MUSHROOM FACTS

Cordyceps/ Cordyceps militaris 

Ahh, life-enhancing cordyceps. The perfect substitute for caffeine in your daily health regime, offering the energetic buzz that coffee fiends crave, without the crash of the nervous system or the post two-cup anxiety jitters. The all natural, antioxidant dense magic medicinal mushroom that offers a generous boost to energy and can supercharge your athletic performance and sexual health.

Within Traditional Chinese Medicine, cordyceps is used as the ultimate tonic herb to increase endurance. Not just endurance of physical or sexual activity, but also long-term endurance over the course of your lifetime. Longevity and vitality throughout the decades is the energetic intention of this mushroom. Cordyceps has anti-aging benefits, anti-cancer properties, supports healthy digestion, and acts as a natural pre-workout energizer.

Cordyceps Militaris and Sinensis: 2 of many

Cordyceps commonly grows in high altitude mountains of China, Tibet, and Nepal. The genus (or group) of Cordyceps fungi includes hundreds of species. Two of these species have become the focus of health and research in recent years, due to their many purported health benefits and use in traditional Chinese medicine; Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. Cordyceps militaris is the species you’ll find in our signature Flow State blend.

 Most species of cordyceps are parasitic on insects and anthropods, and some are parasitic to other fungi. While chaga is parasitic to their host trees, cordyceps are parasitic to their host insects. There are many incredible scientific accounts of fascinating yet deadly cordyceps, such as the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus.

“The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus has just one goal: self-propagation and dispersal. Researchers think the fungus, found in tropical forests, infects a foraging ant through spores that attach and penetrate the exoskeleton and slowly takes over its behaviour.”

Videos are definitely worth the watch.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/04/cordyceps-zombie-fungus-takes-over-ants/

While incredibly grateful that the species of cordyceps contained in Flow State does not plant itself in your brain and control your behavior, this incredible phenomenon demonstrates the highly motivated nature of fungi to spread their spores, or expand the mycelial network of fungi-aficionados.  It’s no surprise that people who use medicinal mushrooms in their personal wellbeing regime are quick and eager to share their benefits, almost becoming a spokesperson for the mushroom. There is a depth of intelligence we can only begin to understand.

Why we love cordyceps:

  • This genus of fungi are well known in the natural kingdom for their lethal mind-controlling power in ants, leading these creatures to their imminent death from high places to spread its spores as widely as possible
  • Anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties make cordyceps militaris a potent natural medicine for longevity and endurance
  • Libido and energy enhancing; referred to in Eastern medicine as “the Olympic mushroom’. At one point cordyceps was so valuable to people that it was selling for its weight in gold!

 Our cordyceps is dual extracted in in rice alcohol and hot water extract. It is an 10:1 ratio, meaning it takes 10 kilos of dried cordyceps mushroom to make 1 kilo of the cordyceps extract powder in our blend. The dual extraction process means it can be ingested hot or cold, without removing any medicinal benefits of the fungi. 

Benefits of Cordyceps

  • Endurance- short term for athletic performance and sexual prowess, and long term for enhancing vitality and longevity in optimal health.
  • Energy enhancing- cordyceps has been shown to enhance blood flow and increase oxygen absorption and utilization in the body, making it the perfect supplement to increase alertness and energy.
  • Cordyceps militaris is used as a boost when used with other herbal medicines, amplifying the positive effects of other tonic herbs.
  • Cordyceps is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and supports a health immune system.
  • Excellent for sexual health: cordyceps support hormonal health and increases libido and stamina.

Like the other mushrooms featured in our Flow State blend, most of the scientific research on Cordyceps militaris has been conducted in lab (in vitro) or animal studies. However, its use is widespread in traditional medicine practices, and is documented for centuries to benefit human health and wellbeing. The results from these studies reinforce traditional uses.

Scientific Studies:

 

LIONS MANE: HERICIUM ERINACEUS

Used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes, Lions Mane has been a go-to mushroom for boosting cognitive health and memory, immunity, and mitigating anxiety and depression. Popular with biohackers worldwide to enhance their cognitive spectrum, added to restaurant menus by the worlds’ top chefs, and medically trialed in attempts to combat Alzheimer’s disease, Lions Mane has burst back into the mainstream.

