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Thousands of types of mushrooms are an amazing kind of fungus that can come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. They can grow in the forest, in the field, and right in your backyard. Some cultures have used certain mushrooms as medicine for a long time.

Mushrooms: The Medicinal Marvels In The Fungi World
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These are known as medicinal mushrooms. Unlike the mushrooms you know from the super, these are very different mushrooms. These mushrooms contain unique molecules that can benefit our health; for example, these mushrooms boost our immune system against cancer cells, reduce inflammation, increase concentration and help in many other health challenges.

The people of ancient China, Egypt, Greece, Mexico, and Russia all knew mushrooms and used them in medicine. The first folk traditional healer knew about the medicinal properties of mushrooms long before the scientists studied them.

Today, we can buy some medicinal mushrooms in the form of powder, tea, tinctures, and other supplements. In this blog, we’ll show you which mushrooms have what health benefits. We’ll show you by making an amazing list of medicinal mushrooms and their researched and proven benefits to ease that puzzle.

Understanding Medicinal Mushrooms

While the use of mushrooms has been restricted to food, some fungi have the potential to offer therapeutic benefits, and they are classified as medicinal mushrooms[1]. They are not the type of mushrooms you might consume in a typical meal; white buttons, crimini, portobello, and other common grocery-store breeds are examples. Medicinal mushrooms are frequently consumed as:

  • Powders that can be added to dishes or beverages to use
  • Tinctures made by soaking them in alcohol or glycerine
  • Teas Tablets or capsules from which dried mushrooms.
  • Using extracted mushroom compounds.

Medicinal mushrooms are not a dish to eat in a culinary sense in general, tough, woody textures render most of them inedible. Instead, they are taken as supplements for expected benefits and a variety of health benefits such as enhanced immune functioning, anti-inflammatory impact, better brain functioning, and much more[2].

Exploring Different Medicinal Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane mushroom

The Lion’s Mane mushroom is so named due to its appearance of long, shaggy teeth that is reminiscent of a lion’s mane. Thallus is an edible mushroom that has a white shade and grows up to 20 inches in size.

Lion’s Mane has bioactive molecules known as hericenones and erinacines, which have been shown to stimulate brain cell development. The species has been shown to shield against dementia and improve memory and concentration ability in research[3].

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi mushroom presents a spherical spore head with a varnished kidney-shaped shiny body of pink and red hues that rise on a stipe, which has a definite shiny green hue. Reishi mushrooms are available on deciduous trees and have a sour flavor due to their triterpenoid molecules.

Due to its immunomodulatory properties, this mushroom is known as Ganoderma lucidum. Due to its potential ability to enhance liver function, reduce inflammation, and increase lifespan, the fungus was labeled Reishi, which means long life. Additionally, it helps reduce anxiety and depression and might also contribute to weight loss, as mentioned in our review of Gundry MD Mushroom Vitality.

Cordyceps Mushroom (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps mushrooms are well-known for their distinctive cycle, which involves killing an insect’s body to form a tiny, club-like structure. They are strong medicines that include cordycepin, a molecule that increases fitness by improving oxygen consumption[4].

Cordyceps for fatigue, liver toxicity, and immunocompromised individuals can also be useful sources of this medication.

Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus)

Black on the outside and bright orange on the inside, Chaga mushrooms look like burnt coal with cracked surfaces.

Chaga mushrooms are identified by their high antioxidant concentration, including superoxide dismutase and betulinic acid. These antioxidants are beneficial to your immune system and help in boosting your body’s resistance against oxidative stress[5].

High consumption of their polysaccharides leads to anti-inflammatory and blood sugar regulation.

Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor)

The turkey tail mushroom grows wild on the dead trees with fan-shaped, fried egg-like concentric circles of brightly coloured growths. Rich in polysaccharide-K and polysaccharopeptide, the turkey tail mushrooms are popularly recommended for their immune-enhancing abilities[6].

They will complement treatment after a cancer diagnosis, improve gut health by increasing probiotic levels in your body, and reduce inflammation. As noted in our 10X Brain ADHD Gummies review, turkey tail mushrooms contain vitamin B6, which helps convert tryptophan to serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone.

Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)

The tan-to-dark-brown umbrella-shaped shiitake mushrooms with white gills growing in clumps on an inoculated wood substrate are known for their unique umami flavor.

It is high in polysaccharides, including lentinan, which are essential for acute inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular health, and inflammation reduction. It also contains other harmful molecules like eritadenine that contribute significantly to healthy cholesterol levels in your body[7].

Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa)

The tree-grown maitake mushrooms covered with light and dark frills grow large pore surfaces of grayish color resembling bird feathers. They are common in the woods.

The beta-glucans in maitake mushrooms are responsible for their positive health functions, which include strengthening immune health support and improving blood sugar regulation. Polysaccharides in the maitake mushroom lower blood pressure and support cardiovascular health[8].

Dosage Instructions

When it comes to taking medicinal mushrooms or their supplements, following the appropriate dosage is important for safety and to achieve the desired therapeutic effects.

