Medicinal Mushrooms in Australia
The wellness space in Australia continues to grow and living in a post-covid world, people are finally beginning to understand the importance of self-care and are taking steps to improve their overall health.
Outside CBD Oil and cannabis medicines, the use of adaptogens such as ashwagandha, ginseng, holy basil, and licorice have been gaining in popularity lately. Medicinal mushrooms is also an adaptogen that many Australians are using to support their daily health practices. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and are now being studied for their potential health benefits.
While many may think of mushrooms as just food, they can actually have some pretty powerful medicinal properties. In fact, there are over 300 species of mushrooms that have been used for medicine!
So, what exactly are medicinal mushrooms and how can they help you? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about these incredible fungi.
What Are Medicinal Mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are a type of fungi that have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to prevent and treat diseases. There are many different types of medicinal mushrooms, and they can be used as extracts or powder, or in dietary supplements or functional food.
Medicinal mushrooms are believed to work by boosting the immune system, and they have been used to treat a wide range of diseases, including cancer, hepatitis, and more. Some medicinal mushrooms are also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Most medicinal mushrooms come from China, where they have been used for thousands of years. China is also the source of many scientific studies on the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.
The natural history and ecology of medicinal mushrooms is an important aspect of their use. Many medicinal mushrooms are found in the wild, and they can also be cultivated.
Common Medicinal Mushrooms in Australia
As mentioned earlier, there are over 300 species of medicinal mushrooms. However, not all of them are used equally. Some mushrooms are more popular than others, and some have more research to support their health benefits.
According to WorldMushroomSociety.com, here are some of the most common medicinal mushrooms in Australia:
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s Mane is one of the most popular and well-known medicinal mushrooms. It is a type of fungus that grows on trees and has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Lion’s Mane is believed to have many health benefits, including boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation, and reducing anxiety and depression. It has also been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of dementia.
Lion’s Mane is also a rich source of antioxidants and polysaccharides, which are believed to be responsible for many of its health benefits.
Due to its many health benefits, Lion’s Mane is widely used in supplements and functional foods. It is also being studied for its potential use in treating Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga is a type of fungus that grows on the bark of trees, and it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Chaga is most commonly found in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, but it can also be found in North America and other parts of the world.
Chaga is rich in antioxidants and polysaccharides, and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory, immunostimulatory, and anticancer properties.
Chaga is available in supplements, teas, powders, and extracts, and it is also used in traditional medicine.
Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis)
Cordyceps is a type of parasitic fungus that grows on insects, and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Cordyceps is now cultivated all over the world, and it is available in supplements, teas, powders, and extracts.
Cordyceps is believed to have a wide range of health benefits, including boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation, and improving energy levels and exercise performance. It is also being studied for its potential use in treating cancer.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is a type of medicinal mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Reishi is a wood-decay fungus that grows on trees, and it is now cultivated all over the world.
Reishi is believed to have immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. It is also being studied for its potential use in treating a wide range of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis, and more.
Reishi is available in supplements, teas, powders, and extracts.
Tremella (Tremella fuciformis)
Tremella is a type of jelly fungi that grows on the dead wood of trees. It is native to China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
Tremella is believed to have several health benefits, including boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and fighting cancer. It is also a rich source of antioxidants and polysaccharides.
Tremella is most commonly used in soups and teas. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement or powder. While not as well-known as some other medicinal mushrooms, Tremella is gaining popularity due to its many potential health benefits.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake is one of the most popular mushrooms in the world, and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Shiitake is a type of edible fungi that grows on trees, and it is now cultivated all over the world.
Shiitake is a rich source of antioxidants and polysaccharides, and it is believed to have immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Shiitake is available in supplements, teas, powders, and extracts.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Also known as the “dancing mushroom,” this Japan-native has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries. Maitake mushrooms are derived from a polypore species of fungus and have a wide, flat shape with frilly edges.
