Asian medicinal effects of mushrooms: an overview

As the world’s largest continent, Asia is home to some of the most popular destinations for mushroom growing, with many countries worshiping the Asian medicinal effects of mushrooms. While China, Japan, and Korea are the most common locations to find these nutritional powerhouses, you can also find different types of mushrooms around the world. Over the past thirty years, interest in mushrooms has shifted to a new audience, gaining the attention of the health and wellness industry in North America and beyond.

This article will look at the history of Asian medicinal mushrooms, the variety of compounds found in them, and how to incorporate a daily mushroom supplement into your routine.

What are medicinal mushrooms?

Simply put, medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms that are used as medicine. What sets medicinal mushrooms apart from other mushrooms is their higher density of polysaccharides, including beta-glucans that help regulate the immune system (more on that later). Some examples of medicinal mushroom species include the following:

  • Lion’s Den
  • Reishi
  • Turkey tail
  • Maitake
  • Shiitake
  • Cordyceps
  • Chaga

If consumed consistently, medicinal mushrooms can provide many benefits. In vitro (laboratory) and in vivo (animal model study) trials and human clinical trials have shown that both mushroom extracts and whole mushrooms have extensive therapeutic applications and health benefits, including supporting immune and heart health and blood sugar levels .

A brief history of medicinal mushrooms in China

Chinese medicine seeks to restore balance to the body using various techniques, such as Chinese herbs and dietary remedies. These techniques are said to improve quality of life and relieve pain conditions. One of the most notable Chinese medicinal fungal organisms is the mushroom. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners celebrated the discovery of mushrooms as they discovered that they offer more than just a basic food source.

Once discovered in the wild, practitioners would extract the beneficial properties from the mushrooms by boiling them in water and enjoying them as soup or tea. Ganoderma lucidum, also known as reishi, it is one of the most valuable species for its abundant compounds.

Since medicinal mushrooms (also referred to as functional mushrooms) offer more than just nutrition, their use has been celebrated. Today, you can find them as capsules, powders and teas.

Asian Medicinal Effects of Mushrooms: Powerhouse Compounds

It’s no secret that mushrooms contain huge amounts of health-promoting benefits. As a low-calorie superfood source, Asian mushrooms contain hundreds of compounds and minerals along with dietary fiber. But the great ingredient in these superfoods is polysaccharide. In particular ╬▓-glucan polysaccharides occur naturally in the cell walls of functional mushrooms and offer immunomodulatory effects.

Polysaccharides frAdaptogenShrooms also support better immune health by binding to receptors that activate our B-cells, T-cells, killer cells and macrophages. Beta-glucans provide other health benefits, including promoting healthy gut bacteria and supporting weight management.

The chart below shows notable compounds found in Asian medicinal mushrooms and the effects they are believed to have.

*Various types of mushrooms they contain many bioactive compounds, minerals, and primary and secondary metabolites not listed here.

Mushroom of Immortality: The Effects of Reishi

Reishi is one of the most well-known mushrooms and has the oldest medical history of use in Asia. It also grows on trees in temperate forest regions of Europe, Asia, South and North America. It has a shiny brown and red exterior and can reach lengths of up to eight inches in diameter.

Reishi is known as “the elixir of life” and contains many beneficial compounds, including polysaccharides and triterpenes – the effects of which support immune health and offer adaptogenic benefits. Adaptogens support the body’s natural response to stress, making reishi an excellent choice for balancing mental and physical stress.

Reishi can be harvested in the wild, but it can also be safely grown indoors (as we do at AdaptogenShrooms) to prevent exposure and accumulation of dangerous toxins and pesticides. AdaptogenShrooms Superfood® offers a blend of Reishi Organic Mushroom Powder that can be easily incorporated into recipes, smoothies, coffee or tea. When consumed daily, it can even provide powerful benefits that support better health. If you prefer even more convenience, you can always try Reishi capsules.

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