Mushrooms,​ ​with​ ​their​ ​earthy, umami​ ​flavor, dense chewiness, and culinary versatility,​ ​have​ ​long​ ​been​ ​used​ ​in​ ​cuisines​ ​all​ ​over​ ​the world-they’re​ ​a​ ​staple​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Japanese​ ​diet,​ ​in​ ​numerous​ ​European​ ​regions​ ​they​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​the center​ ​of​ ​recipes such as risotto and Chicken Marsala,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​they’ve​ ​long​ ​been​ ​a​ ​popular​ star ​ingredient in dishes ranging from mushroom ragout to portobello burgers. Mushrooms have been such a longtime favorite there​ is even​ ​a mushroom-centric​ ​cookbook, titled “One Hundred Mushroom Recipes,”​ ​that​ ​dates​ ​back​ ​to​ ​1899.

Recently,​ ​the​​ ​other​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​mushroom-those​ ​with​ ​medicinal​ ​properties-have​ ​been attracting​ ​the​ ​attention​ ​of​ ​wellness​ ​communities​ ​so​ ​much​ ​so​ ​there​ ​is​ ​now​ ​a​ ​crop​ ​of​ ​new companies​ ​that​ ​sell​ ​blends​ ​and​ ​singular​ ​varieties​ ​of these​ “ancient”,​ ​healing​ ​mushrooms​ ​in​ accessible,​ ​on-trend​ ​manners:​ ​infused​ ​into​ ​chocolate,​ for example, ​in​ ​colorful,​ ​single-serving​ ​packages,​ ​and even​ ​in​ ​coffee.​ ​All​ ​of​ ​these​ ​products ​are​ ​readily​ ​available​ ​at​ ​health​ ​food stores.​ ​The​ ​mushrooms,​ ​when​ ​combined​ ​with​ ​ingredients​ ​like​ ​coffee​ ​and​ ​stevia,​ ​are​ ​convenient (you​ ​can​ ​easily​ ​throw​ ​a​ ​few​ ​packets​ ​in​ ​your​ ​bag)​ ​and,​ ​quite​ ​surprisingly,​ ​delicious​ ​(assuming you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​pallet​ ​that​ ​parallels​ ​your​ ​conscience).

So, is​ ​this​ ​another​ ​wellness​ ​hype,​ ​or​ ​should​ ​we​ ​pay​ ​attention?

​Medicinal​ ​mushrooms​ ​have wide-ranging health and wellness​ ​properties​-they​ ​can​ ​be​ ​beautifying,​ ​energizing,​ ​disease-fighting,​ and ​anti-inflammatory.​ ​Numerous​ ​brands​ ​also​ ​make​ ​mixed-mushroom​ ​concoctions​ ​now,​ ​i.e.​ ​beauty​ ​blends​ ​and energy​ blends-and​ ​they’re​ ​well​ ​worth​ ​a​ ​try.​ ​Depending​ ​on​ ​your​ ​tastes,​ ​it’s​ ​recommended​ ​that you​ ​experiment​ ​with​ ​various​ ​ways​ ​of​ ​incorporating​ ​the​ ​mushrooms​ ​into​ ​your​ ​diet.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​don’t mind​ ​semi-bitter,​ ​and​ some ​very​ ​strange​ ​flavors,​ ​each​ ​can​ ​be​ ​taken​ ​plain.​ ​For​ ​those​ ​who​ ​cringe​ ​at​ ​the thought​ ​of​ ​consuming​ ​something​ ​that​ ​tastes​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​“off,”​ ​try​ ​the​ ​chocolates​ ​(or​ ​make​ ​your​ ​own!)​ ​or blend​ ​the​ ​mushroom​ ​powders​ ​with​ ​your​ ​morning​ ​coffee.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Reishi​,​ ​otherwise​ ​known​ ​as​ ​Ganoderma​ ​lucidum,​ ​is​ ​quickly​ ​becoming​ ​a​ ​darling​ ​of​ ​the mushroom​ ​world.​ According to Dr. Axe, ​reishi mushrooms ​enhance​ ​athletic​ ​performance​ ​and​ ​oxygenation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​blood, improve​ ​cardiovascular​ ​health​ ​and​ ​immunity,​ ​improve​ ​difficulties​ ​with​ ​the​ ​liver,​ ​and​ ​act​ ​as​ ​a calming​ ​agent.​ ​For​ ​those​ ​who​ ​have​ ​a​ ​difficult​ ​time​ ​feeling​ ​centered​ ​and​ ​calm​ ​before​ ​bed​ ​(or ever),​ ​reishi​ ​may be an​ ​excellent​ ​go-to​ ​supplement, according to the book “Herbs for Long Lasting Health.​” ​​Four​ ​Sigmatic​​ ​makes​ ​a​ ​mushroom​ ​elixir​ ​that when​ ​mixed​ ​with​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​hot​ ​water,​ ​unsweetened​ ​almond​ ​milk,​ ​and​ ​stevia,​ ​is​ ​​delicious.

Lion’s​ ​Mane​,​ ​though​ ​considered​ ​a​ ​culinary​ ​mushroom,​ ​has​ ​incredible​ ​medicinal​ ​properties.​ ​It’s energizing,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​don’t​ ​do​ ​well​ with ​caffeine,​ ​it’s​ ​an​ ​excellent​ ​alternative:​ according to Dr. Axe, ​it​ ​provides​ ​you with​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​calm,​ ​focused​ ​energy,​ ​making​ ​it​ ​a​ ​great​ ​option​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​on​ ​your​ ​desk.​ ​Lion’s Mane​ ​is​ ​also​ ​an​ ​immunity​ ​booster,​ ​may​ ​help​ ​fight​ ​cancer,​ ​and​ ​aid​ ​with​ ​digestion.​ Om Mushrooms​​ ​has​ ​an​ ​energizing​ ​blend​ ​that, has a somewhat bitter flavor but ​works​ ​quite​ ​well.