Maitake mushrooms are believed to boost the immune system and fight inflammation. They are also a rich source of antioxidants and polysaccharides.
Maitake mushrooms are commonly used in supplements, but they can also be found in some functional foods and beverages.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Turkey Tail is a type of fungi that grows on dead trees. It gets its name from its turkey-like appearance and is one of the most commonly used medicinal mushrooms.
“Versicolor” in its name refers to the fact that it comes in many colors, including brown, red, and white.
Turkey Tail is believed to have anti-cancer properties and is often used in cancer supplements. It is also a rich source of antioxidants and polysaccharides. Turkey Tail has been shown to boost the immune system and fight inflammation.
Used mostly in dietary supplements, Turkey tail is a popular choice for those looking to improve their overall health.
Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms have become highly popular in recent years due to their wide range of potential health benefits. Some of the most well-known health benefits associated with these mushrooms include:
- Boosting the immune system: Medicinal mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants and polysaccharides, which are believed to boost the immune system. In one study, Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) was found to suppress the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enhance the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (Source).
- Mental Clarity: Lion’s mane mushrooms have been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to improve cognitive function. Some studies have shown that this mushroom can boost the production of nerve growth factor (NFG) and myelin, which are essential for cognitive function (Source).
- Anti-Cancer Properties: Chaga mushrooms have been shown to slow and prevent cancer growth in animal studies (Source). Turkey tail mushrooms are sometimes used in cancer supplements as they are believed to have anti-cancer properties (Source).
- Good For Heart Health: Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to lower LDL when tested on mice (Source). LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, and by lowering it, shiitake mushrooms may help improve heart health.
- Stimulate Energy: Cordyceps have been shown to enhance blood flow and oxygen uptake, which can lead to increased energy levels (Source). This stimulated energy can be a great way to improve exercise performance.
Why Are People Choosing Alternative Natural Medicine?
There are many reasons why people are choosing alternative natural medicines over conventional medications. Some of the most common reasons include: the fear of side effects, the belief that alternative medicines are more effective, and the desire to use more natural products.
Fear of Side Effects
One of the main reasons people choose alternative medicines is because they are afraid of the side effects that come with traditional medications.
Conventional medications can often have harsh side effects, such as liver damage, stomach problems, and organ damage. Alternative medicines, such as medicinal mushrooms and cannabis, often have far fewer side effects. In fact, many alternative medicines can even be used to counteract the side effects of traditional medications.
Another reason people are turning to alternative medicines is because they believe that they are more effective than traditional medications.
Alternative medicines often work in conjunction with the body’s natural systems rather than overriding them as traditional medications do. This holistic approach can be more effective in treating chronic conditions and can help to improve general health.
Lastly, many people choose alternative medicines because they want to use more natural products. Traditional medications are often made with harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients. Alternative medicines, such as medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens, are made with natural ingredients that have been used for centuries.
How To Use Medicinal Mushrooms
There are many different ways that you can use medicinal mushrooms. Some of the most popular methods include:
- Brewing a tea: To make a medicinal mushroom tea, simply add 1-2 tablespoons of dried mushrooms to 8 ounces of hot water. Steep for 10-15 minutes, and then strain.
Taking in the form of pills or capsules: This is one of the easiest ways to take medicinal mushrooms. Simply take the recommended dosage as indicated on the bottle.
- Adding to food: You can add medicinal mushrooms to soups, stews, and other recipes. Start with a small amount and then increase as desired.
- Making a tincture: You can also make a medicinal mushroom tincture by adding 1-2 tablespoons of dried mushrooms to 8 ounces of vodka or other alcohol. Steep for 2-4 weeks and then strain.
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Today, they are becoming increasingly popular as people are searching for alternative natural medicines. By adding medicinal mushrooms to your diet, you may be able to improve your overall health and live a healthier life.
However, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before adding medicinal mushrooms to your diet, as they may interact with certain medications.