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Mushroom powder extracts, like those produced from organic fruiting bodies, are packed with nutritional benefits. It's a sophisticated step up to use powder format, rather than capsules, because your throat, mouth, and digestive system will gain additional benefits from injesting mushroom powder this way. Also, it opens up a variety of ways to play with the flavor profile of mushroom extracts, which varies from chocolatey and bitter (reishi) to almond milk-like (tremella). There's a tantalizing satisfaction that grows from taking mushroom powders, many users find that they never go back to using capsules once they've discovered this pleasure for themselves.

So, here is a guide to how and in what unique and delicious ways you can incorporate mushroom powder extracts into your diet. From drinks and snacks on the go to desserts and salves, you can boost your mushroom intake by adding mushroom powders to almost anything.

What you'll find in this article:

Favorite Mushroom Powder Recipes from Real Mushrooms

  1. Coffee + Tea with Mushroom Powder Extracts
    1. Mushroom Cacao Latte
    2. Morning Golden Milk
    3. Evening Golden Milk
  2. Smoothies + Shakes
    1. Tropical Greens Smoothie
    2. Beet Mint Smoothie
    3. Cashew Mocha Mint Smoothie
  3. Baked Goods & Desserts with Mushroom Powder Extracts
    1. Paleo Special Brownies
    2. Superfood Coffee Ice Cream
    3. Fungi Chia Seed Pudding
  4. Energy Bars with Mushroom Powder
    1. Dark Cacao Hemp Chaga Bites
    2. Pumpkin Pie Spice Protein Bars
    3. Paleo Protein Donuts
  5. Main Dishes (stews; soups; pasta)
    1. Creamy Lemon Butternut Squash Lion’s Mane Pasta
  6. Topicals (creams, salves)
    1. Chaga Skin Food

Best enjoyed in small doses over time, the cumulative nutritional benefits of medicinal mushrooms include immune and nervous system support, increased energy and stamina, brain health and cognition support, and balanced blood sugar levels.

The key to an effective intake is using mushroom extract powders that are made from 100% certified organic mushrooms with no grain fillers. Surprisingly, many so-called “mushroom” powders do not contain any mushrooms at all. Produced by growing the “roots” of the mushroom, called mycelium, on a grain substrate, these products made from myceliated grain are high in grain starch and lack many of the beneficial compounds like beta-glucans.

Using high-quality fungi, here are six ways and fourteen delicious recipes to boost your mushroom intake using mushroom powder extracts.

Favorite Mushroom Powder Recipes from Real Mushrooms

#1. Coffee + Tea with Mushroom Powder Extracts

From freshly brewed tea to frothy lattes, mushroom powder extracts can complement your favorite beverages. The recipe for this first coffee alternative includes a blend of mushrooms including, reishi, which, among its many benefits, is known to improve sleep and reduce stress and fatigue; Chaga, which boosts digestion and helps clear skin; lion’s mane, which supports healthy brain function; cordyceps, which improves lung capacity and increases energy; and turkey tail, which boosts immune system function.

Mushroom powder Cacao Latte

Mushroom Cacao Latte with 5 Mushroom Powder Extracts

Mushroom Cacao Latte

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a high powdered and blend until frothy.

While this next one is not exactly a coffee or a tea, we simply can’t leave it out as our vegan mushroom golden milk offers a myriad of health benefits. Perhaps that’s why we opted to do it twice in two preparations - one for the morning as a caffeine replacement to start your day fresh, and one for the evening to aid in sleep and recovery.

Morning Golden Milk

Evening Golden Milk

Directions: To a small saucepan, add the ingredients for either recipe. Whisk to combine and warm over medium heat. Heat until hot to the touch but not boiling - about 3-4 minutes - whisking the whole time. Turn off heat and taste to adjust sweetness level. Take out the cinnamon stick and if you like it very smooth, you can strain the golden milk to take out the ginger pieces.

Check out the original post!

#2. Smoothies + Shakes

Adding mushroom powder to a post-workout smoothie or an afternoon shake provides a nutritional boost to a refreshing treat. This smoothie features lion’s mane which is used to support healthy brain function*.

tropical green smoothie recipe with mushroom powder

A powerfood-filled smoothie to mix your mushroom powders in.

Tropical Greens Smoothie

Directions: Combine all ingredients with a 1/2 cup of filtered water and blend. Add more water to thin.


beet mint smoothie recipe with mushroom powder

Beet Mint Smoothie with Lion's Mane

Do you have any beets laying around the kitchen that need some love?! You are in good hands here!! Nettles of @nourishing.roots has this vibrant Beet Mint Smoothie that has all kinds of colors, aromas, and nourishment here. You’ve got the nitric oxide blood flow boosting properties of beets. The healthy fats and high magnesium and zinc content of hemp seeds. The mood uplifting & alertness boosting properties of peppermint and spearmint. The high polyphenol content in the berry mix. Last but not least, are the cognitive enhancing benefits of Lions Mane mushroom make this a red-letter smoothie!

Beet Mint Smoothie

Directions: Add everything to the blender and spin till desired consistency. Water to thin if needed.

(Source: Real Mushrooms Recipe Guide: download your copy here)

Cashew Mocha Mint Smoothie

This smoothie could serve many forms as either a pre-workout, post-workout and or a solid snack between meals this holiday season! Let’s dive into the recipe, shall we!?

Directions: Add everything to the blender and blend till desired consistency is met. Feel free to top this smoothie with toppings like hemp seeds, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs, chia seeds, and/or granola.

#3. Baked Goods & Desserts with Mushroom Powder Extracts

Much to a sweet tooth’s delight, dessert doesn’t just have to be an indulgent treat anymore. Add mushroom powder extract to your favorite confection and enjoy the nutritional benefits of fungi without sacrificing flavor. This recipe features reishi, which is known to improve sleep, reduce stress and fatigue*, as well as aid in supporting healthy liver function.*

paleo brownies recipe with mushroom powder

Paleo Special Brownies with Reishi

Paleo Special Brownies

Directions: Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Spread a light layer of coconut oil over a brownie baking pan. Add coconut oil, cacao powder, chocolate, and cacao butter to the double boiler and heat until melted then remove from heat and pour into a cool bowl. Allow it to cool to a temperature that is safe to touch. Pour in honey, maple syrup, vanilla, and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour mix into 1.5-inch thick brownie trays. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Superfood Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Superfood Coffee Ice Cream with Lion's Mane

Superfood Coffee Ice Cream

Sugar-free coffee ice cream packed w/anabolic recovery proteins, gut strengthening amino acids, immune-boosting/adaptogenic Chinese herbs, and cognitive enhancing fats. Topped with mct charged hard shell chocolate sauce to give it that perfect mocha flavor. *Note - those recipe pairs great with the one above.


  1. In a Vitamix (include all ingredients except the sauce): Use the tamper to pound into creamy ice cream texture. Set back in a freezer.
  2. Chocolate sauce: Stir until smooth and add to the piping bag.
  3. Scoop out the ice cream and the drizzle on the chocolate sauce. Add any other toppings and ENJOY!

(Source: Real Mushrooms Recipe Guide)

Chia Seed Pudding with mushroom powder

Chia Seed Pudding with Cordyceps and Reishi

Fungi Chia Seed Pudding

Alright, this one is so healthy and hearty, it’s hard to believe it could be a desert, but the tast and texture definitely qualify it for that category

Directions: Mix everything until it has been fully mixed throughout. Then pour into little mason jars. Store in the fridge overnight. Feel free to serve with a spoonful of almond, sunflower seed butter or any other nut/seed butter that suits your fancy!


#4. Energy Bars with Mushroom Powder

cacao hemp energy ball recipe with chaga mushroom

Cacao Hemp Energy Balls with Chaga

Dark Cacao Hemp Chaga Bites

Whether you’re on the go or just looking for a quick bite, energy bars offer an easy pick-me-up. Upgrade this snack by adding mushroom powder extract. This recipe includes Chaga, which boosts digestion and helps clear skin*.

Directions: First, add dates to a high-speed blender and blend until the dates are chopped up. Remove the dates and add the pecans, blending them into little pieces. After that, add in the cacao powder, nut or seed butter of choice, chaga extract, sea salt, and coconut oil if desired! Blend everything up until it begins to bind together and turn more dough like. Take the energy bite dough and place in the fridge for roughly 10-20 minutes. Take out the dough and roll the dough into energy bites or small-sized energy bars.

pumpkin spice protein bar recipe with mushroom powder

Pumpkin Spice Protein Bar with Lion's Mane

Pumpkin Pie Spice Protein Bars

These protein bars are enhanced with Lions Mane mushroom, which helps support and boost cognitive function and potentially even aid in short and long-term memory support!

Directions: Mix all ingredients together until a dough forms. Press dough into a parchment-lined 8×8 pan and freeze for an hour. Remove and cut into 8-10 rectangles depending on how big you want them. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake at 300 for 12 minutes. Store in the fridge.

Paleo Donut Recipe with mushroom powder

Paleo Donut Recipe with Mushroom Extract Powders

Paleo Protein Donuts

Okay, these aren’t exactly energy “bars” - but what is an energy bar if not just food of a certain shape? These paleo protein donuts are guilt-free and do a body good thanks to some unique and creative ingredients, alongside our mushroom extract powders, that brings together the ultimate donut experience. Donut recipe goodness below:


Chocolate Mushroom Glaze:

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large bowl, mix all donut ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Gently spoon batter into the donut pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through (toothpick trick to test readiness). Let cool for 10 minutes.

*For complete recipe with donut glaze topping: download the complete Real Mushrooms Recipe Guide

#5. Main Dishes (stews; soups; pasta)

Versatile and flavorful, mushrooms can be a nice, earthy addition to main dishes, as well as soups, stews and pasta. This recipe features lion’s mane, which is used to support healthy brain function*.

Creamy Lemon Butternut Squash Lion’s Mane Pasta

Directions: In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes until translucent. Add one clove of the diced garlic, and cook for a minute longer. To the large pot, add vegetable broth, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer – reduce heat if the mixture comes to a full boil.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add in butternut squash and fresh rosemary, cook while tossing frequently to heat & soften slightly – approximately 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, add the butternut squash to the coconut milk mixture, but reserve the frying pan – you will use it again!

