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Top 11 Functional Mushrooms

So let’s get off on the right foot. The title, “Top 11 Functional Mushrooms” is a bit of a hyperbole. I keep reading how titles nowadays need to have numbers in them to grab folk’s attention in this world of excessive information. It’s not that these mushrooms aren’t wonderful allies for our health, it’s just that, in all frankness, it’s hard to rate one mushroom over another, for it all depends upon what is right for you, for each individual. For example, I tend to have issues that revolve around excess “dampness” which makes Poria a wonderful remedy for me, while my wife tends to have issues with “dryness”, making Tremella a better suited mushroom for her. (More on “damp” and “dryness” later.) On top of this is the fact that there are literally hundreds of mushrooms, that we currently know about that can support one’s health. And these are just the ones we know about, there are likely thousands of yet undiscovered mushrooms, and who knows what wonderful gifts they might bring. So here are eleven of the most valuable mushroom health supporting allies.* We’ll start off with two of my favorites.

REISHI – Ganoderma lucidum

Reishi mushroom is known as Ling zhi in traditional Chinese medicine. It translates as “herb of spiritual potency”. Used for thousands of years, Reishi has been highly prized as a superior tonic, a remedy that supports overall health, vitality, and resilience. Reishi has been shown to support the immune (immune-modulatory), respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems along with the liver and kidneys. Reishi supports the body’s healthy response in fighting free radicals and inflammation. And in this day and age its ability to help with stress and anxiety, as well as improve sleep make it a remedy fit for today’s world. As a “Shen” tonic it is said to balance the emotional/spiritual center of the body. In fact, I have coined the phrase, “tonic for the 21st century” because it is so well suited for today’s imbalances.*

Cordyceps – Cordyceps sinensis

Cordyceps is another remedy with a long history of use as a highly prized health tonic in traditional medicine. Technically not a mushroom, in the wild, Cordyceps is a fungus that grows out of the head of a caterpillar at very high altitudes in the Himalayan Mountains. Don’t fret, our Cordyceps is grown in a fermentation process, no caterpillars involved. Best known for its ability to support energy and endurance, it is said to build Qi, vital energy. It is a powerful ally in supporting and strengthening the respiratory, reproductive, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems as well as the kidneys. It has demonstrated libido enhancing activity in older male and female adults as well as improving overall satisfaction with one’s sex life.*

Royal Agaricus – Agaricus blazei

This mushroom, native to Brazil, has been called the “sun mushroom” and the “mushroom of god” in its native land where it was consumed as a food. Researchers found that communities that regularly consumed this mushroom tended to be healthier and more vigorous, subsequently sparking interest and research into this mushroom. Research suggests it may help with a healthy inflammatory response, liver protection, regulating healthy blood sugar levels, fight free radicals and support a healthy cardiovascular system.*

Chaga – Inonotus obliquus

Chaga is another “mushroom” that isn’t really a mushroom, it is actually a sclerotia, which is a mass of mycelium used to store energy for the Chaga. It has been shown to stimulate the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, activating natural killer cells, and modulating the activities of T cells and B cells. Chaga is rich in free racial fighting anti-oxidants and may be the most effective mushrooms for supporting a healthy inflammatory response. Used traditionally by hunters as they went out on days long hunts to help maintain their energy and strength, researchers have confirmed that, in fact, it may help improve physical performance and endurance.*

Coriolus – Trametes versicolor

Commonly referred to as Turkey Tail because of its multi-colored fan-shaped appearance, while the Chinese name for it is Yun zhi, meaning “cloud fungus”. This common and widespread mushroom (odds are you’ve seen it somewhere) is also probably the best researched functional mushroom being the source of 3 licensed drugs in Asia made with Coriolus’ unique polysaccharides, PSP, PSK, and Krestin. Rich in beta-glucans and polysaccharides that confer a range of immune health supporting benefits. It has been found to support a healthy inflammatory response and the body’s ongoing battles against free radicals. Researchers have also demonstrated its potential to support the respiratory system as well as the gut by benefiting the growth beneficial gut bacteria.*

Tremella – Tremella fuciformis

Tremella has an interesting and long-used history of use in traditional medicine, as a Yin tonic, and as a beauty aid. First the beauty part. The story goes that Yang Guifei, reputed to be one of the four greatest beauties in Chinese history used Tremella as a beauty aid. She was said to be so beautiful that flowers would bow before her beauty. Just a myth? Well…, research has found that there may be something to this. It has been found to hydrate the skin better than the widely used hyaluronic acid, as well as reduce free radicals and inflammation and may improve appearance, having a refreshing effect, and help prevent and improve wrinkles. Functionally it may help support immune function (in fact, one study found it to be one of the most effective mushroom for immune health), memory/learning, and cardiovascular health while also supporting a healthy inflammatory response, liver protection, and free radical fighting.*

