Our superfood of the month in March is the MIGHTY medicinal mushroom!! There is just so so much to learn about these amazingly fun guys… #sorrynotsorry and I have put together some quick fire facts about why we should all start including medicinal mushrooms (specifically) in our diet! If you hate mushrooms and you’re thinking “nahh not for me” – read . it . anyway – not all mushrooms taste the same and there are so many different forms and ways to include in your diet without compromising on taste!
Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in many cultures for their medicinal properties and their health benefits are now being recognised in wider society.
Chaga, reishi and cordyceps are just three types of medicinal mushrooms, which hold adaptogenic properties, meaning they can act as a regulator to your body’s stress responses.
They also help support our bodies’ adrenal function as well as providing us with a healthy immune system boost, loads of antioxidants and they have anti-ageing properties too! Superfood mushies ftw!
Below we list the three medicinal mushrooms that we currently use in our dishes along with their health benefits and medicinal properties adapted from motherearthliving.com.. but first where can you find them on our menu? This month we are drizzling chaga over cauliflower and wild mushrooms on sourdough, mixing up medicinal mushrooms in Suzy Glaskie of Peppermint Wellness’ super anti-oxident smoothie and taking shots shots shots of Reishi and Cordyceps! Read more about this month’s specials here.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
What it’s good for: Chaga has many antioxident properties and contains anticancer and antitumor activity.
Where it grows: Chaga grows on birch trees and other hosts, especially in the Eastern United States, Alaska, Europe, and other parts of the northern hemisphere. Chaga has been described as “a hard black, deeply cracked stalkless growth found on alder, birch, and elm.” Chaga looks as if it’s been burnt and can grow to lengths of four to five feet.
Other information: In Russia, chaga has also been used as a tonic, blood purifier, and pain reliever.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
What it’s good for: Reishi is useful for many ailments. It has immunostimulant properties, calms anxiety, and is used as a general tonic. It is anti-allergenic and antiviral, and is used for hepatitis and heart arrhythmias. Reishi can also be used as an antidote for poisonous mushrooms. Reishi mushroom is “especially suitable as a calming herb for people with anxiety, sleeplessness, or nervousness accompanied by an adrenal weakness.”
Where it grows: Reishi grows on the East Coast of the United States, as well as throughout Europe, South America, and Asia. Reishi is now widely cultivated—in the past, it grew only in small quantities in the wild, so it was very expensive.
How to take it: Reishi is available dried, powdered, and in capsules, extracts, tinctures, tea, and syrup.
Other information: In China, reishi is known as ling zhi. Ling zhi belongs to China’s highest class of medicines; there, it’s considered a tonic, thought to impart strength, vigor, and longevity.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
What it’s good for: Exposed to drastic changes in temperature and climate, this high-elevation medicine is one of the greatest of all of them for adaptation to stress! It is much sought after by athletic individuals for this reason, but it translates from physical stress also to mental and emotional. As Paul Stamets explains: “Cordyceps relaxes bronchial passages, enhancing respiration, increasing blood-flow which then benefits muscles pushed to their maximum and greatly add to their endurance.”
Where it grows: Cordyceps is a fungus that grows on a caterpillar high in the plateaus of the Himalayan Mountains. The Cordycep we use is created using organic compounds and not caterpillars and is therefore 100% vegan!
Other information: Cordyceps is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine to “strengthen the primal kidney functions, sexual functions, brain power, structural integrity (bones, joints and connective tissues) and healing ability”
Watch this short video for more information about the medicinal mushrooms outlined above:
Want to learn more? Join Four Sigmatic’s mushroom academy for free here. (Just like we did!)