What are Medicinal Mushrooms? - Duke's Materia Tonica
November 1, 2019 23:00
What are Medicinal Mushrooms?
- Superfoods with a density of nutrients, especially electrolytes, b vitamins, and trace minerals.
- Tonics for their ability to work as supplements for building overall health and wellness.
- Adaptogens because they promote work tolerance, recovery from stress, and immunity.
Some medicinal mushrooms may be used in cooking as vegetables to add savory and umami flavors to dishes for both nutrition and medicinal benefits, such as shiitake, oyster, lion's mane, and maitake mushroom.
Other medicinal mushrooms may be bitter tasting, woody, tough, and unchewable, such as chaga, reishi, and turkey tail, which must be extracted into a dietary supplement to make them easier to take, most often around mealtime, for their nutrition and medicinal benefits.
The Medicinal Benefits of Mushrooms
The many different medicinal mushrooms are potent remedies.
They generally have similar benefits that work with the immune, heart, and digestive systems, with particular antioxidant and antitoxin benefits associated with liver health, plus also being good for adrenal stress recovery and resistance.
The Different Working Parts of Medicinal Mushrooms
All medicinal mushrooms have two important working parts called the fruiting body and mycelium.
Fruiting Body: the above-ground portion of the mushroom that we see in bloom which often has a cap or shelf structure.
Mycelium: the below-ground or inside-the-tree portion of the mushroom that we don't see which has a white thread-like nerve structure.
In certain cases, two other working parts of medicinal mushrooms may be harvested called the spore and sclerotium.
Spore: the reproductive cells of the fruiting body of fungi that are like dust. Commonly consumed from the Ganoderma species of fungi such as reishi.
Sclerotium: the dormant mycelial growth of certain fungi that forms a protective shell which is consumed in the case of Inonotus Obliquus species commonly known as Chaga.
Constituents of Medicinal Mushrooms
- Vitamins - B vitamins, including B12, and vitamin D when exposed to outdoor sunlight
- Minerals - commonly potassium, phosphorus, selenium, copper, sulfur, and germanium, among others.
- Antioxidants - glutathione and ergothioneine for healthy energy, liver health, and detoxification.
- Bioflavonoids & Polyphenols - antioxidants which support energy, heart health, and detoxification.
- Polysaccharides - very long glucose molecules, known as beta-glucans, that support immune cell growth in the bone marrow and immune cell activity in the gut and throughout the body.
- Acids - most commonly triterpenes, but highly varied depending on the medicinal mushroom and responsible for many of the other non-immune health benefits, especially vascular blood-flow, oxygenation, and liver detoxification.
- Sterols - support liver and adrenal health.
- Nucleosides & Nucleotides - support muscle relaxation and nerve transmission.
- Unique peptides - promote antioxidants to maintain cellular integrity.
- Chitin - indigestible fiber found in the cells walls of fungi.
Medicinal Mushrooms are Not Magic Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms are not to be confused with 'magic mushrooms' which contain the recreational drug psilocybin and may be used to treat, prevent, and manage approved diseases within allopathic medicine as quackery.