Wellness Blog

Fabulous Fungi: Embracing Mushrooms as Nutraceuticals

Posted by Ian D. Ravensdale

June 23, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Round here, most of us have our first introduction to mushrooms while discovering meadow mushrooms or eastern flat-topped agaricus growing in the backyard of our childhood homes. They’re definitely visually intriguing as they stand there conspicuously in a sea of green grass, and it’s quite natural to pick one or more of them and take them inside to show Mom and Dad what you’ve found in the backyard.

To which your parents would typically provide a mild warning about ‘never putting those in your mouth.’ Sound advice considering that some mushrooms are in fact poisonous, and for most of us neither Mom or Dad had the background in botany required to make an on-the-spot determination of exactly what kind of mushroom we had in our hands.

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As a result, most of us grew up with an inherent wariness of mushrooms, unless they were the ‘type’ that were already on our pizza or as part of another dish and thus ‘proven’ safe for ingesting. As we grow older, we often come to understand and embrace how we can incorporate all sorts of mushrooms – portabellas, shiitakes, etc. – into a variety of dishes and gain mushroom nutrition, but perhaps that wariness never really abates to the point that we open up our minds to the fact that mushrooms can be SO much more than just a tasty source of natural fibre.

Well, it’s definitely high time you rethought mushrooms. Are mushrooms good for you? Absolutely yes, provided they are safe to ingest (not all are). Paying a visit to Four Sigmatic's Mushroom Academy is a great start, but you can also continue reading here and then choose from a great selection of Four Sigmatic Mushroom-Infused Hot Beverage Mixes. You’ll realize how truly fabulous fungi can be for your health and wellness!

Optimized Organic Matter

Mushrooms contain some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet, and many people are surprised to learn that the intake of select ones of them can promote improved weight management, improved nutrition, increased Vitamin D levels, and – a biggie – improved immune system function. Much of this may be attributable to the fact that human beings are more closely related to fungi than any other kingdom of the biological world. You might be surprised to learn it, but we actually share the same pathogens as mushrooms (bacteria and viruses).

There’s a very specific reasons why some of the most far-reaching, effective, and celebrated antibiotics – penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline – all come from fungal extracts. The nutritional value of mushrooms is only a part of their overall appeal.

With that understood, you’re likely prepped to be much more receptive to the information we’re about to share regarding the specific health benefits of mushrooms, and 4 of them in particular. These ones REALLY deliver health benefits that will appeal to a broad spectrum of different types of people at different points along the timeline of life.

Cordyceps

Cordyceps are a super powerful mushroom that really makes the grade for big-time nutraceutical benefits. Also known as caterpillar fungus or Tochukasu, it is actually a parasitic mushroom. This is because it grows from an insect host instead of a plant host, but there’s no negative connotation attached to that. Cordyceps primary benefits are in the way it increases ATP production, promotes strength and endurance, speeds recovery and has anti-aging effects. Accordingly, it’s very popular with athletes and active lifestylers, and we’ve got Cordyceps Mushroom Elixir Mix and Mushroom Coffee Mix with Cordyceps and Chaga right here.

It also has hypoglycemic effects, protects your liver and kidneys, increases blood flow, normalizes cholesterol levels, and can be used to treat Hepatitis B. Some also believe in its ability to treat depression.

Where cordyceps really make a name for themselves are as a natural anti-tumour agent and a powerful anti-inflammatory for treating asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure, and damage from suffering a stroke.

Cordyceps are very effective at the cellular level. The extent to which they are effective for such a vast number of different effects is because of its ability to alter the synthesis of many classes of rapidly induced genes that help in counteracting inflammatory genes, slowing down the normally rapid cellular responses to tissue damage.

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms originate from China, where they’re called Lingzhi, or ‘spirit plant.’ More internationally, it’s been called the ‘Mushroom of Immortality.’ It’s been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years, and has an impressive list of body systems and specific ailments it can be used to address.

For starters, it’s powerfully antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, plus it has anti-inflammatory properties as well. It can also regulate your immune system and normalize blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Men suffering from prostate-related urinary symptoms have reported having them lessened by ingesting Reishi mushrooms, and it also regulates hormonal levels and lowers cortisol – both of which calm you down, allow you to be more at peace, and sleep better.

Other people claim that it’s helpful to reduce cravings for sweets.

Further, reishi mushrooms contain a compound called ganoderic acid, which is a triterpenoid that’s more recently been applied to treating lung cancer, leukemia, and other cancers.

See for yourself if a Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix is just what your smoothie, tea, or cocoa was looking for to bump you up to a higher level of health and wellness.

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Chaga

Chaga mushrooms are a superior adaptogen, which means it’s an organic substance that helps to bring the body back into balance and has significant benefits on the nervous system, immune system, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular and endocrine systems. Further, chaga mushrooms grow very slowly, and accordingly they have much more potency than most other medicinal mushrooms because of its more thorough development and longevity, which leads to great concentrations of healing constituents.

Chaga is effective for:

  • Immune system modulation / Anti-viral applications / Countering skin damage from overexposure to the sun / Pain relief
  • Cancer treatment / Parasite removal / Detoxification of the blood and liver / Balancing blood sugar
  • Protecting the heart / Treating bronchitis / Improving circulation / Protecting the intestines / Lowering cholesterol

Chaga is also a great source of pantothenic acid, which aids the adrenal glands and digestive organs, and loaded with plant sterols that reduce harmful LDL cholesterol, stabilize blood pressure, increase metabolism, and helps the endocrine system.

Interested? Try this Chaga Mushroom Elixir Instant Tea Mix and it may well become your hot beverage of choice day in and out.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane mushrooms (also known as Satyr’s beard) were given their name because they very much resemble the long hair that surrounds a male lion’s head and face, and have been used for hundreds of years as a general tonic and health treatment. It has many health promotion properties, but the most notable and celebrated of them is in its nootropic capacities. We all have NGF (nerve growth factor) in our brains, and it’s a protein that is essential for the survival and function of nerve cells.

Lion’s Mane increases the quantity of NGF in the brain, which in turn leads to better cognition (thinking) via reduced inflammation, plus it stimulates neural development (development of neural pathways in the brain, essential for ‘flexibility’ in thinking and learning) and overall promotes general brain health.

Lion’s Mane is also effective for:

  • Treating diabetes – reduces high blood sugar levels, all naturally
  • Treating peptic or gastric ulcers – polysaccharide component reduces the size of these ulcers, and protects the antioxidant enzymes which guard against their development
  • Preventing atherosclerosis – lowers high cholesterol and high blood sugar, both of which are primary factors for the condition
  • Repairing nerve damage – encourages development and or regeneration of myelin sheaths
  • Reducing fatigue – erinaceous polysaccharide increases tissue glycogen content and antioxidant enzyme content, as well as reducing blood lactic acid levels
  • Promoting better digestion – polysaccharides serve to maintain a healthy gastric mucosal barrier

Here’s Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee With Lion’s Mane Mix

Join the movement and discover why it's definitely time to be rethinking mushrooms!

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Topics: Adrenal Exhaustion, Nutrition, Women's Health, Men's Health, Wellness, Nootropics, Body, supplementation

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