For as long as man has been foraging for food, mushrooms have been on the menu.
Mushrooms hold a special place in cultures around the world. Charged with magic and mystery and seemingly possessing the power of life or death, the mushroom is truly an icon of the mind, spirit and body.
Today, there is an increased interest in mushrooms specifically for their medicinal properties.
No longer the preserve of Chinese medicine, mushrooms are being grown in dedicated grow spaces around the world by passionate individuals convinced that mushrooms have so much to offer.
There is a dizzying array of mushrooms that have health benefits associated with them, but a few have gained public appeal due to the truly astounding clams made for them.
Top of the list for anyone looking to fungi for health purposes has to be the Lions Mane mushroom.
This exciting, distinctive mushroom grows naturally throughout Asia. Known for its creamy colour and long spines that grow from the visible parts of the fungus, it is often called the Hedgehog Mushroom.
Research suggests that this mushroom can improve cognitive performance, and its benefits don’t end there.
Many claim the mushroom is an effective anti-cancer food and can also aid in regulating blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Many more claims have been made for this mushroom, and it’s hard avoid the hype around it.
Next on the list has to be the Chaga mushroom.
This mushroom is a fungus that likes to grow on dead and rooting wood, typically oak birch and beech.
This mushroom grows only in colder climes, so you’re likely to find it in northern Europe, Russia and parts of the United States and Canada.
Chaga has been used as a medicine for centuries, and is commonly taken for stomach upsets and liver and kidney problems.
Studies are currently under way to examine this mushrooms antiviral and antioxidant properties.
This one you are bound to have heard of as it is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Often seen in western grocery stores, this mushroom has a great flavour and has a long history in medicine.
Shiitake mushrooms are famed for their abilities to protect the heart and immune system, although they have many other medicinal uses.
Modern Mushroom Farming
With the development of new technologies, mushroom farming, especially the more difficult to cultivate varieties is becoming more viable for individual growers.
Throughout the world, start-ups have begun to grown medicinal mushrooms on small and large scales and these are offered for sale both locally and on the internet.
You should have no problem obtaining any of the mushrooms on this list, along with many others that have medicinal properties.
Different mushrooms need different conditions for storage, and you may find that shipping for some mushrooms will need to be express in order for you to receive them in a fresh condition.
Many more are fine served and taken dried.
Mushrooms have been used as a medicine for years, and there’s no reason to believe that they do not have medicinal qualities.
In fact, studies are now beginning to back up claims that have been made for many mushroom species.