Don’t be alarmed from the title of this post. Mushrooms – yes, as in fungi – are on the radar for top wellness trends of 2016, and for good reason! Select mushroom varieties have been termed “medicinal” for their adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-enhancing properties. These more exotic mushrooms found natively in Asia are becoming increasingly more available in dried, liquid extract or in capsule form. So why not reap the benefits and start adding them to your wellness routine? I promise you that this Medicinal Mushroom Latte is not just a “taste-trend” but a nourishing wellness blend that you will actually enjoy – and want to keep around!
Medicinal Mushrooms | Mushrooms have been around for centuries and widely used in alternative medicine practices. However, it has not been until more recently that these mushrooms and their nutrient compounds have been (and continue to be) studied. These compounds that give the mushroom their potent healing qualities are their polysaccharides, which include letinan, beta-glucans, and triterpenoids. These compounds have promising immune-enhancing, cardiovascular-protective properties, anticancer and antibacterial properties that work along side other sterols, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to create a powerful adaptogen.
An adaptogen is a substance that increases the body’s ability to manage stress. They respond to our individual systems, helping us restore balance, manage stress and keep our hormones in check. Pretty amazing, right?
Types of Medicinal Mushrooms + Benefits
- Cordyceps – Promotes anti-aging, increase strength, stamina and athletic performance, protects kidney and liver and promote liver function in those with hepatitis B. It works as a powerful antioxidant and enhances the immune system, lowers cholesterol, increases blood circulation, dilates lung airways and treats respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and cough, treats fatigue and increase energy. It’s used as an aphrodisiac, can increase fertility and treat erectile dysfunction, etc.
- Chaga – anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and enhances the immune system. It’s the highest in antioxidants and help with hypertension and diabetes, etc.
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) – the most well researched mushroom – Enhances the immune system, protect and overcome viral infections such as the flu, treats hepatitis, kidney and liver disease, improves circulation, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. Reduces stress, anxiety, insomnia, gastric ulcers and arthritis. Improves cognitive function and memory, improves symptoms from chemotherapy and bronchitis and asthma, etc.
- Shiitake– anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties. Regulate hormones, breakdown cortisol and lower stress. It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and improves circulation. Fights viral infections, improve liver function, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, fights off colds and flu. Treats weakness and respiratory disease symptoms, etc.
- Maitake – anti-cancer, antiviral, and immune-enhancing properties. Reduces blood pressure, blood sugar, and hyperlipidemia. Aids in weight loss or control, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and reduces side effects of chemotherapy treatment, etc.
- Turkey Tail – anticancer and increases effectiveness of chemotherapy, while reducing toxic effects. It is immune enhancing and treats fatigue, hepatitis, liver disease, pulmonary disorders, impetigo, and upper respiratory, urinary and digestive tract infections, etc.
- King Oyster – anti-inflammatory, and prevents, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, diarrhea and gastritis. Used in preventing and treating the flu, common cold and allergies, etc.
- Lion’s Mane – anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune enhancing properties. Improves cognitive function, anxiety, depression, arthritis and stimulates production of Nerve Growth Factor (NFG). Regulates blood pressure, high cholesterol, and fights infections, etc.
Where to buy medicinal mushrooms | Fortunately, these powders are coming more readily available, but I find the easiest and most convenient way to purchase is online. You can buy the mushroom powders as blends of multiple varieties or on their own. Some of my favorites can be founds here: Sunpotion and Moon Juice and Om (previously Mushroom Matrix).
As for this wellness tonic, it’s a blend of medicinal mushroom powders, warming spices and other health boosting ingredients like maca and MCT oil (or coconut oil) steamed together in cashew milk. Blending the warm liquid in a high-speed blender turns it into a delicious frothy beverage. As for taste, the mushrooms give a slight earthiness but it is balanced out by the natural sweetness of the cashew milk, the cinnamon and the malty-flavor of the maca powder. If you need more sweetness a few drops of stevia or a drizzle of honey works perfectly. I promise this revitalizing and immune-boosting latte will be the drink you’ll want to keep sipping on throughout these cold months.
Medicinal Mushroom Latte
- 1 cup cashew milk
- 1 tsp mushroom powder reishi, shiitake, chaga, cordyceps, etc or blend
- ½ tsp maca powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1-2 drops of stevia or 1 tsp honey or sweetener of your choice optional
- 1 tsp MCT oil or coconut oil optional, but recommended
In a small sauce pan, heat all ingredients to a simmer.
Transfer the liquid to a blender and blend starting on low and working up to high for 1 minute, until foamy.
Pour into a mug and enjoy hot!
Recipe NotesThe foam comes from the MCT oil or coconut oil emulsifying with the other ingredients. It's not necessary but highly recommend.
I hope you made it this far in the post! I hope you are intrigued by this health promoting tonic and are willing to give it a try. I promise it won’t disappoint! Let me know what you think and if you make it, snap a pic and #nourishedbynutrition.