Health benefits of uk mushrooms

uk mushrooms : 7 Kinds and Their Unique Health Benefits

Exploring the Uses of the Top Medicinal Mushrooms

The medicinal use of mushrooms dates back thousands of years because of their varied and uniquely adaptive benefits for health. Now, in recent times with functional medicine and holistic nutrition going mainstream, we’re seeing a resurgence of interest in these marvelous superfoods. But, there are a few things you should know before running to your local supplement shop…

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This article will encapsulate the top health benefits of 7 medicinal mushrooms, while also revealing why some mushroom supplements sold in today’s marketplace don’t contain mushrooms at all. And finally, it will explain how Real Mushrooms produces medicinal mushroom extracts for our supplements and what to shop for when you’re looking to get true high-quality mushroom supplement benefits.

In This Article

  1. Lion’s Mane Mushroom: The Mushroom for the Mind
  2. Reishi Mushroom: The Mushroom of Immortality
  3. Cordyceps Mushroom: The Caterpillar Fungus
  4. Chaga Mushroom: The Mushroom that’s not a Mushroom
  5. Turkey Tail Mushroom: The Mushroom of Multiple Colors
  6. Shiitake Mushroom: The Fragrant Mushroom
  7. Maitake Mushroom: The Dancing Mushroom
  8. 3 Bonus Medicinal Mushrooms: Oyster, Agaricus, Tremella
  9. Understanding Medicinal Mushroom Supplement Benefits & Shopping Tips

Overview of Health Benefits of Medicinal uk mushrooms 

Medicinal mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses with a myriad of health benefits including the following:

  • Provide immune support*
  • Full of antioxidants*
  • Support a healthy inflammation response*
  • Help to balance blood sugar*
  • Support brain health and cognition*
  • Support the nervous system*
  • Increase energy and stamina*

The Top 7 Medicinal uk mushrooms 

porcini mushrooms

The healthiest mushrooms to supplement with include:

  • Lion’s Mane
  • Reishi
  • Cordyceps
  • Chaga
  • Turkey Tail
  • Shiitake
  • Maitake
  • Bonus: Oyster, Agaricus, Tremella

Lion’s Mane Mushroom: The uk mushrooms  for the Mind

Primary Lion’s Mane Mushroom Medicinal Benefits: Supports healthy brain function & neuron generation*

Lion’s Mane is full of a multitude of important compounds, such as beta-glucans, which are immuno-modulating antioxidants and neuro-protective phytonutrients*. In vitro research suggests that certain compounds found in Lion’s mane, namely hericenones and erinacines, may help induce Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) synthesis in nerve cells [1]. This dovetails with findings from animal research that Lion’s mane promotes nerve tissue growth and supports motor function. And research in adults with mild memory problems associated with aging found that those taking Lion’s Mane extract had better brain function compared with control participants who did not ingest the mushroom [2]. All of this indicates that Lion’s Mane mushroom is an amazing helper for healthy brain function and may even support neurogenesis.

Historical Uses of Lion’s Mane Medicinal uk mushrooms 

Lion’s Mane, or Hericium erinaceus, is a species of mushroom that is beautiful in appearance; it has long cascading shaggy spines resembling a waterfall. Lion’s Mane grows on the trunks of hardwood trees in Northern forests.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), names Lion’s Mane Hou Tou Gu (monkey head mushroom). Chinese medicine practitioners use this mushroom for the spleen, and its association with digestion, energy, and water regulation. TCM also uses this medicinal mushrooms as a tonic for stress-related disorders (neurasthenia) and for a lack of energy (qi deficiency).

The Japanese call Lion’s Mane Yamabushitake, after the worshipping Buddhist monks known as the Shugendō. These monks used Lion’s Mane tea to increase their ability to concentrate during meditation. Indigenous peoples of pre-colonial US, Canada, and Australia also used Lion’s Mane for medicine and food. This mushroom has become a well-established candidate in promoting cognitive function.

Best Ways to Include Lions’ Mane Mushrooms in Your Daily Life

Real Mushrooms offers a superb Lion’s Mane supplement that is full of beneficial compounds because efficacy is our top priority. We recommend taking ½ teaspoon a day, over a prolonged period of time, to fully notice the effects. You can add this powder to your morning smoothie, coffee, or elixir of your choosing.

Learn more by reading our article, Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits: A Complete Supplement Guide.

Popular medicinal uk mushrooms 

When we talk about medicinal mushrooms, we’re not referring to those you would find in the average supermarket, rather the less commonly available types.

Most medicinal mushrooms are available to buy in dried form in health food shops and online. If you are thinking about foraging for some yourself, only pick mushrooms if you are 100 per cent sure you know what you are doing and ask an expert to help you identify the edible ones. A lot of fungi look alike and mushrooms foraged from the wild could be dangerous, or even fatal.

The five most popular medicinal mushrooms include:

• Reishi

Used for immune support, allergies, auto-immune conditions, inflammation.

• Chaga

Used for immune support, antioxidant.

• Cordyceps

Used for energy, fertility.

• Lion’s Mane

Used for brain health and cognitive function.