Maitake – Grifola frondosa

The story goes that mushroom hunters, upon finding Maitake growing in the wild, would dance for joy… piquing my interest. As it turns out, while they were dancing because of its yummy taste, Maitake has been found to impact three key areas for one’s overall health and vitality. First, it is likely the most potent and effective mushroom for supporting and enhancing overall immune function. This is largely due to its research-backed Maitake D-fraction® content. Second, another constituent found in the mushroom, the SX-fraction®, has demonstrated the ability to support healthy blood sugar levels while also improving insulin sensitivity. Lastly, it may help support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.*

Meshima – Phellinus linteus

Meshima is called Meshimakobu in Japan because it appears as a knot on a tree found on Woman’s Island off the cost of Japan. It can be aptly said because this mushroom has a special affinity for supporting breast health. Complementary actions include modulating immune function by activating macrophages, natural killer cells, and T lymphocytes while possibly increasing the expression of cytokines (immune system messengers) that play a pivotal role in immune responses, supporting cellular health, and fighting free radicals. Adding to this, Meshima has demonstrated the ability to aid healthy inflammatory and blood sugar responses.*

Shiitake – Lentinus edodes

Shiitake can be legitimately called a super food and a super supplement. While this delicious mushroom has also been used for thousands of years in East Asia, it is in the last 70 years or so that researchers have explored its health supporting applications. Its beta-glucans have been shown to activate immune cells, including dendritic cells, key to the function of the innate immune system. Shiitake also supports the adaptive immune system with the activation of other immune cells, like T cells and B cells, and increasing the production of antibodies. These compounds have also been found to support a healthy inflammatory response while a unique peptide demonstrated improving insulin sensitivity and assisting in establishing healthy blood sugar levels. Shiitake contains a constituent called eritadenine that supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. This, plus several other compounds found in Shiitake, collectively contribute to its actions supporting liver health and protection.*

Lion’s Mane – Hericium erinaceus

Older adults when asked what their biggest health concerns are as they age list maintaining their brain health at or near the top of concerns. Lion’s Mane is wonderfully suited for folks with this concern. Numerous studies have found that this unusual edible mushroom offers an array of brain and nerve supporting benefits. One such action is inducing the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF) which is crucial for the maintenance, survival, and regeneration of neurons. Boosting NGF has been found to improve cognitive function, including memory and learning as well as neurite outgrowth and neuro-protection. Lion’s Mane also brings with it a number of holistically supportive activities, including mood support, anti-oxidant, immune function, and gut health along with supporting the bodies healthy inflammation and blood sugar levels. Putting all these actions together makes a strong case for its traditional use as a Qi tonic, supporting overall health and vitality.*

Poria – Poria cocos

Poria, while not well known here in the West, is one of the most commonly used ingredients in what are called patent medicines in traditional Chinese medicine. There it is used for “dampness”, basically any condition that involves too much fluid or moisture, helping to establish fluid balance. One Western example of this would be its diuretic action. Another good example is any situation involving too much mucus or phlegm. Poria has also been found to exhibit immune-modulatory activity, enhancing macrophage activity, stimulating cytokines while modulating other aspects of immune health. Other benefits of Poria include anti-oxidant, supporting healthy inflammatory response, neuro-protection, and benefiting cognitive function.*

But They All Sound So Good

So, do they all sound good to you? They do to me. The next question then is, “Can I take all of them?” Certainly you can, but, buying each individually would be costly, and a lot of pills to swallow. Thankfully there’s a solution. Mushroom Emperors is a one-of-a-kind blend of all eleven mushrooms along with the research-backed concentrated unique extracts Maitake D-fraction®, Maitake SX-fraction®, and Lion’s Mane Amyloban. Maitake D-fraction is recognized for its potent immune supporting activities. Maitake SX-fraction is the compound responsible for healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. Lion’s Mane Amyloban is a concentrated extract of the unique brain and nerve supporting constituents.*
The choice is all yours. If one mushroom in particular resonates with you then by all means give it a try. If two or three seem more fitting for your health needs then go for them. But if you want to try all eleven plus for enriching your overall health then you might want to give Mushroom Emperors a go.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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