Mushrooms are incredibly versatile and go way beyond the button or field mushrooms we are used to throwing in with our eggs for breakfast or pasta or risotto for dinner. Like so many herbs it is best to think of mushrooms as food that is medicine.
In the absence of sunlight or supplementation, eating mushrooms is the best way to increase your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be widespread in countries where there is little sunlight, or for people who are not lucky enough to be able to get out into the sun during the day. it can even be a problem for people who restrict their sunlight with the use of sunscreen.
Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins providing energy through the process of proteins, fats and carbohydrates metabolism. Betaglucans in mushrooms appear to boost immunity and help resistance against allergies and play a key role in the health of the nervous system. The presence of ergothioneine with selenium may help protect our cells from oxidative stress that leads to chronic disease.
So eating whole mushrooms covers a lot of bases. They are not only an incredibly healthy and versatile addition to your cooking but they offer even more benefits when added as a daily supplement to your diet, taken as concentrated extracts.
Mushrooms as medicine
Mushrooms have been used since 5000BC as medicine-- which is clearly a long time to get it right!
As a supplement, herbal extracts are concentrated powerhouses bursting with a broad range of overall health benefits. That is why we couldn’t have our complex formulas without including mushroom extracts. We have included our favourites—Cordyceps (Cordyceps Senensis), and Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) in Complex Green (200 mg) and Complex Berry (150 mg).
Medicinal mushrooms are powerful and safe to take daily, so it is worth getting to know why. They have a variety of uses ranging from energy and stress related conditions as well as specific illnesses.
Let’s look at the benefits of Cordyceps
Cordyceps are in the fungus family, but strangely not technically a mushroom. To make it easy they are variously described in Chinese and Tibetan medicine as exotic medicinal mushrooms. They originated in North Sikkim, in the Himalayan mountains, where the local people have had a long understanding of how to use them as a tonic, for prevention and recovery of many illnesses. Their interest in the herb reportedly began after noticing the difference in the vitality of the livestock that were eating the Cordyceps in the pastures, leading them to take them as well.
Cordyceps are used for their anti-ageing properties and as natural performance enhancement for sport.
As an anti-oxidant, it has been used as a herb that is longevity-promoting, specifically used for energy, stamina and endurance, improved sleep and libido, and to normalize appetite. Studies show that bioactive peptides present in Cordyceps positively affect the outcomes for bowel and breast cancer and melanoma due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting actions.
Cordyceps are particularly beneficial for athletes, as they offer better anaerobic physical performance, due to enhanced lactate clearance and its ability to induce relaxation of the vascular smooth muscle and maintain normal blood glucose levels during prolonged exercise. The Cordyceps pharmacological actions are largely due to its bioactive polysaccharides, cyclosporine-like metabolites, and nucleosides.
Many studies have been undertaken to determine if the benefits, some of which are noted here> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121254/ and https://examine.com/supplements/cordyceps/
This is why you would take Reishi
Like Cordyceps, Reishi mushrooms are also made up of complex carbohydrates, specifically water-soluble polysaccharides, which are known for boosting your immune system, as an anti-tumour agent, and for lowering blood pressure.
Reishi mushrooms are a fungus that is described as bitter with a woody texture, which is why so many of the mushrooms are better to take as an extract. The fruiting body (above-ground part) and mycelium (filaments connecting a clump of mushrooms) are used as medicine.
Reishi as a herbal extract can be used for energy, stress and fatigue. However the strength of Reishi mushrooms lies in its ability to boost the immune system, particularly when severely compromised by HIV/AIDS, flu (influenza, swine, avian), asthma, bronchitis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, it is used to assist with heart disease (regulating blood pressure), high cholesterol, kidney and liver disease, insomnia, stomach ulcers and poisoning.
Mushrooms in all of our Passion Projects formulas
In addition to Cordyceps and Reishi in our Complex Green and Complex Berry formulas, we have included mushroom extracts in our Certified Organic Pea Protein+ and our Multi-mineral green calcium powders as a natural source of Vitamin D, used to co-factor calcium in its absorption and protein synthesis, making the protein and calcium powders better for the mineral balance of your body over time. Taking protein powders without the additional calcium, vitamin D and K and other trace minerals can lead to the protein taking calcium out of the bones. This is the danger of taking protein powders without understanding the body's metabolic requirements. Most protein powders are not formulated with any additional co-factors, and most users of these powders are unaware of the lack of balance this causes in the body, specifically relative to the reduction of bone density.
It is good to take advantage of mushrooms wherever you can. If you feel like a little inspiration for delicious and easy mushrooms, try our family favourite, Baked mushrooms, with soft eggs and spinach.