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Healing Fungi

If I tell you mushroom can save our life and save our world, you will probably think I’m crazy.

 

Fungi exist millions of years before plant and human. It’s only recently that scientist started to uncover its magical properties on improving cognitive function, immune system and many more.


The question is, how can fungi help you?
Fungi was one of the first organisms on earth billions of years ago, before mankind even exist.

 

Fungi is one of the five kingdoms in the world today, including plants, animals, protist, and bacteria. For a long time, fungi were classified as part of the plant kingdom. But as fungi were studied, it became apparent that they deserved to be classified in their own kingdom, as they actually share more similarities with animals than with plants.

 

There are estimated to be more than 1.5 million types of fungi, and more than 90 percent of those varieties have not yet been recognised or named. Under the fungi umbrella, you will find molds like those found on cheese, yeasts used to make bread and beer, and those less known and are used for their antibiotic properties like penicillin. The most widely known ones are mushrooms.   

What is Mycelium?

Not all fungi are mushrooms, but all mushrooms are fungi.

 

A typical mushroom consists of two main parts.  Fruiting body which includes stem, spores and cap, and a root system called mycelium. 


Mycelium is the original internet system. It guards the forest’s overall health, budgeting and multi-directionally allocating nutrients. It allows plant to communicate among themselves. It shares information about possible intruders and pathogens, and can create a fungal defence system by releasing toxins to fight them off. 

 

Mycelium absorbs water and other nutrients from the surrounding environment and transfer them to the needy plants, allowing them to thrive.  

 

Mycelium also releases enzymes that break down dead or decaying plant. It absorbs the nutrients to form a fruiting body, and the plant is decomposed into healthy soil ready to welcome the growth of new flora. It’s an essential element of the ecosystem’s circle of life. 

Life Saver

As fungi being a kingdom of its own, it’s just like the animal kingdom. There are animals that can feed you and there are animals that can kill you. 


I’m sure everyone heard of poisonous mushroom found in the forest, but these mushrooms only make up of a tiny portion of the whole kingdom. 


Fungi has way more benefits to us and our environment than harm.

 

Fungi can be used to clear oil spill, remove diesel from soil and scientist has recently discovered a fungus that can eat plastic, a problem that exists for decades which no one has been able to solve. 

 

For human, if you put all the food in the world in a chart according to their nutritional value, scientists have identified fifty food which they named super food, and 10 of them are what we called functional/medicinal mushrooms. 

Functional Mushroom

Every part of the world tends to have their own food that they’ve elevated to a sacred status over multiple generation.  

 

Some cultures have consistently used fungi for health, healing, and general well-being.  

 

The Asian have relied on mushrooms for myriad beneficial purposes for centuries. 

 

Today, forty percent of pharmaceuticals use fungi, and Western medical practitioners are starting to recommend mushrooms as preventive or adjunct therapies for fortifying health and dealing with different medical conditions. 

 

Functional mushrooms are often called adaptogen.

 

Adaptogen is currently a trendy concept. They are naturally occurring nontoxic substances that protect the body from stress by stabilizing and optimizing its physiological functions. In other words, adaptogen helps you to adapt to stressors. 

 

Many species of mushrooms are highly nutritious. The following 4 functional mushrooms are the powerhouse players that are accessible and widely accepted by both the Western and Asian world. 

Cordyceps

(Cordyceps Militaris)

Cordyceps are now being talked about extensively in the mushroom and wellness communities.

 

They are adaptogen and one of the top superfoods. It is valued for its extraordinary ability to increase energy and reduce fatigue. 


Cordyceps have been used vastly in Traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.   
Cordyceps spores land on the insert and germinates. Hyphae begins to grow inside the insert and turns into mycelium. The mycelium consumes the insect (usually caterpillar) and steal all its nutrients to survive, hence, its English nickname “caterpillar mushroom”. 


Cordyceps has a unique ability to boost oxygen flow and increase ATP (the body’s main energy supply source and is required for all cellular processes).  Therefore, it has a tremendous impact on respiratory issues such as asthma. It helps the bronchial tubes and lungs relax and allows more air to pass into and out of the lungs.  

