Vital mushrooms seem to be triggering a real hype due to their potential positive effects on the body. We will tell you whether there is any truth to this claim.
If you take a look at the recent food trends, you’ll quickly notice that vital mushrooms have often been in the spotlight and continue to hold a prominent place in the superfood category. It’s no wonder that you understandably question whether the claimed effects of vital mushrooms are justified and what exactly this superfood is.
1. What are vital mushrooms?
For those hearing the term for the first time, the question of what lies behind it is likely to arise. Vital – it sounds like life and vitality, right?
The fact is: While these mushrooms are not miracle cures, they are commonly referred to as „medicinal mushrooms“ and have been used as natural remedies in the field of mycotherapy (mushroom therapy) in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries.
They are now an integral part of alternative medicine and are used as superfoods or dietary supplements by many biohackers, athletes, and workaholics. The reason why these mushrooms are attributed with so many healing properties probably lies in the abundance of vital nutrients that your body can easily absorb.
These mushrooms have invigorating and balancing effects on the body, contributing to the activation of the immune system and overall well-being. When biohackers and athletes buy vital mushrooms, they consciously use them to enhance their performance.
2.Why the Effects of Medicinal Mushrooms Differ from Edible Mushrooms
Even though medicinal mushrooms often look like ordinary mushrooms, they are rarely found on our plates. They have an extremely bitter taste and resemble a very strong coffee. It’s not surprising that these mushrooms are much more commonly offered in dried form or sold as powder or medicinal mushroom capsules.
The only exceptions are Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms – two mushrooms that are not only popular in Asian cuisine but also enjoyed fresh here. The classic among medicinal mushrooms is Reishi, often referred to as the „mushroom of eternal life.“
In the United States, these mushrooms have already established a firm place in the healthy fitness kitchen, and their popularity continues to grow here as well. They are often combined with other superfoods but also used in the form of medicinal mushroom capsules. If you’re a fan of superfoods, incorporating these mushrooms can greatly enhance the nutrient content of your smoothie bowl.
Additionally, in traditional Chinese medicine, each mushroom is attributed with different medicinal mushroom effects, which we certainly don’t want to withhold from you. Therefore, we will now introduce you to a few mushrooms and their effects.
3.Medicinal Mushrooms and Their Effects:
Perhaps you are already one of those people who regularly buy medicinal mushrooms and prepare a shake with them in the morning or have a bedtime drink with a sprinkle of medicinal mushroom powder. Many athletes use these mushrooms regularly to enhance their performance, promote recovery, and alleviate muscle soreness. For those who are not yet familiar with medicinal mushrooms, here are the most common ones and their effects:
A. Maitake (Hen-of-the-Woods):
Maitake is considered a special delicacy in Asia and is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat hypertension and lower cholesterol levels. Interestingly, the mushroom is also believed to aid in weight loss by inhibiting the body’s ability to store fat. When combined with a ketogenic diet, the mushroom can contribute to even better fat burning.
B. Reishi (Lingzhi Mushroom):
Reishi is considered the „king“ of medicinal mushrooms due to its numerous effects. In TCM, it is considered one of the most important medicinal herbs, alongside ginseng. Did you know that Reishi, like Ashwagandha, is classified as an adaptogen? Adaptogens are substances that can help you adapt to and balance your stress levels. For this reason, Reishi is used for stress, mood swings, sleep disorders, and concentration difficulties.
C. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus):
This mushroom originates not from Asia but from Siberia, Scandinavia, and Canada. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in treating gastrointestinal issues.
D. Cordyceps (Caterpillar Fungus):
The name may sound like a caterpillar, and indeed it resembles one. If you engage in intense physical activity and want to improve your performance, Cordyceps could be an extremely interesting mushroom for you. It is considered „fuel for the mitochondria“ and is believed to enhance athletic performance. After exercise, it can also promote recovery, allowing your body to repair minor micro-injuries in the muscles.
Overall, medicinal mushrooms offer a range of potential benefits and are valued for their various effects in traditional and alternative medicine.
E. Hericium (Lion’s Mane):
This mushroom resembles a lion’s mane and is commonly used in TCM to strengthen the digestive tract and immune system.
F. Polyporus (Polypore Mushroom):
Water retention is a common issue, particularly among women. In this case, Polyporus with its diuretic effect can be the perfect companion for weight loss.
Alongside common mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms are among the most popular edible mushrooms that you can buy fresh at the supermarket and prepare. Alternatively, you can take Shiitake in the form of medicinal mushroom capsules, as it is believed to have anti-inflammatory and strengthening effects.
4. Experiences with Medicinal Mushrooms: Scam or Helpful?
Experiences with medicinal mushrooms show that many people who regularly buy them have faith in their healing power. They are primarily used to alleviate acute or chronic gastrointestinal issues, stress, sleep disorders, headaches, or inflammation. Additionally, they are believed to help with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, thrombosis, cardiovascular problems, liver issues, and elevated blood sugar. They are also used as antidepressants, adaptogens, and general tonics. Many consumers who have been taking these mushrooms for an extended period often report positive experiences with medicinal mushrooms.
Furthermore, these mushrooms are believed to be helpful for:
- Crohn’s disease
- Cardiovascular problems
- Liver problems
- Elevated blood sugar
They are also used as an antidepressant, adaptogen, and general tonic. Many consumers who have been taking these mushrooms for an extended period often report positive experiences with medicinal mushrooms.
5. Buying Medicinal Mushrooms: How to Use Them Correctly?
With the exception of two mushrooms, most medicinal mushrooms are simply not palatable, which is why you can purchase them as powder or in the form of medicinal mushroom capsules. Capsules have the advantage over powder in that they are easy to dose and convenient to take on the go.
Capsules usually consist of a mushroom extract that contains the powder in a high concentration. Just like your diet, the capsules and powder should be as natural and pure as possible. With our PURE series, you can enrich your diet with the full power of nature, as the medicinal mushroom capsules contain the natural extract of a mushroom. It’s no wonder they are a sought-after dietary supplement for many biohackers who want to take their cognitive and physical performance to a new level.
The powder is traditionally brewed as tea in Asia, but it can also be used in cooking. Vegetable broth can be enhanced with a pinch of Reishi to give it a more intense flavor. Want to incorporate mushrooms into your daily routine? Then consider preparing a delicious shake in the morning with low-carb fruits (berries), nuts, protein powder, almond milk, and a sprinkle of mushrooms.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a mushroom coffee, which is incredibly tasty and provides a wakeful effect similar to regular coffee. Finns have been brewing Chaga for many years, while in Asia, Reishi is commonly consumed as a hot beverage. Making mushroom coffee requires just a few ingredients, such as:
- 200 ml almond milk
- 1 tsp mushroom powder
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp raw cane sugar or coconut blossom sugar
To prepare, heat the almond milk in a saucepan and mix in the sugar, mushroom powder, and cacao powder. Once the milk is hot, add the powder mixture and stir well to make your „coffee.“ Alternatively, you can froth the milk before pouring it into your cup and enjoy the morning energy boost.
6. Conclusion: Medicinal mushrooms can have positive effects on health
Many experiences with medicinal mushrooms show that they should not be dismissed as a hype or nonsense, as they are also used as dietary supplements in our country to alleviate specific symptoms and strengthen the immune system.
Even athletes often take mushrooms to aid in recovery after intense training and enhance performance. Mushrooms taste great in smoothies and vegetable broths, but they can also be conveniently consumed in capsule form.