From Shroom Tea, Reishi, Cordyceps, to Lions Mane and Why You Can’t Pick Just Any Mushroom.
The newest health craze that has taken the world by storm is mushroom tea, but why and what do they have to offer us?
Fungi have been used for health & wellness for thousands of years by numerous cultures, and they are gaining popularity with each passing day. Mushroom tea, also known as shroom tea, is a new superfood that can be used to keep you hydrated as well as benefiting from its multitude of properties.
When I say the word “mushrooms”, what do you picture? Is it a portobello mushroom tossed into some of your favorite pasta dishes? Or is it ‘magical mushrooms’ known for their psychedelic effects that you think could make feel like you’re in the middle of a 60’s Woodstock poster?
Well, you’re either hungry or you’re thinking I should be in the back of a van listening to Pink Floyd. Although I’m always down for a great pasta dish and listening to some psychedelic rock music, I’m going to focus on enlightening you on the broad range of mushrooms. This will hopefully help to change the stigma you might have about mushrooms, opening up a whole new world of possible health benefits. With over ten thousand known types of mushrooms, it’s time to dig deep and unearth these diverse plant species and become familiar with the different mushrooms and their uses.
Ok, So What’s the Difference Between My Mushroom Pasta and Pink Floyd?
I think I am picking up what you’re putting down: what's the difference between your classic, known culinary mushrooms, and psychedelic mushrooms?
Well actually, there’s quite the range when it comes to mushrooms. There are thousands of different types of mushrooms, some edible and others being poisonous. With quite the drastic range, lots of edible mushrooms are used by many people for a plethora of reasons. Understanding and identifying fungi species is as important as appreciating their beneficial qualities. The broadness in range can be seen in these two typically associated types of mushrooms:
Portobello is one of the many types of edible mushrooms, while magical mushrooms, also known as psilocybinmushrooms, are known for their psychedelic effects. Both have their own benefits, but their distinct in that portobellos offer nutritional advantages, whereas psilocybin are known to be beneficial for medical reasons (treating neurological disorders). These are just two well-known fungi on opposite ends of the spectrum, but could you tell the difference between them if you came across some mushrooms on a hike? The answer to this question has to be“Yes!”, and if it’s not you need to pay extra close attention to this next section.
Can I Just Go Into the Forest and Pick Some Mushrooms Like I’m In Some Fairytale?
I wouldn’t take a chance unless you want to risk a very trippy walk back home (or to another dimension!), or even a ride to the hospital in an ambulance. We’re on the way to becoming a mushroom pro, but for now, it is important to note that there is a wide variety of mushrooms that are not safe for ingestion. If you have ingested a poisonous mushroom - typically associated with wild mushrooms - call your local Poison Control Centre immediately.
Although mushrooms are typically associated with being a vegetable, they are technically a type of fungus. Before you let that freak you out, fungi are an essential part of our ecosystem. They help breakdown and decompose dead plants and other organic matter that otherwise would not be recycled. They aid in the survival of species from other kingdoms through the supply of nutrients. Those nutrients are not limited to the plants and animals within our planet, but with humans as well. We’ll get more into this when we take a deep dive into how mushrooms can benefit our health through mushroom tea.
For now, it’s essential to note that with the different types of mushrooms, their usage, and levels of toxicity to humans that typically comes when scavenging the forests. We recommend leaving your resourcing for mushrooms to the professionals, which although are the farmers now, we have already kick-started the process to have you on your way to be a professional mushroom field guide in no time.
What Types of Mushrooms Are People Throwing in Teas? Why Are They Doing This?
In the wise words of Paul Stamets: “Mushrooms can save the world”. From reishi, cordyceps, to lions mane, let's look at these three super teas that all come from our ol’ mushroom friend.
The reishi mushroom is a fungi that grows in hot and humid climates located within Asia. This brain enhancing super tea delivers stable energy, improved cognitive function, improved memory and mood, and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. The reishi mushroom is particularly popular among Eastern medicine and has worked its way to be a new favourite of the mushroom teas. Regarded as the “herb of spiritual potency”, reishi’s name represents well-being, divine power, and longevity.
Known for its many different potential health benefits, including its boost to your immune system, this is the perfect tea for one of those days that you’re feeling under the weather. This super mushroom tea is also could have anti-cancer and symptoms. It is attributed to health benefits such as therapeutic properties, such as toning effects, enhancing vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, and anti-aging effects, control of blood glucose, levels, modulation of the immune system, the ability to prevent damage to the liver, bacteriostasis and more.
Cordyceps are a genus of fungi that grows on the larvae of insects. When this fungus latches onto its host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slim stems that grow outside the host’s body. The fungi that have attached itself to the remains have been hand-collected, dried and used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease, and low sex drive. Cordycep delivers improved energy, endurance, optimized cell health, and lowered risk of infections and some forms of cancer, cleanses and detoxifies the body with vitamins and antioxidants, lowers cortisol levels to fight stress. Cordyceps may boost exercise performance, anti-aging properties, potential anti-tumor effects, manage type 2 diabetes, possible benefits for heart health, and help fight inflammation.
The third mushroom we’re going to be looking at is Lion’s Mane. Known for both its culinary and medical uses in Asian countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea. Lion’s Mane mushrooms have many health benefits, it contains bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart, and gut. Lion's Mane could protect against dementia, help relieve mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, may speed recovery from nervous system injuries, protects against ulcers in the digestive tract, reduces heart disease risk, helps manage diabetes symptoms, help fight cancer, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and boost the immune system.
Using teas as a way to get the beneficial nutrients and healing qualities of different herbs and fungi has dated back to the beginning of medicine. This is one of the most ancient and efficient techniques that allows you to take, in this case, mushrooms without eating 10 pounds of mushrooms. Through steeping in water, we are able to stay hydrated and experience healing qualities.
What is the Difference Between These Mushrooms and Magic Mushrooms? Why Do Magic Mushrooms Make You See Things Like You’re In a MGMT Music Video?
You may have heard that mushrooms makes you see some psychedelic, trippy views. This is only in the case of magic mushrooms also known as psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocybin is a naturally-occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic. Psychoactive drugs are substances that change a person’s mental state by affecting the way the brain and nervous system works. It changes functions that occur in the brain and can affect someone's perception, mood, and/or consciousness. Psychedelics have been shown to work against severe depression.
The psychoactive “high” affects is the main difference between the mushrooms discussed above and magic mushrooms. Since they’re made of different compounds that allows them to look different than your ordinary culinary mushrooms you find in a grocery store and have different healing effects.
These types of shroom teas have been used for thousands of years, there are over 75 subtropical species of mushrooms. Taking magic mushrooms can very from person to person. This typically depends on factors such as body chemistry, sensitivity and body weight. Another great factor that affects the potency is the inconsistency from mushroom to mushroom.
What's Going On Across The Country
Although, mushrooms are illegal in most places, in Denver and Oakland magic mushrooms are decriminalized. Also announced very recently, John Hopkins, a University of Medicine has launched the first center devoted exclusively to researching psychedelic drugs in the U.S. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. and the largest research center of its kind in the world, according to the school. The school made a statement that psychedelics “have real potential as medicine, and this new center will help us explore that potential.”
There’s no doubt that since the beginning of herbal medicine, mushrooms have proved to be a proficient, and reliable source of healing benefits. If you’re looking to expand your well-being, and improve certain targeted areas of your body, taking a deep drive into mushroom teas and their uses can help you be on your way to a healthier and healing life.