Dosage can vary significantly depending on the specific mushroom species, the form of the supplement (powder, extract, etc.), and the reason for consumption[9].

When you’re diving into mushroom supplements, make sure to stick to the dosage on the label. Start slowly to let your body get used to it, and think about tweaking the amount based on your weight.

Consulting with a healthcare professional is a smart move if you’ve any health issues or are on other meds. Being consistent with your daily dose is crucial for getting those benefits. And keep an eye on how your body reacts—never go over the suggested dose to avoid unwanted side effects.

Side Effects and Important Considerations

While medicinal mushrooms show great potential for boosting health, it’s crucial to take certain precautions.

  • Many medicinal mushroom species are extremely difficult to identify and can be confused with toxic lookalikes.
  • Searching for wild medicinal mushrooms should be avoided unless you have expert training.
  • Improper identification could lead to accidental poisoning.
  • Instead of directly eating these mushrooms, opt for mushroom supplements as they can assure proper composition and dosage.
  • It’s essential to only purchase mushroom products from reputable suppliers.

It’s also important to understand that medicinal mushrooms are like supplements. Therefore do not replace them with conventional medical treatments prescribed by doctors. They should be used as a complement to standard care for conditions, not as an alternative. Always consult your physician before adding any medicinal mushrooms to your routine, especially if you have a serious medical condition.

Remember, medicinal mushrooms do carry some potential for side effects such as

  • Some may experience digestive issues, headaches, dizziness, or allergic reactions when taking certain mushroom products.
  • Some mushrooms could also potentially interfere with medications like blood thinners, diabetes drugs, antidepressants and others.
  • Proper dosing is essential. Taking too much of a mushroom supplement can lead to adverse effects.

Traditional Beliefs of Mushrooms

Various mushrooms have been known to humanity for many millennia. Many traditions describe how each mushroom could have specific beneficial properties for health. It must be taken into account that many of these properties concerned folk medicine and were based on mythological thinking. So, mushrooms had the following roles according to tradition:

  • Longevity & Immortality: In Chinese and Japanese folklore, medicinal mushrooms are revered as elixirs of life. They were often associated with prolonging longevity and bestowing spiritual potency.
  • Royal Usage: Some mushrooms were so prized for their health benefits that they were reserved exclusively for royalty and nobility, symbolizing vitality and prosperity.
  • Virility & Stamina: Traditional Tibetan and Himalayan medicine highlighted the use of mushrooms to enhance stamina, vitality, and sexual health, especially in athletes and warriors.
  • Respiratory Health: Native American tribes brewed mushroom teas for respiratory ailments. As some mushrooms are believed to have protective and immune-enhancing properties.
  • Immunity Boosters: Across various cultures, medicinal mushrooms were used to fortify the immune system and ward off disease, often consumed in broths, teas, and tonics.
  • Digestive Aid: In Russian and Scandinavian traditions, mushrooms were consumed for digestive health. They believed in cleansing the body and improving vitality.
  • Dancing Mushrooms: European folklore features stories where foragers danced with joy upon discovering medicinal mushrooms, believed to bring good fortune and well-being.
  • Cancer Treatment Complement: Ancient Asian cultures believed that certain mushrooms could complement traditional treatments and support overall health and recovery.


The world of medicinal mushrooms are vast and exciting prospect to consider in the pursuit of good health and well-being. From immune-boosting to anti-inflammatory and even anti-disease properties against cancer and diabetes, fungi species are rich with bio-active compounds that scientists have only just begun to scratch at the surface.

Many of these medicinal mushrooms have long histories of being used in herbal medicine around the world. However, thousands more therapeutic applications will likely be discovered as clinical research continues.

Developing a better understanding of the unique compounds, cultivations, preparations, and dosages will help ensure you are using mushrooms safely and effectively. It is simultaneously essential to remain prudent about the side effects of mushrooms and their supplements.

They should be used wisely, not as substitutes for conventional medical treatment. And, the guidance of a medical professional, including sourcing and proper dosage, should be considered as appropriate. Mushrooms remain as future potential keys for unlocking optimal healing and well-being.

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9 Sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Medicinal Mushrooms: Their Bioactive Components, Nutritional Value and Application in Functional Food Production—A Review :
[2] Edible Mushrooms and Beta-Glucans: Impact on Human Health :
[3] Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines :
[4] Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential :
[5] Therapeutic properties of Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom): a review :
[6] Anticancer effects and mechanisms of polysaccharide-K (PSK): implications of cancer immunotherapy :
[7] Lentinan and ?-glucan extract from shiitake mushroom, Lentinula edodes, alleviate acute LPS-induced hematological changes in mice :
[8] Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts :
[9] Therapeutic applications of mushrooms and their biomolecules along with a glimpse of in silico approach in neurodegenerative diseases :
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Evan Jensen, CPT

Evan Jensen is a renowned American Nutritionist, Diet Expert and health writer. He specializes in writing about health, fitness, nutrit