Mushrooms have been sought for millennia as a source of both food and medicine. For over 3,000 years Traditional Chinese Medicine has revered certain fungi for their medicinal and health-giving properties.
Always captivated mushrooms but never game to forage them myself, I really loved reading excerpts from Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, and Culture by Christopher Hobbs.
“Throughout the world many people enjoy hunting for wild mushrooms, delighting in the variety of shapes, sizes and colours exhibited by these “flowers of the fall”... Some Japanese people have even been said to travel hundreds of niles in order to collect wild mushrooms that only grow on very old plum trees - such as Reishi - renowned as a cure for cancer and degenerative diseases.”
It is thought that out of an estimated 5.1 million species of mushrooms, 270 are classified as having medicinal properties. Medicinal mushrooms are not psychedelic. Rather, each species provides its own unique health benefits from cognitive function to immune support and support of the nervous system.
Our collection of medicinal mushroom powders from Orchard St are sustainably sourced and entirely made from the mushroom’s fruiting body. Using only the fruiting body ensures that the powder is of the highest quality, most efficacious in terms of nutritional constituents and most natural supplement.
Pioneering mycologist Jeff Chilton explains the key active compounds of medicinal mushrooms for North Spore,
- Beta-glucans, which support immunity, and are considered to be antibiotic and antiviral.
- Triterpenoids, which are found to be liver protective, lipid lowering, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and inhibit histamine release.
- Ergosterol, which has antitumor and antioxidant properties, and is a precursor to Vitamin D2.
- Statins, which, in high doses, have the ability to lower cholesterol.
Powders made with 100% fruiting bodies, for example, contain 30 to 40 percent of beta-glucans compared to fungi grown on grain at 5 to 7 percent.
Before we go any deeper (it’s an exhaustive topic better served by mycologists), let’s look at three mushrooms and blends from Orchard St and their respective health benefits.
Reishi the ever iconic mushroom of immortality is traditionally known as the Tree Of Life Mushroom. Hailed for its nurturing immunity properties, Reishi has a potent ability to strengthen and regulate immune cells transforming health and wellbeing.
Reishi can be used to:
- Support the immune system
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress
- Reduce fatigue
Lion's Mane is a wonderful promotor of cognitive wellbeing. It is a known neuro-protector and enhances the communication capacity of these precious brain cells; translating into improved memory, concentration, learning and overall mental agility.
Lion’s Mane can also be used to:
- Help with the development and function of nerves
- Protect against oxidative stress
Seven Shrooms is a powerful adaptogenic blend of mushrooms to support your wellbeing from immunity to cognitive function to inflammatory response. Here’s a summary of each mushroom within the Seven Shrooms blend and their health benefits…
- Chaga: fortifies the immune system to activate, stimulate and regulate
- Reishi: immune potentiating, protecting, cleansing and strengthening
- Cordyceps: boosts vitality and resilience, enhancing oxygenation of the body
- Lion's mane: a potent catalyst for brain tissue regeneration helping to improve memory and cognitive functions
- Maitake: supports immune function, inflammatory response and has antioxidant properties
- Turkey tail: combats oxidative stress and inflammation, supports immunity and gut health
- Tremella: rich in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects
Coming off the back of a head cold, this evening as I left work I took home with me a bottle of Orchard St’s Reishi mushroom powder. Just before bed I'll be adding half a teaspoon into a batch of golden milk (Haldi Ka Doodh).
This anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic drink can be consumed each night as part of an evening routine that will lull you into a state of sleepiness and relaxation, whilst also bolstering immunity with the help of Reishi.
Anti-inflammatory vegan golden milk recipe:
- 2 cups of almond, coconut or cashew nut milk
- 1 teaspoon honey, maple or agave (l find it's better to start with less)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick / 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of black pepper
- Pinch teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ - 1 teaspoon of Reishi mushroom powder
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Whisk to combine all ingredients and create froth. Strain your mixture to avoid any peppery / ginger residue and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.