The Magic of Medicinal Mushrooms

The past year or two, we've become fascinated by medicinal mushrooms. They have been pretty life changing for us and are a huge passion of ours. So much so, we're hoping to volunteer  on a mushroom farm in Peru later this year and learn all about cultivating fungi... which we're so excited for! 

We wanted to share some of our knowledge and experience of medicinal mushrooms - where to start, how to eat them, some of their benefits and our favourite companies. If your only experience of mushroom so far are the ones you buy from the supermarket, then welcome to the enormous fungi kingdom and all its magic .... 

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Images via Tumblr. 

WHAT ARE MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS?

The historical importance of mushrooms is often undervalued by mainstream society and western medicine. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years as food, medicine and as part of spiritual practices in a range of different communities and religions. The more we learn about the fungi kingdom, the more we recognise their value in the ecosystem - they are quite literally all around us and hold so much potential! Humans are closely related to the Fungi Kingdom, therefore their benefits are lovingly received and recognised by the human body.  So what makes a medicinal mushroom any different from those you'd find in the veggie section? 

Medicinal Mushrooms are mushrooms with powerful healing properties and health benefits. When we consume these mushrooms that are rich in medicinal qualities, we absorb a variety of medicinal constituents and nutrients, increasing health and vitality.  These types of mushrooms have been such a valuable medicine for thousands of years, most notably in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). 

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HOW TO TAKE THEM

Our favourite way to use mushrooms is to make warm tonics or elixirs with nut/ oat / coconut milk. We have a recipe for our favourite cacao tonic here. You can also take the mushrooms in tincture form.  

When taking mushrooms, a small amount goes a long way. We use roughly 1/2 teaspoon each time, so although buying the mushrooms can initially feel expensive, they last for a very long time as they are so potent.


Some of our favourite mushrooms are as follows:

REISHI
Known as The Queen of the fungi kingdom and The mushroom of Immortality - reishi was the first medicinal mushroom I tried and I fell in love with immediately. The effects of this mushrooms are so calming for the nervous system - I can quite literally feel the relaxing, grounding effects when I take it. 

Reishi is best known in Chinese Medicine for its immune boosting properties and is prescribed for vitality and general wellbeing. Full of amino acids, polysaccharides, vitamins and minerals ... it's a super fungi full of healing  magic. If you're looking to start somewhere, we recommend Reishi.

CHAGA
If Reishi is the Queen of mushrooms, then Chaga is known as the healing King. Growing wild on birch trees in various parts of the world, the chaga fungus absorbs some of the powerful nutrients from the tree. It is known to be incredibly alkalising and a rich of source of antioxidants (which protect the body from free radical damage) and has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for illnesses. Various studies have been released on the healing effects of Chaga against certain forms of cancer. (google Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book The Cancer Ward). Chaga chunks can be decocted into a powerful tea to promote immunity and wellness, or else it is available in powder form from various companies. 

CORDYCEPS
The cordyceps fungus is truly fascinating as it grows in the high altitudes of the Himalayas... on caterpillars (!). This mushroom has an incredible reputation for increasing stamina, vitality and strength. It's often referred to as being the mushroom for improving athletic performance and enhancing energy. Prescribed in TCM to support the function of the lungs and kidneys, it's also suggested to strengthen the immune system. 

LIONS MANE
Often used as a nerve tonic - Lions Mane can be taken to support nerve and brain function, as well as aiding digestion. Modern studies have shown it to be a potential medicine for helping diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia. It's rich in amino acids, minerals and can enhance the function of the immune system! 

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RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE

 Rich Roll Podcast - Tero Isokauppila On Healing Mushrooms

The Life Stylist Podcast - The Magic of Mushrooms

TED TALK - 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

The Chief Life Podcast - Mason Taylor on Medicinal Mushrooms

BBC Documentary - The Magic of Mushrooms

RECCOMMENDED BRANDS & PRODUCTS

UK
Hybrid Herbs
Indigo Herbs
Sun Potion (via Raw Living)

Four Sigmatic

Rest of the World
Sun Potion
Dragon Herbs
SuperFeast


 SHOP BELOW:

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We hope you enjoyed this post...we'd love to hear about anyones experiences with medicinal mushrooms or recommendations you have!

Our Favourite Wellness Podcasts

I'm a self confessed podcast addict - it's my favourite way to unwind at the moment. There is so much incredible knowledge out there to be shared, so we compiled this list of some of our most loved podcasts right now.

We'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments below! 