Add the tapioca flour to the “noodle” and sauce mixture, stirring periodically. Continue cooking for 15-20 minutes, or until the “noodles” have softened to your desired firmness. While the “noodles” cook, tear the lion’s mane into bite-sized pieces. Heat the frying pan you had set aside on medium heat. Once heated, add the lion’s mane. Dry cook in the pan for a moment or two, or until any water released from the mushrooms is reabsorbed. Once any water is reabsorbed, add the last tablespoon of oil and the remaining clove of diced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms are golden brown – about 10-15 minutes.

Once your pasta has reached desired firmness, serve into bowls, and top with a generous heap of the cooked mushrooms and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Enjoy!

Find the recipe here!

#6. Topicals (creams, salves)

Mushrooms can have soothing properties making them a great addition to DIY skincare products. Promote healing by adding mushroom powder extract to creams and salves. This topical features chaga, which is used to boost digestion and help clear skin.

Chaga Skin Cream Recipe with mushroom powder

Chaga Skin Food

Chaga Skin Food

Directions: Using the double boiler method. Add the shea, cacao, and coconut oil. Melt at low heat until everything is mixed just right. Be mindful not to turn the heat up too much!

Next, add your desired essential oils and Chaga powder extract. Use a whisk to combine everything nicely. Once you have done so. Pour into a small mason jar or some other fun creative jar you intend to use! Store in the refrigerator. It will need at least 2-4 hours to solidify. You can then store it at room temperature. This will keep for roughly a couple of years.

Chaga Mushroom Powder

Chaga extract powder is great in soups, teas, smoothies, and salves alike

These 6 ways to boost your mushroom intake using mushroom powder extracts can elevate your health. From drinks and desserts to dinner and skincare, be sure to use Real Mushrooms, a high-quality product with no grain fillers. This means real nutrition with every use.

So – what do you think? Did we miss anything on this list? Leave us your comments below!


DIY Mushroom Coffee Types

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The Benefits of Fungi for Furry Friends

If you're one of the 67% of Americans that has (and loves) a pet, you know the importance of keeping them healthy and active. Similar to us, our furry friends can benefit from medicinal mushrooms - especially senior pets, or those with health concerns. You may be struggling to find ways to give your furry companion as high a quality of life as possible.

Medicinal mushrooms are a natural and healthy way to ensure that your pet gets enough nutrients and antioxidants. When searching for the best mushroom supplements to give to your canine companion, you'll want to keep in mind what his individual needs and health issues are.

We want to show you how mushroom extracts can help your furry companion live a long, active life and avoid the common health problems that require costly vet trips.

Let’s take a look at the best types of mushrooms that you can give your pets!

Medicinal Mushrooms for Dogs

Mushrooms are about to become your pet's new best friend!

What Are Medicinal Mushrooms?

Before deciding which medicinal mushroom supplements will best help your pet, it's important to define “what exactly is a medicinal mushroom?”

There are a variety of edible fungi that are considered medicinal mushrooms because they contain antioxidants, and help the human body with various functions such as: stimulating cell production, repairing tissues, maintaining heart health, and supporting the immune system.9 Taking these mushrooms isn't a new practice. People throughout the world have been using mushrooms medicinally for thousands of years.

Medicinal Mushrooms

A variety of medicinal mushrooms, each with its own super-power.

For instance, 2000-year-old documents show us that the Reishi mushroom was venerated by the ancient Chinese for its remarkable healing and anti-aging properties. They called it Lingzhi, meaning “divine herb that energizes the chi or life force.”1 Mushroom drawings were found on ancient ceramics and artwork in Peru, suggesting regular use of and reverence for fungi in their lives.2

Recently, mushroom extracts have seen a sharp increase in popularity as people increasingly turn to more natural health solutions.

Medicinal mushrooms are a comprehensive and plentiful source of natural, health-supporting compounds. You may be thinking, 'that sounds great for humans! But does that mean they are safe for pets?’

How Are Mushrooms Helpful for Pet Health?

Medicinal mushrooms for dogs and cats are a great natural alternative for pets as high-quality mushroom supplements are powerful immunomodulators that do not carry the same risk of side effects as pharmaceuticals.

People rarely experience undesirable side effects from using medicinal mushrooms. The few side effects that humans have occasionally had from mushroom extracts are mild in severity and duration, such as drug interactions, upset stomach, itching and nausea. For more information about the safety of mushrooms for pets, read our article Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Facts About Fungi for Your Furry Friend.

Increasingly, holistic veterinarians are turning to medicinal mushrooms to support the wellbeing of their animal patients. Not only are mushroom extracts safe for pets and supportive to their health, but they are easy to administer, as one of our Real Mushrooms veterinary clients can attest:

"We see great results in the dogs that need immune support. Both the capsules and powder are readily accepted. Very happy." - Melissa B., Real Mushrooms Customer

Learn more about the safety of mushrooms for dogs in particular in our article, Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? Facts About Fungi for Your Furry Friend.

What's in a Mushroom Extract for Pets?

If you choose a reputable source, such as Real Mushrooms, your medicinal mushroom extract should contain nothing but pure mushrooms. Some extracts will feature a single mushroom on its own, while others might be a blend of varieties. The important thing to look for is that the product is organic and free from fillers.

All of our mushroom powder extracts are organic and contain only the most potent medicinal parts of the fungi (the mushroom) and zero added fillers or starches. This is in contrast to the majority of mushroom supplements sold in North America which contain the fungi root-like structure, called mycelium, and the grain on which the mycelium is grown. In contrast to Real Mushrooms' extract powders, this results in less effective product.

Since our mushroom extracts come in both capsules and powders, it is easy to give them to your pet based on their needs and preferences. Many of our customers simply sprinkle ½ tsp to 1 tsp of mushroom powder on their pet’s food once a day.

Lion's Mane for Cats

Sprinkle ½ to 1 tsp of mushroom powder on top of your pet’s food.

Benefits of Various Medicinal Mushrooms for Pets

Now that you know what medicinal mushrooms are and what they're used for, let’s take a look at the various types of mushrooms and how they can specifically benefit our canine or feline companions. Read on to learn some of the most popular types of medicinal mushrooms for pets so you can decide which is right for your furry friend's specific needs!


Reishi is known as the 'mushroom of immortality' because of its protective, anti-aging, and rejuvenating properties. It also helps to modulate the immune system by increasing or decreasing certain immune system functions.

As animals age, like us humans, the immune system can become weaker and they can get ill more easily. Adding a medicinal mushroom such as Reishi to your pet’s daily mix can help keep them resilient, youthful, and healthy. Additionally, this mushrooms has been known to help with allergies!12

Reishi also has the power to regulate the digestive system.3 So, If your pet has issues with bowel irritation, you can use Reishi mushroom capsules to help keep him regular, decrease intestinal discomfort, and modulate the microbiome.11

Our beloved pets are all unique and expressive in their own ways. Some dogs experience separation anxiety, while young dogs may have excessive energy or be active at night. Reishi is known for its capacity to calm the nervous system and induce restful sleep. Older pets may have trouble moving and might experience sleep disturbances. Reishi can help to regulate the sleep cycle and relax your furry friend. 7


As with the other mushrooms on this list, Maitake helps to maintain proper immune system function.

Maitake contains polysaccharides such as beta-glucans, compounds that encourage healthy immune function, blood sugar regulation, and modulate inflammation. This means that your pet’s immune system will be in tip-top shape to fend off sickness.

Additionally, maitake regulates blood pressure and can help support the cardiovascular health of your pet. Again, similar to Reishi, it also promotes relaxation. Thanks to our fungi friends your fur friend will have the support he needs to keep his heart and circulation strong for daytime activities.

Turkey Tail

Turkey tail's primary function is to support the immune system of the person or pet who takes it. Essentially, this mushroom boosts the production of the cells our bodies rely on to kill invading microbes or abnormal cells, such as those that form tumors. This mushroom also stimulates the production of certain cytokines, which are important messenger signals for the immune system. Therefore, turkey tail helps support a healthy immune system and promotes longevity.

As a satisfied client said:

"My first purchase was turkey tail capsules for my dog who was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Vets gave him up to 2 months. I immediately did my research & came across the turkey tail mushroom. I admit that I did purchase a different brand at first but had to give him 3x more than what I’m currently giving him with the Real Mushrooms brand. The oncology Vet was amazed w/ results & instructed me to keep him on this regiment. I have recommended other dog owners who are dealing with abnormal cell growth" -J., Real Mushrooms Customer

Back in 2012, vets were excited about a study out of Penn State University on a turkey tail based extract known as PSP. It looked at the effects on dogs with hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive and invasive dog cancer with few treatment options. The results showed that PSP can drastically extend the lifespan of a dog with hemangiosarcoma. Unfortunately, the extended lifespan is still relatively short because the average lifespan is less than a year for a dog with this disease.10

Turkey tail is a mushroom that we recommend for the natural immunity boost it gives pets. It is also ideal for its anti-aging effects. No matter how young and healthy your pet is, they can always benefit from a little immune system strength.

Turkey tail, like all of our mushroom extracts, is certified organic. It has no added chemicals or starches either, as we use only the fruiting bodies of the mushrooms.

Medicinal Mushrooms for Dogs

Medicinal mushrooms are the natural, comprehensive health support for pets.



Cordyceps is another one of the medicinal mushrooms that we are super excited to share. This mushroom increases the production of ATP, the compound that promotes cellular energy. It will help your furry friend increase their stamina to run and play. Cordyceps stimulates the production of ATP with precursor compounds like cordycepin. If your pet is lethargic, introducing Cordyceps extracts into his daily life could improve your pet’s level of energy.

Additionally, Cordyceps supports the respiratory system. It can lessen the severity of lung problems and can help diminish the symptoms of breathing-related issues, such as allergies or chronic lung disease.

