Medicinal Mushrooms are edible mushrooms with known health benefits. They have been used in traditional medicines across the globe since before recorded history and are highly regarded tonic herbs in Chinese Medicine.
Originally thought of by Daoist monks to promote longevity, the medicinal properties of mushrooms first appeared in a text written about 2000 years ago by Emperor ShengNong. Known as the ShenNong Bencao Jing, or the Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica, this legendary text contains detailed information on the health benefits of 365 herbs including several mushroom species.
Mushrooms were included in the ‘imperial’ or ‘upper herb’ section along with herbs such as ginseng, cassia and jujube (chinese dates). These imperial herbs were held in the highest esteem and referred to as tonics, strengthening medicinals that can be taken daily without harm.
Fast forward to modern day and a variety of medicinal mushrooms are widely available. Now thought of as adaptogenic herbs (plant medicinals that help our bodies maintain homeostasis) they are frequently used for their many health benefits including:
- Supporting the immune system
- Supporting digestive function and regulating blood sugar
- Improving energy and vitality
- Supporting brain health and cognition
- Supporting neural function
As Chinese Medicine herbalists, we regard medicinal mushrooms as powerful ‘food medicines’. An excellent addition to your daily regime to help maintain a sense of wellbeing in the intensity of a modern day lifestyle. With their adaptogenic properties medicinal mushrooms are well balanced enough to be taken daily alongside prescribed herbal formulas, or as a stand alone herbal supplements
Our favourite medicinal mushrooms include:
We love them so much we’ve made two easy to use liquid blends using the highest quality mushrooms and therapeutic herbs. As always our blends are based on Chinese herbal medicine theory and are dual extracted for maximum bioavailability.
Our YANG Mushrooms Tonic nourishes the Lung, Spleen and Kidney Qi to support healthy digestive function and immunity. We’ve blended the most famous vitality enhancing mushrooms, including turkey tail, lion’s mane, maitake, reishi and chaga, to support your bodies’ vital energy.
The amazing mushrooms in this blend all contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Prized for their adaptogenic qualities they are often recommended in Asia to provide support through cancer treatments and chronic health conditions.
- In Chinese Medicine our Yang Mushrooms Tonic can be used to:
- Strengthen the Spleen Qi and improve digestive function
- Strengthen the Lung Qi and boost immunity
- Tonify the Kidney Qi to improve energy and vitality
Our YIN Mushrooms Tonic nourishes Yin (our deep resources), Blood and Jing (essence) to support skin and reproductive health.
We’ve blended the most luscious mushrooms including tremella, cordyceps, reishi and shiitake, to replenish the deepest building blocks in your body.
Deeply nourishing and full of antioxidants, this tonic is perfect for anyone feeling dried up or burnt out by life. Known throughout Asia for their beautifying qualities the mushrooms in this blend vitalise you from the inside out. An excellent supplement for vegetarians and vegans wanting to tonify Blood energy or those wanting a little more glow in their lives.
In Chinese Medicine our Yin Mushrooms Tonic can be used to:
- Nourish the Lung Yin for dry cough and dry skin
- Nourish the Stomach Yin to heal and restore the mucous membranes
- Nourish the Kidney Yin and Jing to encourage abundant cervical mucus
- Nourish the Blood to improve energy and encourage healthy menstrual flow
Read on to learn a little more about the health benefits of each of these wonderful medicinal mushrooms .
Rei Shi (Ganoderma)
Known as Ling Zhi or ‘spirit plant’ in Chinese medicine, reishi is said to be the mushroom of immortality. Extremely rare in the wild, it was believed that this sacred
mushroom grew only in the home of the immortals and was so expensive that only nobility could afford it.
Said to nourish all three treasures – Jing (essence), Qi (vitality) and Shen (spirit), reishi is used to tonify the immune system and calm the spirit. It supports Heart, Kidney, Lung and Liver energetic function and was a favorite amongst meditating monks to focus and clarify the mind.
Reishi is now one of the most studied of all the medicinal mushrooms. Its high levels of beta-glucans, triterpenes and polysaccharides (powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial and immune modulating substances) means it can boast a large number of health benefits. In Asia it is often recommended as a supplement alongside cancer treatments, to reduce inflammatory conditions or support people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis / Cordyceps militaris)
Known as Dong Chong Xia Cao or ‘summer grass, winter worm’ in Chinese Medicine Cordyceps is thought of as a powerful Kidney (adrenal) and Lung tonic.
There are hundreds of different species of cordyceps. The most famous, and expensive, being cordyceps sinensis. A rare combination of caterpillar and mushroom, yes, cordyceps is parasitic fungus that consumes its host from the inside out, cordyceps sinensis is found high on the Himalayan Plateau and costs a whopping $20,000+ per kilogram.
Due to the rarity and prohibitive cost of cordyceps sinensis, cordyceps militaris is now cultivated in liquid fermentation tanks, thankfully caterpillar free. This pure mycelium product, known as Cs-4, has been shown to contain even higher amounts of cordycepin (the functional, health supporting compound) than cordyceps sinensis, making it a truly powerful superfood.
Historically cordyceps was used as an aphrodisiac amongst Chinese nobility. It is said to nourish the Kidney yin, Yang and Jing, all of which are important for healthy sexual function. It also nourishes the Lung Qi, making it an excellent tonic for chronic fatigue, and for those with weak constitutions.
Recent studies have shown cordyceps can increase the production of ATP, the compound that gives cells energy, and improve in VO2max in healthy older individuals. These days it is often used by athletes to help with performance and recovery.
Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)
Known as Yun Zhi, or ‘cloud mushroom’ in Chinese Medicine, turkey tail is said to be sweet, cool and nourishing to the Spleen, Liver and Lung energetics.
Traditionally used as a treatment for respiratory conditions and chronic illnesses, turkey tail was a symbol of longevity, wellbeing and spiritual enlightenment.
Turkey tail is a beautiful fan shaped mushroom with rings of white and tan. Easily found growing on fallen trees around the world, it is one of the most widely researched of the medicinal mushrooms.
Like reishi, it has been found to contain high levels of beta-glucans and is often recommended as a supplement to support the body during cancer treatments.
Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Known as Hou Tou Gu or ‘monkey head mushroom’ in Chinese medicine, lion’s mane is said to be a tonic for the five ‘zang’ organs (Heart, Liver, Lung, Spleen, and Kidney).
It is considered to be excellent for strengthening digestive function, improving energy and calming the Shen (spirit). Historically Daoist monks would drink lions mane as a tea to help focus their minds for meditation.
In modern medicine lion’s mane has become recognised for its nootropic qualities, promoting brain function and nerve tissue development. It has high levels of beta-glucans and anti-inflammatory properties, making it excellent for supporting our immune response and a host of chronic conditions.