What’s not a plant, a fruit, or a vegetable that has medicinal properties that in some instances give prescription meds a run for their money, and are found in the forest? Fungi or what most of us call mushrooms. They’re their own kingdom and share 35% of their DNA with us, humans. Medicinal mushrooms can improve the mind and body, and no I’m not talking about the psychedelic types. I’m talking about mushrooms and their functional properties that can help more than you’d ever imagine. This conversation has been a long time coming, and as there’s so much to share with you, I couldn’t fit it into just one episode and show. This is part 2 to episode 131, and there may be more, as I’ve teed up a couple of experts to share their brilliance with us. As I’ve been delving into the world of mushrooms, I just keep going with a fascination for these fungi that have been around for centuries. There are 5.1 million species in existence, what’s out there in the forest can become our natural healing ground. Can you believe that 35% of all medicine is derived from fungi, and that includes penicillin? I started to include a wide variety of mushrooms in my diet after hearing one of our most brilliant guests, Dr. Davis Brockenshire speak about the benefits to gut health and how they can truly help reset our stress response to all that has happened over the past two years, and help us balance our weight in episode X. Since then I’ve been buying at least four varieties a week from my local market, and including tinctures from Giddy Yo after we talked with owner Bridgette Longhorn in episode 113 about adaptogens. You could say that I’ve gone all into the mushroom kingdom because it’s a way to enhance health, biohack cells, and steer away from what my genetics say could unfold. They help people sleep better, wake more refreshed, eliminate brain fog, slow the progression of mental incapacity and dementia, improve memory, and concentration, and help your skin issues from psoriasis, to eczema and a dull washed out look start back at you in the mirror; they can upregulate or downregulate your immune system, and a new one that I learned of from what I shared in part one, improve your libido! Do I have your attention now?! Today on EAT THIS with Lianne, more of the benefits of medicinal mushrooms part 2, and why find ways to get them into you, every single day.
I feel like I’ve become that much more of a mushroom expert as the more I dove into this topic, the more I found that I wanted to know more about. Seriously, the benefits have blown my mind, so much so that I just ordered some mushroom growing kits to even try my not-so-green thumb at growing my own, and have an order on its way to try out all the varieties that speak to me, and my daughter who still is dealing with mental health issues. More to come on my little experiments, and to see if one of them helps with my perimenopause hot flashes. After acupuncture hasn’t totally nailed them yet, I’m game to try another option.
Let’s recap on last week’s kinds to start and remind you of all the benefits like in the prevention of prostate and breast cancer, in particular. They can help boost immunity by increasing the level of antiviral and other proteins in the body from the polysaccharides and beta glucans found in mushrooms. They can positively impact anemia as mushrooms are rich in iron, help in decreasing cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, help weight management and weight loss, and keep your brain healthy, as well as powerful antioxidant effects that support health and antiageing.
Last week I talked about Lions Mane, which is a beautiful white mushroom that from a distance looks a bit cauliflower-like, and is called what it is as someone thought it looks like the mane of a lion. A compound in Lion’s Mane can break through the blood-brain barrier and activate the stimulation of the growth of new brain cells, nerve growth factor in the hippocampus, and the thinking part of your mind. It can help increase memory, focus concentration, cognitive dysfunction, and early stages of dementia. Amazingly, Lion Mane can also suppress anxiety. It’s also for you, my loyal listener who might be going through menopause in the peri stage or Lions mane – menopause. Symptoms of hot flashes dissipate. I’m going to go buy a boatload of this. Different from herbs. Mushrooms don’t seem to have an overdose place. Herbs you can take too much.
I talked about Turkey tail, a mushroom best known for its anticancer properties, as well as supporting anyone going through chemo for their cancer diagnosis. Turkey tail’s unique polysaccharides have been shown to increase white blood cells while creating and stimulating T-helper and Natural Killer cells, which help to fight and clean up after a virus hits you. It’s also known for its anti-inflammatory support and energy enhancement. 2g lion mane.
And tempted you with Chaga, which is said to be the highest source of antioxidants on the planet. It contains a high concentration of melanin that’s helpful for any skin challenges like eczema, tired skin, and psoriasis. Supports the immune system upregulates the immune system – balances it out. Adapt to the body’s stresses. Earthy taste. High concentration of minerals. Add to anything in the morning.
Now onto more that you need to know about. First up is cordyceps, which is best known for energy, anything physically active from an athlete, to getting your body out of bed in the morning, and every aspect of wanting and having sex. These mushrooms activate more ATP and get more oxygen into your lungs and muscles. As well as improving the body’s use of oxygen, their compounds help blood flow and help the adrenal gland’s production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Doing any long-distance training or races that need more stamina and energy? That can include lovemaking by the way as it helps libido too – for drive and desire as well as performance. I’ve heard of people using cordyceps for long covid and the tiredness that they are dealing with and it helping with energy. While it gives you a boost of energy, It doesn’t offer that caffeine kick, that soon runs out, but more long-lasting and balanced energy. Can take in a capsule, powder made into tea or tincture about 45 minutes before a workout for more energy. As it helps circulation and blood flow, your heart health benefits on every level. And with all mushrooms, your immunity is positively impacted with cordyceps too.
