Mushrooms have been looked upon as obscure organic matters since ancient times, growing on almost anything and anywhere. They exist in a huge number of diverse varieties all over the world; some edible, and some quite poisonous.
A few mushrooms are known to possess medicinal properties and have different uses in traditional medicine, particularly for enhancing the immune system. Some mushrooms can also support brain health, cognitive function, and general wellness.
It is believed that the natural defensive traits and chemicals present in mushrooms provide numerous beneficial effects when consumed by humans. It is not required to visit the stores also, as you can now buy shrooms online. In this post we will only be discussing two main aspects of health that certain mushrooms and their extracts seem to be capable of improving; the body’s immune response and mental functions.
Mushrooms for Immunity
All mushrooms contain beta-glucans, a kind of complex bioactive carbohydrates, which are responsible for stimulation of the immune system and helping to curb tumor development. The following are among the most potent immunity-boosting mushrooms:
Maitake: Rich in antioxidants, beta-glucans, and other nutrients, maitake mushroom has been shown to have positive effects on the body’s immune function, cholesterol levels, and glucose levels.
Cordyceps: This fungus consists of many nutrients, minerals, vitamins, as well as nucleotides acting as antiviral agents. The presence of polysaccharides in cordyceps has been linked to enhanced immune function in animal studies. Cordyceps also has anti-aging, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turkey tail: This is a well-researched mushroom and is considered one of the most effective in supporting the immune system and fighting off infection, as well as being helpful for digestion and gut health.
Reishi: Traditionally referred to as the “mushroom of immortality”, scientific research signifies the importance of reishi mushroom in boosting immune function and combating cancer.
Shiitake: This is a very well-known and a very nutritious mushroom that is good as food, medicine, or both. Lentinan, a polysaccharide found in shiitake, has potential immunomodulating and anti-tumor activity.
Mushrooms for Cognition
In addition to being used as immunity enhancers, some mushrooms are often used as brain or cognitive enhancer to improve brain health, memory, and other cognitive functions.
Lion’s mane mushroom, also called the “smart mushroom”, is regarded as a nootropic within the community of smart drug users. The alternative health resource Morris on Health (visit website here) acknowledges that lion’s mane mushroom is one of the most effective, scientifically-backed herbal cognitive enhancers.
Scientific studies have shown that lion’s mane can potentially improve brain function, augment memory, and promote concentration. This mushroom is believed to stimulate neuroregeneration within the brain, making it a promising natural remedy for neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Shiitake, golden, and white button mushrooms, among others, have also shown beneficial effects against mild cognitive impairment, as reported in this Forbes article.
Safety of Consuming Mushrooms
A few points should be considered when consuming medicinal mushrooms:
- Normally, there isn’t a single ideal dosage of medicinal mushrooms because of the lack of comprehensive clinical trials. It is recommended to start with common lower dosages and, if needed, gradually move on to higher ones.
- People afflicted with specific bleeding disorders may have a higher chance of bleeding after eating reishi mushrooms, but this is not the case for healthy individuals. Cordyceps also has blood-thinning effects and can increase the chance of bleeding after surgery.
- People who take anticoagulants or anti-clotting drugs should be cautious and seek medical advice before taking mushroom supplements.
- In some cases, mushrooms can cause allergic reactions. For example, lion’s mane may lead to breathing problems and skin rashes in people with allergies. If this happens, consumption should be stopped and a doctor consulted.
- Prolonged use of reishi has contributed to minor side effects in some people, such as digestive discomfort and mild stomach ache. These disappear once consumption has been discontinued.
- Even though medicinal mushrooms are available as food/dietary supplements and mostly considered to be safe, there is always the possibility of interaction with other medications and supplements. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor before planning to use mushroom products for the treatment of any health condition.
Medicinal mushrooms are becoming more and more popular, and they are available online from many brands and vendors, either as dried whole fruit, raw powder, or extracts. Not all products are of the same quality though, so it is important to conduct adequate research on the brand before purchasing as some companies offer low quality products mixed with several additives.