Chaga​​ ​helps,​ ​primarily,​ ​with​ ​immunity-and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​that​ ​stems​ ​from​ ​how​ ​it​ ​boosts​ ​and​ ​regulates the​ ​immune​ ​system.​ As noted by Medical News Today, ​it​ ​increases​ ​the​ ​body’s​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​produce​ ​antibodies,​ ​and​ ​helps​ destroy​ ​abnormal​ ​cells.​ ​It​ ​also​ ​fights​ ​free​ ​radicals​ ​(the​ ​source​ ​of​ ​numerous​ ​diseases)​ ​and inflammation.​ ​With​ ​its​ ​immunity-fighting​ ​capabilities,​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​good​ ​mushroom​ ​to​ ​incorporate​ ​into your​ ​fall​ ​and​ ​winter​ ​supplement​ ​routine.

Cordyceps​​ ​is​ ​energizing​ ​and​ ​stimulating-especially​ ​for​ ​the​ ​libido-because​ ​it​ ​stimulates​ ​the flow​ ​of​ ​oxygen​ ​to​ ​the​ ​cells, according to Dr. Weil. ​It’s​ ​an​ ​effective​ ​option​ ​for​ ​those​ ​with​ ​difficulties​ ​with​ ​their​ ​nervous system,​ ​and​ ​may​ ​help​ ​with​ ​depression​ ​and​ ​anxiety.

Maitake​​ ​is​ ​excellent​ ​for​ ​those​ ​with​ ​blood​ ​sugar​ ​issues,​ ​including​ ​diabetes.​ Cancer Research UK has found that it can ​reduce​ ​tumors,​ ​and​ ​thus​ ​may be​ ​an​ ​ideal​ ​mushroom​ ​for​ ​cancer​ ​prevention​ ​and​ ​treatment.

You’ve likely had shiitake​​ ​mushrooms​ ​already,​ ​whether​ ​un-knowingly​ ​or​ ​not,​ ​as they’re​ ​frequently​ ​used​ ​in​ numerous types of ​cuisine.​ ​They’re​ ​delicious​ ​and​ ​have​ ​an​ ​incredibly​ ​satisfying​ ​texture, and​ ​they’re​ ​also​ ​much​ ​more​ ​nutritious​ ​than​ ​most​ ​other​ ​culinary​ ​mushrooms: they contain vitamins and fiber, as other varieties do, but they’re also a superfood.​ ​Shiitakes​ ​can strengthen​ ​and​ ​stimulate​ ​the​ ​immune​ ​system​ ​and​ ​fight​ ​bacterial​ ​growth,​ ​fight​ ​cancer​ ​and​ ​the effects​ ​of​ ​chemotherapy,​ ​and​ ​help​ ​to​ ​limit​ ​the​ ​body’s​ ​absorption​ ​of​ ​cholesterol, according to Dr. Mercola and Dr. Weil.​ ​They’re​ ​easier​ ​to find​ ​in​ ​stores​ ​than​ ​other​ ​mushrooms​ ​on​ ​this​ ​list,​ ​as​ ​they’re​ ​available​ ​in​ ​the​ ​produce​ ​sections​ ​of most​ ​grocery​ ​stores.​ ​The​ ​Trader​ ​Joe’s​ ​shiitake​ ​mushrooms​ ​are​ ​an​ ​affordable​ ​and​ ​delicious​ ​option.

Recommended​ ​Brands​

​​Four​ ​Sigmatic

Four Sigmatic makes taking medicinal mushrooms, well, fun-the mushrooms are blended with ingredients like stevia, so the flavor isn’t as mushroom-y. The company’s mission it to make mushroom supplements delicious, and it does. Four Sigmatic offers mushrooms in hot cacaos, coffee, and matcha products. The Reishi Powder is sweet and each serving is packaged individually, so they’re portable and easy to consume.


Chaga​ ​Almond​ ​Latte


1​ ​heaped​ Tbs​p. Chaga powder
1​ ​cup​ ​of water
1/2​ ​cup​ of ​unsweetened​ ​milk
Cinnamon​ ​to​ ​taste
1​ ​slice​ of ​fresh​ ​ginger
Dash​​ of​ ​pepper
1⁄4​ tsp. ​almond​ ​extract
Stevia​ ​to​ ​taste


Mix​ ​all​ ​ingredients​ ​and​ ​heat​ ​in​ ​saucepan​ ​over​ ​stove-easy,​ ​delicious,​ ​and​ ​good​ ​for​ ​you.

Shiitake​ ​Stir​ ​Fry


5​ ​cups​ ​shiitake​ ​mushrooms
1⁄2​ Tbs​p. ​olive​ ​oil
1⁄2​ Tbsp. tamari
1⁄2​ Tbsp. ​fish​ ​sauce
Fresh​ ​ground​ ​pepper
2​ ​green​ ​onions
Toasted​ ​nori​ ​strips


Heat​ ​oil​ ​in​ ​pan and ​brown​ ​the onions. Add​ ​the mushrooms a sauté​ ​until​ ​tender. Remove​ ​from​ ​heat and​ ​add​ ​soy​ ​and​ ​fish​ ​sauces. Garnish​ ​with​ ​toasted​ ​nori​ ​strips.

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