The Top 5 Medicinal Mushrooms for Better Health

February 2, 2018

If you know how to use even a few different varieties of medicinal mushrooms, you can heal and recharge your body, reach your full potential, and become the best version of yourself.

I grew up in Finland on a farm that has been in my family for at least 13 generations. Much of my youth was spent outdoors, learning from and living off the land. These days, when I tell people—strangers, friends, family members, possible love interests—that I am passionate about fungi, the reactions I get are anything but dull. They’re confused, surprised, skeptical, intrigued. Some are even disgusted—I can almost see the thoughts emerge from their heads like a cartoon bubble: “Mushrooms must be big in Finland.” “Just another hipster forager.” “He must be a chef! I’ll ask him about morels!”

These are all valid reactions. People hear the word “mushroom” and often have surprisingly specific ideas of what they think the larger conversation must be about. We’ve all heard cautionary tales about the poisonous potential of mushrooms, and we’ve seen elation spread over the faces of world-famous chefs as they extol certain varietals of fungi in an almost evangelical manner.

The fact that mushrooms can be both poisonous and delicious is fascinating and indicative of their complexity; the kingdom is such a vast and complete entity that both the yin and yang exist in equal measure. Fungi have the capacity to change your life in an immediate, powerful, and exponentially beneficial manner. I know this because I see it happen daily. Mushrooms will blow your mind, just as they blew mine.

The following medicinal mushrooms will balance and restore your immune system, increase oxygen flow to your cells, amp up your mental and creative acuity, regulate your blood sugar, lower your stress levels, ensure restful sleep, and cure myriad physical, emotional, and mental ailments.

“Mushrooms will balance and restore your immune system, increase oxygen flow to your cells, amp up your mental and creative acuity, regulate your blood sugar, lower your stress levels, ensure restful sleep, and cure myriad physical, emotional, and mental ailments.”

1. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Use reishi to:

Sleep better

Stress less

Cure seasonal allergies

Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years, with the first known written records dating from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220). Reishi has the ability to boost the body’s immune system to protect it against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Even when pathogens aren’t present, an optimally functioning immune system will exponentially increase your overall health and wellness to the point where you can witness the effects of aging being reversed—both physically and cognitively.

The compounds in reishi work externally and internally to keep you looking young by reducing dermal oxidation (when proteins on the skin are damaged, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging) and protecting your cellular DNA and mitochondria from oxidant damage, allowing you to remain energized and alert.

Another major benefit of reishi is how it works to achieve hormonal balance. When you have an optimally functioning hormonal system (and surprisingly few of us do—for a slew of reasons, including the impact of environmental toxins and the overprescribing of prescription medications), your body can relax and recover during the night as it is meant to.

Reishi in Action

One of the most powerful ways I’ve seen reishi in action was with one of my colleagues who suffered from severe seasonal allergies. When exposed to allergens, the body releases histamines, which then cling to cells and cause them to swell and leak fluid—hence the sneezing and runny noses. He started taking just 1,000 mg of reishi daily, and almost immediately his allergy symptoms disappeared entirely. That was nearly four years ago, and thanks to reishi, he can now wake up and smell the roses—literally.

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