Reishi – queen of mushrooms one of the most researched mushrooms in the world. Calms the nervous system and improves your sleep cycle, mostly your deep sleep cycle. If you’re tracking your sleep, you can see if your deep sleep improves, that’s not REM sleep if you’re looking at your sleep rhythm. I’m going to track this with my Oura ring. It’s a hard mushroom. So a medicinal extract is the way to go with this mushroom, although I’m going to grow some with the kit that I just bought. Then I’ll benefit from the Increase in natural killer cells that kill cancer cells and destroy viruses. Reishi can increase the number of white blood cells, decrease fatigue and help stabilize blood sugar. Reishi before bed can help improve sleep. Help you to wake with a clear mind. My ears perked up when I read that Reishi can suppress the histamine response and all that comes with that, like itchy eyes for hay fever. That also makes this mushroom an especially good choice for perimenopausal women, who have more triggered histamine response around this time – can’t drink wine without getting a headache like me, ladies? Do you get a bite and it blows up? Well, that’s histamine and the interplay with female sex hormones, that are responsible for disrupted sleep, and poorer quality sleep, which are all combined with the drop off of progesterone levels that increase anxiety levels. So ladies, get your reishi tincture from Giddy Yo because you can also save 20% with the code EAT THIS, and report back because I want to know. The dose is about 2g of reishi in 8oz water.
Shiitake mushrooms – I’ve tried to grow these from a log, but sadly it didn’t work, but you’ll find them on fallen logs from trees. Best known for circulation and longevity, they have the same amino acids as meat. They can decrease LDL and decrease the plaquing in the brain. Properties of decreasing blood pressure and . That makes sense when you learn that shiitake mushrooms contain high amounts of natural copper–a mineral that supports blood vessels and the immune system. Shiitakes also contain polysaccharides that contain a compound known as lentinan, which strengthens the immune system. You’ll also get a dose of beta-glucans when you introduce shiitakes into your system. Remember, beta-glucans can boost white blood cell production and enhances your body’s ability to fight off harmful viruses, bacteria, and toxins. Shiitake mushroom’s most common use is to help treat fatigue, indigestion, edema, anemia, chronic hepatitis, high blood pressure and high fats in the blood, called hyperlipidemia.
Include these in any dish that you make and you’ll find them readily available at most grocery stores.
The last on my list is Chanterelles – some of which I had yesterday. They are trumpet or funnel-like-looking mushrooms that are golden-yellow. Because you often find these mushrooms grown in the wild, they can be higher in vitamin D, which improves energy levels and bone health. Because the colour is orange-yellow, they also contain bioactive antioxidant carotenoids, which is a precursor to vitamin A and that help with eyesight, immunity, and lung and respiratory health. I read that in Chinese Medicine they use chanterelle to treat eye conditions such as night blindness and inflammation. Chanterelles also contain phenolic acids and that’s the support that the immune system needs to work on inflammation. They are super powerful with anticarcinogenic, antigenotoxic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, immunomodulant, help treat respiratory tract infections and treat wounds like abscesses and boils. It is said chanterelles can even treat intestinal worms and also help remove radiation from the body.
Foraging for mushrooms can be fun and also needs a guidebook of sorts so that you know what you find. Not all mushrooms are safe to eat – they can be poisonous and they can have psychedelic effects too.
If you’re taking a supplement form, do look out for the fruit of the mycelium to be used. The mycelium is like roots, but really looks like some sort of matrix under the ground and that’s where nutrients from the soil are taken up to grow the mushroom, or what’s called the fruit. Different extraction processes are detailed in the fine print, so do be sure that the extraction process includes heat, and some say alcohol. I’ve bought ones that go through a steaming process, so I’ll see how that unfolds.
When to take these mushrooms? You can take them all in the morning, but as a routine, they do help with various parts of your day. For instance, have Chaga first thing in the morning.
Lion’s mane may be mid-morning before work, for studying, needing to focus. Use Lion’s mane for cognitive function, memory recall, and focus. A capsule, tincture, or powder in tea could help ADHD even for focus, giving a sense of calm and focus. Before bed, Reishi is your go-to to help with sleep. There are many companies coming up with blends for different times of the day, making powders with extra adaptogens like cacao, maca, and more, so you can give a boost to your morning coffee, or even swap it for mushroom tea.
To feel the benefits of mushrooms, it can take about 2 to 3 weeks. You’ll start to feel the benefits. Must be consistent in eating and taking them. Speaking of eating mushrooms as I have been, it will take a lot of eating to get to the general dose of 2g of a medicinal mushroom powder to optimize your results. Kind of like eating enough fish to reap the benefits that can impact your health as taking a supplement like my Take This by Lianne supplement called Omega Boost. Sometimes to get the optimal level, a powder, tincture, or capsule is the way to go. Capsules will be less cost-effective, and overall medicinal mushroom products are pricey.
Want to learn more – a documentary that’s queued up on my Apple TV is Fantastic Fungi which is said to be the bible of all things mushrooms. Mushroomreference.com is also where I spent hours learning and reading studies.
Phew, that’s a lot of information about a topic that even I didn’t know existed. I hope that bringing this to you opens your understanding of an incredibly impactful resource for health. Between this episode 132 and part 1 episode 131, you’ve got all you need to get started. How to cook, how to take, and what all the varieties that I’ve highlighted do for you and your physical, mental and overall health. Remember that they do help the mind and body.
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