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Medicinal Mushrooms and Their Benefits

Lion's Mane Mushrooms

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Mushrooms have benefited mankind down the ages for medicinal purposes. Several of these mushrooms are said to improve cognitive abilities or help combat anxiety and depression.

Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps are all medicinal mushrooms which can provide health benefits. What follows is information on how these three mushrooms are beneficial and tips on how to prepare them.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane appears to have multiple properties. This mushroom is good to eat and also is reputed to have medicinal benefits. It has been said to shrink the size of colon tumors, fight off leukemia cells, increase cognitive function in older adults with dementia or other cognitive diseases, and reduce symptoms of irritability and anxiety in those suffering from depression.

It also may act as a digestive aid, help prevent heart disease, and act as an anti-inflammatory. Although Lion’s Mane mushrooms haven’t been widely researched, preliminary studies of its properties as a medicinal mushroom are promising.

Lion's Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Cook Lion’s Mane mushrooms over a low heat for an extended period of time. These mushrooms have a high water content, so cooking them for longer helps boil off some of the excess water and reduces any chewy texture. Using a lower heat will produce a much better tasting, crunchier mushroom. They can also be purchased in capsule form.


Reishi mushrooms have a long list of benefits. For people with diabetes, Reishi can help stabilize blood sugar. If you have high blood pressure, Reishi can help lower it. Reishi has been shown to shrink tumors, help regulate the body’s natural sleep cycle, and even regenerate liver cells. This extraordinary mushroom may even help protect the brain against cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It’s not advisable to eat Reishi like a traditional mushroom. Even sauted in a little oil or butter, it would still be very bitter and difficult to ingest. It’s better to try the tips of the cap if you’d prefer to eat your Reishi. In general, take Reishi in extract form or as a powder.

Place droplets of Reishi extract under the tongue for a few seconds prior to swallowing. Use Reishi in powdered form in drinks or add it to soups or stir fry. Reishi-based coffee substitutes are also available.

Reishi mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms


Found on the larvae of caterpillars in Japan, Cordyceps can be difficult to locate. It’s worth the hunt for this unusual fungus, however. In ancient Chinese medicine Cordyceps has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including low sex drive, fatigue, and kidney disease. In modern times, research and anecdotal evidence have indicated that Cordyceps may be able to increase your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), resulting in a better workout. Cordyceps can also mimic insulin, making it useful in countering the effects of diabetes. It may also have antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties justifying it’s place as one of the major medicinal mushrooms.

Cordyceps fungus
Cordyceps fungus

It’s best to ingest Cordyceps as a supplement.  The most beneficial strain of Cordyceps is expensive because of its rarity. However, most supplements contain a synthetic version making such supplements easier to obtain.

It’s usual to take Cordyceps supplements once a day, although this dosage may vary according to the particular product. To achieve the best results follow the directions given.

Medicinal Mushrooms – Conclusion

Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps are three medicinal mushrooms that could aid your eating regime. They can help in increasing brain power, protect against heart problems, or guard against cancer.

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