 

This mushroom is consumed regularly by professional athletes. 
It increases muscle cell energy production, decrease lactic acid production, increase athletic performance and efficient breathing. 

 

https://yourshroommate.shoplineapp.com/products/dawn-cordyceps-1It may also impact libido for both men and women and increase sex drive, amongst many other benefits includes support healthy inflammation response, maintain blood sugar balance and heart health.

Lion’s Mane

(Hericium Erinaceus)

Lion’s Mane earned its name by its striking appearance with long, thin tendrils with a cluster of cascading white strands. It is also an ancient mushroom which has been medically used in Asia thousands of years ago.

 

As many health properties as the other functional mushrooms, it is its effects on the brain that truly distinguish it. 

 

It has the ability to repair and regenerate neurons in your body, improve memory due to aging and improve cognitive function. It is therefore also called the “smart mushroom”.

 

Lion’s mane is a nootropic (substance that can enhance brain performance). It can help in supporting the health of nerve tissue and increase the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), which protect existing neurons and stimulate new neuron growth. In another word, it supports short and long term memory, and it improves the symptoms of brain fog. 

 

Apart from all these medicinal properties, Lion’s mane is delicious to consume and because of its meaty texture, it has always been a popular meat replacement.

Reishi

(Ganoderma Lucidum)

Also named “Queen of mushrooms”. Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years and has been revered as a miracle elixir reserved exclusively for emperors and nobility. 


According to the Chinese “bible” of medicinal plants: Shennong Ben Cao Jing (Materia Medica), Emperor Yan wrote about reishi, “If eaten customarily, it makes your body light and young, lengthens your life, and turns you into one like the immortal who never dies.”

 

Historically used as a source of longevity and vitality, reishi is one of the most well-studied and widely researched mushrooms to date. 

 

Reishi contains over four hundreds different bioactive compounds, which provide support to bodily systems that help them function at their best on a cellular level. It is a natural adaptogen to help support mental and physical stress. 


Reishi helps to increase number of white blood cells and promote balanced blood sugar levels. It supports lung and respiratory health and increase the quality and duration of deep, restful sleep and a calm mind. 


It has also been credited with lowering cholesterol and increase natural killer cells that can kill cancer cells and destroy viruses. It also works to achieve hormonal balance and supports our immune system, and many more benefits. 


It is by no accident that this mushroom is also name “mushroom of immortality”. 

Chaga

(Inonotus Obliquus)

If Reishi is the queen of mushrooms, then chaga is often referred to as “King of mushrooms”.

 

However, it does not have the typical mushroom form of stem and cap but is instead a chunky mass. It is a parasitic fungus which feeds off it’s host tree and develops into a scab-like protruding formation with remarkable medicinal properties. 


Chaga has a diverse array of over two hundreds different bioactive metabolites. It is very high on the ORAC scale, which is a measurement of antioxidant power, and is one of the single richest sources of antioxidants found in nature. 


Chaga’s bioactive metabolites are capable of acting as potent free radical scavengers, which benefits DNA health by protecting it from oxidative stress damage, which is one of the main reasons behind aging and cancer. 


Chaga has incredible skin-protecting properties. It contains more antioxidant, zinc, and melanin than any other single natural source. Melanin is a key element for the health of our skin, hair, eyes, ears and the nervous system. It also helps to protect us against harmful UV radiation. Hence, chaga is a saviour for shiny, thick hair and glowing skin.

Consumption of Functional Mushroom

The most ancient way of consuming these mushrooms is by drinking it.

 

Most functional mushroom has this structure called Chitin (same as the shell of a lobster), which we, as human do not have the enzyme to break down. Therefore, we should not eat mushroom raw.

 

The most nutritious way to consume them is by the form of a supplement. These supplements aim to provide the maximum benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms in a highly concentrated form.

 

The global medicinal mushroom market is projected to grow expeditiously in coming years.

 

This mushroom boom goes beyond internal health too. Beauty companies such as Origins, Fresh and Tata Harper have also homed in on the trend, introducing mushroom-formulated skincare range. 


So, whether you love mushroom or not, scientists are discovering new species of fungi every day, as well as new properties and benefits of different kind of mushroom.

 

It is time to incorporate this magic into your lifestyle and get the “fun” out of these fungi.