Medicinal Mushrooms: THE Food Trend of 2018!

by Tahnee McCrossin December 01, 2017 5 mins read

medicinal-mushrooms

If you’ve been following SuperFeast for the last six years, you definitely have heard us banging on about medicinal mushrooms. Read on to learn why Whole Foods have named functional mushrooms (aka medicinal mushrooms) a top trend of 2018.


At SuperFeast we see medicinal mushrooms as ancient foods, and medicines, that have been a part of the human race’s quest for health and longevity for thousands of years, lead by the amazing Taoist philosophers. We love them all… reishi, chaga, lion's mane... why, we even have a whole blend dedicated to eight of our fave mushroom allies.

 

The History of Medicinal (Functional) Mushrooms

Egyptian hieroglyphics show mushrooms as the ‘plant’ (they’re not really plants!) of immortality, called the “sons of the Gods” sent to Earth on lightning bolts and eaten only by nobles and pharaohs.

In ancient China, special mushrooms, particularly reishi, were valued as tonic herbs by Taoist shamans and emperors, though were forbidden to common people (this is because they were rare and they were reserved for seekers and royalty).

We like that we can now ingest these noble mushrooms daily, and we like ours wild-crafted, the same way the Taoists ate ‘em, from pristine wilderness areas of China, where they’ve grown forever (see Di Tao for more info on this). And we like the word medicinal, cos it’s the one we’ve used for years now.


But just this week, Whole Foods, the American supermarket behemoth, released its ‘Food Trends of 2018’ predictions, and Functional Mushrooms came in at number 3, shining a new light (a spotlight!) on our fungi friends. 
Suddenly, functional mushrooms are trending! You guys, they’re hot!


Yes, they’re talking about the same mushies you SuperFeasters already love. 
And we can get on board with the name 'functional mushrooms', cos it makes sense. Mason has been calling tonic herbs functional foods for years now, because they’re effective foods that are working extra hard for us, not just filling our bellies.
 

How are medicinal (functional) mushrooms working for you, you ask?

Great question!
 
Here’s an overview of our fave medicinal - or functional - mushrooms and their main benefits. Note that all these herbs (yep, mushrooms are herbs) are adaptogenic, which means they help to increase resistance within the body to a wide range of stressors and normalise body functions via their effects on the HPA axisand the sympathoadrenal system (that's not a spelling error - it refers to the interaction between the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenals).
 
Let's begin with the queen, herself:

 

Reishi

A.K.A.Ganoderma lucidum
  • read about it in depth here :)
  • mushroom of immortality
  • longest record of medicinal use in the world (China and Japan)
  • contains polysaccharides that feed immune system
  • contains terpenoids (that’s why it tastes bitter) which are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
  • adaptogenic - helpful for stress and anxiety especially, calms theshen, or heart’s spirit, in Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • helps stimulate and regulate sleep cycles (great for insomnia!)
  • super supportive of the liver
  • great for seasonal allergies and mould problems, helps respiratory system
  • see Mason at the SuperFeast Reishi farm here

Find it here or in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend

 

Lion’s Mane

A.K.A.Hericium erinaceus
  • also used in China for centuries
  • promotes neurological health
  • active compounds extracted from lion's mane are called erinacines and hericenones. Erinacines and hericenones stimulate the release of nerve growth factor in rat brains and cultured nerve cells (Ma et al. 2010).
  • used by monks to help them focus during meditation
  • also a delicious culinary mushroom
  • looks like a brain - and that’s what it helps!!

Find it here or in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend

 

Shiitake

A.K.A.Lentinula edodes
  • medicinal use became widespread in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) after the development of methods for cultivating the fungus on logs
  • super-supportive of immune system
  • helps body respond to damaged cells
  • antiviral
  • also a delicious culinary mushroom
  • the pharmaceutical Lentinan was extracted from shiitake and is now the third most widely prescribed anticancer drug in the world

Find it here or in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend

 

Chaga

A.K.A.Inonotus obliquus
  • used as a folk remedy in Europe, Asia and North America. Used in Russia medically since 16th Century.
  • contains betulinic acid, which boosts the immune system and is considered antiviral, antimalarial, and anti-inflammatory
  • contains massive amounts of melanin is a powerful antioxidant and lends chaga its DNA-protecting benefits
  • powerfully anti-fungal
  • balances blood sugar
  • helps body respond to damaged cells
  • was used topically to treat wounds traditionally
  • See Mason at the SuperFeast Chaga farm here!

Find it here or in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend

 

Cordyceps

A.K.A.Cordyceps sinesis CS-4
  • energy - has an anti-ageing and stamina-building effect and is great for recovery
  • assists athletic performance by increasing oxygen uptake - is a great lung tonic for breathing issues too, like asthma
  • commonly grows out of the mummified body of a caterpillar, (or any other insect it can find) - we get ours from a lab since REAL cordyceps is SUPER expensive and rare, and kills a lot of caterpillars (and some of the people who collect said caterpillars from crazy alpine regions of Asia)
  • modulates cholesterol levels
  • those yaks know what’s good for them… when the snow in the mountains melt, yaks in Asia start heading uphill. At 14,000-16,000 feet they find cordyceps and feed on it, then run around like crazy (the good kind of crazy of course!)

Find it here or in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend

 

Agaricus blazei

  • known as the ’mushroom of life’ from Brazil
  • supports immune system
  • helps remove toxic cells from the body
  • super high levels of beta glucans (most of any mushroom)
  • also a delicious culinary mushroom

Find it in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend 

 

Maitake

A.K.A.Grifola frondosa
  • known as ‘hen of the woods’
  • worth it’s weight in silver in Japan - highly prized
  • useful when combined with ginseng to regulate blood sugar
  • helps body respond to damaged cells
  • immune food
  • supports digestive organs
  • also a delicious culinary mushroom
Find it in our Mason’s Mushrooms blend
 
If you don't know where to start but feel like it's time for you to embrace the medicinal (functional) mushroom trend (2018 is your year, after all!), feel free to contact us and we'll help you choose the mushies that are right for you. Checking out our insane recipes might help :)

Masons-mushrooms-product



Tahnee McCrossin
Tahnee McCrossin



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