Chaga

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 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! 

 

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:

 

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

Nourishing Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate has become a daily ritual of ours recently. It really is like a little cup of magic medicine. Instantly mood lifting and calming - it's my favourite way to start the day. In my eyes, the best kind of rituals involve chocolate! Last year, we wrote this blog post about chocolate after visiting an organic cacao farm in Colombia. And our love for chocolate is only getting stronger ...

With the ancient traditions of cacao coming back into knowledge, people are beginning to see chocolate as more than just a delicious treat. For thousands of years, the ancestors of Central America used Cacao as a powerful healer - a gateway to connection and a way of releasing negative emotions. For them, chocolate was a huge part of sacred ceremonies, being a nutritious medicine for both the mind and body.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

In many ways, it makes sense that we're drawn to chocolate in emotional times. Many of the active ingredients in pure cacao release feel good emotions. Traditionally, it's referred to as a 'heart opener'. It increases blood flow to the whole body, which heightens our feelings and nourishes our whole system. Of course, it's also delicious, so it drinking it brings extra enjoyment! 

Vegan Hot Chocolate

To boost our hot chocolate with some extra nutrition, we've also added an incredible medicinal mushroom blend by Hybrid Herbs and our own roasted dandelion root coffee. These ingredients are optional though! Medicinal Mushrooms are an incredible way to boost the immune system and generally boost vitality and clarity. Surprisingly, this blend has a really delicious flavor too and I've genuinely noticed a difference in mood since taking it. The caffeine in the cacao supercharges the force of the mushrooms, so it's perfect to combine them together!

Now, for the hot chocolate... the perfect partner for these colder mornings. 

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
2 cups of oat milk (or other nut milk)
a pinch of salt
1/2  teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
optional ingredients
1 teaspoon of medicinal mushroom mix
1 teaspoon of dandelion root coffee (see here for our recipe)

Method
1) Place all the dry ingredients in a sauce pan. 
2) Add your milk and begin to heat on a medium temperature. Thoroughly stir whilst heating so there are no lumps.
3) Heat for around 5 minutes, until hot. We prefer not to let ours boil, so as not to cook off all the nutrients.
4) If you're using roasted dandelion root, strain your hot chocolate before serving. 
5) Serve and enjoy <3

If you enjoyed this post, please share below <3
Have you ever tried Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi or Chaga?