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An Introduction to Functional Mushrooms

Functional mushrooms have been used for eons in traditional medicine systems all over the world. In fact, the use of functional mushrooms by humans dates back to Ancient Egypt and...

Functional mushrooms have been used for eons in traditional medicine systems all over the world. In fact, the use of functional mushrooms by humans dates back to Ancient Egypt and China (and most likely back to the beginning of man since there is evidence that many Ape species consume them regularly).

Mushrooms for human consumption are typically split into 3 categories: Gourmet (Think white mushrooms or truffles), Functional (also called medicinal) and therapeutic (our magical friends).

Functional mushrooms offer incredible and diverse health benefits especially combatting the difficulties of the 21st century such as stress, fatigue and pollution. We don’t want to get too caught up in the nitty gritty but we would like to share some of the profound benefits of the functional mushrooms we love in our Smart Mushroom Coffee.

Chaga

Chaga mushroom is known as the "King of Mushrooms," and it lives up to its name. Chaga's usage dates back to Ancient Rome, however a wealth of traditional knowledge is derived from Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Native American people. For some indigenous people across Northern Canada, Chaga holds a significant place in their medicine, mythology and ceremonies dating back hundreds if not thousands of years. From ancient times to modern day, people have talked about how this mushroom can help boost immunity, prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation, improve skin health, and alleviate digestive discomfort.

It is a potent adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress which in turn enhances focus and energy levels. It is also a major stimulant of the immune system, boosting white blood cell counts. They also contain beta-glucans, and triterpenes that further support immune health, reduce inflammation, and potentially even have anti-cancer properties. Finally, it has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food, helping us deal with oxidative and inflammatory stress caused by toxins, chemicals, and pollution.

Lions Mane

Traditionally, this mushroom was used for stomach ailments and digestive issues, and as an immune booster. Lion's Mane is the mushroom that can help you achieve focus, easy recall, and creativity, allowing your brain to function at its peak.

The secret sauce of Lion’s Mane comes from hericenones and erinacines, two compounds that stimulate the production of a protein know as Nerve Growth Factor. NGF plays a critical role in brain correlated to focused attention, arousal, motivation, memory, and learning. It also stimulates neurogenesis, we’ll explore this topic in a later email.

It has been shown to support heart health, nervous system, and digestion function. It can help protect against ulcers in the digestive tract, manage diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. It alleviates menopausal symptoms, anxiety and improves sleep quality. It helps protect against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and damage to the nervous system from strokes. The list goes on and on. This one mushroom alone will change your life.

Cordyceps

Cordyceps, an unusual but highly prized functional mushroom, has been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries for its ability to improve lung and kidney function and promote essential vitality.

Up until recent times, they have not been easy to come by. They were found in the high mountains of Asia and scarcely at that. In China, they say “those who buy it don’t eat it, and those who eat it don’t buy it.” Meaning it was often given as a gift from those in positions of power. Fortunately with advances in mycology we are now able to simulate their growing conditions across the world and we are all able to enjoy their incredible benefits.

Cordyceps stimulates mitochondrial ATP generation and enhances cellular response. They enhance energy utilization naturally increasing our stamina while simultaneously reducing muscular fatigue. They also have many immune-boosting effects. They contain antioxidants, they have anti-tumor and anti-inflammation properties and stimulate testosterone biosynthesis to help with post workout recovery.

Functional mushrooms are the ultimate multitaskers. They can boost your immune system, reduce stress, and even regulate your energy levels. This is no ordinary cup of Joe.

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