Medicinal Mushrooms List: A Look at Some Fungal Favorites
Our medicinal mushrooms list will be ever growing because there are so many amazing mushrooms worth mentioning. Take a look to see for yourself
I can never consider a medicinal mushrooms list to be complete because new benefits are being found from mushrooms. The more studies that get conducted will continue displaying the value in using mushrooms.
Below we begin our foray into a medicinal mushrooms list. Books have literally been written on this subject and many of those books are cited in the paragraphs below, so you can get even deeper in the subject of medicinal mushrooms if you so choose.
Our always-expanding medicinal mushrooms list
Chaga mushrooms: Don’t mistake this amazing mushroom for a burl. Chaga mushroom looks like black cancerous mass when it’s found growing on birch trees. The fruit body has a hard texture but once it’s broken apart you can find a rich, amber-like, rusty yellow-brown color.
As I mentioned above, the outside of the chaga mushroom looks almost like a cancerous mass. Interestingly enough, this mushroom has been and is currently being studied for possible support to the immune system.
Some of the known constituents found in this mushroom include:
- Protein-bound polysaccharides
- Inositols (vitamin B)
- Betulin flanosterols
Cordyceps mushrooms: It seems cordyceps has gained popularity within pop culture because of some cordyceps’ species being able to take over and grow out of hosts, like ants.
Lion’s mane mushrooms: Next on our medicinal mushrooms list is lion’s mane. Lion’s mane is gaining popularity at many farmers’ markets across the United States. People love to look at this unique mushroom, which is globe-shaped and furry looking. These mushrooms keep well and have a hearty texture, making them desired by many. Of course, beyond the delicious taste and favorable texture are some healthful constituents.
One study on lion’s mane entitled Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help? involved a double-blind trial where men and women, ages 50-80, were orally administered lion’s mane. All of the participants in the study had already been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. Here is an excerpt from the study:
“The subjects in the H. erinaceus group took four 250 mg tablets containing 96% of Yamabushitake dry powder three times a day for 16 weeks. Cognitive function scale scores increased with the duration of intake. Laboratory tests showed no adverse effect of H. erinaceus. The study suggested that H. erinaceus is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment.”
Maitake mushrooms: Also known as hen of the woods or by its scientific name Grifola frondosa, this tasty medicinal can be found growing at the base of oak trees in the northeast. Not only can this mushroom improve a meal, it has some healthful benefits as well.
According to Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide, “In small scale clinical studies G. frondosa polysaccharide extract (dose unknown) was reported to control blood sugar levels in one patient and produce a 30% reduction in blood sugar levels in 4 other patients.”
Reishi mushrooms: Next on our medicinal mushrooms list is reishi. Reishi mushrooms, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae, have been beloved by numerous cultures throughout the centuries for their healthful qualities. These mushrooms can be easily grown inside or out with spawn or growing kits. They can often be found growing in the spring throughout parts of the United States as well. They are ready for harvest in late summer to early fall when they become a deep red color.
According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, “Polysaccharides, peptidoglycans, and triterpenes are three major physiologically active constituents in G. lucidum”. These three constituents are great examples of the benefits of reishi mushroom. Let’s get a little deeper into each of these constituents. First, let’s look at polysaccharides. The polysaccharides that are unique to mushrooms and provide many of the benefits are beta-glucans, specifically 1,3 1,6 beta-glucans. Alpha glucans are also polysaccharides but are not unique to mushrooms and do not provide the same benefits. After researching on the Healthcare Information Directory, one can find a few major benefits of polysaccharides from a health standpoint, including:
- Supporting healthy blood sugar levels
- Supporting cardiovascular health
- Supporting the immune system
- Supporting liver function
- Supporting digestion and intestinal health
There are a myriad of other medicinal mushrooms to know about. Keep this page handy as we will continue to add to this medicinal mushrooms list.
For more information on medicinal mushrooms, including how to grow them at home and all of the latest research, take our Online Medicinal Mushrooms Course.