Adaptogenic mushrooms are mushrooms that help you "adapt" to the stressors in your life. Stress causes multiple physical changes in your body that can, if left untreated or unaddressed, lead to damage over time.
Adaptogenic mushrooms function as natural medicine to help counter the negative effects of stress on your body. They can boost immune function, decrease cortisol levels, and even encourage a sense of calm.
How do Adaptogenic Mushrooms Work?
Adaptogenic mushrooms (or other adaptogenic herbs) can be added into your diet via eating, taking a supplement or drinking in the form of tea to improve your overall health.
In particular, adaptogens help your body cope with stress, handle anxiety, and decrease fatigue by actually changing how your body responds to both internal and external stressors.
These types of mushrooms keep your body functioning in a state of homeostasis (or in other words keep you steady and balanced) which vastly improves the health of every system in the body allowing your body to run on autopilot.
What Types of Mushrooms are Adaptogenic?
Not all mushrooms are created equal. In order to qualify as an adaptogen, a mushroom must meet these three criteria:
- Must be nontoxic at normal doses.
- Should support entire body’s ability to cope with stress.
- Should help the body return to a state of homeostasis regardless of how much damage has been caused from stress.
The Reishi Mushroom is known as the “mushroom of immortality” and is said to improve the immune system and boost energy levels. These mushrooms have been shown to lower cholesterol and help treat lower urinary tract issues.
Chaga mushrooms are known for their anti-inflammatory properties as well as antiviral, antitumor, antidiabetic, and antioxidant effects. Chaga in particular can have a very bitter taste so ingesting this mushroom as a supplement is usually the best way to go in terms of palatability.
Cordyceps mushroom is recommended as a tonic for many illnesses and is found to help alleviate fatigue, stamina, libidio, endurance, moderate appetite, and improve sleep. It is actually a combination of both a fungus and a caterpillar and has been used for hundreds of years in ancient Chinese medicine. It has been shown to assist in improving cancer, erectile dysfunction, asthma, diabetes, tuberculosis, and the common cold, as well as increasing stamina and endurance, especially for athletes.
Lion’s Mane is another adaptogenic mushroom purported to improve cognitive function, increase heart health, and to reduce inflammation. It also has been linked to improvements in anxiety and depression as well as boosting overall immune system health.
The shiitake mushroom, unlike some of its other fungi counterparts, is known not only for the health benefits it provides but also for its use in the culinary world. This powerhouse can reduce inflammation, improve heart health, lower cholesterol, improve skin and hair health, and provide protection against cancer.
No matter which adaptogenic mushroom you choose, you can rest easy knowing you will reap the benefits, both physical and mental.
Add one, or a combination of many, to your daily supplement regimen or add them to beverages, teas, soups, and stews to protect your body against the stress of everyday life.