These white, globe-shaped fungi have long shaggy spines like a Lions Mane. It grows wild on deciduous trees and is now cultivated on sawdust substrates. We only use the fruited body of the mushroom, and not mycelium on grain (MOG). These natural substrates contain precursors that guarantee the production of important medicinal compounds. 

WHY WE LOVE LIONS MANE:

  • Lions Mane is an immunomodulator that is helpful in conditions where immunity is compromised.
  • Clinical trials showing Lions Mane is helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease restoring neuron activity.
  • May support a calm nervous system and help mitigate depression.

Our Lions Mane extract is processed by a hot water extraction process, and is an 10:1 ratio. This means that it takes 10 kilograms of dried mushroom to produce 1 kilogram of extract powder. The extract can be ingested hot or cold, without compromising the quality of the product.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF LIONS MANE:

While research is ongoing, studies have shown that lions mane may provide several health benefits, including:

  • Nerve health
  • Cognitive function
  • Immunity

Contemporary studies and clinical trials featuring Lions Mane are mostly animal-based and test-tube studies (in vitro). Few studies have been done featuring humans, however, those that have been done demonstrate promising results-validating the historical and traditional uses within Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

Historically within Traditional Chinese Medicine, Lions Mane has been used to fortify the spleen, nourish the gut, and fight cancer. When integrated with mainstream/conventional medicine, Lions Mane could amplify effects of neurological treatments to provide excellent synergy and sustainability for patients. 

We’ve provided a summary of our research below, along with some scientific studies that we found informative. As always, we encourage you to dive into the mycelial web of wisdom and decide for yourself. We also encourage you to speak with your doctor or natural health practitioner if you have any concerns about whether taking lions mane is right for you. 

SOME INTERESTING ASPECTS OF THE STUDIES:

Lions mane has been shown to benefit adults with cognitive impairment. The bioactive compounds from lions mane mycelia have been shown to stimulate the synthesis of nerve growth, an essential function of the neurons in the central nervous system. These incredible results show that lions mane may play a vital role in defeating dementia and other diseases of cognitive degeneration, such an Alzheimer’s disease. 

Clinical trials in both humans and mice have shown that lions mane contributes significantly to improved cognitive functioning compared to the controlled placebo group. Studies conducted in Japan in 2008 and 2010 have shown the promising effect of lions mane for dementia, as well as the clinical effects of menopause. Great for men and women! 

In 2008, Mori et. al. conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women with mild cognitive impairment to assess the efficacy of Lion’s Mane for improving this condition. The experimental group subjects took a Lion’s Mane supplement for 16 weeks. Their cognitive function was assessed based on the Revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale (HDS-R). The Lion’s Mane group showed significantly increased scores compared to the placebo group at Weeks 8, 12, and 16. Scores decreased significantly 4 weeks after the termination of the study. During the experiment, no adverse effects were found in the Lion’s Mane group. While a relatively small sample of only 30 individuals, this randomized human research data suggests that Lion’s Mane Mushroom is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment.

In 2010, Nagano et. al. assessed the clinical effects of Lion’s Mane on menopause, depression, sleep quality and indefinite complaints. After 4 weeks of consumption, scores of depression were significantly lower in the Lion’s Mane group, as measured by the Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in scores of the Indefinite Complaints Index (ICI) within the Lion’s Mane group. In particular, “insensitive” and “palpitation” terms of the ICI were significantly lower in the Lion’s Mane group that in the placebo. Moreover, “concentrations”, “irritating” and “anxious” tended to be lower in the Lion’s Mane group. These results indicate that Lion’s Mane may have the potential to reduce depression and anxiety. Additional studies on a larger population and for a longer duration may be warranted to continue validating these potential benefits and draw deeper insights for applications.

It is important to note that we cannot provide statements about the benefits of Lions Mane. Please find number of scientific studies on the benefits of Lions Mane at the bottom of this post.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research to see if Lions Mane is right for you. 

Consult a physician if you are pregnant or nursing, have or had a medical condition, or are taking prescription medicine. 

