You’ve probably heard of medicinal mushrooms before. Those are the ones that can give you health benefits related to specific problems.
But what are adaptogenic mushrooms, then? Although the terms adaptogenic and medicinal tend to apply to the same types of mushrooms, they have very different meanings.
Here we will discuss the ins and outs of these mushrooms and how they can benefit you.
What are Adaptogenic Mushrooms?
Before we can get into the benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms, you have to know what it means to be classified as one.
The word ‘adaptogenic’ comes from the word ‘adaptogen’.
That leads us further down the rabbit hole into the next question: what is an adaptogen?
To give you a brief overview, adaptogens are natural substances that assist the body in maintaining a state of equilibrium. These substances include either plants (botanicals) or fungi (mushrooms).
The 3 main criteria to be considered an adaptogen are being safe to use, help with maintaining the body’s homeostasis, and assisting against negative conditions caused by excessive stress.
Lucky for us, adaptogenic mushrooms are fungi that tick all 3 of those boxes.
Types of Adaptogenic Mushrooms & Benefits
Over the years, many adaptogenic mushrooms have been identified. Some of them you may already know.
Here we will list a few of them as well as a brief touch on other ways they can benefit you:
Lion’s Mane is probably the most well-known adaptogenic mushroom. Who wouldn’t remember this shaggy, white mane of fungus?
Besides its adaptogenic properties, Lion’s Mane is commonly used for culinary and medicinal purposes. You can find it tossed into a stir fry or soup as you need to cook it to unlock its tastiness.
On the medicinal side, these fungi are known as nootropics. This term means that Lion’s Mane is perfect for boosting your overall brain power.
Being adaptogenic, medicinal, and tasty, Lion’s Mane sure is a triple threat!
Reishi is an adaptogenic mushroom best known in history for its medicinal properties. It even earned the title of ‘Mushroom of Immortality’ in traditional Chinese medicine!
As you can tell, these kidney-shaped mushrooms have many helpful powers. The most prominent health benefit of Reishi is its potential to help you get a better sleep. Who knew this organ imposter could be such a helpful stress reliever?
You probably recognise Shiitake as the star of many dishes in East Asian cuisine. Did you know that this mushroom also has adaptogenic and medicinal properties?
Out of all its potential benefits, Shiitake is best used for immune support. It can assist your immune system in battling illnesses while also helping prevent further infections from taking hold.
Not bad for a simple mushroom, right?
Cordyceps is the odd one out of the group as it’s not technically a mushroom. Instead, they are part of the broader Fungi kingdom and infect living organisms (caterpillars in this case) rather than trees. Despite this technicality, these fungi still keep up with the others through their adaptogenic and medicinal properties.
When used in supplements, Cordyceps is known in herbal medicine to increase your energy and stress resistance. As such, they are best if you are an active person or athlete.
Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms Safe?
You may be wondering if there are any risks associated with consuming them.
In general, research studies have suggested that adaptogenic mushrooms, like the ones listed above, can be consumed safely in supplement form.
Here are some studies you can read that support this statement:
Potential Side Effects
Not enough research has been done on the effect of adaptogenic mushrooms on people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Because of this, it is best to refrain from supplements during this time or consult your doctor.
Specific adaptogenic mushrooms may also interact with certain medications.
In general, if you are unsure about taking them at all, you should talk to your doctor first.
How to Incorporate Adaptogenic Mushrooms into Daily Life?
The best way to incorporate them into your routine is through supplements. Supplements provide a higher concentration of these fungi, which means better benefits for you.
What kind of supplements are there?
First off, we have alcohol-based tinctures. This supplement form is best if you want to feel the adaptogenic mushroom’s medicinal effects quickly. You can add tinctures to drinks, such as your morning coffee or water.
There are also mushroom powders. This type generally consists of ground-up adaptogenic mushrooms. It is best for those who prefer to add their supplement to meals and drinks. For example, you can try adding a sprinkle of mushroom powder to your morning smoothies.
Mushroom capsules are the final supplement option. These are the easiest to take as you swallow the capsule whole with some water. You can easily incorporate this supplement form into the rest of your morning vitamins.
One limitation you should keep in mind that applies to all these formats is that adaptogens have a negligible effect when only taken once. What this means is that you’ll have to consistently take adaptogenic mushrooms to see that effect over time.
Now you know all there is to know about adaptogenic mushrooms. Did any of the ones described here catch your eye? Check out our products and see if any match what you need!