In the constant battle to fight cold and flu, medicinal mushrooms are having their moment in the spotlight. Nowadays, medicinal mushrooms are making their way into coffee, tinctures, even moisturizers. Even with thousands of medicinal mushrooms being used since ancient times, these seven continue to make headlines.
Why Are Mushrooms Good?
Mushrooms are wonderful at improving our immune system. They’re extremely rich in beta-D-glucans, beta-glycosides, and other potent substances determined to stimulate our immune system. Not to mention, many mushrooms species contain the minerals our system needs to fight infections. It’s their richness in magnesium, selenium, and zinc that makes them the perfect natural remedy to fight influenza.
1. Maitake Mushrooms
Also known as “Hen-of-the-Woods” mushrooms, these edibles are as tasty as they are beneficial. One study found that maitake mushroom extract was able to inhibit influenza A virus from spreading significantly. Researchers also found that when combined with shiitake mushrooms, the effects were even more powerful.
Find them as: edible mushrooms at the supermarket, tincture, and dried capsule forms.
2. Shiitake Mushrooms
An Asian culinary staple, shiitake mushrooms are easily found in local markets. One of their most significant strengths is their antiviral activities, said to fight the hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus, the herpes simplex virus, and influenza. Researchers found that shiitake mushrooms inhibit the growth of influenza virus by preventing the entry of a viral infection.
Find them as: edible mushrooms at the supermarket, tinctures, and dried products.
3. Reishi Mushrooms
Recognized as a potent medicinal mushroom for thousands of years, reishi mushrooms are often not found in edible forms. However, the powerful mushroom has proven helpful in combating herpes, hepatitis, and many viruses. The mushroom has also been found useful in killing the influenza A virus, which is often responsible for the outbreak of colds and flu throughout the season.
Find them as: tinctures, capsules, and powder forms.
4. Cordyceps Mushrooms
Technically considered a parasitic fungus, these still make our mushroom list. Cordyceps are known for their antifungal and antibacterial properties and are also said to help with fatigue and libido. When used as an extract, cordyceps mushrooms have an anti-influenza effect capable of killing the virus at a cellular level. Additionally, cordyceps mushrooms have been proven to improve lung health by reducing chronic inflammation, often linked to asthma and other lung conditions.
Find them as: pills, powders, and tincture forms.
5. Oyster Mushrooms
After a long research process, researchers found that oyster mushrooms are rich in a substance called shikimic acid. The newfound substance is used to produce the anti-flu medication oseltamivir. Researchers found that the presence of this substance in oyster mushrooms makes them excellent natural remedies to fight the influenza virus.
Find them as: fresh mushrooms at the supermarket, or dried mushrooms.
6. Chaga Mushroom
Chaga mushrooms are known for their impressive anti-inflammatory properties and immune system boosting qualities. Thanks to their specialized proteins that help regulate the immune system, Chaga mushrooms can stimulate white blood cell production, essential for fighting viruses. So far, animal studies with Chaga have proven helpful at noticing their impressive assistance in reducing gut damage by reducing inflammation.
Find them as: teas, supplement form, or extracts.
7. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Also known as the “smart mushroom,” the lion’s mane mushroom has superb immune-boosting properties. So far, animal studies prove that lion’s mane can boost immunity by protecting our gut. Most of the research suggests its ability to promote overall gut health by maintaining a robust immune system.
Find them as: edible mushrooms at the supermarket, capsules, liquid extracts, tablets, and powders.
A Word from GR8NESS
Medicinal mushrooms and their benefits show incredible promise in animal and in vitro studies. However, their effects on humans and long-term benefits are yet to be proven. While most of these mushrooms are safe to enjoy for culinary purposes, you should speak with a doctor before using them as supplements.