Adaptogenic mushrooms have become mainstream. They’ve moved out from the stigma of icky veggies or hallucinogens and into a large share of the wellness space. There’s a good reason for their popularity. With their antioxidant properties and cellular boosting support, users of adaptogenic mushrooms believe they can help with everything from energy levels to immunity support.
But you may be wondering if they really work. And if they do work, which should you use and how should you take them? Our guide will give you everything you need to know about adaptogenic mushrooms.
Are Mushrooms Considered Adaptogens?
There’s a reason mushrooms are on the healthy list. All mushrooms have properties that fall in the adaptogenic category. It’s just that some types of mushrooms have a much higher potency.
Adding the regular mushrooms you can find at your local grocery store to your diet is a great way to boost your health and immunity.
To really get the full benefit, you’ll want to home in on particular types of adaptogenic mushrooms depending on what part of your wellness you want to support. Certain types of mushrooms work to enhance your wellness in different ways.
What’s an Adaptogenic Mushroom?
Adaptogenic mushrooms are mushrooms that have adaptogenic properties. That means they work to help your body adapt to stress and create balance within your bodily processes. Adaptogens themselves are plants that are not toxic but act to resist physical, chemical, or biological stresses.
Adaptogens aren’t new. They’ve been around for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Ancient medical practitioners realized that these herbs and roots have amazing health benefits and can help boost your overall wellness.
Some of the most well-known adaptogens include ginseng and maca. These superfoods help your body fight off the effects of free radicals from your environment and cortisol caused by stress.
Modern holistic medicine and wellness practitioners have caught up over the past few years. The difference between ancient medicine and modern practice is that modern versions of mushrooms are more accessible because now we can find them not only in supplements, but also in everyday foods.
Types of Adaptogenic Mushrooms
Adaptogenic mushrooms fall into two main categories: those that jump-start your immune system, or “immune stimulants,” and those that strengthen your immune system, or “immune tonics.” Here’s how they work:
Immune-stimulant adaptogenic mushrooms cause your immune system to react as if it were attacked. Now, don’t panic! We’re talking more about a rogue snowball from the neighborhood bully than a WWIII invasion. By causing your immune system to react, medicinal mushrooms help your body practice protecting you and keep your immune response active and waiting.
Immune-tonic adaptogenic mushrooms help your immune system by boosting it. Levels of white blood cells and bone marrow go up, so your body is more ready to withstand disease and illness. These mushrooms give more responsive power to your immune system.
You may be wondering: Even though adaptogens in general and adaptogenic mushrooms in particular are easy to find now, does that make them safe?
Are Adaptogens Safe?
For most people, adaptogens are perfectly safe. The amount of adaptogenic mushrooms you would need to eat before any chemical reactions could be considered dangerous is so large that it’d be difficult to do under normal circumstances.
If you’re taking the mushrooms in supplement form, make sure you follow the instructions. It goes without saying that you should follow the instructions for any supplements you take. Also be aware of incompatibility between your supplements. It shouldn’t be a free-for-all from your health food aisle.
There are a few conditions that are contraindicated for adaptogens. They include:
- Taking blood thinners
- People with bleeding disorders
Taking some adaptogens, like ashwagandha, in large doses has been known to cause side effects like gastrointestinal distress or vomiting. So again, make sure you start with small amounts until you know how your body reacts and follow the directions.
The Benefits and Uses of Adaptogenic Mushrooms
There are two major benefits of taking adaptogenic mushrooms. They are immune support and stress management.
Adaptogenic mushrooms support your immune system by enhancing your body’s natural defense system. Mushrooms have a type of carbohydrate called polysaccharides. These polysaccharides contain beta-glucans, which are a type of soluble fiber. Scientists have found that beta-glucans can lower inflammation and keep the immune system steady.
Here are some of the mushrooms that work the best to support your immune system:
- Chaga mushrooms
- Reishi mushrooms
- Turkey tail mushrooms
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Lion’s mane mushrooms
- Cordyceps mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms can also help lower your stress levels. The chemicals in mushrooms — potassium and ergothioneine — also help lower inflammation and anxiety, and keep your adrenal glands functioning properly. The chemicals in adaptogenic mushrooms can also help your body both resist stress and return to normal more quickly after a stressful event.
The top three mushrooms that help reduce stress are:
- Reishi mushrooms
- Lion’s mane mushrooms
While adaptogenic mushrooms are most known for their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects, they also help your body in other ways. They can:
- Support anti-aging
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Increase brain function
- Improve energy levels
- Serve as a natural antiviral
How to Take Adaptogenic Mushrooms
Taking adaptogenic mushrooms has gotten much easier. You don’t actually need to find the mushrooms in whole food form to take them. Instead, they’ve been broken down into supplement form. You can take them as a capsule or as a powder that you add to other foods.
Medicinal mushroom tinctures are another option that can help your body absorb more of the superfood. Tinctures typically come in liquid form and use a dropper to dispense the dose.
Another benefit of a medicinal mushroom supplement tincture or powder is that you can combine the anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of many mushrooms into one serving. Tinctures are especially convenient because you can easily customize your regimen based on what you need each day.
The Gu Society mushroom tinctures are easy to take and support a range of functions, including immunity, cardiovascular health, antioxidant boost, and even throat care. Just as important as the tincture itself is the way the ingredients are sourced. Way of Will’s products are sustainably sourced and free of synthetic ingredients. This means you can feel better knowing that you’re supporting your health, and the Earth.
You can find these supplements in many large chain grocery stores, but also in specialty herbal medicine stores.
There are plenty of ways you can take adaptogenic mushrooms. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Add them to smoothies
- Brew mushroom coffee or a latte
- Make hot chocolate with mushrooms
- Infuse desserts or treats with them
With tinctures, you can even take the dose by mouth, dropping it under your tongue. Once you start using adaptogenic mushrooms, you’ll find many ways you can add them into your daily routine.
Improve Your Well-Being With a Simple Routine
The hardest part about starting to take adaptogenic mushrooms is remembering to do it at first. Way of Will’s functional mushroom products provide variety and ease of dosing. Once you realize the benefits of the different types of mushrooms, you’ll look forward to your daily routine. This powerhouse superfood will help you increase your energy levels and cognitive function while keeping your body and immune function healthy.