As we mentioned in our Cordyceps Mushrooms post:

For centuries the Chinese have known of this mushroom’s ability to strengthen the lungs and kidneys and improve a person’s essential vitality. A study from the Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine journal in 2015 looked at the anti-fatigue effects of Cordyceps militaris (CM) supplementation on rodents. The rodents that received two weeks of Cordyceps militaris supplementation displayed greater levels of delayed fatigue compared to the rodents not given the mushroom. Additionally, the CM rodent group had higher levels of ATP, antioxidant enzyme levels, and lower levels of lactic acid. In simpler terms, these rodents were able to push longer and harder without tiring out.


Using shiitake mushroom extracts is a great way to improve liver function and decrease inflammation.4

Shiitake mushrooms are the most popular type of edible fungus in the world. Since the constitution of our canine friends is similar to that of our own, they can work well for them, too.

Additionally, it can keep the liver functioning properly and shiitake mushroom capsules can help keep your pet's heartbeat regular and healthy.

Medicinal Mushrooms for Cats

Your little lion will love his daily mushrooms.

Lion's Mane

Lion's Mane is a mushroom that is rich in beta-glucans, which have antitumor properties. Furthermore, it contains antioxidants and neuroprotective chemical compounds that aid in supporting healthy brain and nervous system function.5

The specific compounds in Lion’s Mane promote the growth of neurons and it's taken by people to stave off cognitive decline.8 You can give Lion’s Mane mushroom extract to your pet to help them stay sharp, alert, and youthful. Over time, it can keep them living with vitality so you can both enjoy the activities that you love.

One of our clients uses Lion's Mane in conjunction with other products to keep their aging dogs healthy and active:

“I take this myself, but primarily use it for my dogs. I have four senior pups and I've been very pleased with their energy and overall health since adding mushrooms to their daily routine.They get turkey tail, lion's mane, and 5 Defenders. My oldest has subtle cognitive changes related to age, and all are large breeds prone to cancers. I'm grateful for these quality products that help me keep my pups at their best.” -Sheila, Real Mushrooms Customer


Chaga is a fungus that's incredibly rich in antioxidants and grows on birch trees in colder regions like Canada, Maine, Finland and Russia. Similar to other mushrooms on this list, it supports a healthy immune function.6 However, it also has potent compounds to help with digestion and skin health as well as being a potent anti-oxidant.

How to Give Medicinal Mushrooms to Pets

Medicinal mushrooms are an accessible, safe, and remarkable source of whole-health support for humans and pets alike. Mushroom supplements are a multi-benefit add-on to create a better bowl of pet food. They will help your furry friends live a long life full of vitality and support their recovery from health challenges that may come up.

Each medicinal mushroom variety has a unique way of boosting your animal friend's health. Conveniently, a mushroom blend like 5 Defenders is a reliable and well-rounded supplement to choose if you are undecided or want the benefits of a combination of the mushrooms mentioned above. Whichever mushroom you decide on, the most important thing is selecting a quality organic product without fillers. Real Mushrooms has committed itself to produce some of the safest, purest, and most potent concentrations of mushroom extracts on the market.

Protecting your furry friend starts with selecting from our diverse variety of mushroom extracts. You can order online today to help your pet live the long, robust life you hope for.


Mushrooms for Pets

More Articles About Mushrooms for Pets:


      1. Wachtel-Galor S, Yuen J, Buswell JA, et al. Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/>
      2. Trutmann, Peter. (2012). The Forgotten Mushrooms of Ancient Peru. <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233853675_THE_FORGOTTEN_MUSHROOMS_OF_ANCIENT_PERU>
      3. Chang, C., Lin, C., Lu, C. et al. Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. Nat Commun 6, 7489 (2015). <https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms8489>
      4. Liu, B., Lu, Y., Chen, X., Muthuraj, P. G., Li, X., Pattabiraman, M., Zempleni, J., Kachman, S. D., Natarajan, S. K., & Yu, J. (2020). Protective Role of Shiitake Mushroom-Derived Exosome-Like Nanoparticles in D-Galactosamine and Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Acute Liver Injury in Mice. Nutrients, 12(2), 477. <https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020477>
      5. Lai PL, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, et al. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013 <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/>
      6. Ko SK, Jin M, Pyo MY. Inonotus obliquus extracts suppress antigen-specific IgE production through the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines in ovalbumin-sensitized mice. J Ethnopharmacol. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21820502/>
      7. Reishi Mushrooms Ganoderma lucidum Standards of Analysis, Quality Control and Therapeutics, 2006, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia <http://www.medicinacomplementar.com.br/biblioteca/pdfs/Fitoterapia/fi-0405.pdf>
      8. Sabaratnam, V., Kah-Hui, W., Naidu, M., & Rosie David, P. (2013). Neuronal health - can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 3(1), 62–68.<https://doi.org/10.4103/2225-4110.106549>
      9. Medicinal Mushrooms. Science Direct. Viewed June 2020  <https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/medicinal-mushroom>
      10. Unger Baille, Katherine. Compound Derived From a Mushroom Lengthens Survival Time for Dogs with Cancer, Penn Vet Study Finds. Penn Today. Sept 2012 <https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/compound-derived-mushroom-lengthens-survival-time-dogs-cancer-penn-vet-study-finds>
      11. Li, K., Zhuo, C., Teng, C., Yu, S., Wang, X., Hu, Y., Ren, G., Yu, M., & Qu, J. (2016). Effects of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides on chronic pancreatitis and intestinal microbiota in mice. International journal of biological macromolecules, 93(Pt A), 904–912. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.09.029>
      12. Bhardwaj, N., Katyal, P., & Sharma, A. K. (2014). Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum. Recent patents on inflammation & allergy drug discovery, 8(2), 104–117. <https://doi.org/10.2174/1872213x08666140619110657>

Fungi, Foraging, & Functional Medicine

Watch the video interview between Real Mushrooms founder, Skye Chilton, and mushroom expert and Herbalist, Don Ollsin, as they answer some curiously interesting questions about medicinal mushrooms and the fungi world.

Video Topics & Timestamps

0:11 Introductions: Don & Skye

0:33 What's your favorite mushroom or mushroom product?

1:49 Turkey Tail gum

2:11 The differences between mushrooms & mycelium

9:36 Fungi organisms in nature & how to connect with them

12:17 Mushrooms as nature's "recyclers"

13:03 Mushroom growing/farming & extraction

18:00 Mushrooms & Ayurveda

25:48 How Don & Skye use mushrooms

30:10 Pairing mushrooms with other herbs

36:05 Mushroom show & tell, closing remarks


Visit Don Ollsin's website for more fungi facts and fun: https://www.ollsinherbalism.com 

Don Ollsin on Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Don Ollsin, Herbalist

As a professional herbalist (one of only 250 in North America registered with the American Herbalists Guild - AHG), mushroom expert, author, and process-oriented educator since 1972, Don Ollsin now wishes to pass down his wisdom and experience to a new generation of budding herbalists. Because of his love of the earth, his students, and teaching he is now offering a professional training service. This is for those who wish to learn the art and science of herbalism. In 2013 Don completed his MA in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University and is the author of Don is the author of Pathways To Healing: A Guide to Ayurveda, Herbs, Dreambody and Shamanism.


You can explore the variety of health supports that mushroom can offer by reading our article introducing you to 7 types of medicinal mushrooms and their benefits. Or, you can explore our lineup of mushroom extracts for purchase here.Real Mushrooms product line

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The Transcript

Don Ollsin (00:02):
Hi, I'm Don Olson from Ollsin Herbalist Healing Community.

Skye Chilton (00:08):
Hi, I'm Skye Chilton from Real Mushrooms.

Don Ollsin (00:11):
So we're doing this video to follow up on a panel that we did with two other experts on adaptogens and mushrooms. And so we're just going to go more specifically into some areas by going back and forth with some questions. So my first question to you, Skye is what's your favorite mushroom or mushroom product?

Skye Chilton (00:34):
Yeah, I'm a big fan of right now sort of Reishi and Turkey tail. It kind of varies definitely of what I've got in the cabinet at any given moment. , I do like our Five Defenders blend quite a bit, for a good all-around immune system performance blend. Ah, so that's made of a Reishi, Shiitake, Turkey tail and Chaga. And then we'll try to throw some Lion's mane in there, you know, every now and then as well.

Don Ollsin (01:04):
Cool. So, you mentioned Turkey tail and Reishi. I was up hiking on Oak Bluffs yesterday on Pender Island and it's one of my favorite trails. And I also have a favorite Oak tree up there and it's old and it's dying, so it's got Turkey tails growing on it. So I was able to, , and it has been so wet recently, I was able to actually chew up one. I mean I finally spit out a little bit, but I was able to cons e most of it. So know again, that's one of my favorite ones, partially for the amount of research that's been done on it. Secondly, and the fact that I can gather it myself and that of course as we've talked about before, is the Reishi.

Skye Chilton (01:51):
Yeah. It's, it's interesting that you say that. I was just reading a Christopher Hobbs book just before we started here and he has a piece about Turkey tail and talks about Turkey tail gum and how it can be quite chewy and you can just like take it off the tree while you're walking and throw it in your mouth and start chewing.

Don Ollsin (02:11):
It's the only conch I know you can do that.

Skye Chilton (02:13):
Yeah. Maybe like tough chicken of the woods

Don Ollsin (02:20):
Yeah. I haven't had that opportunity of finding that one here.

Skye Chilton (02:24):
Yeah, I don't see it very often, but it's softer for sure. It's not going to be as hard as like a Reishi or something.

Don Ollsin (02:35):
Skye again in the panel, you, I thought you answered the question really beautifully about the difference between mushrooms and mycelium, so you can elaborate a bit on that, but this particular video.

Skye Chilton (02:52):
Sure. Yeah. So mushrooms and mycelium are two different plant parts or fungal stages of these fungal organisms. The other primary stage being spores. And so typically spores will be out in the air around us, in the woods. I mean, they can even found them in upper parts of the atmosphere, but they will land somewhere and when the conditions are correct, they will germinate and they will start to grow into these very fine filaments called hyphae. And these hyphae will keep growing and start to fuse together and they will form what's called mycelium . And so the mycelium will be out in nature and it will be, kind of decomposing organic matter to, get sort of food per se by gaining nutrients. And then when the conditions are correct, it will produce a, what we call a mushroom. So that's also commonly referred to as a fruiting body.

