I love using medicinal mushrooms for healing specific conditions when I’m working with people.
Whether they are taken to reduce blood sugar, boost immunity, or inhibit tumor growth, mushrooms are an excellent addition to a healing diet.
“Medicinal mushrooms are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral in nature. Humans and animals have evolved alongside these fungal communities, and this benefits our immune system regulation. Polysaccharides are the main compound found in these mushrooms. These polysaccharides help to downregulate the proinflammatory immune response for individuals with compromised immune systems.”
Some of my favorite ways to take mushroom medicine is as food.
There are many edible medicinal mushrooms that you can find in most health food stores (and grocery stores) including shiitake, maitake, porcini, and oyster.
Those are the easiest funghi to incorporate into meals because you don’t have to look very far for them.
To help get these immune-boosting mushrooms into your diet, here’s a variety of delicious recipes for you to chew on: Healing Mushroom Recipes
There are many more medicinal mushrooms that cannot be eaten as food, but must be decocted and simmered as a tea or coffee substitute (reishi, chaga, cordyceps, turkey tail).
Chaga is one of my favorites for this type of medicine.
It is a classic medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries, and was called the “Mushroom of Immortality” by the Siberians. It grows on birch trees in cold climates so it’s perfect to enjoy during the cooler times of year.
The flavor profile of chaga is very bitter that’s why it makes a great coffee substitute. Coffee is actually bitter… that is, before we cover up that flavor with heaps of sugar and sweetened creamers.
According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, studies have shown that Chaga mushroom:
- Kills cancer cells selectively
- Boosts immunity
- Reduces fatigue and inflammation
- Increases mental sharpness
- Hepatoprotective (supports liver health)
With all of those healing benefits, this is an important mushroom to add into your health and wellness routine. I usually recommend chaga to my clients that are diagnosed with lung or skin cancer. But, it can be also be used with any type of cancer or to simply boost immunity to prevent cancer.
One BIG caveat though… chaga is high in oxalates that prevents absorption of minerals and can be toxic in high doses. Especially, if you have compromised gut health and cannot break down and excrete those oxalates.
If you have a tendency toward developing kidney stones, chaga would NOT be the right mushroom for you.
For everyone else, here’s a fun way to enjoy medicinal chaga:
Homebrewed Mushroom Coffee. It takes about 3 hours to decoct, so you’ve got to have some patience.
If you do NOT have the time or patience to make this yourself, simply purchase chaga mushroom coffee pre-made. All you have to do is add hot water: Instant Mushroom Coffee
Enjoy your medicinal mushrooms!
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.