Medicinal mushrooms come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Many of them have been in use for thousands of years, but it has only been in the last century when we have begun to study them scientifically. Below is little about each of the mushrooms we work with at Profungi. For a broader overview of medicinal mushrooms, start here.
The Maitake Mushroom (Grifola frondosa, Chinese: 豬苓 'Zhu ling', Japanese: マイタケ 'maitake' meaning "dancing mushroom") is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees. Maitake is a delicious edible as well as having a variety of strong medicinal properties.*
In traditional Chinese medicine Maitake is considered; sweet, calming, diuretic, and to work with the stomach and spleen meridians.*
Western holistic medicine views Maitake as; general health enhancer, supporting healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels.*
The cultivation technique for Maitake wasn't developed until 1979. It's not the easiest species to grow, but it is probably the most accessible to use. It makes a great addition to soups, stocks, and stir-fries. Available at many natural grocery stores, try adding it to your regular cooking repertoire .
The active constituents in Maitake include; Polysaccharides grifolan and grifolin-LE, beta-D-glucan, ergosterols, oleic and linoleic acid.*
The Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor – also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor, Chinese: 雲芝 'yun zhi', Japanese: カワラタケ 'kawaratake' meaning "cloud mushroom" ) is perhaps geographically the most widely distributed medicinal mushroom. It is a highly studied polypore mushroom found throughout the world.
In traditional Chinese medicine Turkey Tail is considered; sweet and slightly warming, working within the heart and spleen meridians clearing dampness.*
Western holistic medicine views Turkey Tail as strengthening, energy increasing, immune boosting and is thought to be a biological response modifier.*
Turkey Tail is probably the most studied mushroom in the world. There are more isolated and named components from this mushroom than any other. This mushroom is common, humble, and maybe the most beautiful of the medicinal mushrooms when you find them in the wild.
The active constituents in Turkey Tail include; Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK), Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP), triterpenoids, ergosterols, sitosterols, and coriolan.*
The Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum, Chinese: 靈芝 "lingzhi", Japanese: レイシ 'Reishi' meaning "soul/spirit mushroom") is a species complex that encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally.
In traditional Chinese medicine Reishi is considered; warming, astringent, nourishing, detoxifying, and tonifying.*
Western holistic medicine views Reishi as an adaptagen with the ability to support many different systems in our bodies.*
There have been hundreds if not thousands of studies done with Reishi around the world. The medicinal components have shown the potential to support our; general immune system, liver, heart, bone marrow, and healthy cholesterol levels.*
The active constituents in Reishi include; polysaccharides, triterpenes, glycoproteins, and ergosterols.*
The Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus, Chinese: 猴头菇 'Hou Tou Gu' meaning “monkey head mushroom”, Japanese: ヤマブシタケ 'Yamabushitake' meaning "those who sleep in the mountains") is another delicious edible and medicinal mushroom. Native to North America, Europe and Asia it can be identified by its long spines (greater than 1 cm length), appearing during late summer and fall on hardwoods.
Lion's Mane Extract
In traditional Chinese medicine Lion's Mane is considered; good for the five internal organs, promotes healthy digestion, general vigor, and strength.*
Western holistic medicine views Lion's Mane as neuro supportive and immune stimulating.*
The active constituents in Lion's Mane include; beta-glucoxylan, glucoxylan, Cyathane derivatives, ergosterols, and ergostane derivatives.*
The Red Belted Conk (Fomitopsis pinicola, Japanese: ツガサルノコシカケ'tsugasaruno-koshikake' ) is a member of the polypore family. Prolific in the Pacific Northwest it has a wonderfully sweet smell and taste.
Red Belted Conk Extract
In traditional North American native medicine Red Belted Conk is considered an immune stimulator and anti-inflammatory.*
Its taste is sweet and it has calming tonic energy.*
The active constituents in Red Belted Conk include; polysaccharides, triterpenes, fungisterol, lanosterol, inotodiol and pinicolic acid.*
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus, Japanese: カバノアナタケ 'kabanoana-take' ) is one of the most interesting fungi in the medicinal world. It grows in the northern Birch forests of North America and Eurasia. The part used medicinally is not the fruit body but a part called the sclerotia. It's a mass of incredibly dense mycelium which the fungi uses for storage. The crust of the sclerotia is mostly black because of the large amounts of melanin it contains. This fungi has been an important medical component for the native peoples living in the cold northern climate where it grows.
In traditional Eurasian medicine Chaga is considered an immune stimulator and blood purifier.*
Its taste is bitter and it has a grounding tonic energy.*
The active constituents in Chaga include; polysaccharides, triterpenes, Inotodiol, lanosterol, betulin and trametenolic acid.*