This is a guest article written by Alli Schaper, Tracy Komlos and Brian Friedman, co-founders of The Multiverse, the world’s first curated marketplace for high-quality, functional mushroom products. An education-first brand, the company is focused on empowering people to take control of their mental and physical well-being through the fantastic powers of the fungi kingdom.
As the world begins to recognize mushrooms as a superfood, the potential for fully harnessing the medicinal benefits of them is fast gaining traction! Following the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear to see that a majority of people are looking to give their bodies whatever boost they can get. Many are turning to elixirs and tinctures from superfoods (especially mushrooms) to deliver the nutrients their immune systems need.
Mushrooms are INCREDIBLE. From every angle, they are as biologically impressive as they are tasty as they are ridiculously beneficial to human health. Mycologist Paul Stamets, best known for the TED Talk “6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World,” described mushrooms as “nature’s miniature pharmaceutical factories.”
Fungi live in a kingdom of their own, and most people are fascinated to discover that the genetic composition of mushrooms is actually more similar to humans than plants. Scientists discovered that by analyzing organisms’ genetic material and internal structures, animals and fungi, like mushrooms, shared a common ancestor that held both animal and fungal features.
Aside from tasting awesome and possessing nutritional superpowers, edible mushrooms are perfectly suited to a vegan and anti-inflammatory diet, so can be enjoyed by all. Read on to learn more on which mushrooms are best suited to a future of wellness.
1) Reishi – For Curing All and Chilling Out
With titles ranging from the “Mushroom of Immortality” to the “Queen of Mushrooms” you can only begin to imagine the powers this beautiful mushroom harbors within! Used to support well-being for over 2,000 years in China and Japan, the reishi mushroom is known as the “cure-all” of functional mushrooms, and for many years, this fungus is a staple in Eastern medicine.
The most well-known benefits of reishi are its ability to reduce stress and fatigue and generally help you wind-down, calm the senses and chill out. So powerful is this wonderful fungi, that it can help you reset your body clock and maintain a productive sleep cycle which can also help with stress management.
Also, used for thousands of years during pregnancy, expecting women in Asia seek reishi as an immune builder for themselves and their growing baby. Talk of “reishi babies,” being babies whose mothers received reishi throughout pregnancy, depicts the children as calm, happy and focused. Traits all new mothers would appreciate!
Reishi benefits are myriad; unfortunately, they’re not the tastiest of the fungi family. However, despite being tough and bitter, many clever nutritionists, chefs and scientists have been working hard to make them as palatable as they are good for you.
A tasty treat to try: Made with peanuts, dates, and a subtle hint of Himalayan pink sea salt, the SMPL Chill Bites are combined with hemp extract to keep you relaxed while maintaining focus. Crispy, chewy and delicious!
2) Chaga and Coriolus – For Immunity
These mushrooms are known for their high antioxidant content and immune support benefits. Chaga is believed to lower blood sugar, fight inflammation, reduce blood pressure, ease arthritis, and even prevent or slow the progression of cancer. Wowee!
In one study, the extract of chaga was able to defend biopsied liver tissue from the oxidative effects of a chemical (tertbutyl hydroperoxide) recognized for the cause of liver damage. Magic! Chaga is rich in fiber and essential nutrients, including vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and calcium. It’s also great for keeping the skin looking young and supple.
Chaga-based products to try: Made to be taken everyday, Rainbo’s Chaga tincture carries a potent concentration of bioactive compounds that not only scavenge the body for unwanted cells, but also boost the immune system and help to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol.
3) Lion’s Mane – For Focus
Lion’s mane is a very important mushroom when it comes to the future of wellness. Studies show that it may have a role in nerve regeneration ‘neurogenesis’ for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, but this regeneration also helps generally boost focus.
In one of the few human studies, lion’s mane improved cognitive function in older adults, and in various animal studies, it increased cognition, recognition and memory. The compounds found in Lion’s Mane increase levels of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain which spurs the growth and regeneration of neurons, helping the brain to form new neural pathways. These factors are essential for proper cognitive function.
