Ingredient Spotlight: Mushrooms
For most of my life I have had a distaste for mushrooms. You know, when they say there is a thin line between love and hate, they’re not kidding. Most recently my irreverence for mushrooms has done an about face and evolved into an appreciation for them…OK it may be bordering on obsession.
Hi, my name is Lindsay and I am in love with fungi.
(That’s me below biting a piece of Chaga, but don’t try that at home, Chaga walls are made of chitin, one of the hardest of all naturally occurring materials known to date. Proper cooking required)
If you can believe it, it all started with a facial cleanser. Red Flower’s Phytopower Sea Cleanser + Masque; this unique multitasking solution made such a drastic difference in my skin. I of course dove head first into researching the ingredients.
Chaga, Maitake, Reishi…Oh My!
I began poring over articles, blogs, books, Ted talks and even ordering items like mushroom stew when dining out and drinking Chaga tea and Cordycep coffee. And do you know what I found out?
Mushrooms can literally save the world. No joke. And are pretty darn good for you too.
Whether you are already intrigued by fungi or were once like me (naïve to the startling impressiveness of mushrooms) you owe it to your own health and the health of mother earth to educate yourself on these magic…umm…mushrooms and Mycology, the scientific study of fungi.
Anatomy of Fungi
Mycelium – the rooting parts, super vital for our ecosystem, like a spider web inside all soil.
Fruiting Body – this is what you see most of the time, what you’re foraging for, like an apple or an orange if comparing to a tree, the life force of fungi.
Spore – is like the seed, the life force sprouts from this.
Fungi is the oldest thing on earth
We are similar to mushrooms! We have at least 50% of the same DNA as mushrooms. That’s why fungi medicine is so bioavailable to us!
Mushrooms can eat rock. (Among other things)
There are 1.5 million forms of fungi
Mushrooms are immune-regulators, meaning they can both calm or stimulate your immune system based on your body’s needs.
Mushrooms are different from plants in the way that they do not produce their own food. They need food from outside sources.
They can break down organic and in-organic items into usable substances. For example: diesel oil, plastic, chemicals, radiation (What?!! I know-life changing right?)
Here are a few mushrooms that may be worth incorporating into your life
The most studied of the medicinal mushrooms, Reishi mushrooms grow on trees, like Hemlocks. Are often referred to as the mushroom of immortality due to its positive effects on the immune system, its detoxing effects on the liver and because it is an adaptogen, helping us adapt to stressors. This particular fungi aids in in grounding and calming. Recommend for the afternoon and evening because its help with providing better sleep quality. Also helpful this time of year with allergies or allergic reactions in general.
The Chaga mushroom physically has different characteristics than some other fungi as it tends to look like a part of the tree, mostly growing on birch trees. It has the highest number of antioxidants of anything in the world! Yes, you heard that right – of anything in the world!
Very anti-inflammatory, high source of melanin therefore an effective internal sunblock. This fungi is antiviral, often called a force field in a cup. Chaga is great for digestive issues + gut health and full of minerals like magnesium + zinc.
Not typical medicinal mushroom, the Cordycep is a parasitic mushroom that commonly grows on insects. But here me out before you pass on this one! It is THE Strongest energy booster and supports adrenal health. Amazing for lungs, as it increases maximum oxygen intake. Increases ATP production (how our cells produce energy) basically regenerating your own natural battery, therefore it is used by many athletes. It is an adaptogen-not stimulant, gives sustained energy, unlike caffeine. And I might as well just tell you this too…it’s also a natural aphrodisiac.
How You Can Use Fungi
Because of their bioavailability, mushrooms are readily accepted into our skin. Offering a multitude of solutions, from decreasing inflammation, internal sun protection, brightening and antioxidant infusion. You can find the skincare solutions below in THE pearl boutique:
Kerstin Florian’s Correcting Brightening Facial Treatment - containing Cordyceps Sinensis + Coriolus Versicolor Extracts – derived from Chinese mushrooms, soothes inflammation and hyperpigmentation from UV exposure.
Lifeline’s NEW Aqueous Gel Serum CM - Mushroom Extract to promote the appearance of healthy glowing skin while being intensely moisturizing resulting in suppressing fine line, wrinkles, and feathering, while reducing skin irritation, decreasing redness, and improving the skins micro-circulation.
Red Flower’s Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser + Masque – containing beta-glucans in the certified organic Reishi, Chaga and Maitake mushrooms encourage collagen production and rid the body of excess fluids and toxins. Maitake mushrooms increase the recovery of stressed skin and stimulate blood flow with a boost of hydration.
The Beauty Chef BODY Inner Beauty Powder – with organic mushroom providing 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, important for immune health and skin health and to maintain bone structure and muscle function.
Eat AND Drink Your Fungi
The quickest way to feel the stunning effects of mushrooms is of course to ingest them. Some of my favorites below:
Four Sigmatic – this pack of Finnish ‘Fun Guys’<<<see what they did there, created a line of drinkable mushroom elixirs, coffees and hot cacao to basically cut through all the hype and get people drinking one of the most scientifically proven superfoods in a way that you could incorporate it into your daily life easily. You should most definitely check them out! They are all about education; enroll in a free mushroom academy and learn even more than you have here about fungi! Also, whenever you buy any of their mushroom boxes, they put a portion of the proceeds towards donating product to Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation https://us.foursigmatic.com/
The Beauty Chef – Try this risotto recipe by our partners in wellness: https://thebeautychef.com/blogs/recipes/66678211-mushroom-and-buckwheat-risotto
If you’re like me and want to pore over these spores some more, check out this Ted Talk by Paul Stamets about how, literally, mushrooms can save the world.