The Healing Power of Medicinal Mushrooms

Nutritional researcher and board-certified family physician Joel Fuhrman, MD, explains the disease-fighting and immune-boosting powers of 6 healing fungi.
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To reap the most benefits, take a small amount of mushroom powder (check the packaging as dosages can vary) and eat cooked mushrooms daily.  

Turkey Tail mushroom

TURKEY TAIL 

Health Benefits: A drug derived from turkey tail mushrooms is a component of cancer treatment in several countries. Trials in patients with colorectal, gastric and lung cancers have suggested that turkey tail extracts could boost immune function and improve survival in these patients. Try: Turkey tail powder can be taken to help improve the defences of your immune system and reduce the chances of getting the cold or flu. 
We Recommend: Om Turkey Tail ($25, ommushrooms.com)

Reshi mushroom

REISHI

Health Benefits: An important immune-boosting effect of reishi mushrooms is enhancing the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which has been shown in human studies. NK cells are immune cells that attack cancerous and virus-infected cells. Trials in patients with cancer suggest that reishi supplementation may help to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy. Try: Reishi powders to help your body better manage symptoms of anxiety and stress.
We Recommend: Sun Potion Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder ($53, sunpotion.com)

Chaga mushroom

CHAGA

Health Benefits: In vitro studies show that chaga mushrooms can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, and a study on patients with inflammatory bowel disease showed that chaga supplementation reduced oxidative DNA damage in the patients’ white blood cells. Use It As: An antioxidant to help neutralize free radical damage to body's cells for anti-aging benefits. Try: Chi Chaga Wild Chaga Powder ($24, chichaga.com)

Lion's Mane mushroom

LION’S MANE 

Health Benefits: Lion’s mane mushrooms have anti-angiogenic activity, which means they inhibit the signals tumor cells use to acquire a blood supply. Interestingly, these mushrooms have also been studied in animals for their potential to facilitate regeneration of injured nerves. Try As: A nootropic (natural smart drug) to help reduce brain fog and sharpen focus. We Recommend: Four Sigmatic Lion's Mane Elixir ($38, us.foursigmatic.com)

Shitake mushroom

SHIITAKE

Health Benefits: Studies using the shiitake mushroom polysaccharide lentinan as an adjunct to chemotherapy for patients with gastric cancer have reported longer survival compared to chemotherapy alone. Shiitake mushroom extracts also have antiviral activity. Try: There’s also some interesting research on these mushrooms and dental health. A study using an oral rinse containing shiitake mushroom extract showed a decrease in plaque, gingival inflammation and pathogenic bacteria compared to the control group.
Look For: Fresh shiitake is easy to find in grocery stores while you can also purchase shiitake powder at most health-food stores.

Cordyceps mushroom

CORDYCEPS

Health Beneifts: Cordyceps sinensis activates macrophages (specialized white blood cells of the immune system that are integral to detecting invaders and fighting off infections) in vitro. Use It: Cordyceps powders can be taken to help reduce cortisol levels to improve stress, and for increased energy and libido. Try: Mountain Rose Herbs Cordyceps Powder ($6 to $36.50, mountainroseherbs.com)