“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
For centuries, man has used the healing power of herbs and plants to soothe pains and treat ailments. Today Western Medicine is too quick to hand over a prescription pill when something is wrong in the body, however this merely treats the symptom and not the cause.
Mushrooms have long been associated with exuding magical and healing powers. Fungi boast an amazing spectrum of health benefits, from anti-tumour and anti-oxidant qualities, to depression and anxiety relief.
Eastern Medicine has for centuries incorporated mushrooms into tonics, herbal teas, and treatments to help naturally heal the body to work in sync. There is a lot we can learn from that neck of the woods.
Did you know that incorporating mushrooms into your daily diet could dramatically improve your overall health and vitality?
4 SHROOMS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
This is a super food you will want to cement into your life. Originally found grown amongst birch trees in the harsh climates of Siberia, the Chaga mushroom boasts a plethora of medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties, to alleviate ailments and help the body cope with stress.
Most notably known for strengthening the body’s natural defences and protecting our DNA against cancer, this truly magnificent food also offers an array of beneficial active ingredients including iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and a host of amino acids and enzymes, that have been proven to boost the immune system.
This healing power- house is known for it’s very high content of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an important enzyme that functions as a powerful antioxidant. SOD performs a vital anti aging function by neutralizing oxygen free radicals, preventing oxidative damage to cells and tissues.
HOW TO EAT:
Available in powder form, this is the easiest way to get the goodness in! Drinking a cup of herbal Chaga tea in the morning will provide a healthy hit of healing power. Alternatively adding a tablespoon or two to your smoothie is also a really easy way to acquire its benefits.
A favourite in traditional Chinese medicine, Reishi is known to enhance longevity. Known as a tonic herb, it can be consumed in large quantities, and it is often advised to take reishi mushroom for long periods of time to allow it to take its full effect. Reishi has the ability to help the body adapt to stressors like anxiety, fatigue, trauma and emotional distress.
Largely behind Reishi’s restorative qualities is a complex carbohydrate known as polysaccharides, which have been studied extensively, and are proven effective for battling tumors, as well as modulating the immune system. Other impressive functions that stand out between reishi’s long and growing list of medicinal uses are its anti-viral, blood pressure-lowering, anti-bacterial and anti-allergic properties.
HOW TO EAT:
Reap the Reishi rewards by eating 3-10 grams per day. It can be eaten fresh, cook the white outer edge, whilst avoiding the bitter yellow centre. When browned, the Reishi tips can taste deliciously meaty.
3. LION’S MANE
This extraordinary mushroom gets its name from the white cascading tendrils that resemble a lion’s mane. This particular species grows hanging off of logs and trees, also referred to as hedgehog or bearded tooth mushroom. Used in Asia for thousands of years, it is said to give one "nerves of steel and the memory of a lion."
Known for its powerful effects as a brain tonic, Lion’s Mane has been scientifically proven to boost brain cognition, which includes enhanced memory, and also maintaining focus and attention.
Frequent usage of Lion’s Mane mushrooms have even been proven to offer neurological nourishment, with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. They appear to have nerve regenerating properties, stimulating nerve growth and aiding those with cognitive impairments.
Other advantages of this mushroom consist of healthy digestion, cholesterol regulation, as well as healthy and younger skin. People struggling with diabetes may also take advantage of this mushroom because it reduces glucose levels.
HOW TO EAT:
With a wonderfully chewy texture and taste slightly reminiscent of seafood, this mushroom provides a great addition to stir fry’s. Alternatively it can be bought in capsule form.
4. TURKEY TAIL
Turkey tail mushrooms have been used to treat various ailments for hundreds of years in Asia, Europe, and by indigenous peoples in North America. This super-abundant colourful mushroom grows on dead trees, logs, branches, and stumps. These mushrooms grow throughout the world, practically wherever trees can be found. In fact, they are some of most common mushrooms found on wood on the planet.
Turkey tail mushroom has been the subject of a large number of controlled clinical trials in Asia showing that it can help rebuild the immune system in people with a wide range of cancers. Turkey tail excretes strong antiviral compounds, specifically active against cervical cancer, and liver cancer.
HOW TO EAT:
With its mild flavour, this versatile mushroom is best served in powder form. Try 1-2 tablespoons daily mixed with hot water, or sprinkled over your food.