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES:

  • Mori K. et.al., Improving Effects of the Mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial. PHYTOTHERAPY RESEARCH
    Phytother. Res. 23, 367–372 (2009)
  • Nagano, Mayumi, Kuniyoshi Shimizu, Ryuichiro Kondo, Chickako Hayashi, Daigo Sato, Katsuyuki Kitagawa, and Koichiro Ohnuki. “Reduction of Depression and Anxiety by 4 Weeks Hericium Erinaceus Intake.” Biomedical Research 31, no. 4 (2010): p. 231. doi:10.2220/biomedres.31.231.
  • Wong KH et.al., Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration. Chin J Integr Med. 2014 Aug 26
  • Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21383512
  • The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27809277
  • Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237458/
  • Anti-Gastric Ulcer Activity of Polysaccharide Fraction Isolated from Mycelium Culture of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26853960

 

REISHI: GANODERMA LUCIDUM

Ganoderma lucidum in Latin, or Lingzhi to the Chinese, reishi mushrooms represents spiritual potency and the essence of immorality. Ling zhi translates to mushrooms of immortality, and in Japan, known as mannentake, which translates to the 10,000 year mushroom. Reishi is traditionally associated with royalty, health, longevity, sexual prowess, wisdom, and happiness. Sounds good to me.

Ganos- brightness

Derma- skin, shining skin

Lucidem- shining

This woody mushrooms with a glossy exterior is shaped like a fan, with mandala like rings akin to tree rings emanating from the center. Reishi mushroom is incredibly bitter, although edible. 

The reishi mushroom is a polypore fungus, and grows on the base and stumps of deciduous trees, especially hemlock and maple. However, it may be cultivated on hardwood logs, sawdust, or woodchips. There are six different types of Ganoderma lucidum; red, purple, green, white, yellow, and black. All are heralded with health and chi benefits within Chinese medicine, however the red mushroom is most commonly used and is the most well studied, thought to be most medicinally beneficial. 

WHY WE LOVE REISHI:

  • Known as the king or queen of mushrooms, reishi has been used to support health and wellbeing in China and Japan for thousands of years; due to its rarity in nature, it was considered for royalty only.
  • Regarded as the herb of spiritual potency, symbolizing success, well-being, divine power, and longevity.
  • The perfect companion to immunity elixirs and for an evening chill out. 

Our reishi is dual extracted in in rice alcohol and hot water extract. It is an 8:1 ratio, meaning it takes 8 kilos of dried reishi chunks to make 1 kilo of the reishi powder in our blend. The dual extraction process means it can be ingested hot or cold, without removing any medicinal benefits of the fungi. 

We’ve provided a summary of our research below. As always, we encourage you to dive into the mycelial web of wisdom and decide for yourself. We also encourage you to speak with your doctor or natural health practitioner if you have any concerns about whether taking reishi is right for you. 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF REISHI

Chinese texts have recorded medicinal uses of lingzhi for more than 2000 years. 

Today, it’s most common uses include the following:

  •  Calming the central nervous system and helping the body react to stress
  • A rich source of antioxidants
  • Boosting immunity

The chamomile tea of mushrooms, this anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting fungi will help you relax at the end of the day. Reishi is also used throughout the day to keep your nervous system nice and calm- helping you chill out and respond to life with ease. Reishi is a herbal medicine and an adaptogen, helping your body optimise its functioning where extra attention is needed. 

Reshi contains protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fibre, as well as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, manganese, and zinc. Reishi contains chemicals that seem to have a variety of potentially beneficial effects on human health, including its ability to kill cancer cells, and it’s boosting effects on the immune system. Reishi also contains antioxidants, polysaccharides, and beta-glucans, all playing important role in the immune system and in fighting off tumorous cells. 

Most studies with reishi have been conducted in vitro, as well as animal studies. However, studies have been conducted with human subjects using both reishi, as well as specific compounds found in reishi. 

In a study of 132 patients with physical and mental exhaustion caused by neurasthenia, consumption of a compound found in reishi mushrooms was shown to reduce pain, aches, and alleviate feelings of irritability. 

Two randomized, controlled trials have been conducted with cancer patients using reishi. In both of these studies, cellular immunity in 80% and 65% of patients, respectively, was significantly enhanced. Evidence from smaller studies are showing promising results using reishi to shrink tumors in cancer patients, with the connection being made to beta glucans and triterpenes in the mushroom. 

Please find number of scientific studies on the benefits of Reishi at the bottom of this post.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research to see if Reishi is right for you. 

