What are functional mushrooms

What Are Functional Mushrooms?

Functional mushrooms, aka medicinal mushrooms, are types of fungi that are believed to offer health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Many of these mushrooms have been used for millennia in traditional Chinese  and Japanese medicine.

What are functional mushrooms

Here are some of the most popular functional mushrooms:

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): This fungi is affectionately called the "mushroom of immortality”. Reishi is believed to support the immune system and promote longevity. It’s also been shown to improve sleep!
  • Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus): This mushroom has been shown to support cognitive function and brain health, potentially aiding in memory and concentration. There are some cool studies on this mushroom being used to protect against dementia.
  • Chaga (Inonotus obliquus): Chaga is rich in antioxidants and may be supportive for its immune-boosting properties.
  • Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps are known for their potential to enhance athletic performance, increase energy levels, and support respiratory health. Olympic athletes have long used this supplement to help their performance!
  • Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor): This mushroom is known for its powerful immune-boosting properties and has been shown an effective adjunctive therapy in cancer treatment.
  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): Shiitake mushrooms are not only delicious but they’re helpful for supporting heart health and have antiviral properties.

Not all functional mushrooms are edible the way button or portabella mushrooms are! Many medicinal mushrooms are rich in chitin, which is essentially a tough fibrous cellular wall. So there’s no good or easy way to chew through them!

In order for these medicinal mushrooms to become bioavailable to humans, they must be made into extracts. Extraction methods involve using hot water, alcohol, and even ultrasonic-assisted tools to get the good stuff out.

Mushroom extraction for tinctures

Extracts are available in different forms, including powders, capsules, or tinctures. Liquid tinctures are generally regarded as the most bioavailable way to access the beneficial compounds in functional mushrooms. 

Mushroom extracts are super easy to take! You can take a dropper straight under the tongue. Let it sit for a few seconds and then swallow. Or you can mix it into your coffee, tea, or smoothie. It’s a super easy way to take your mushrooms and get the benefits of nature’s medicine cabinet!

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