These brain-boosting effects are thought to come from the two main active compounds of Lion’s Mane: hericenones and diterpenoid erinacines. So, hands up who wants to be a little bit smarter, a little bit sharper and maybe a little bit laser-focused?!
Something to try: The Üphoric Urth Lion’s Mane tincture, meant to be taken 2-3 times a day, to increase your overall mental strength and focus.
4) Cordyceps – For Energy
Known for a myriad of health benefits ranging from boosted sex drive to supporting the immune system, cordyceps may also be the most sinister of the medicinal mushrooms!
Growing like a parasite out of the brains of unsuspecting spiders and insects, cordyceps takes control over the victims central nervous system, forcing their zombified bodies to relocate to a place where the conditions are perfect for the fungus to flourish. For anyone who’s seen the zombie movie ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’, released in 2016, there are startling comparisons!
However, this amazing fungi won’t be hijacking your central nervous system, only helping your body in many wonderful ways. Cordyceps mushrooms contribute to physical activity, boosting athletic performance. In 1993, in fact, Chinese track and field athletes shattered multiple world records and made worldwide headlines, a feat their coach credited to C. sinensis supplements.
Some herbalists also believe that cordyceps can boost libido, slow the aging process, and even protect against cancer. Nice combo!
Looking for convenient ways to get a cordyceps fix? The B.T.R. Energy Bar is great for this, because it is jam-packed with other superfoods like chicory root fiber and tastes great with spices like cinnamon.
5) Tremella and Shiitake – For Skin and Gut Health
Tremella and shiitake mushrooms are your go-to’s for skin and gut health. They are high in vitamin D, selenium and zinc, which also help to maintain skin health. Shiitake mushrooms, in fact, are one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide.
Prized for their rich, savory taste and diverse health benefits; their compounds may help fight cancer, boost immunity, and support heart health too. Shiitake actually contain many of the same amino acids as meat and are often used as a meaty-vegan replacement in popular dishes and snacks.
Where to find it? Check out Pan’s mushroom jerky to get some shiitake in your system while simultaneously enjoying their multitude of flavors. A great, natural fiber supplement.
“Will any of these get me high?”
On life — absolutely, and we caution that you might feel confusingly incredible after you start to incorporate them into your routine. But no, you need not fear floating through the cosmos from the overpriced Chaga-infused cocktails that may be lighting up your ’gram feed. However, psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in “magic mushrooms” certainly will.
Bonus: Magic Mushrooms – For Mental Health & Innerwork
What makes mushrooms magic? Psilocybin, the active ingredient contained in magic mushrooms, is the powerful compound more commonly being used in psychedelic psychotherapy to treat a lot of mental health disorders that up until now were pretty chronic (PTSD, addiction, eating disorders). A lot of the treatments currently being used are band-aids to the solution and are not really curing the illness. Psilocybin, on the other hand, would put patients on the road to permanent recovery.
The goal of a psilocybin psychedelic experience is arguably to experience brief insanity, becoming momentarily dissociated from the ego (also described as short-term departure from your DMN, or default mode network). Countless studies have shown that you emerge on the other side of your trip not only sane, but often with a new perspective on afflictions that presently trouble you, plus a plethora of other benefits.
Psychedelic mushrooms have been proven to rewire and create new pathways in the neuronal structure, which is wild because the brain structure controls everything about how we function.In the most basic sense: psilocybin can transform and improve the way we think, as they may stimulate the very brain growth necessary for learning and change.
Where to learn more? Check out this post on Misunderstood Magic: The Stigma Behind Magic Mushrooms.
Why The Future Of Wellness Is Fungi
From functional and medicinal to magical, fungi is undoubtedly the future of wellness. The Multiverse wants to empower you to take control of your own health and wellness by providing you with easy access to high-quality functional mushroom-based products. Beyond the vetted products found in The Multiverse, our goal is to serve as an ally to the amazing work underway in the booming psychedelics space, being used to cure everything from treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety, addictions, and more.
Whether you’re focused on improving your mental health, looking for simple swaps for a more natural way of living, or just want to enjoy more mushrooms on the go, it’s clear to see that there has never been a better time to increase your intake. Harnessing the benefits of fungi has never been easier. For tips, products, recipes, and more, visit The Multiverse.