The Reishi mushroom, also known as lingzhi or its scientific name Ganoderma lucidum, is a large mushroom with a red, kidney shaped cap. The latin word lucidis means “shiny” or “brilliant,” aptly describing its glossy surface. It grows at the base of decidious trees in hot and humid parts of Asia, but its wild form is extremely rare. Reishi mushrooms have a long history of supporting health and longevity in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as in Japan and other Asian countries.
The Reishi mushroom’s primary function is to boost the immune system. Reishi is used in treating numerous ailments: various viral infections such as the flu (influenza) and cold sores; lung conditions such as asthma and bronchitis; heart disease and related conditions such as high blood pressure; kidney disease; cancer; and liver disease. It is helpful for aiding stomach ulcers, chronic fatigue, and insomnia. Reishi may also reduce the effects of stress.
Trametes versicolor, commonly referred to as Turkey Tail for its appearance, is one of the most researched and documented mushrooms for medicinal use. It is also one of the most common mushrooms, found growing virtually anywhere with dead hardwood logs. The caps grow in layered, velvety shelves and feature defined bands of color: cream, yellow, orange, gray, and brown. Turkey Tail has been used for centuries as part of traditional Asian and European medicine and diet, dried for soups and medicinal teas.
Trametes versicolor has immune enhancement, antitumor, antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties which benefit overall wellness. Turkey Tail mushroom has been known to stave off infection like the common cold or flu and help heal HPV by boosting the immune system. Since chemotherapy suppresses the immune system, Turkey Tail is used adjacently to support the immune system and strengthen the body. PSK, a derivative of this mushroom, is an approved pharmaceutical-grade medicine in Japan used as an adjuvant to chemotherapy. More research is needed to understand the true benefits of Turkey Tail mushroom, but a study by the National Cancer Institute suggests that it may significantly improve cancer survival.
Lion’s Mane is an ancient Chinese medicinal mushroom that is becoming universally recognized as a supplement that provides a wide array of benefits. Its proven neuroprotective qualities, its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor, potential for cognitive enhancement, and relief of depression and anxiety make Lion’s Mane one of the most popular and promising natural nootropics. Used for centuries as a general tonic and health treatment, the Lion’s Mane Mushroom (also known as Hericium Erinaceus, Yamabushitake or Satyr’s Beard) is native to China, Japan, North America, and Europe. Though it was traditionally prescribed as a restorative, its effect on the brain has always been recognized, and ancient physicians used it to treat what we would now describe as neurodegenerative diseases. Modern research has discovered that Lion’s Mane extract enhances the production of nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is a protein that, in the brain, plays a critical role in the survival and function of neurons responsible for attention, arousal, motivation, memory, and consciousness. Increased levels of NGF have been shown to enhance memory and learning. Studies also suggest that Lion’s Mane is a powerful neuroprotectant that could be useful in the treatment of a variety of conditions such as liver damage, obesity, and even some types of cancer.
Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China. Natural cordyceps is hard to get and may be expensive. Most supplements are made with cordyceps grown in a laboratory. The fungus is grown on rice. Cordyceps militaris is not to be mistaken with Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which does solely grow on insects and pupae of different large butterflies, rarely also on caterpillars. Many authors consider it quite common, spread throughout the northern hemisphere, and fruiting bodies appear in Europe from August to November.
Cordyceps medicinal benefits include anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Cordyceps has anti-microbial agents and functions as a fertility enhancer, as well as aiding in reducing cholesterol levels and promoting glucose metabolism.
Inonotus obliquus, commonly known as chaga (a Latinisation of the Russian word чага), is a fungus in the family Hymenochaetaceae. It is parasitic on birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal. It is not the fruiting body of the fungus, but a sclerotium or mass of mycelium, mostly black because of the presence of massive amounts of melanin.
Chaga mushroom is found in several areas in the Northern Hemisphere, and has been used in folk medicine for various ailments. Laboratory and animal studies show that compounds in chaga can kill cancer cells selectively and stimulate the immune system. Chaga may also reduce fatigue and inflammation, and increase mental sharpness.
Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. The mushroom is commonly known among English speakers as hen of the woods, hen-of-the-woods, ram's head and sheep's head. It is typically found in late summer to early autumn. In the United States' supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name maitake (舞茸, "dancing mushroom"). The fungus is native to China, the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as a medicinal mushroom. It is widely eaten in Japan, and its popularity in western cuisine is growing.
Maitake is one of the most powerful tinctures but it is not intended for long term use. It has been shown to stimulate the immune system of cancer patients, and has a hypoglycemic effect which may be beneficial to the management of diabetes.
Agaricus subrufescens (syn. Agaricus blazei, Agaricus brasiliensis or Agaricus rufotegulis) is a species of mushroom, commonly known as almond mushroom, mushroom of the sun, God's mushroom, mushroom of life, royal sun agaricus, jisongrong, or himematsutake (Chinese: 巴西蘑菇, Japanese: 姫まつたけ, "princess matsutake") and by a number of other names. Agaricus subrufescens is edible, with a somewhat sweet taste and fragrance of almonds. Agaricus mushroom is a fungus. It originated in Brazil, but is now grown in China, Japan, and Brazil for sale. A solution containing chemicals that are taken from the plant (extract) is used as medicine. Agaricus mushroom is used for cancer, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), hepatitis B, digestive problems such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and to reduce side effects due to cancer chemotherapy. Other uses include prevention of heart disease, weakened bones (osteoporosis), and stomach ulcers.