Mushrooms have definitely gotten a bad rap over the years from psychedelic shrooms, but did you know that there are medicinal mushrooms that can provide actual health benefits?

What Exactly Are Medicinal Mushrooms?

While they’re now resurfacing as a superfood, medicinal mushrooms have actually be used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The most common ones on the market are Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane. Most medicinal mushrooms are classified as “adaptogens,” meaning they help the body adapt to stress. As opposed to caffeine and other stimulants, which only temporarily combat the effects of stress and fatigue by raising alertness and wakefulness, adaptogens can manage the body’s hormonal response to stress. Consequently, they produce greater ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue without causing that dreaded crash.

What Other Health Benefits Can They Provide?

Mushrooms photo by Harshal S. Hirve (@harshalhirve) on Unsplash

harshalhirve on unsplash

What’s more is that adaptogenic mushrooms can also improve energy, performance, and longevity. Reishi, for example, demonstrates cholesterol-lowering properties and anti-cancer effects. Chaga is known for promoting immune function. Cordyceps, on the other hand, can support exercise performance by enhancing endurance capacity.

How Can I Include Them In My Diet

Traditionally, medicinal mushrooms are boiled into a (quite bitter-tasting) elixir. However, some companies have released mushroom powder pills, tea and coffee to make them more palatable to drink. Personally, I like to buy my mushroom teas here, because it’s so convenient to mix into hot water before heading out to class.

So, next time you're stressed out, try switching out your coffee for some medicinal mushrooms. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by their stress-reducing effects.