Skye Chilton (03:51):
And the, mycelium is commonly referred to as the vegetative body. So it's kind of the overall, sort of a root system of this organism that lives on beyond, the mushroom, just like say an apple tree keeps going every year. So it's really important when we're talking with a mushroom and mycelium products to really differentiate the two, because there's a very big difference between how they are processed.

Don Ollsin (04:22):
So just briefly, what's the difference of the research on mycelium versus the fruiting body in terms of medicinal active constituents?

Skye Chilton (04:33):
Sure. So when we look at the overarching literature, the majority of it is done on mushroom extracts. , typically hot water extraction and, extraction is done just so that the cell wall of these, fungal species can really get broken down. So the cell wall is actually made up of chitin, which is the same material that crustaceans make their shell out of.

Skye Chilton (04:59):
So it's this very tough substance that we have a hard time digesting, which makes eating fresh mushrooms, a very good source of dietary fiber cause it'll just go through the stomach, doesn't get processed too much, but then ends up feeding our gut. But if we really want to get access to those active compounds, the important constituents in there, we need to do an extraction on this to break down that cell wall first. So we can access those compounds easier. And when it comes to mushrooms and mycelium, so there's different ways to grow mycelium for one, so you can grow it in a solid substrate or you can grow it in a liquid substrate. Typically when you look at the research, most of it has been done on liquid culture mycelium. So you grow the mycelium in a liquid vat of nutrients.

Skye Chilton (05:50):
It's usually sugars and proteins, and it will grow out. This mycelium cake, if you think of like maybe tofu or something like that, and then at the end of the process you can drain off all the water and then you have this pure cake of mycelium, which you then you can dry and you can powder. And so this is primarily how they grow mycelium in Asia. And as most of the research on medicinal mushrooms comes out of Asia, most of the research on mycelium is based off this liquid culture of mycelium. But what's commonly grown here in the North American market is using a solid substrate. So a solid substrate, if you'd know of the food product tempeh, tempeh is a soy product where they take cooked soybeans and they inject a fungus onto it and they grow out this sort of white grain cake.

Skye Chilton (06:45):
And they saw that as food product. And this is a similar process where we're taking something like, say, reishi, mycelium, we're injecting that into sterilized grain. This could be rice or oats. And then that's growing out into this sort of grain log here that then gets dried and powdered and sold as a, mushroom supplement. And you also, you have that entire grain substrate that still ends up being part of the final product. And this conflicts with the existing literature because the majority of it's based on that liquid substrate mycelium that I just talked about. And so that's, these two are very different. And so it's when you look out, into the marketplace, when people are talking about mycelium, they're usually pointing to research that's based off liquid fermentation mycelium , but then they're pointing to a product that's made from solid state mycelium. So there's this kind of contrast there. But when you look into the body of research, a lot of it is based around the mushrooms. So the fruit body, which has been extracted in some sort of way, most likely hot water and or alcohol. And this, like if you, I was going for a long time. So when we look at the overarching literature and research on mushrooms and mycelium, we see typically hot water extractions based off the mushroom. And the mycelium is usually based off a liquid fermentation mycelium.

Don Ollsin (08:25):
So yeah, so bits of research that I've seen is that basically when you test these products that are mycelium, they're mostly starch because they're growing on the grain. And so there is not much of the active constituents there.

Skye Chilton (08:39):
Yeah, that's correct. So the grain actually becomes the dominant ingredient in the product, and that translates to a high amount of starch and a small amount of the medicinal compounds. Things like beta glucans or ergosterol, that are much more common in the mushroom itself.

Don Ollsin (09:01):
Thank you.

Skye Chilton (09:02):
Yeah, and this is definitely different. So if you think about, we were just talking about Turkey tail. There's, you know, PSP and PSK which commonly get cited. Both of these are anticancer drugs in Japan and China. And they're actually both made from mycelium. And so it's liquid fermentation mycelium that they're growing in a liquid, but then they're also taking a further step where they're then concentrating and isolating certain compounds to increase the levels.

Skye Chilton (09:38):
And so they're very different than what you would traditionally see in the North American marketplace, or I'm talking about mycelium products. So it's always good to differentiate the two and really separate that out. Similar for Cordyceps as well. If you look at cordyceps CS4, so CS4 is a product out of China when they were trying to learn how to cultivate cordyceps sinensis, they couldn't figure out how to get it to grow a fruiting body. So they ended up with growing the mycelium and liquid, which turned into Cordyceps CS4, and we've seen nutritional analysis as well as analysis on the active compounds that have very drastic differences between the pure mycelium and mycelium that's been cultivated on a grain where the grain becomes the dominant ingredient.

Don Ollsin (10:31):

Skye Chilton (10:35):
So Don, do you want to talk a little about how these fungal organisms exist in nature and, and they're sort of sentient beings out there?

Don Ollsin (10:48):
Yeah, I mean that's one of the reasons I love the Turkey tail and the Reishi is because I can have a relationship with them because I'm here in the Pacific Northwest. They both grow fairly abundantly. And when we do shamanic work with people, we actually have people come and tune into the mushrooms. And that's quite a powerful experience actually. I was quite surprised. We tuned into some Turkey tails in one of our workshops and everybody had a pretty profound experience. So what tuning in means is that you're actually communicating with the sentiment being, and of course they communicate in different ways, but we can receive information from them. And so it's another way of connecting with our medicine that I think is really important

Skye Chilton (11:39):
So how is that done? Are you out in the forest?

Don Ollsin (11:44):
I do recommend it live. Yeah, I do recommend it. It can be done. You know, I like looking at my Reishi that's grown here. But, we generally do it with people in the forest. I'm remembering one, you know, often they grow on dead logs, right? And so this is the large dead log and there's like probably 20 of us all humped over this dead log. Just closing our eyes and, and, and tuning in. And you know, it seems like such a simple process, but sometimes it's just so amazing just the amount of energy that comes out of it. Cause you kind of think of these beings is that they're huge part of our ecosystem. And again, that's the thing. Another thing that people must to realize that where we live on in our, fir forests, all these trees are connected to the mycelium body and they get all, all, they communicate and receive a lot of their nourishment. They're dependent upon the mycelium to live. I mean it's not just a, in a relationship it's like they are what actually transmute the minerals and the other things in the soil to make them bio available to the tree. And here in the forestry department when I used to be in the mycology society, it was great because they had mycologists on full time working in the forest because the mycology is so important to the health of the forest.

Skye Chilton (13:06):
Yeah, that's a really good point. I mean they're out there, you know, everywhere in the forest you can kind of dig down and you'll see all the white little filaments. And you'll see them, you know, the mushroom starting to grow off the trees and the polypores and they're out there as nature's recyclers who are breaking down this organic matter and allowing other plants to utilize this almost like a compost per se to give nutrients to new life.

Don Ollsin (13:36):
Yeah. I mean we got some soil from somewhere and it had a lot of wood in it and all of a sudden we had hundreds of mushrooms and, and that was fine cause I knew they were breaking down that material can make it a bio available. And we mentioned in the panel about working with the garden giants for example, in restoring land that's been, you know, polluted, so it's a different process. But it's still taking some land that's not bioavailable and making it available. And that's kind of what the mushrooms do. So how, you know, like Real Mushrooms, how are your mushrooms growing?

Skye Chilton (14:15):
Yeah, so we grow all the mushrooms, are all certified organic. We try and use more, I'd say traditional methods with state of the art processing. So we are in China on certified organic farms and they're typically, mushrooms are grown on sawdust logs, sawdust is a really good nutrient for mushrooms to grow on. And, usually they're grown in shade houses, so it can be like basically made out of bamboo for the most part, a really simple, it's always grown with the seasons. So certain mushrooms start earlier, so like Reishi gets planted in April. Whereas Shiitake and Maitake grow in and around September. So Reishi takes a long time to grow, but Shiitake and Maitake go out in September and then by November you're harvesting and it's dependent on ambient temperatures. You know, what's the moisture, what's the heat level?

Skye Chilton (15:17):
They get Reishi growing early. So it can grow through the summer 'cause it really likes the heat. And then into like the wintertime is when they'll start to plant Tremella. Though the cordyceps likes colder weather as well as well as the Lion's Mane.S o we'll have these, you know, organic farms that are very, very simple. And so it's almost like traditional growing methods. And then they get taken to state of the art extraction facilities and you're thinking massive stainless steel tanks, if you've ever been to say like a, brewery or something like that. It's very similar. There's lots of pipes going everywhere. There's huge stainless steel that's where we're cooking these mushrooms and concentrating them. And then they're basically going into clean rooms through a spray dryer where we evaporate off the moisture and a very controlled environment, under very specific, good manufacturing conditions.

Don Ollsin (16:16):
Sweet. And then you mentioned before with the extraction, I know that you, with the Reishi, you do an alcohol and water because of triterpenes.

Skye Chilton (16:24):
Yeah. So we've, we've got a few different types of products that we use. So, depending like chaga and reishi, we typically do dual extract due to the triterpenes. We also have other proprietary one-to-one extractions where we are leaving all the fiber with the product. So instead of taking that out in order to concentrate it, you can leave that with the extraction. And so you're getting that hot water extraction where it's breaking down the cell wall, but you're still keeping all the insolubles there. So you still get the full benefit of all the insoluble compounds, just by doing a hot water extraction. So that's a little sort of specialty that Nammex and Real Mushrooms has to offer.

Don Ollsin (17:08):
Which mushroom would you do that with?

Skye Chilton (17:11):
We can do that with all of them, but it really depends on the type of product that you're putting together. There's, you know, different solubility levels due to the fiber that's in there. So if you're just taking a powder that can work, if you're working with say beverages or something like that, where you need it to be really soluble, you'd want to work with like a more concentrated extract that doesn't have that fiber component.

Don Ollsin (17:37):
And, I mean, I've seen that with Nammex. I've seen that with Jeff's products of the ratio of like one to 20 or something and one to less because so is that kind of those two different products? Is that...

