Mushrooms can help with most ailments that people commonly suffer from. All the way from minor things like low energy and inflammation all the way up to heart disease.
Whatever your condition, there’s likely a mushroom that you can add to your diet to help you out.
The problem is knowing what kind of mushroom to take! There are so many different medicinal mushrooms to choose from, so where do you start?
Here I’m going to share a list of the top 8 most studied and widely used medicinal mushrooms:
1) Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms arguably have the most medicinal uses, as well as the longest history of use.
Mention of them in traditional medicine stretches back thousands of years to ancient China, where it was referred to as the “mushroom of immortality.”
Reishi can range in color, but red reishi is generally thought to be the most potent and effective. It’s a polypore shelf mushroom, meaning that it’s quite woody and naturally grows on the side of trees.
Reishi can be used to help with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, liver damage, and many other conditions.
You can’t simply eat reishi mushrooms since they have quite a woody texture. They also have a bitter flavor. That’s thanks to compounds in them called terpenoids which have anti-inflammatory effects.
The mushroom needs to be used in a soup or tea, or alternatively can be dried and made into a powder to consume as an extract or in capsule form.
2) Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga is a strange looking fungus that looks more like charcoal than a mushroom. If you see it growing on a tree, you might think it was simply wood that had been charred by a fire or struck by lightning. But inside this fungi is a bright orange color.
Chaga grows almost exclusively on birch trees.
The medicinal properties of chaga include use in treatment of cancers and as a topical treatment for swelling or wounds. It also has a mild blood sugar lowering effect.
3) Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey tails are a shelf mushroom. Like their name suggests, they’re colorful and fan-shaped so they look like a spread out turkey’s tail.
They come in a variety of different sizes, shapes, and colors depending where they’re growing. You can find turkey tails in almost any hardwood forest in North America, Europe or Asia as they’re very common.
Turkey tail mushrooms have a number of benefits but are most well known for cancer treatment.
4) Maitake Mushrooms
Don’t confuse turkey tail for this mushroom which has the nickname hen of the woods.
Maitake can grow in big clusters the size of a basketball. It can be used for high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, and diabetes.
Unlike the mushrooms on the list so far, this one you can actually eat.
Even though it grows on trees, it’s not a woody shelf mushroom. It has a good texture and mild flavor. So it’s good for you medicinally, plus it tastes great!
5) Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane is another odd-looking but edible mushroom. Its flavor is likened to lobster.
Lion’s mane mushrooms grow very large and have a shaggy white appearance that looks almost like teeth or hair. When you cut it open, it slightly resembles cauliflower in terms of texture.
You can eat lion’s mane just because it tastes great. But it is also useful in shrinking or stopping the growth of tumors, and contains compounds that can help regenerate tissue in the brain. It’s currently being studied for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
6) Cordyceps Mushrooms
Cordyceps is that weird fungus I mentioned earlier that grows out of insects.
If you can get past the fact that it comes from mummified bugs, it has some powerful health benefits.
- It has powerful anti-cancer properties, particularly against leukemia.
- It also contains lots of antioxidants.
- It’s one of the best medicinal mushrooms when it comes to managing cholesterol and heart disease.
- It doesn’t just reduce cholesterol, but it actually dilates the arteries.
That means it’s also great for athletes since it strengthens the blood vessels and heart.
7) Shiitake Mushrooms
Now we are getting into the mushrooms that you probably recognize from the supermarket.
Shiitake is commonly eaten in Asian cuisine. It goes really well in soups or stir fries.
Like many of the mushrooms on this list, Shiitake is great at protecting against cancer and lowering cholesterol.
An ingredient in Shiitake mushrooms called lentinan is such a potent substance that it’s now the third-most prescribed anti-cancer drug in the world.
8) Oyster Mushrooms
I’ll round off this list with one of my favorite mushrooms.
When most people think of oyster mushrooms, they know about its use in cooking. But you might not know it also has powerful medicinal benefits as well.
Besides being packed full of vitamins and minerals, oyster mushrooms are also full of antioxidants and they can alleviate inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and boost brain health. They may even be able to help block cancer growth.
So if you thought they were just food – time to think again!