​All About Medicinal Mushrooms - Types and Benefits


Medicinal mushrooms are a group of mushrooms that have medicinal properties and are considered adaptogens. Adaptogens are plants that help bring balance to the body's systems. Mushrooms have been around for billions of years and have adapted to various environmental conditions. When consumed, their adaptability is passed on to us. These mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support overall health. While there are over 14,000 species of mushrooms, researchers have focused on six specific types for their powerful benefits: reishi, chaga, lion's mane, turkey tail, cordyceps, and maitake.

Types of Medicinal Mushrooms

1. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi mushrooms are known as the "mushroom of immortality" in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is often referred to as the "queen of calm" due to its ability to support the body in managing stress and calming anxious thoughts. Reishi is particularly beneficial for those experiencing anxiety, insomnia, or excessive worry. Consider incorporating Reishi into your evening routine to promote mental and emotional tranquility, allowing for a more relaxed state of mind. Some of the potential key benefits of Reishi mushrooms include:

  • Regulate the body’s stress response system
  • Promote mental clarity
  • Boost energy levels
  • Support liver function
  • Contain powerful antioxidants

2. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Chaga, known as the "King" of medicinal mushrooms, is a widely studied and commonly used fungi for its medicinal properties. Cultivated for centuries, Chaga is known for its high nutrient content and its ability to support digestion. It is rich in antioxidants, which help strengthen the immune system, support digestive health, and promote healthy skin. With its potent properties, Chaga can be a valuable addition to any wellness routine. Some of the potential benefits associated with chaga mushrooms include:

  • High in antioxidants to support immune health
  • Regulate inflammation
  • Improve digestive health
  • Restore balanced, restful sleep
  • Lower low-density lipoproteins, the so-called bad cholesterol

3. Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion's Mane mushrooms are known for their unique appearance, resembling the mane of a lion. This mushroom shows some of the highest promise in cognitive health function, nerve support and immune system regulation. Key potential benefits of Lion's Mane mushrooms include:

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • May speed recovery from nervous system injuries
  • Could protect against dementia
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • May inhibit cancer and ulcer cell growth
  • Boost immune system function
  • Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress

4. Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps is known as the mushroom of energy, performance, and stamina. This powerful fungus can potentially boost ATP production, which translates to increased energy, enhanced endurance, and improved athletic performance. Cordyceps has long been valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its ability to strengthen the lungs. It is particularly beneficial for athletes, active individuals, and those looking to combat fatigue and exhaustion. Some of the potential benefits associated with Cordyceps mushrooms include:

  • Increased oxygen levels in the bloodstream
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased memory function
  • Fights inflammation
  • Helps manage Type 2 Diabetes
  • Benefits heart health
  • Potentially slows the growth of tumors

5. Turkey Tail (Coriolus versicolor)

Turkey Tail is known as the mushroom of immunity. It is abundant in beta-glucans, natural compounds that help stimulate and strengthen the immune system. Interestingly, Turkey Tail mushrooms grow in abundance during chilly, wet winters when colds are prevalent, making it a perfect natural remedy to support our immune system during this season. Additionally, Turkey Tail mushrooms are a source of prebiotic fiber, which nourishes and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, ultimately promoting optimal gut health. This is significant because approximately 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Potential benefits Turkey Tail mushrooms include:

  • Help to fight viral and bacterial infections
  • Can help balance blood sugar levels
  • Help reduce fatigue
  • Promote good gut health

6. Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Maitake mushrooms are a popular type of mushroom that are valued for their medicinal properties. Maitake mushrooms are known for their unique fan-like shape and earthy, rich flavor and commonly referred to as the “hen of the woods.” These mushrooms have traditionally been used in Japanese and Chinese medicine to help promote immune system health, support healthy blood sugar levels, and promote healthy digestion. Maitake mushrooms are also a rich source of antioxidants and beta-glucans, which help to support overall health and well-being. Some of the potential benefits associated with Maitake mushrooms include:

  • Manage diabetes
  • Lower high cholesterol levels
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Boost the immune system
  • Prevent and treat cancer

How to Consume Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms can be consumed in various forms, including:

  1. Powdered extracts: Many medicinal mushrooms are available in powdered form, making it easy to incorporate them into your daily routine. You can add them to smoothies, teas, or sprinkle them over food.
  2. Capsules, tablets and tinctures: For convenience, medicinal mushrooms are also available in capsule, tablet or tincture form. This allows for precise dosing and ease of consumption.
  3. Culinary use: Some mushrooms, like lion's mane, can be added to culinary dishes such as soups, stir-fries, or pasta for their unique flavors and health benefits.

Safety Precautions and Considerations

While medicinal mushrooms generally have a good safety profile, it's important to consider a few precautions:

  1. Allergies: Some individuals may be allergic to certain types of mushrooms. If you have a known allergy to fungi, it is best to avoid consuming medicinal mushrooms.
  2. Drug interactions: If you are on medication or have any underlying health conditions, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your routine.
  3. Quality and sourcing: When purchasing medicinal mushrooms, ensure they are sourced from reputable suppliers like VGI Distribution to guarantee their potency and purity.


Medicinal mushrooms can offer a wide range of health benefits, from immune system support and inflammation reduction to cognitive enhancement and energy boost. With their unique bioactive compounds, these fungi have stood the test of time in traditional medicine systems. Whether you choose to consume them in supplement form or enjoy them in culinary dishes, medicinal mushrooms can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new regimen to ensure its suitability for your individual needs and health condition.

Mar 1st 2024 Maggie Gowen

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