Skye Chilton (17:51):
Yeah, so we're still, we're like looking at doing some different projects around how the compounds concentrate through extraction ratios because it's not necessarily, it's not a uniform procedure, a uniform concentration. So a lot of times you think of say like a 10 to one extract. Okay. It's 10 times more concentrated, but we're not seeing 10 times more compounds from the source material to the final extract. So that's, people have to remember that the extract ratio is just based on raw materials and doesn't necessarily translate over to the active constituents. So we're looking at doing some tests around that to see if there's like a sweet spot.

Don Ollsin (18:38):
Right. That's cool. That's, that's, yeah, I like that. That's, that's, yeah. That's great because getting, getting real specific, you know, I love it. I mean like herbalism is medicine. This is alchemy. Right? And just because, I mean some alchemists would love the kind of labs and equipment we have nowadays to do these kind of, you know, fine tuning to get, get really in there. So great.

Skye Chilton (19:06):
Yeah. Don, do you want to touch on mushrooms and Ayurveda and trying to go around dosages and I just went through the, your little quiz about the different types in Ayurveda the Vata and the, was that Pitta?

Don Ollsin (19:21):
Yeah, Vata, Pitta in Kapha. So the Vata is the year sign, the Pitta is the fire constitution, and Kapha is the water compensation. So the three active elements are air, fire and water. There's also ether and earth, but they're more containers than active elements. I think this is really important for longterm health. And, and you know, a lot of people take products like mushrooms, especially products like Reishi for longevity. I mean you literally call your (product) Longevity. And so what we're trying to do is use these to enhance the things that they enhance, which is the immune system and the nervous system and the heart. You know, there's so many things that they do. But another level of that is that when we put in the refinement of Ayurveda, we want to make sure that we're not at the same time inbalancing the dosha. You know what I mean?

Don Ollsin (20:12):
And the dosha is really controlled a lot by taste. So the extract, Reishi extract, is very bitter. So that is particularly good for a Pitta constitution. It's fact is the number one taste to reduce fire, which is very interesting as fire also relates to inflammation. So Reishi is a very powerful antiinflammatory, but Vata, that's kind of the taste. Bitter is made up of air and ether, which is what Vata is made up of: air and ether. So It's a very, it can aggravate Vata. So it doesn't mean Vata can't use it. And also it's cooling. Extraordinary cooling. Bitter is, the most cooling flavor you can get in Ayurveda so they're already cold. So you don't want to make them colder. It's really simple. You just add ginger powder. For example, you just add a warming herb. It doesn't mean you don't use it, but you add a warming herb and then you might want to add something sweetening.

Don Ollsin (21:14):
So you might, you know, you literally might want to eat it with some rice. I mean, I know it would be not great tasting, but that's the whole idea in Ayurveda. Sweetness isn't just necessarily sugar, but you could use a sweet herb like licorice or you know, some kind of sweetener because that bitter could be too cooling for them. But the other thing is that, and with the Kapha, they are not as cold as the Vata, but they're, they're heavy. There's an earth and water. So the bitter is okay for them. But a little bit of pungency and again, it would be good to warm them up, but no sweet because sweet is earth and water, so that, that's too heavy for them. Yeah, because it's not that complicated. It sounds complicated, but it's not. Bitter is the main flavor.

Don Ollsin (22:05):
And over here you add, you know, a bit of sweetness and over and over here just add some pungency. You know? And so that's still talking about balance, right? Balance. And again, this isn't important for a week. No, this isn't important for even maybe three weeks, but a year, two years, three years. Yeah. This is important. These are, this is what you're doing to bring you into balance every day if you're using this. And then the other factor that's really important is that we, the three doshas process very differently. They have very different metabolisms. So the Vata are like a hummingbird, very fast metabolism, every couple hours they need some nourishment because they're like [makes sound like fast hummingbird wings]. But that is like your standard medical model three times a day, you know, like every four hours, you know, and it's kind of a joke with Pittas, like, you know, they're like a clock.

Don Ollsin (22:58):
They're hungry at eight o'clock, at 8:00 AM they're hungry at noon and they're hungry at six and you really want to feed them because it's fire. And if they don't, they get, they get cranky, hangry, hungry, angry. And neither do you fight with your partner just before a meal. Because, especially if people have Pitta and you feed each other and then see if you're still angry at each other. And then the Kapha, cause it's earth and water, has slower metabolism, they really only need it once or twice a day because they're going to, it's going to be in their system for much longer and then you need a bit stronger dosage. The Vatas needs a smaller dosage and the Pitta needs the regular dosage.

Skye Chilton (23:37):
Yeah. Cause I definitely was trending on the Pitta for both the physical and the mental. Yeah.

Skye Chilton (23:45):
Yeah. It's interesting cause I wouldn't really call myself sort of like a fire person per se. I was like yeah, fiery. And I was talking with my friend the other day, we were talking more of like, this is more like the TCM side of the wood and the metal, and we were talking about being more like wood oriented where we're kind of growing and adapting. And, but yeah, so it kind of took me aback a little bit when I was like, Oh, I'm fire on this. And I'm sure it means different things and must change over time too.

Don Ollsin (24:22):
Yeah. And it changes during the seasons. That's not the reason it's really important, you know, in the summertime. And it's also, there's a scale, you know, like, I had a Pitta who came to me for a consultation on the way to the consultation you got into a fight, you know, like, I mean there's like really, really Pitta people and you can look at them. They're, wandering around in the wintertime with a tee shirt on. I mean anytime we see a group of you walking down the road or somewhere, we just look at them and there's one person with no clothes on. Just guess what dosha he is. And the other people got big coats and stuff on. We have a mechanic here on Pender Island. He never wears a shirt. We mostly wear as a tank top year-round, you know, working on cars and stuff, you know, and he says, cause he's a complete total Pitta. I'm kinda up in the middle.

Don Ollsin (25:07):
I'm not extreme Pitta, but I'm not also, but I am fiery and I get hot, and so I need to be able to cool down and that's the biggest important thing for that. But going back to the mushrooms, it's just a bit of a refinement thing, but I think people may get more results from their practice of using the herbs if they did that a bit. Another thing is that what this is saying is that the activeness of the herb is lasting that long. So if you're trying to bring about some kind of change with the mushroom, then with the Vata a little bit, every couple hours is going to keep that thing. And so it may not be important, you know, after they bring the system back into balance, then they could, you know, instead of doing it five times a day or something, they could do it three times a day. Same as the Pitta, they would want to do it three times a day during the period of, but then they might only do it once or twice a day.

Don Ollsin (26:03):
And with the Kapha, they may do it twice a day when they're starting out to try and get something to happen. But then they may go down to just once a day.

Skye Chilton (26:10):
Right. I believe Justin touched on that in our previous call when you were saying, depending on the temperament, you know, be having three times a day versus like once versus twice. , we can make a link to my, a book. Yeah, we should solution

Don Ollsin (26:27):
thing so that it will look at their constitution and it's really a, it's another fun way to, to know a bit about yourself. And like you said, you know, you can learn things from TCM about yourself. You learn things about IUD to people. Let me do n erology, just strategy. But we get, we're kind of getting to know ourselves a little more. And the reason for that is that makes us hopefully a bit more adaptable to our environment, both inner and outer. And that's what I found IUD to be extremely helpful. So Don, how do you normally use mushrooms? What's your preferred way? My preferred way or two ways. , first is eating them and digestability yours are very digestible, so it's not as important as say, other herb. You've already years of hard pre digest, you know what I mean? The extraction process is such that they're why nother, they've been already broken down as opposed to say, taking an herb like stinging nettle, which I do.

Don Ollsin (27:27):
And drying it and powering it, basically just got leaf there. You know what I mean? And it's, it's somewhat digestible, but it's not as, I just want yours. That's already been alchemically processed to a place. But even with yours, I like to take it in some Kiefer and some, I sometimes put a bit of yogurt with the key bridge to make it make a bit more flavorful and put more of the different, you know, spectr of bacteria in there. Because Kiva is a transient bacteria. All it needs always needs to be put in. It doesn't take a presidency. There's lots of the yogurts are resident bacteria. They, they, they inhabit the colon and stay there. So you're kind of always wanting to put these in there. But they've done a lot of studies with like ginseng for example, Siberian ginseng and there's products called genics genocides in there that they found that people didn't have the healthy bacteria and they got, they didn't absorb it. So that's kind of my favorite way that secondly, I love tinctures and you know, your product is kind of a cheat because you don't really need to teach you, you just need to mix. It was an alcohol.

Don Ollsin (28:39):
Normally how you can tincture is so good and alcohol [inaudible] repaired your time and your doing the, you know, the co, you know, the, you're getting the stuff out of the leaf and then you press it. Well, you've already done that through your extraction processes either through water and alcohol. So you don't have to do that. But sometimes it's, it's convenient to, to have the tincture. Mmm. Especially when you're making it with other blends and stuff. So sometimes I'll make a teacher even out of your product and then I just have it therefore. But generally I don't because I don't recommend you using alcohol if they don't have to. Yeah. It's used as a preservative. Right. And it's like, well, it's going to pull out the insoluble triterpenes are not going to come out and water. They're just not, yeah. There's going to be a small amount, but yeah, primarily they're all primarily, they're going to be, yeah, they're insoluble.

Don Ollsin (29:32):
So, yeah. And then it does, you know, it's acting as a, when you do your finishing part of that, it's going to act to keep it shelf stable too. Yeah. So how do you take mushrooms? Usually taking him on my coffee. So yeah, I usually, , whatever I have on hand. I think this morning was Turkey tail in lines vein. And then I, I'm a big fan of the butter coffee, so coffee, butter, a little bit of coconut oil and mushrooms and blend it up. And that kind of [inaudible] gets me to probably 10 or 11 o'clock. So don't really eat anything in the morning and then have a decent sized breakfast and a lunch fairly quick after that. So yeah, it's almost like a mini fat, not a true fast. But when he's from [inaudible], a lot of my other hoops I use in coffee, I'd be just, you know, it's like [inaudible] one, right?

