How Mushrooms Can Be Magical – But Not in the Way You’re Thinking

Adiel Gorel

Medicinal Mushroom Benefits – Which Ones Should We Be Having And How?

When we think of mushrooms we think of, maybe omelets, a nice stir fry, a hearty bake, soups, and so on. However, there is sound evidence to show that medicinal mushrooms have health benefits as well, as my conversation with botanist, herbalist, and writer Robert Rogers showed me. I had several questions about mushrooms such as Shiitake, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, and Maitake, and their benefits. I also wanted to know whether we should be eating mushrooms or taking their extract, and how to do this. Robert Rogers was generous with his time and his insight – check out my podcast to know more.

“Let food be your medicine.”

As someone who has been taking mushroom extract supplements, I wanted to know whether I should be eating the mushroom or taking the extract. Let food be your medicine, I was told. It is always a good idea to eat the fruit rather than to extract and drink the juice, and the same applies here as well. Rogers suggests cutting up and eating Oyster mushrooms or Maitake mushrooms in cooked form to get the most benefit from them. While eating fresh mushrooms by adding these to our food on a regular basis is great, there is nothing wrong with using extracts either, he tells me.

However, it is important to choose the right type of products when choosing supplements. Products with a combination of alcohol-soluble compounds and beta-glucans can be very useful. Some products that simply crush and powder dehydrated mushrooms to sell them in capsules may not be particularly beneficial. It is important to check the method of extraction, percentage of product, ratio, and so on before using it. It is also important to choose organic products and to examine what the organic certification actually means in the country of product origin.

Medicinal mushroom benefits for health.

In part one of my podcast with Robert Rogers we spoke about how mushrooms can help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s or cancer patients undergoing chemo. There are many other benefits as well. Having Oyster mushrooms twice a week could offer benefits of a statin drug without the side effects.

Certain mushrooms can also help to control blood sugar naturally. Mushrooms such as Shiitake act as an antiviral and can help with influenza, herpes, hepatitis, and other viruses. Mushrooms are also used in Chinese medicine to help the immune system by increasing lymphocytes and macrophages. According to Rogers, we can benefit more by nudging our system rather than overloading it.

Among the many things we speak about in the podcast, we also speak about hunting for mushrooms. While explaining concepts such as the fruiting body and the spread of spores, we also discussed the possible problems of over-cultivation. Since some types of mushrooms can command very high prices in some markets, people tend to over-cultivate or over-gather these from the wild. These are not sustainable practices and are harmful not just for mushroom proliferation but for the ecology as a whole.

Did you know there is a foul-smelling mushroom that looks exactly like a phallus, which also has medicinal properties? This type of mushroom has shown promising benefits in cases of breast cancer, lymphoma, or lymphatic congestion in clinical trials conducted on humans. To know more about medicinal mushroom benefits tune in to this episode with Robert Rogers.

Adiel Gorel

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