• Maitake

Used for immune support.

🍄 For information on identifying edible and poisonous wild mushrooms read the Wild Food Mushroom Guide.

How to take medicinal uk mushrooms 

Similar to tomatoes increasing nutritional value when cooked, for mushrooms, Powell advises that ‘It is always preferable to cook them as it helps increase the bioavailability of key active components and in some cases also detoxifies toxins contained in the mushroom.’

Primary Reishi Mushroom Medicinal Benefits: Sleep aid and potent immunomodulator*

The polysaccharides in reishi mushroom are associated with immune function, and if taken over time, reishi can significantly support the immune system*. It can also support restful sleep and a calm mind, reduce occasional stress and restlessness, can support lung and respiratory health, and support balanced blood sugar levels*.

One study has demonstrated that Reishi can decrease symptom scale scores for men experiencing lower urinary tract symptoms (urination difficulty) [22]. Reishi can be used safely in adjunct with certain oncology medications and diagnoses [23].

Because of its well-rounded capacity to support numerous systems in the body, herbalists call reishi the King of Medicinal Mushrooms.

Historical Uses of Reishi Medicinal uk mushrooms

Reishi, or Ganoderma lingzhi, has a 2000-year-old written record in medicinal texts. Most notably, Chinese Taoist monks wrote of using it to promote calmness, as well as to enhance their meditative practices. Chinese royalty used reishi to promote longevity and held this “mushroom of immortality,” in high esteem. Reishi was listed as the most cherished among the superior herbs, which are considered to support a long life, support healthy aging, boost qi, and make the body light [3].

There are six different colors of reishi referenced in historical literature, each with their own unique benefits.

Best Ways to Include Reishi Mushrooms in Your Daily Life

Real Mushrooms ensures that our reishi products are made from the mushroom (fruiting body) and contain higher levels of the medicinal compounds beta-d-glucans and triterpenes with NO grain fillers. Shockingly, a study analyzing commercially available Reishi mushroom supplements showed that only five of 19 products tested could be verified as genuine reishi mushroom.

One way to identify the purity of our reishi product is its dark colour and bitter taste, both characteristic of true reishi. We recommend taking two reishi capsules a day, over a prolonged period of time to notice the health benefits of this incredible medicinal mushroom.

Cordyceps Mushroom: The Caterpillar Fungus

Primary Cordyceps Mushroom Medicinal Benefits: Improves lung capacity and increases energy*

The cordyceps mushroom is an incredible energy-boosting fungi. Certain studies have shown that cordyceps can increase the production of ATP, the compound that gives cells energy, in rodents. This is why Cordyceps is a good mushroom supplement to take for exercise and physical performance*. In fact, two well-controlled clinical studies have found cordyceps improves exercise performance in healthy older individuals [4,5].

Preliminary research in humans, animals, and test tubes also indicates that cordyceps supports healthy levels of inflammation and immune markers.

Related cordyceps species may have hormone regulatory properties shown in research studies to increase libido (in women) and improve sperm health in men [27]. Cordyceps can support kidney health in certain populations 

Historical Uses of Cordyceps Medicinal uk mushrooms 

Old Chinese medical books and Tibetan medicine describe cordyceps as a treasure. With hundreds of different species, it is a parasitic fungus that preys on insects. Traditional healers use the fungus as a powerful tonic to improve energy, appetite, stamina, and endurance [6].

Cordyceps was traditionally used as a tonic because it has the capacity to revitalize and restore symptoms like fatigue, exhaustion, and chronic stress. Out of all the medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps is the most stimulating, warming, and powerful in a traditional context. It has an affinity to the kidneys and lungs, meaning it supports these organs the most.

The Strange (And Expensive) Cordyceps Market

The most well-known species of cordyceps is Cordyceps sinensis; the most expensive mushroom in the world, costing over $20,000 per kilogram and sold almost exclusively in Asia. It is a rare combination of a caterpillar and a mushroom and is found at high altitudes in the Himalayan Plateau.

For many years, Chinese scientists weren’t able to cultivate this mushroom, fueling an increasing demand on a small supply. Now, with this particular fungus, it is very important to be aware of what you are consuming, because wild Cordyceps sinensis rarely makes it to the North American market, yet companies are still advertising Cordyceps sinensis on their mushroom supplements. If a cordyceps product is grown in North America, it is almost certainly myceliated grain. A high amount of grain means a low amount of mycelium and decreased beta-glucans, which are the beneficial polysaccharides found in the cell wall.

Luckily, there is one type of Cordyceps species that can be cultivated commercially to produce a mushroom (fruiting body), and that is Cordyceps militaris, which has similar benefits to Cordyceps sinensis. If you would like to dive deeper into the realm of this fungus, we have written an engaging and extensive article on cordyceps supplements to help you keep informed.

Best Ways to Include Cordyceps Mushrooms in Your Daily Life

Real Mushrooms has created an organic Cordyceps militaris extract, and this supplement has been verified for quality by a third-party laboratory for quality. Our supplement contains a bountiful amount of beta-D-glucans and cordycepin, and it contains NO starch. We recommend that adults take ½-1 tsp or up to 2gms per day over a long period of time.