Don Ollsin (30:32):
It's a ritual that you do. And so the Hawthorne for the heart marshmallow, which is nice sort of soothing thing for the gastrointestinal tract and the kidneys, especially, there are few, not really harsh chemicals and coffee, but they're a little bit irritating, you know, especially in the, so you're sort of in marshmallow in there. And then whatever's the flavor of the day. What other herbs? I'm being using, I can just put them in my coffee. Like the ratio pair as well. It's got that bitterness to it is pretty good too. It's got those earthy almost chocolaty tones. , so yeah, definitely, yeah, when you have whatever your daily ritual is, whether if it's coffee or if it's tea or even like a smoothie or something like that, , just makes it an easy way to add it to an existing routine. So that it becomes routine.

Don Ollsin (31:25):
So pairing, you know, like I talked about it in the panel, but I'll mention it again, specially the of go to my students and members of my community is that these mushrooms have often a lot of, , you know, like Reishi for example, like I've got a mind map here that my love of mind mapping, but it gives you an example and that's just just on the Reishi, you know, so [inaudible] first it's [inaudible]. Well, Kia and I say that we mean the beautiful thing about femininity rush, like Reishi is that it, it Hanses our key key energy. I don't know if that's how you say it, but it's, it's, I'm Herb's. They found them. They call them. Yeah. Amen. Are you gait afforded them that they have a quality that transcends sort of the medicinal aspect. And so Reishi has got that and it, and it's [inaudible] to realize it was only the world here that had Reishi before we learned how to cultivate it and people would actually come over to our force and BC to harvest Reishi because there was lots of it growing here.

Don Ollsin (32:33):
Oh wow. So, so basically, so sorry. She has an immune system. It does the heart, it works with pain. It's a person who acts system. It works with allergies. It worse with anti aging. It works with the liver. And so, you know, it's got this nice spectr . So on a, I don't know, as a tonic to be using for longevity, it's fantastic. But then say you want to use your Reishi, but you've got, it works a little long. It's too, excuse me. I shift first of the lungs. So if you want, you really work with the lungs, so you can continue to take your Reishi, but then you take a really specific herb, like Ella campaign, which is the [inaudible], the kind of the primary herbs, fish. You've got congestion, and then you take your ELA campaign at the same time you're taking the Reishi. Now this is going to pull the energy of the Reishi into the lung area.

Don Ollsin (33:26):
So that's a pairing it with the herb that you want the Oregon, you got the liver, you know, you suddenly like milk, this'll then melt. This'll go, you know, it's like it goes to the receptor sites of the liver. Very interesting as a relationship to mushrooms because it's the only thing that we have to counter Amany a poisoning. Really? Oh yeah. Like it's the only thing that works. It goes in and occupies receptor sites. It kind of blocks or blocks them. Yeah. Otherwise there's nothing else that'll stop the poisoning of the Debbie Amanita. So we're doing on the positive side of, of, of opening up the liver, you know? Interesting. As I say that, I think maybe, maybe it might block it might want to use Daniel. I intend, I don't think it would. But you know it's like is that kind of interesting thing but something that targets liver also you can use, and I recommend this a lot, it's kind of missing now in, in herbal medicine is it's use a hot water bottle or use a ginger compress, you know, bring the blood to the area or even use your mind, you know, like take the herb and like, especially if you're really healing you, somebody has lung cancer.

Don Ollsin (34:35):
Like, I mean people use these mushrooms for intense conditions. I don't just use them, you know, but if you've got somebody really seriously, then you know, take your medicine and go lie down and put a hot water bottle on your area and then close your eyes and just breathe into that area. And just, you know, there's a book called sell talk by dr Leger and he's proven that we can talk to ourselves and now listen, no Bruce lift in the same thing is that we have receptor sites and they respond to chemicals. And you think a thought you create a chemical as just the way the nature of the body. I can create chemicals. If I get happy, I'll create chemicals completely. Yeah. Yeah. The mind is extremely powerful. Yeah. I want to touch base on that of different herbs that you might pair with mushrooms.

Don Ollsin (35:24):
That was a good little segue there. Is there any others that you would recommend? One of the key ones that we use a lot in most herbalists do is ginger because ginger ginger opens up all the meridians. Ginger in an I, you needed to call a Sophic herb, so it's, it's it's, even though it's heating, it's not harmful to the Pitta dosha and everything is is is based on quantity. So when I mentioned the ginger, you do more for the Vata and Kafka and less for the Pitta. But ginger is also what we call a carrier herb. So it opens up, basil dilates, it, opened it up, all the Hilary beds so that the herb goes all the way to the farthest reaches, which is really important for all your chronic diseases like arthritis and stuff where the, what's happening is that the tissues are breaking down right at the end of the vacu vascular pathways and they're not getting the nutrients in there or knocking the wastes there. So when we take something like ginger and then open it up to spread through, then that's so Ginger's wanted the key Herb's that I recommend people use with their, with their Reishi. , yeah. I love ginger. I mean, you know, all your aromatics, all your aromatics are going to be good. So if you've got the inquiry, aromatics panel, cinnamon cardiman, you drink coffee. Carter means a great neutralizer of caffeine, excessive caffeine.

Skye Chilton (36:58):
That's really good. Yeah, I love, , when we're traveling through China all one we get to eat tons of mushrooms, which is, it's like every meal, there's tons of mushroom dishes, but they usually always have tons of garlic and tons of ginger garlic. Again, be another one. Yeah. Yeah. And it's just fantastic. It's like, yeah, you just get this huge burst of well garlic breath and then like tons of ginger. But yeah. And green tea as well. I'll just quickly

Don Ollsin (37:26):
go over and get my a mushroom just to make a plug for that. Sure.

Don Ollsin (37:49):
Can you hear me without the microphone? Yep. Okay, good. So yeah, so I mean I showed this last time and this is kind of for case people don't watch the other one. So what , yeah, this guy was talking about was this is the mycelium here. This was grown, probably might've been a grain, I'm not sure. But now it's shrunk down and stuff. So you can buy these, this isn't there, they're just called there. They often, I've logged into my college society and often have them there at the annual affair, but some markets sell them and stuff. So let's just call it a mushroom log. That's not really a log. It's been handmade. None of this is here. It's just like you feel like that kind of thing in a bag home and grow it. And then you get, this is, this is Reishi. And , and it's interesting like Skye said, which I think is really cool, is that Reishi loves heat. It's not, it's not a cold mushroom. We think of mushrooms, a Colbert Reishi actually likes heat so you can go this s mer time. But yeah, that's so much fun. Cause so you can, and again, it's just, you know, these, I always say this funny thing, you know, like you ever get somebody go to their medicine cabinet and open it up their medicine cabinet and pull out their aspirin and sprinkle them on their hand.

Don Ollsin (39:11):
I thought it was ever beautiful white pills. Oh man. Fantastic. You know, every time I look at this, every time I look at it, it's like, it's just exquisite. And then I have a whole other one that I won't bother getting now, but each one's going to be uniquely different. And so that's the, you know, I know when you grow them commercially, they're gonna be a little bit more of the same. But growing them yourself, it's just another level of, , having, you know, indoor plants, you can have indoor mushrooms. Yeah, that's great. I find there are definitely, there's more people providing the grow kits now they're becoming a lot more popular. And I think it's important for people just to try it out and understand how the like organism actually works. And I know they can see the different parts because that's kind of the big part is really showing people exactly what we're talking about.

Don Ollsin (40:08):
Yeah. Nobody even mentioned pruning body. Well that's what you'll be by a mycelium block and it'll go and then you'll have, well you mentioned out of the bottom. And I mean, she produces an amazing amount of it. You'll have spores so on. That's when you go to a mushroom club and you learn spore prints. You can put these on a piece of paper and they'll give you a pattern. And that pattern is used by my colleges to identify it. So it's a fascinating study. And I know you grew up with them and we're very fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest. And, , you mentioned Shan trails or your, you know, favorite forest mushroom, which, yeah, who doesn't love Shan trails? They're hard to go wrong other than maybe thanks guy. Yeah, so it's been fun, man. You know, like my students, I really, you know, we recommend real mushrooms because we want people to get the right product for what they're doing, you know, and you know, until the, till the other proof is there. That's my choice, is to stick with the products that I trust in terms of the way they're processed, the way they're growing, the way they're chested and stuff like that. And so, , yeah. Thank you, Don. Yeah, this has been really fun.

Skye Chilton (41:34):
And if anyone else has questions, like, just feel free to ask one of us and, we can do a followup call or answer them in the comments and things like that. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Thanks. Bye.

Who is Danielle Harley?

Danielle Harley is a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP) based in Manhattan Beach, California. She graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Applied Psychology. She is passionate about helping others find their way back to health through the sciences of nutrition and psychology.

In your practice, what conditions do you address the most?

I work mostly with women to optimize fertility and address hormonal imbalances and autoimmunity which are all deeply connected.

What do you find are the primary causes of these conditions?

Environmental toxins, leaky gut, inflammatory foods, genetics, and mindset.

How do you typically use Real Mushrooms with your patients?

I use Real Mushrooms to provide additional support to my whole foods protocols. Mushrooms are excellent for assisting in bringing the nervous system and the hormonal system back into balance. I work with my clients bio-individuality to recommend the best mushroom for them, but Reishi is the one I most commonly use in my practice.

What is your recommended dosage for your patients?

It depends on the individual and their unique health needs, but I typically recommend 1 gram daily.

Have you found other products, herbs or supplements that work well or have good synergy with mushrooms?

The best synergy I've found with mushrooms is a healing diet. When you remove additional stressors from the body (like processed foods), mushrooms can really get to work to support you in achieving optimal health faster.

How do you personally use mushrooms?

I adjust my protocols based on what I need during different periods of my life. Currently I'm taking 2 Reishi capsules before bed to support my nervous system and my hormones, and I'm taking 2 capsules of Turkey Tail first thing in the morning to keep my immune system strong. On the weekends, I enjoy whipping up a delicious mushroom elixir with Chaga, Lion's Mane, hot water, coconut milk, a bit of local honey, and cinnamon.

*Check out Real Mushrooms' Vegan Mushroom Golden Milk recipe!

Where can we learn more about you?

You can learn more about me and how to connect with me on my website: holisticharley.com

We’re all looking for an extra boost to keep us protected from colds and flu. You, like many others, may have tried a variety of natural alternatives to give you the upper hand over contagious infections. But supplements, vitamins, or foods that manage to reliably shorten the duration of an infection (or avoid it altogether) are few.

