These tonic herbs (yep, mushies are actually tonic herbs!) are our friends for life and part of the reason we love them so, is due to their mycelium (stick with us here); this is sort of the like the root system underneath the ground, of the visible mushroom, above the ground.
Mycelium is some sort of magic, exactly like the root system of a plant, these dendrites soak up all the nutrients from their ecosystem, giving our medicinal mushies the phenomenal health-promoting effects we love 'em for.
We have a free online tonic herbalism course, which covers all the fundamentals of tonic herbalism. You'll continue to expand your knowledge on medicinal mushies, like the ones are we talking about here today. We've also got an epic podcast on all things tonic herbs and medicinal mushies if you want to dive even deeper and listen to some great chats!
Is considered to be one of the most sacred tonic herbs in the Taoist tradition, earning it fantastic-sounding names like the Mushroom of Immortality and Mushroom of Spiritual Potency. Arguably, the most well known medicinal mushroom on the planet! Regularly featuring in the Taoist depictions of Heaven, reishi's powerful anti-ageing properties are what it first found fame for—especially as a tonic for emperors seeking immortality. Brimming with polysaccharides and terpenoids (terpenoids are mighty bitter, but trust us, these are the bomb for their health-promoting abilities).
We love it for: toning heart (Shen) and Liver, calming the nervous system (especially the all important vagus nerve), settles the spirit (aka if you're prone to anxiety/depression), providing support for meditation, promotes healthy sleep patterns, feeds the immune system, nourishes Bone marrow, increases white blood cell count (immune modulator), great for babies and pregnant mamas, longevity, fights candida, great for your gut (helps regulate weight), anti-viral, -inflammatory and -fungal. Read more about the Queen here.
Is referred to as the “the gift from heaven” by Siberian shamans, and is known throughout the Arctic regions of the world as a medicinal herb; the Russians have been using chaga since the 16th century. It is considered by healers and medicine men/women in these regions to be one of their most sacred medicinal substances (it was also used as a fire-starter to carry embers from place to place). We also know it as the 'King of the Adaptogens.’ Its ability to sort out 'mis-programmed' cells in the body is unsurpassed, partly due to its betulinic acid and melanin content.
We love it for: protects DNA via the anti-oxidant power of melanin, detoxes chemotherapy and supports the body responding to damaged cells, detoxes radiation, protects skin (melanin), tones pineal gland (aka sleep like a baby) balances blood sugar, crazy-high in antioxidants, immune modulator, fights candida, boosts gut health, powerful anti-viral and -fungal.
Cordyceps sinesis CS-4
Is an ancient medicine known to traditional Himalayan healers as Yarsa gumba (winter worm, summer grass). It is recommended for 'all illnesses' as a tonic, because cordy, as we lovingly refer to it, is claimed to improve energy, appetite, stamina, libido, endurance and sleeping patterns. Wild cordy is a rare combo of caterpillar and fungus, found at altitudes about 3,800m. Yak herders noticed the their yaks consumed the cordyceps as they grazed and the yaks became very strong and virile. This is how the locals knew to use cordyceps medicinally. This what Taoist philosophy is all about, using nature as the best teacher.
At SuperFeast we choose to use a cultivated strain of cordyceps, as the wild one is crazy expensive (worth $10-$50k USD per kilo). Our cultivar is grown on a vegan, liquid ferment. The advantage here is the process is highly standardised and the final product is pure mycelium, without the residual grains or substrates you get by using solid state fermentation (mycelium on grain) (we don't like grain-fed mushrooms, that's why we follow Dì Dào (地道) practices).
We love it for: overall energy by building power and stamina, tones Lungs (you got asthma? Hit the cordy), oxygenates Blood, supports immunity (especially in the cases of auto-immunity), anti-viral (especially for the lungs) and anti-fungal, great postpartum recovery, athletic recovery via increasing oxygen uptake, high-stress executives, modulating cholesterol levels, supports libido, balances Kidney Yin and Yang, strengthens knees and lower back (Jing, y'all).
Is know as 'monkey head mushroom' in Chinese and has been used for centuries; monks have traditionally used this herb to asset with focus during meditation and for general vigour and strength. It looks like a brain - and that's what it helps. Lion's mane is certainly having its time in the sun for biohacking and nootropic effects. The mushroom is also known for its effects on the central nervous system and is used for treating Qi deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We love it for: nootropic + neuroprotective properties, add on effects from the neurological support are feeling good with less anxiety and jitters, stimulates nerve growth, anti-bacterial, -candida and-inflammatory, supports stomach health (especially for healing ulcers), fortifies the five organs (Spleen Liver, Lung, Heart, Kidney), gut nourishing and promotes good digestion and can aid insomnia.
Long prized in the Orient, have traditionally been harvested wild in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). However the Japanese worked out how to cultivate shiitakes on logs. Villages wanting to gain prestige and increase their commerce would attract Buddhist monks by cultivating the revered shiitake! The suffix -take means 'fruit of the mushroom' in Japanese and the prefix shii- refers to the type of tree the mushie grows on, in this case a Japanese tree similar to birch.
We love it for: very supportive of the immune system, anti-candida, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, helps the body respond to damaged cells (the pharmaceutical Lentinan uses shiitake extract and is and is now the third most widely prescribed anticancer drug in the world), blood pressure, controls blood sugar and can positively influence lipid profiles, Kidney, Liver, sex, anti-stress and can prevent plaque and cholesterol build up.
Is also known as the 'mushroom of the sun' and 'mushroom of life'. These mushies actually originate in Brazil and they're huge in Japan. The Japanese recognise them for their potential in fighting cancer and have ben researching the A. blazei since the late 80's after scientists discovered long-living tribes in Brazil (especially the Piedade) consumed the mushies - longevity here we come. Cultivation has only been successful since the 90's, but with their outstanding levels of beta-glucans, this cultivation will continue to soar.
We love it for: supports the immune system, helps remove toxic cells from the body, anti-candida, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, effective against digestive issues, blood pressure, blood sugar, Kidney, Liver, libido, anti-stress, anti-cholesterol, mineralisation, supports the Liver and has shown to have positive effects with hepatitis B.
Is a pretty unattractive mushroom to look at - it kind of looks like a potato - but it was very well-respected as a daily health-giving tonic for thousands of years (the Koreans say it was sent by God). Its price made it prohibitive for regular folks to consume in ancient times, but it's a lot cheaper these days, thankfully, so we can include it in our Mason's blend!
We love it for: clearing damp in the body, strengthening Spleen and Stomach, Kidney and Liver, supportive of the immune system, may have positive blocking effects of brain plaques, menstrual issues, useful for oedema, immune, strengthens heart, lowers blood sugar, anti-bacterial and helps with inflammation, specifically joint pain.
With one of our fave Latin names, maitake (meaning dancing mushroom) came from the dance of joy one would do after finding it because this sexy 'shroom was worth its weight in silver. Also, from the 'dancing' waves of the fruiting body, it's a pretty mushie! Its other name is a slightly less sexy 'hen of the woods'..someone with a great imagination thought it looked like a chook chilling in the forest. This herb has been known and used since at least 200 BC by the Taoist herbalists, and likely much longer before that. It grows at the roots of trees, and is somewhat parasitic.
We love it for: Spleen and Stomach ailments, possibly linked to effecting tumour growth, treating haemorrhoids boost immune function, effective for female fertility, remedy for diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels, managing blood pressure, being darn beautiful!