Consult a physician if you are pregnant or nursing, have or had a medical condition, or are taking prescription medicine. 

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES:

 

CHAGA: INONOTUS OBLIQUUS

Known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’, chaga grows on birch trees throughout the circumboreal region of the northern hemisphere. Canada, China, Siberia, and Russia provide excellent climatic conditions to produce an abundance of this potent fungi medicine. 

Technically, chaga is a parasite, using the birch tree as a host on which to feed for nutrients. Chaga can live on a host tree for 10-80 years, continually causing decay, until eventually the host tree will perish.  

Used in traditional Russian and Chinese herbal medicine for centuries for a range of conditions, chaga carries many names and cultural uses around the world; birch mushroom, birch canker, black mass, clinker, or conk. In Norway, it is called kreftkjuke, which literally translates to “cancer fungus” due to its purported health properties.    

WHY WE LOVE CHAGA:

  • Canadian connection! Half our team is Canadian and has grown up seeing chaga on her winter walks through birch tree forests.
  • The enthusiasm chaga users elude, as if their testimonials are chaga itself trying to expand its user network and spread its spores
  • Chaga’s immense immunity-boosting properties for optimal inner health.

Our chaga is dual extracted in in rice alcohol and hot water extract. It is an 8:1 ratio, meaning it takes 8 kilos of dried chaga chunks to make 1 kilo of the chaga powder in our blend. The dual extraction process means it can be ingested hot or cold, without removing any medicinal benefits of the fungi. This is the process to pull the beneficial compounds out of the Chaga mushroom – Beta-D-Glucans, the compound responsible for the immune boosting effects of Chaga.

We’ve provided a summary of our research below. As always, we encourage you to dive into the mycelial web of wisdom and decide for yourself. We also encourage you to speak with your doctor or natural health practitioner if you have any concerns about whether taking chaga is right for you. 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHAGA 

While research is ongoing, studies have shown that chaga may provide several health benefits, including:

  • -Stimulating and regulating the immune system 
  • -Reducing inflammation
  • -Supporting healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels 

Chaga Mushroom is an adaptogen. Adaptogenic plants and mushrooms help to bring the body back into balance and have beneficial effects on the nervous system, immune system, the GI tract, the cardiovascular system and the endocrine system.

By supporting the body and mind in these ways, adaptogens help us to cope with stress, stay healthy during the cold and flu season, fight cancer, and lift us out of the dark depths of depression and adrenal burnout. They have immune-modulating properties that make them helpful in treating auto-immune diseases and have high levels of anti-oxidants that protect cells from damaging free radicals. Adaptogens gently tone and support the body systems over time and need to be taken for a minimum time of two months to develop the full effect of their healing powers.

Chaga is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including B-vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, iron, calcium, and manganese. It’s basically a full throttle multi-vitamin. 

Chaga is also extremely high in melanin, a pigment responsible for tanning skin exposed to sunlight. Therefore, chaga may protect the skin from sun damage, skin cancer, wrinkles, or aging. Melanin is also a potent antioxidant with the highest naturally occurring oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scored of any food. 

Chaga is used widely in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Naturopathic Medicine, and by alternative and traditional health practitioners around the world. Chaga is part of the widespread global movement returning to our ancestral roots of natural, prevention-based healing, keeping the body healthy and vital before it gets sick. 

                

Chaga has also been shown to have protective properties against tumors, viruses, allergies, inflammation, and pain. In vitro laboratory students show that chaga mushroom exhibits anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory effects. In animal studies, chaga demonstrates cognitive enhancing, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer properties. (See attached studies below!)

Many contemporary studies boasting the benefits of chaga have been conducted in vitro, or on mice. However, their results are validating what has been believed and practiced within Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries! While there have been no clinical studies on humans (yet) to date, chaga mushrooms have been studied on human cells. Chaga has been shown to kill cancerous cells on human colon cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, brain cancer cells, hepatoma cells, and lung-cancer cells. 

There is also ample anecdotal evidence from people using chaga to reassure new users of its efficacy and potency. 

Studies are showing the vital role chaga could play in many common diseases and illnesses plaguing human society today; including diabetes, inflammation, high-blood pressure, and cognitive impairment. 