Yet, there's one organism – that predates all other life forms on land and has evolved to be a master of survival — that has a matrix of compounds sophisticated enough to comprehensively support our immune system vitals: Fungi and in this case mushrooms.

A strong and healthy immune system is a fundamental building block of good health regardless of the time of year. It plays an active role in regulating a host of essential functions, including mood and mental health, the gastrointestinal system, and vitality.

mug with glasses and tissues

For thousands of years, medicinal mushrooms have been used across cultures to help boost the immune system and fight off colds and flu. In particular, Eastern medicine practitioners have known of the healing and regenerative properties of mushrooms for millennia. Finally, scientific research in the West is catching up.

As a result, medicinal mushrooms are receiving more mainstream attention as a powerful tool in boosting immune defense. When used in combination with other strategies, they may help as a supportive therapy, giving you the edge you need to bounce back when you do get sick.

How The Immune System Fights Viral Infections

It's important to understand that there are different types of bodily immune response to illness, and these come from the innate and adaptive immune systems.

Innate Immune Defence Systems

The innate immune system is our first line of protection against infection. Its initial defense includes outer protection from pathogens through our skin, cilia, mucous membranes, and gut.¹

When a virus makes it past this outer protection, our innate immune system goes to work with its second line of defense. This is done by moving inflammatory cells to the site of infection or activating defense cells that are already there.

Soluble protein substances of the complement system move into action and also help to defend the body.¹ This leads to an inflammatory reaction where blood circulation increases, and it can cause a fever.

When we think of the response our body generates to a foreign invader like the flu, we immediately think of the fever, chills, cough, and other respiratory or sinus symptoms that happen. These responses are all active displays of the body's innate immune system at work in an acute situation.

The body musters all of its innate immune response mechanisms to fight off infections and to return to its healthy baseline.

Mushrooms stimulate immune system cells

Bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms have shown to stimulate the production and activity of key immune system cells such as Natural Killer cells, T cells, B cells, and macrophages.

Adaptive Immune Defense Systems

If your innate immune system isn’t able to fight off the infection, that’s when the adaptive immune system kicks in.

This system takes longer to activate (four to seven days after exposure to a pathogen) when there is an infection the body is trying to fight. However, when it is needed, the adaptive immune system can provide a more targeted, precision response. However, both the innate and adaptive systems often work together.

The adaptive immune system has several parts that react in different ways, depending on the place in the body where the infection is. For example, the adaptive immune system makes antibodies to destroy pathogens outside the cells that are circulating in the blood and body fluids.¹

The body creates a cell-mediated response to get rid of pathogens inside the tissue. These parts of the adaptive defense include T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, antibodies as soluble proteins in the blood, and cytokines in the blood and tissue.

How Your Body Develops Immunity to a Pathogen

It’s your adaptive immune system where immune defense to specific infections develops. The cells can “remember” invaders they’ve already had contact with, and the defense response can then be quicker with each successive exposure.¹ This is why you only get sick with a certain virus strain and subtype of Influenza A once, and you’re then immune to it.

Most vaccinations work in the same way, by introducing a version of a pathogen to the body, so that T cells and antibodies develop, with memory cells as well. When and if this pathogen is encountered in daily living, the body already has natural defenses against it, and your immune system can quickly eliminate it.

Mushrooms Antiviral

By increasing the activity of several key immune system cells, Medicinal mushrooms can assist the immune system in deal with foreign invaders.

Medicinal Mushrooms Can Stimulate & Modulate Immune System Cells & Processes

Medicinal mushrooms can help with your body’s immune response by working to strengthen and support it’s natural defense processes.

It’s well established that medicinal mushrooms are effective immune system modulators and immune cell activators. These fungi have a direct impact on your body’s production and use of Natural Killer cells, T cells, B cells, antibodies, macrophages, and cytokines.2 These cells are all part of the immune system and play a role in your body’s ability to fight off infection.

For example, the medicinal compounds of certain mushroom varieties are known to modify cytokines, which are both pro and anti-inflammatory messengers secreted by immune cells. Certain cytokines can suppress white blood cells and make you more susceptible to getting sick. However, mushrooms can help to reduce the inflammatory response caused by cytokines and allow for T cells, B cells, and antibodies to work more effectively.3,14

There are many studies showing that mushrooms can stimulate or suppress different anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines.4 Immunomodulation is the ability of the body’s immune system to respond intelligently to any biological circumstances in the body:

“Mushrooms can increase inflammatory cytokines in the start of an infection (which is what you need actually to fight off a virus naturally) but then are extremely anti-inflammatory in the second half. Herbs and mushrooms are immune modulators, meaning they can adjust how they are affecting the body based on need in the moment."

- Dr. Mark Greg Iwanicki ND

Scientific evidence (in vitro) also suggests that active compounds in mushrooms may play a role in influenza viral modulation by inhibiting the enzymes viruses use for replication. This mechanism is the basis for most antiviral drugs.15, 16

One of our Real Mushrooms' Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners put it this way, medicinal mushrooms are powerful because they regulate, not just stimulate, the immune system.


Key Compounds in Mushrooms: Polysaccharides and Beta-glucan

Mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds called polysaccharides, including beta-glucans, which act as biological response modifiers.The innate immune system cells found in the gut area called the M cells in the peyer’s patches, express receptors such as dectin-1, TLR3 and CR3.5

It is here in the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) that the beta-glucans andmetabolites bind to pattern-recognition receptors (PRR) on key immune cells like macrophages and dendritic cells. Beta-glucans are recognized by the immune system as “non-self molecules,” acting as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs),which stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses.17

Well-researched mushroom varieties that can help to boost the innate and adaptive immune systems include Reishi, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Shiitake, Cordyceps, and Maitake. Consume these fungi as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, or through a high-quality mushroom supplement that is free from added fillers, and other by-products from the growing process.

Mushrooms for Immune Support for aging

Medicinal mushrooms can support the immune system's resilience at any age.

Strategies to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

There is scientific evidence to support using medicinal mushrooms to strengthen your immune system. However, you’re more likely to achieve a better result by taking a holistic approach to your overall health and wellness. This includes addressing other parts of your lifestyle, like diet, regular exercise, and sleep.

Nutrition and Immune Defence

Proper nutrition and digestion plays a crucial role in giving your body the right fuel it needs to fight off infection. Over 70% of your immune system by weight occurs in your gastrointestinal system, including your stomach and small and large intestines. It’s here that your body produces antibodies, T and B lymphocytes that keep you balanced and healthy.6 Medicinal mushrooms also support short-chain fatty acids, which are fuel for the cells found in your gut.18

A whole-foods based diet that includes complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, along with healthy fats, can provide you with the nutrients needed to support your health.

Consider that mushrooms, whether eaten as food or taken as a supplement, are a form of prebiotic fiber, meaning that they act as fuel for healthy bacteria in your gut.7 Prebiotics work in concert with probiotics and create an optimal environment for healthy bacteria to flourish.8

Prebiotic foods that you can incorporate into your diet include:9

Excellent sources of gut-friendly probiotics include:10

These foods, together with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, meat, and seafood, along with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil will go a long way towards enhancing your immune system.

Sleep for boosting immune system

Nutrition and sleep play a huge role in your body's ability to fight pathogens and recover from illness.

Sleep to Bolster Immune Function

While eating right and ensuring that you’re getting the right nutrients goes a long way towards healthy immune function, proper sleep is an essential component of fighting off infections. Sleep deprivation harms the immune system by interfering with key hormone actions.

A lack of sleep can slow your body’s response to foreign invaders and interfere with its ability to mount a strong reaction to pathogens.11 This means that you may be sicker for a more extended time.

Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health benefits.

Strategies to optimize your sleep:

Building a strong immune system is an integral part of maintaining good health. With the strategies outlined here, you can give your body the tools it needs to fight infections and bounce back quicker when you do get sick.

By understanding the role that medicinal mushrooms can play in boosting your immune system, you can make more informed choices about the food and supplements you take. Medicinal mushroom benefits for health in general and for your immune function are well-established and supported by considerable scientific evidence and thousands of years of practice in Eastern medicine.

Visit our online store to explore our complete line of mushroom supp


lements that can help support your immune system, and enhance your overall energy, resilience, and wellness.


Real Mushrooms product line for Immune Support

Click here to explore our lineup of mushroom extracts.