Chaga Mushroom: The Mushroom that’s not a Mushroom

Primary Chaga Mushroom Medicinal Benefits: Boosts digestion and clears/protects skin

Chaga has been studied for its use in skin and stomach disorders. Chaga has over 200 pre-clinical animal and cell studies showing promising health benefits including such as being high in antioxidants, supporting digestion, immune support, modulating inflammation, containing key anti-microbial substances, and being adaptogenic 

Historical Uses of Chaga

Chaga or Inonotus obliquus, which is commonly referred to as a mushroom, is actually a highly prized woody canker or conk that grows in the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere on birch trees.

The first medicinal uses of chaga seem to have come out of Russia around the 16th century when it was used as a tea to enhance stomach health*. After 1966, Chaga gained more exposure after its powers were written about in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book, Le Pavillon des cancéreux. Many indigenous people continue to use Chaga around the world for varying health-supportive purposes.

How Chaga Grows Is the Key to Its Benefits

As Chaga grows primarily on birch trees and much of the mass itself is actually wood fiber and not mycelium, many medicinal compounds from birch like betulin and betulinic acid end up in the chaga. The outer black layer on the canker contains high amounts of melanin, which can be beneficial for our skin*.

Until recently, Chaga could not be cultivated, but now in Finland they are inoculating birch trees with this fungus. Lab-cultivated Chaga does not develop into canker, and as it does not grow on birch but on grain, it does not contain the important medicinal compounds that come from birch.

Best Ways to Include Chaga in Your Daily Life

Our Siberian Chaga extract is wild-harvested from Russia. Our mushroom supplements are tested by 3rd party laboratories for the active compounds beta-D-glucans, which are some of the most highly researched natural compounds for immune system support.

We care deeply about sourcing the best quality mushrooms that contain the highest concentration of beneficial compounds to ensure that your health is supported over long-term use. We recommend that adults take two capsules of our organic Chaga daily. It can be taken at any time during the day and are best used over an extended period of time to notice the effects.

Turkey Tail Mushroom: The uk mushrooms  of Multiple Colors

Primary Turkey Tail Mushroom Medicinal Benefit: Boosts immune system function

Turkey tail improves immune function by stimulating cytokine production, increasing natural killer cells, and through other immune-boosting functions*.

Protein-bound polysaccharides (PBP) found in Turkey Tail have the most research-backed immune-supportive effects. These PBP compounds can enhance key types of immune cells, like T-cells, when used alone or in combination with synergistic herbs [29]. Turkey Tail is a safe mushroom to use long-term within the context of proper medical treatment [23, 32].

Historical Uses of Turkey Tail Medicinal Mushrooms

Turkey Tail mushroom, or Trametes Versicolor, is one of the most common and local mushrooms to many peoples around the world. It grows on dead logs worldwide and received its name because its rings of brown and tan look like the tail feathers of a turkey.

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) turkey tail has been used for supporting digestion, lung health, body fluid regulation, and supporting vitality. In Japan and China, a derivative of turkey tail has been used to strengthen the immune system [8]*. Turkey tail contains one of the highest amounts of beta-glucans of all mushrooms, which can help keep our immune systems healthy when used over an extended period of time*.

Best Ways to Include Turkey Tail uk mushrooms  in Your Daily Life

Real Mushrooms’ Turkey tail supplement is certified organic and guaranteed to contain NO added starch, mycelium, or grain of any kind – just pure mushroom (fruiting body), so you receive all the wonderful medicinal properties. We suggest taking ½-1 tsp per day or up to 2 grams.

Shiitake Mushroom: The Fragrant uk mushrooms 

Primary Shiitake Mushroom Medicinal Benefit: Supports cardiovascular health

Shiitake mushroom is great for immunity and liver health, and it supports the cardiovascular system*. Lentinan, a polysaccharide in shiitake mushrooms, has shown great promise as an immune system-boosting agent [9]*. Research has also discovered a compound in shiitake, eritadenine, that can help maintain cholesterol already within a healthy range [9]*. The mushrooms are great to cook with and are also loaded with B-vitamins, helping to modulate blood sugar levels in the body and support a healthy inflammation response.

Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to increase igA, a key immune cell (immunoglobulin) associated with our first line of defense when it comes to immunity [32]. Shiitake mushrooms can decrease C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a blood marker that detects inflammation [32].

Historical Uses of Shiitake Medicinal uk mushrooms 

Shiitake mushrooms are the most popular mushrooms in the world and have a meaty and versatile flavor, which is why they’ve been used as a food source in Asia for hundreds of years.

Best Ways to Include Shiitake Mushrooms in Your Daily Life

Real Mushrooms proudly uses only the mushroom (fruiting body) and absolutely NO added filler, mycelium, or grain in our mushroom supplements. Our product 5 Defenders Organic Mushroom Blend is a pure and highly beneficial supplement for immune health maintenance. We recommend taking ½-1 tsp a day, or up to two grams. It can be taken at any time of the day; use it for at least 6-8 weeks to feel the effects on the body.

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