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Wellness and Health:
The Rich Roll Podcast - This is such a popular podcast, and it's easy to see why. Rich is a great interviewer with some truly inspiring guests. Covering wellness, spirituality, happiness and so much more. 
The Life Stylist - Another excellent wellness podcast with some really interesting guests on such a wide range of topics. 
Wanderlust Speakeasy - This series is a recording of live lecture talks from yoga teachers, authors, musicians and just generally very inspiring people at Wanderlust yoga festivals. 
Almost 30 - I found this through the blog Free + Native and am enjoying it so far. I definitely recommend the episodes with Tero Isokauppila and Lacy Phillips. 
The Balanced Blonde / Soul on Fire - As a fan of her blog, I was super happy to find out Jordan now has a podcast too! Again, covering some really interesting episodes about nutrition, holistic health and more. 

Herbalism & Spirituality
Medicine Stories
A wonderful podcast by the herbalist Amber Magnolia Hill
The Flower Lounge - This is one of my favourite podcasts right now, made by the owner of the beautiful Flower Essence brand Lotus Wei. 
The Herb Nerd - Discussions about alternative health, herbal remedies, ayurveda, shamanism and more. 
Forage Botanicals - Made by herbalist Natasha Richardson (who has great online content!), every episode of this podcast focuses on a different herb as Natasha interviews herbalist friends. Nettle is one of my favourite herbs, so I naturally loved the episode on Nettles!
Dream Freedom Beauty - Some really interesting episodes with healers, herbalists and generally inspiring people. I loved the episode 'The Bee Priestess, Ariella Daly  on Shamanic Dreaming with Bees' ... so interesting! 
Starseed Survival Guide - This is a new discovery of mine but have learnt a lot from this podcast already. I definitely recommend the episode with Paola Garcia about ceremonial cacao. 
Your Own Magic - The hosts of this podcast have such a dreamy looking life - living in Kauai, Hawaii and interviewing inspirational people for their podcasts. Some great episodes on life lessons, meditation & health. 

Shamanism and Plant Medicine  
Psychedelic Salon - As well as a great archive of Terrence McKenna talks (an advocate for use of psychedelic plants and an amazing speaker), this also has great episodes about different areas of psychedelic research. 

Entheo Nation - Lots of really interesting episodes about plant medicine, traditions and spirituality. 


General Inspiration and Life Wisdom! 

On Being - I love this podcast, the range of guests is great and it covers really powerful topics effecting our current society.
The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes   - During some of these episodes I've had to stop to grab a notebook and write down bits of wisdom! The episode with the poet Rupi Kaur is definitely one to download. 
Rising Women Leaders    - Some beautiful, insightful interviews with some incredible women from all walks of life
Ladies who Lead -Another inspirational one for the ladies. I recommend episode 69 ' The wisdom of our feminine cycles' - such important knowledge for us to discover! 

photo source - astrostyle.com

What are your favourite podcasts? We'd love to hear your recommendations below! 

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge

It's been forever since our last post - it feels like so much has been happening these past few months we've barely had time for creating. But we're here again and so excited to put more energy into this passion project. It's been a time full of big changes for us recently. A few weeks ago we packed up once again and moved to a small town in southern Spain called AndΓΊjar. So far, we're loving having our own space, a big terrace that we're slowly filling with plants and trying all the local produce at the daily market. Although a lot of the cuisine in restaurants here involves meat and fish, we're really enjoying the abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables. And olives growing quite literally everywhere! We can't wait to share some our new favourite discoveries, but in the mean time, here's a recipe we think everyone will love. It's one of the tastiest things we've ever created!

Raw chocolate hazelnut fudge

This raw 'fudge' has been some what of an obsession of ours during the past few months. It's basically like a healthy nutella formed into perfect bite size portions. It's similar to a perfect brownie texture - fudgey and rich, yet it doesn't require any baking and can be made easily in a food processor. We normally make a big batch of this to keep in the fridge for the week - a really tasty and satisfying treat to grab and go or savour for a while. The key ingredient is the cacao butter, which if you're new to we highly recommend you look into. The butter really enhances the texture of the fudge and gives it such a deep chocolate flavour. If you can't get hold of this, we recommend you substitute with coconut oil.

Ingredients
1 cup of pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, to soften)
1/2 cup of walnuts
3/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of organic cacao powder
1/2 cup of grated cacao butter
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of hazelnut butter (can substitute for any other nut butter)
1/4 cup of plant mylk
A generous pinch of salt

Method
1) Soak the dates in hot water for at least 20 minutes before preparing the fudge. 
2) Drain the dates and add to a food processor with all the other ingredients. Blend on a high speed for a minimum of 1 minute until the ingredients are well combined. The consistency should be quite smooth. You might need to scrape round the edges of the processor to make sure everything is well mixed. If it's not coming together add a few more teaspoons of plant mylk. 
3) Line a tupperware box with baking paper and add the mixture. Press the fudge down with the back of a spoon, making sure it is well compressed. 
4) Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving. The fudge should keep well in the fridge for at least a week, if you can make it last that long! 
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We'd love to know your favourite sweet treats - let us know below! 
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