Which Shroom Is For You?
Updated: Jan 21
Oh my word. The number of times people have asked if my mushroom extracts are "magic mushrooms" is pretty astounding. I usually smile and laugh hahah" but am secretly thinking ..- firstly, I just don't see this 40 year old woman being brave enough to be selling psilocybin at the local market and secondly, I think for that amount of powder you are getting, it may be a tad more expensive if its going to get you dancing on the ceiling with Lionel Ritchie and a frog called Jerry.
Anyway - these mushrooms are indeed magick and have numerous benefits for mind, body and spirit. They are all considered tonic herbs, are non toxic and considered a food so are intended to be taken long term to support the health of your future self.
CHAGA - Inonotus obliquus
Chaga is known as the king of the mushrooms and grows naturally on birch trees in the woods of Russia, Korea, China and the colder more northern regions of the Americas. It is not actually a traditional mushroom per se but rather is known endophytic mushroom which resembles a burnt part on the tree. It takes roughly 15 years of growth before the chaga even appears on the outside of the tree. This means that this mushroom, carries a whole lot of the earth's vital energy in it, in fact of the entire cosmos.
Chaga has a long history of use in the Siberia region, in fact it was found in the pouch of Otzi the Iceman of Siberia, a mummified body from 3400BC. It is thought that Otzi was carrying round a piece of it as it was a way to transport and extend fire - which is pretty essential in the wilds of Siberia before central heating. Otzi's Siberian cousins used it for lots of issues such as lung problems and skin issues. Before long the Chinese were on to it as well where it was entered into the Shen Nong where it was and is, considered a jing herb, a tonic herb, which if taken daily, promotes longevity, energy and a healthy fruitful life.
When I think of Chaga, I think about predominantly IMMUNITY. A good chaga will be high in beta glucans which acts as food for the immune system. Chaga also is highly nutritious, being high in zinc and vitamin D, both of which support a balanced and robust immune system this is important for people with lowered immunity and those with cellular dysfunction. It is also a very potent ANTIOXIDANT, which is pretty important in the crazy free radical drenched world that we live in. There is some information to suggest that Chaga may have an ADAPTOGEN action as well. From a spiritual perspective chaga is thought to activate and stimulate the THIRD EYE to enhance mystical and higher states of consciousness.
REISHI - Ganoderma lucidem
As chaga is the king, so reishi is the queen of the mushroom world. Reishi grows in the wild in similar areas to chaga on hardwoods such as maple, oaks, and elms. When Reishi was first discovered in Ancient China around 396 BC, it quickly became known as a powerful anti-aging substance and this was one of its earliest known uses—as a special tonic for emperors seeking immortality. Known as lingzhi which translates to the mushroom of longevity, due to its ability
to act as a tonic for our entire being - spiritual, physical and emotional health.
Reishi is very powerful across these key areas. It contains beta glucans, triterpenes and polysaccharides which all have IMMUNOMODULATING actions to rebalance the immune system . So reishi, like most medicinal mushrooms helps to create and support immune resilience to support those with low immunity and for those with allergic tendencies as well. Reishi also contains phytonutrients which help to detoxify and release toxins from the liver so is used for LIVER DETOX, which is turn has benefits for fat metabolism and hormonal health. As the liver is also thought of as the seat of anger, these liver actions can in turn aid detoxification of emotional and spiritual baggage and trauma for a greater sense of calm.
In this vein, reishi is considered a shen tonic, a tonic herb which nourishes and calms the spirit and rewires and feeds the nervous system. It is also a CALMING ADAPTOGEN - this translates as a greater sense of serenity especially in the face of stressful conditions.
LIONS MANE - Hericium erinaceus
With long spines, Lions Mane mushroom is a tree mushroom which resembles a long and flowing bushy lions mane. A tasty edible mushroom, in ancient times it was predominantly used as a food for wealthy Japanese and Chinese people. Later it was used in TCM for stomach and digestive ulcerations and upset. In Tibet, Lions Mane is used to repair the damage from excess wind in the "white channel"which correlates with the nervous system.
So as far as the main actions for Lions Mane while containing polysaccharides which help to support immune function, it is the benefit which is shown for the nervous system for which lions mane is highly prized. Recent research on lions mane has shown that it contains terpenes which stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF). This endogenous chemical is required for the
development and repair of neurons inthe whole nervous system. NGF is crucially important for supporting both gross and fine motor skills as well as all cognitive functions.
So this makes lions mane helpful for enhancing MEMORY, COORDINATION and LEARNING.
Stress and aging are both found to reduce NGF which is closely associated with degenerative nervous system disorders such as age related memory decline, Alzheimers, Parkinsons and M.S. Studies also show that Lions Mane is effective at speeding up the repair of all nerve cells and inhibits the destruction of nerve cells. This is important for people who may have had damage to their nervous system through sports, accidents or medications.
Lions Mane is also thought to help improves the growth rate of new cells and synapses within the hippocampus to support emotional stability and memory retention. This is especially important for people who may have issues with MOOD and MEMORY.
CORDYCEPS- Cordyceps militaris
This crazy shroom is native to the Tibetan plateau and is actually a parasitic fungus which takes over the brain and nervous system of ghost moths. When the fruiting body is produced from the caterpillar, it comes up through the soil where its spores are spread by the wind through the mountains. For this reason it is known as the caterpillar fungus. In Tibetan medicine it is used for kidney, respiratory and heart weakness, while in Chinese medicine cordyceps is thought tonify qi, enhancing our resilience, libido and fertility. It is very interesting that cordyceps grows at high altitude as one of its key areas of action is to improve the function of the lungs. It improves LUNG CAPACITY & HEALTH thereby improving oxygen carrying capacity. This makes it the perfect shroom for those who may be heading for high altitudes ( Inca trail or Basecamp anyone?) or for those with lung issues such as asthma and bronchitis. As it enhances oxygen uptake and thereby energy production, it supports and improves PHYSICAL PERFOMANCE, ENDURANCE & RECOVERY. Cordyceps has stress supporting actions and also increases cellular energy production so is considered an ENERGISING ADAPTOGEN. The traditional way that cordyceps is grown is now very rare and thus all of the cordyceps mushroom that is produced is cultivated without the poor wee caterpillar.
So, there you go folks. The very brief rundown on the four major shrooms and what they are for.