It almost seems that a new nutritional supplement is found every day, and each one promises to address medical problems. You’ve heard of many of them, at least in passing, like grapeseed, fish oil, and green tea, and many others, and it seems as if a new nutritional supplement is touted as a “superfood” or something similar every day.
One of the latest in this long line of miracle cures for what ails you is medicinal mushrooms. These are becoming a particular favorite in part because there is a lot of scientific research to back up their medical values, including a review of available studies promoting the pharmacological value of mushrooms that was published in 2005.
This is not surprising, given that they have been used as a staple in many cultures for their medicinal value. For example, ancient Egyptians believed that eating mushrooms led to a long and healthy life.
Which Mushrooms Are the Healthiest?
Here are some of the mushrooms that are among the most commonly used in mushroom supplements and why:
Chaga mushrooms grow primarily on birch trees throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are often missed because they often appear as a clump of dirt sticking to the tree, although it has bright orange tissue that makes it stand out. The Chaga mushroom is lauded for its ability to work as an antiviral.
At least one Russian study has claimed the Chaga mushroom can be effective against HIV. Other studies have claimed it is effective against the flu and smallpox.
In addition to those medicinal qualities, Chaga mushrooms have also been cited for a number of other benefits, including their ability to prevent and also fight cancer, to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as to provide an overall boost to the immune system when it’s most needed.
Reishi mushrooms are also known as Ganoderma or Lingzhi, and they have become a staple of Chinese medicine fr about 2,000 years, so far. In addition to Chinese doctors, Japanese and Korean doctors also use Reishi mushrooms as part of their arsenal of medications.
Over two millennia, Reishi mushrooms have been proven as antioxidants and for its effectiveness against cancer. According to one study, Reishi mushrooms tend t activate cells that tend to kill bad cells. For instance, they contain F3 polysaccharides, which have the ability to induce antibodies to kill cancer cells and tumors.
Like Chaga mushrooms, Reishi mushrooms also give extra support to the immune system, especially at its weakest points. Of course, when your immune system is overstimulated, it will reduce activity.
Turkey Tail mushrooms
Called “Turkey Tail” mushrooms because of their amazing colors, Turkey Tail mushrooms are chock full of antioxidants, many of which are known to boost immune system health, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the body to release compounds that protect overall health.
Some studies have also shown that Turkey Tail mushrooms also help to improve immune system function in a way that could prevent or help a person fight certain types of cancer.
Not only do Shitake mushrooms have a lot of health benefits built in, but they are also among the best-tasting edible mushrooms anywhere. If you couldn’t tell from the name, Shitake mushrooms are native to East Asia, and they are among the most popular mushrooms used in Chinese medicine.
Among the health benefits of Shitake mushrooms include better heart health, lower cholesterol and an immune system boost. They are also known to prevent and fight cancer, and they also carry antiviral and antibacterial effects.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms
Also known as yamabushitake or hou tu gu or mushrooms, these large, white, and shaggy mushrooms begin to resemble a lion’s mane as they grow, hence the name. In China, these edible mushrooms are used by both chefs and doctors. In addition to adding a “seafood-like flavor” to food (some have compared the flavor and texture to lobster or crab.
At last one study found that Lion’s Mane mushrooms contain two special ingredients that stimulate brain cell growth, which appears to improve mental function.
This means these mushrooms may provide benefits that alleviate depression symptoms and protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s. They also appear to protect against digestive ulcers, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, and provide a measurable boost to the overall immune system.
Which Mushroom Supplements Should I Avoid?
Experts suggest that any mushroom supplement containing mycelium is probably not natural. It means the mushrooms were grown on grains and thus lack many of the nutrients and benefits you want a mushroom supplement for. You buy medicinal mushroom supplements for the health benefits, so without those, the supplement is useless.
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