This is an essential for your natural health cabinet for strengthening the body’s natural immune defense, and overall wellbeing. It’s safe to use regularly, with only a few counter-indications!

COUNTER-INDICATIONS:

Research shows that you should NOT be taking chaga under the following conditions:

  • If you currently taking blood thinners, as chaga mushroom holds natural blood thinning properties, and could be too much on a system already using synthetic blood thinners
  • If you’re pregnant, please consult with your doctor or natural health practitioner to see if using chaga is safe for you.
  • Consuming chaga should be carefully considered by diabetics who are already taking blood sugar-lowering medications. Chaga mushrooms contains anti-diabetic properties that can lower blood sugar naturally. Therefore, consuming chaga with synthetic blood sugar lowering medication could to dangerous.  

 Please find number of scientific studies on the benefits of Chaga at the bottom of this post.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research to see if Chaga is right for you. 

Consult a physician if you are pregnant or nursing, have or had a medical condition, or are taking prescription medicine. 

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES:

 

History of Turkey Tail

In the wild, Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) grows on dead hardwood throughout the world. Don’t be fooled by the name, however, because Turkey Tail is 100-percent vegan and doesn’t contain any animal parts! Its distinctive layered stripes of brown, tan, gray and white can be stunning. Inspired by its natural beauty, the Japanese call it “kawaritake,” or “cloud mushroom,” due to its resemblance to swirling clouds.

In many Asian cultures, Turkey Tail symbolizes longevity and health, spiritual attunement and infinity. Known in Chinese culture as Tun Zhi, it has been used for centuries by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an immunomodulator that boosts immune function and helps fight infections. 

 

Why we Love Turkey Tail

Brewed into a soothing tea and administered to clear dampness, increase energy, and strengthen the lungs, stomach and spleen, the mushroom’s ability to support the health of both an underactive and overactive immune system is unique and long valued among physicians of traditional medicine. 

So revered for its immune health properties, the Turkey tail mushroom was used in traditional medicine to provide potential antitumor mechanisms, and for pulmonary health issues. In Japan, for example, a purified hot water extract of Turkey Tail was traditionally made from cultivated mycelium and used as a support for those recovering from cancer.

Benefits of Turkey Tail

One of the most researched of all functional mushrooms, Turkey Tail is in a class of its own. It is known in particular for its potent natural polysaccharides, such as a protein-bound molecule known as  polysaccharide K (PSK), one of many polysaccharides that studies have shown can support a healthy and robust immune response, as well as polysaccharide peptide (PSP), which can help support management of an inflammatory response at the cellular level.

Turkey Tail also features a broad array of naturally occurring compounds that help improve stamina and support gut health, which, in turn, can correlate with a healthy immune system. It is packed with antioxidants, including powerful flavonoids and more than 35 phenols. They promote immune system health by helping management of inflammation and by stimulating the release of supportive compounds. It’s also replete in prebiotics, which nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut and restore a balance of good flora in the gastrointestinal tract, helping with improved digestion and immune response.

Ways to Incorporate Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Turkey Tail, like all functional mushrooms, truly shines when you take it daily (whether that’s through food, tea or supplements). In many cultures, mushrooms such as Turkey Tail appear in soups or teas that are consumed to help support and regulate the immune system and improve overall health and wellness. With its mild taste - that some describe as mildly sweet - Turkey Tail is an easy ingredient to mix into a dish, side or beverage of your choice. In the winter, stir it into bone broth, soup, oatmeal or hot tea; in the summer, feel free to blend it with a smoothie or even whisk it into a salad dressing. 

It’s important to mention that not all superfood mushrooms are created equal. Om Mushrooms offers a number of Turkey Tail supplements, including organic whole food mushroom powders, convenient capsule form, and naturally flavored drink mix powders to add to water, to support immunity and an active lifestyle. If you’re ready to make the leap to proactive health and vitality, Om Superfood Mushrooms is a great place to begin to reap the benefits of these functional mushroom.

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6044372/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618583/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890100/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369477/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890100/

Information has been sourced from Om Mushroom super food + Flow State website

Amy Myszko is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, nutritional consultant, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and freelance writer. Her writing work focuses on the benefits of natural remedies and holistic health. She lives with her two daughters and many animals in Espanola, New Mexico.