This guide is adapted from Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health by Tero Isokauppila, a thirteenth-generation Finnish farmer, self-described “funguy,” and the founder of functional mushroom company Four Sigmatic.
There are an estimated 1.5 million species in the fungi kingdom (many of them still unclassified). That’s about six times more than the number of plants in the world—and more than 10,000 of them are mushrooms. Just trying to wrap your head around this information is an overwhelming task. The good news is that, if you start exploring medicinal mushrooms by getting to know these top ten varieties, you’ll reap a multitude of life-changing benefits. In fact, these ten mushrooms are some of the most astoundingly untapped superfoods in the world.
The compounds in reishi work both externally and internally to keep you looking young by reducing dermal oxidation (which is when proteins on the skin are damaged, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging) and protecting your cellular DNA and mitochondria from oxidant damage as well, allowing you to remain energized, alert, and feeling refreshed.
Use reishi to:
Sleep betterStress lessCure seasonal allergies
Four Sigmatic Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix, $27.33.
Chaga is one of the single richest sources of antioxidants found in nature, containing an astonishingly wide variety of these cell-protecting compounds. In fact, one dose of dual-extracted chaga (the typical amount found in a single cup of strong chaga tea) packs the same number of antioxidants as thirty pounds of carrots.
Use chaga to:
Ward off the common coldHave shiny, thick hair and glowing skinLower inflammation caused by a busy, stressful life
Four Sigmatic Chaga Mushroom Elixir Mix, $28.47
Cordyceps is most notable for its energizing effects, due to its beta-glucans. Those present in cordyceps, like all other beta-glucans, deliver oxygen to the body on a cellular level, which not only decreases the occurrence of disease but also increases energy and stamina.
Use cordyceps to:
Perform better (both athletically and in the bedroom)Increase energyAlleviate asthma or bronchitis
Four Sigmatic Cordyceps Mushroom Elixir Mix, $27.31
It has the ability to repair and regenerate neurons in your body, resulting in improved overall cognitive function, and lion’s mane has been known to reverse and mitigate the effects of such neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, among others.
Use lion’s mane to:
Improve memoryBoost concentrationProtect your nervous system
Four Sigmatic Lion’s Mane Mushroom Elixir Mix, $29.17
Today we know shiitake to be a truly rare superfood, as it contains seven of the nine essential amino acids. Shiitake can also have tremendous effects on the cardiovascular system, as it can prevent substances from binding to the linings of blood vessels.