors though. A polypore self mushroom having a woody texture, as a result, cannot be eaten directly instead used in a soup or tea or can be powdered and used in capsule form.
The presence of terpenoids in these bitter mushrooms gives an anti-inflammatory effect. Reishi is generally used to deal with heart diseases, diabetes, liver damage, and cancer, etc.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Maitake Mushroom is the one that grows in big clusters (the size of a basketball). Although it also grows on trees like Reishi, it isn’t a woody shelf mushroom and can be eaten directly due to its mild texture; making it distinctive of Reishi mushroom.
Possessing a great taste, it is used for cholesterol control, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
A study has shown its anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects with positive immune response and no dose-limiting toxicity.
Shiitake (Lentinus edodes)
Shiitake Mushrooms are commonly eaten in Asian culture and are easily recognizable in the super-market. Its effects are very beneficial when given in soups or stir-fries as it helps in lowering the LDL levels (bad cholesterol) in the blood.
Shaiitake Mushrooms possess a phenomenal ingredient called ‘Lentinan’ that is now considered to be of such potency to be prescribed as the third most potent anti-cancer drug of the world.
Shaiitake Mishrooms are also used in the treatment of viral infections like HPV and Hepatitis C, challenged immunity level conditions, and prevention of dental cavities, etc.
They also have one of the highest amounts of natural copper, a mineral that supports healthy blood vessels, bones, and immune support. Just 1/2 cup of shiitake mushrooms gives you 72 percent of your daily recommended intake of this mineral.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms (Trametes versicolor)
Like Reishi Mushrooms, Turkey Tail mushrooms are also shelf-mushrooms and fan-shaped colorful mushrooms as their name suggests them.
These can be found in any hardwood forest in North-America, Europe, or Asia.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms have a variety of benefits. Research in Japan and China suggests the improvement in the disease-free interval and survival in breast cancer with the help of immune modulation.
These mushrooms improve immune function by stimulating cytokine production and increasing the number of natural killer cells.
The Chaga mushroom grows on different parts of the outside of the host trees. It can be found as a dome, a cone, or horn shape with crispy ridges. It’s important to note that you always want to pick the Chaga from living trees. When picking this mushroom it is important to always leave at least 15% of the mushroom on the tree so it can regenerate and grow back.
The Chaga Mushrooms have a variety of benefits. The Chaga is rich in B-complex vitamins, potassium, rubidium, amnio acids, zinc, selenium, iron, and both manganese and magnesium and calcium. Talk about a power hitter!
The Chaga has also been noted to contain many antioxidants that may reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called “bad” cholesterol.
Why take Medicinal Mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are tremendously beneficial for our health. They possess various mighty properties like Antifungal, Antiviral, and Antimicrobial, fighting off any threatening pathogen and protect our health. Rich in Vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, beta-glucan, polysaccharides, and other specific compounds in their species; medicinal mushrooms add extra nutrition to your diet while maintaining intestinal health, fighting off the free radicals, and control the inflammatory process while boosting the immune system.
Overall Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
- Boost Immune function of the body
- Promote Heart Health
- Improve Energy Levels
- Improve Brain Health
- Helps in Weight loss
- Relieve Allergies and Asthma
- Relieve Stress and Anxiety
- Fights Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Fights Cancer
Dark Chocolate Mushroom Bliss Balls
Makes 36 Bliss Balls / Ready in 45 Minutes
Recipe by: Irene McGuinness
1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10-12)
½ cup chopped raw cashews
¼ dark chocolate chips, melted
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp Chaga mushroom powder (you can use other mushroom powder as available)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- In a food processor or blender pulse dates until they begin to break down. Add nuts and continue to pulse until crumbly. Add melted chocolate, cocoa, mushroom powder, and coconut oil and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball.
- Line 8-inch square pan with parchment. Using 1 tsp measuring spoon, scoop mixture and roll into smooth balls, then place in a single layer in line dish. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or longer to the firm. They can be eaten as-is or rolled in or dusted with colorful toppings.
- Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator, cooler or cold compartment for up to 2 weeks…if they don’t get eaten too quickly.
44 calories / 1 g protein / 2 g fat / 6 g carbs (5 g sugar, 1 g fiber) / 1 mg sodium
ZuZu’s Heaven In a Cup
This is the best tasting form of hot cocoa with no guilt!
This is my FAVORITE drink on the planet from my dear friend Karen Urbanek who owns and teaches through Holistic Health Educators. Recipe from Karen’s recipe book: Living in Rawality
1/8 cup / .03 ounces Chaga mushroom
About 3-4 spears / .03 ounces Astragalus mushroom
.02 ounces Reishi mushroom
¼ cup goji berries (optional-but so good)
6-8 cups distilled water
1-2 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
23 tablespoons coconut milk or coconut milk powder
- Simmer mushrooms, berries, and water on low for 2 hours. Strain.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a fork or blend and enjoy.
- NOTE: Save the Medicinal Mushrooms and make another entire batch! They freeze well if you don’t want to make the second batch immediately.
Be willing to try something new. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years to help with various health ailments and longevity. These recipes are fun and easy to make. And trust me you won’t be able to keep any of them in your truck or house for long!
The great thing about the recipes above is they can be eaten and drunken alone or with a meal. Don’t forget to eat your greens! Just as important, make sure your daily diet gets 3-5 servings of dark leafy greens regularly as well!
This is my favorite, you can buy the bag with all the mushrooms you need for the amazing Heavenly drink I noted above!
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Remember to always seek the advice of a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet. The information provided here is not to replace the information and advice given by your medical professional.