The Best Medicinal Mushrooms for Depression

There are a few suggestions when considering the best medicinal mushrooms for depression, including psilocybe, lion’s mane, and cordyceps

To begin, we want to clarify that we believe depression can be a serious matter. We recommend you speak with your healthcare professional before deciding to take anything for depression symptoms. 

Today we are sharing information found while researching the subject of the best medicinal mushrooms for depression. 

Understanding the best medicinal mushrooms for depression 

Studies are being conducted on psilocybe mushrooms and depression. Interestingly enough, psilocybe mushrooms are illegal in many locations. Well, that is, they are illegal if they are purposefully grown and possessed. They are illegal because they contain psilocybin and/or psilocin, which hallucinogenic substances. Oddly, psilocybe mushrooms are listed as Class 1 substances by the US federal government, meaning that they show no legitimate medical purpose...yet, here we are in the year 2021 when major health facilities are showing the complete opposite. 

In fact, the results found in the studies so far are incredibly promising. One of those studies comes from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Here is some information regarding the testing conducted at Johns Hopkins. 

“In a small study of adults with major depression, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that two doses of the psychedelic substance psilocybin, given with supportive psychotherapy, produced rapid and large reductions in depressive symptoms, with most participants showing improvement and half of study participants achieving remission through the four-week follow-up.”

The article on the Johns Hopkins website continued with some statistics reported from the study itself. 

“For the entire group of 24 participants, 67% showed a more than 50% reduction in depression symptoms at the one-week follow-up and 71% at the four-week follow-up. Overall, four weeks post-treatment, 54% of participants were considered in remission – meaning they no longer qualified as being depressed.”

Could psilocybe mushrooms be the best medicinal mushrooms for depression? Alan Davis, Ph.D comments on the study results. 

“The magnitude of the effect we saw was about four times larger than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market,” says Alan Davis, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Because most other depression treatments take weeks or months to work and may have undesirable effects, this could be a game changer if these findings hold up in future ‘gold-standard’ placebo-controlled clinical trials.”

Mushrooms may certainly be a game changer, but that is nothing new to the mycophiles who have been preaching the good word of fungi already. 

The best medicinal mushrooms for depression that are fully legal

Although the popularity of psilocybe mushrooms is gaining steam in some places, it is still mostly illegal throughout the United States. However, there are some mushrooms that are completely legal to buy and grow that may also provide support with depression symptoms. These two mushrooms are lion’s mane and cordyceps, and we will take a look at each below. 

Lion’s mane as one of the best medicinal mushrooms for depression:

The study Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder took a look at the potential of lion’s mane being effective against depression. The study’s abstract mentioned that, “Bioactive compounds extracted from the mycelia and fruiting bodies of H. erinaceus have been found to promote the expression of neurotrophic factors that are associated with cell proliferation such as nerve growth factors.”

Here is a look at the results of this study:

“The pre-clinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that H. erinaceus significantly ameliorates depressive disorder through monoaminergic modulation, neurogenic/neurotrophic, and anti-inflammatory pathways, indicating the potential role of H. erinaceus as complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of depression. Nevertheless, the current research on antidepressant effects by H. erinaceus is relatively still at an early stage, and the specific mechanisms underlying the antidepressant-like activities require further investigation.”

Cordyceps as one of the best medicinal mushrooms for depression:

Cordyceps is another mushroom gaining attention for many reasons. According to Medicinal Mushrooms by Christopher Hobbs, L. Ac., “Cordyceps sinensis is known as an antiasthmatic and anticancer agent which causes smooth muscle relaxation and can potentiate the effects of epinephrine. It has been used to stimulate the endocrine system, as an antibacterial agent, and for patients suffering from chronic renal failure.”

Today we look at its potential impact on depression. The study Antidepressant-like effect of Cordyceps sinensis in the mouse tail suspension test will be our reference point. The test used a supercritical fluid extract (SCCS) of cordyceps sinensis. The results of this study found that, “Taken altogether, these results suggest that SCCS may elicit an antidepressant-like effect by affecting the adrenergic and dopaminergic systems, but not by affecting the serotonergic system.”

Do you want to grow your own lion’s mane at home? Or would you like to learn even more about medicinal mushrooms? Learn more and start taking our online course on medicinal mushrooms now

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