  1. NCBI 2016, The Innate and Adaptive Immune Systems, viewed 16 June 2020, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279396/>
  2. Spelman, Kevin et al. 2006, Modulation of cytokine expression by traditional medicines: A review of herbal immunomodulators, Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic 11(2):128-50,<https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6972255_Modulation_of_cytokine_expression_by_traditional_medicines_A_review_of_herbal_immunomodulators>
  3. Lull, Cristina, & Wichers, Harry J. and F. J. Huub, 2005, Anti Inflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites, Source: Mediators Inflamm. doi: 10.1155/MI.2005.63 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1160565/>
  4. Jayachandran, Muthukumaran, Xiao, Jianbo, and Xu, Baoju, A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota, 2017, Journal of Molecular Sciences <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618583/>
  5. Mallard B, Leach DN, Wohlmuth H, Tiralongo J (2019) Synergistic immuno- modulatory activity in human macrophages of a medicinal mushroom formulation consisting of Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake. PLoS ONE 14(11): e0224740. <https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0224740&type=printable>
  6. Zeratsky, Katherine, What are Probiotics and Prebiotics, viewed June 2020, <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065 >
  7. Semeco, Arlene, June 2016, The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat
  8. Palsdottir, Hrefna, Aug 2018, 11 Super Healthy Probiotic Foods, 2020
  9. Chan, Amanda, May 2013, 5 Experts Answer: Is Lack of Sleep Bad for Health?
  10. Klien, Sarah, April 2019, How to Sleep Better: 37 Hacks
  11. Zhu, Q., Bang, T., Ohnuki, K. et al. Inhibition of neuraminidase by Ganoderma triterpenoids and implications for neuraminidase inhibitor design. Sci Rep 5, 13194 (2015). <https://doi.org/10.1038/srep13194>
  12. Jayachandran, M.; Xiao, J.; Xu, B. A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1934. <https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/18/9/1934>
  13. Yu, Z., Liu, B., Mukherjee, P. et al. Trametes versicolor Extract Modifies Human Fecal Microbiota Composition In vitro . Plant Foods Hum Nutr 68, 107–112 (2013). <https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-013-0342-4>
  14. Guggenheim, A. G., Wright, K. M., & Zwickey, H. L. (2014). Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(1), 32–44. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26770080/>
  15. Kim, J. Y., Kim, D. W., Hwang, B. S., Woo, E. E., Lee, Y. J., Jeong, K. W., Lee, I. K., & Yun, B. S. (2016). Neuraminidase Inhibitors from the Fruiting Body of Phellinus igniarius. Mycobiology, 44(2), 117–120. <https://doi.org/10.5941/MYCO.2016.44.2.117>
  16. Zhu, Q., Bang, T. H., Ohnuki, K., Sawai, T., Sawai, K., & Shimizu, K. (2015). Inhibition of neuraminidase by Ganoderma triterpenoids and implications for neuraminidase inhibitor design. Scientific reports, 5, 13194. <https://doi.org/10.1038/srep13194>
  17. Batbayar, S., Lee, D. H., & Kim, H. W. (2012). Immunomodulation of Fungal β-Glucan in Host Defense Signaling by Dectin-1. Biomolecules & therapeutics, 20(5), 433–445. <https://doi.org/10.4062/biomolther.2012.20.5.433>
  18. Macfarlane, G. T., & Macfarlane, S. (2012). Bacteria, colonic fermentation, and gastrointestinal health. Journal of AOAC International, 95(1), 50–60. <https://doi.org/10.5740/jaoacint.sge_macfarlane>

Give us a brief background about yourself

Firstly, thanks much for the opportunity to connect here with the great group of natural practitioners who are part of the Real Mushrooms family.

I’ve had the absolute privilege of practicing Applied Kinesiology chiropractic for almost 35 years.  Injured in a hockey game after my 1980 graduation from Boston College, I spun my wheels for three months in “traditional” medical care.  When an orthopedic surgeon actually offered “EXPLORATORY NECK SURGERY”!!), I’d finally had enough. I took a chance on chiropractic.  All I knew was that a number of Olympic athletes were raving about chiropractic care despite strong discouragement by the U.S. medical team.  It sounded good to me!

My initial chiropractic experience was miraculous (the doc happened to specialize in Applied Kinesiology).  Three treatments and I was sold.  Back to school I went and earned my degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in December 1985.

In your practice, what conditions do you address the most?

My practice has been evolving for 35 years, and I expect it will continue to do so until I’m finally planted in the proverbial rocking chair.  A little perspective – Applied Kinesiology is a system of diagnosis and treatment using manual muscle testing as a functional neurological tool.  I had a better handle on the immense power of A.K. on my thousandth patient visit than on my first… and logarithmically more on my 175 thousandths.

Consequently, as my “functional” understanding of the anatomical, physiological, energetic, and neurological interconnectedness of ALL of the body’s systems grew… my ability to harness its almost limitless capacity to find balance, to heal, and to maintain homeostasis grew as well.  This would have been utterly impossible for me without Applied Kinesiology.

A.K. makes my chiropractic practice 10x more powerful.  Freeing the nervous system to communicate unencumbered via appropriate spinal manipulative therapy and various soft tissue modalities, is incredibly powerful on its own but Applied Kinesiology allows accurate assessment of endocrine, digestive, immune, cell detox, and energetic pathways, as well as the SPECIFIC nutritional holes to fill in order to turn on the body’s repair mechanisms.

So – Manning Chiropractic & Sports Kinesiology has evolved from a largely musculoskeletal based practice (athletic injuries, low back pain, headaches, shoulder separations), to one which includes patients suffering from a wide range of physiological disruptions… IBS, Crohn’s, chronic constipation, heart disease, asthma, eczema, diabetes, and arthritis… the list goes on.

What do you find are the primary causes of these conditions?

That’s an easy one.  Nutrition and lifestyle choices. Hands down!  Hint: Think SUGAR and wheat gluten.  Chronic degenerative processes are at the root of every one of the top causes of death in America.

And the common thread? -- chronic inflammation.

The biggest obstacle in a patient’s road to vibrant health is the Western Medicine sickness care model that has been ingrained (by design) since birth. Roughly 70% of Americans are on one prescription drug; half take 2, and 20% are on FIVE or MORE prescriptions!

This is a national disgrace.

Drugs can be positively life-saving, but only NUTRIENTS heal tissues.  Mother Nature designed it that way, and the rules haven’t changed.

How do you typically use Real Mushrooms with your patients?

Applied Kinesiology is a powerful assessment tool.  I’m able to take a “systems” approach with each patient, with a goal of identifying overly taxed organs/glands and most importantly, the lowest rung on the functional ladder.

For instance, is a patient’s chronic lung congestion really a “lung” problem?... or something else?  A subclinical heart involvement perhaps?

In my experience, these kinds of things are commonly missed in the traditional medical model.  Chances of successful outcomes rise dramatically when we address the issue from the bottom up.

Interestingly, and AMAZINGLY… Real Mushrooms’ products are applicable in virtually all situations!! 

I do not use “amazingly” lightly.

I’ve tested literally thousands of nutrients over the decades.  Not more than a small handful have tested as universally positive as the “medicinal mushrooms” supplied by this company.  Even an actual, locally grown “organic” Reishi mushroom supplied by a patient failed miserably!  I regularly screen all of the products, and strongly recommend these potent immune and cell supporters to many patients.

What is your recommended dosage for your patients?

I screen all Real Mushrooms products against the major “blown circuit breaker” on each patient.

A.K. will demonstrate the most appropriate of the group.  As an aside, muscle testing shows that Chaga, while beneficial, tends to perform least effectively than the others.  For mushroom “rookies”, I recommend a quarter teaspoon 2x/day (or 2 caps) to start.  I always prefer powder over capsule, as I want to stimulate the tongue’s lingual receptors, and thus inform the brain what’s on the way.  I’d like to double that dosing within a few weeks if possible.

My muscle testing bears out my belief that there’s a powerful healing synergy to combining the various products.  So, if a patient will rotate around all of Real Mushrooms’ selections through the week – so much the better.

Have you found other products, herbs, or supplements that work well or have good synergy with mushrooms?

I have access to, and nearly 500 different supplements for screening patients.  Again, my testing can get very specific. I may use a particular supplement with one patient for a period of time (until muscle testing demonstrated that it fails to be useful)… and not find a need for it on another patient for 8 months.  It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, really.  It makes for interesting inventory problems from time to time.  The Real Mushroom.

How do you personally use mushrooms? (capsules, powders, in drinks/foods, why?)

I add ½ tsp of powder to each of my 2 daily coffees.

Always ¼ tsp of Reishi… plus ¼ tsp of any of the others in no particular order.  I simply want to get a mix of all of the products into my system over the course of the week.

Where can we learn more about you? (website, links, self-promotion, etc.)

My YouTube Channel: John Manning Jr DC

Facebook: manningchiro

Who is Dr. Russell J. Koester L.Ac?

Dr. Russel J. Koester is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in Sebastopol, California. Currently, I serve as the resident acupuncturist at Sonoma County Indian Health Project. Herbal dermatology and immunology have really caught my interest in the last few years. Prior to coming to Chinese medicine, I was a performing musician and music educator in the Las Vegas public school system.

In your practice, what conditions do you address the most?

We address autoimmune disorder, behavior health, chronic pain, and dermatology.

What do you find are the primary causes of these conditions?

Environmental factors, lifestyle choice and/or circumstance, congenital predisposition.

How do you typically use Real Mushrooms with your patients?

I often use medicinal mushrooms as an adjunct to custom Chinese herbal formulas.

What is your recommended dosage for your patients?

Typically 1 gram per day for maintenance and up to 6 grams per day for chronic or acute conditions.

Have you found other products, herbs or supplements that work well or have good synergy with mushrooms?

Yes, Chinese medicine.

How do you personally use mushrooms?

I prefer Real Mushrooms in capsules taken in the morning with collagen powder and Vitamin C as a routine. I also use fresh or dried mushrooms for cooking regularly.

Where can we learn more about you?


To Benefit from a Medicinal Mushroom, You Need to Know What You’re Getting 

Not all fungal products are equal. Functional "mushroom" products generally contain EITHER the mushroom (fruiting body) OR the mycelium (vegetative body). Notice the quotes on mushroom as currently there is no function mycelium category so mycelium based products are also contained under the mushroom umbrella even though mushrooms and mycelium and two very distinct and different parts of these fungal organisms. 

If you actually want to benefit from the bio-compounds in these fungi, it is extremely important know which part you’re getting when you purchase a supplement. And with so many products on the market making claims about ingredients and efficacy, it can be challenging to understand what will truly support your health.

Read on to learn the myths and facts about medicinal mushroom supplements to get the most functional health support from fungi. The bottom line is that both the scientific research and respected practitioners in the field confirm that the medicinal value is much higher when using the mushroom, rather than the mycelium.

Listen below to master clinical herbalist, Dr. Terry Willard, as he summarizes the issue:



Fruiting Body, Mycelium, & Marketing Hype

The way many supplement brands market and sell their fungi products is cause for concern. If consumers don’t know what to look for when buying a medicinal mushroom supplement, they may easily be misled by the packaging, naming, and labeling of the vast products available. 

It can be difficult to distinguish a real mushroom extract made of the mushroom (fruiting body) from one made of the mushroom's "root" structure, mycelium. Reading a supplement’s packaging and nutritional labels won’t necessarily tell you the whole story either.

Mushroom product labeling requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tell manufacturers to clearly distinguish whether the product contains actual mushroom (the fruiting body) or just the mycelium in any food or supplement product. But not everyone follows these rules and this is low on the FDA's enforcement priorities.  

In 2017, The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) released labelling guidance for Fungi Dietary Ingredients. This is not enforceable but gives recommendations on how Fungal based products should be accurately labelled to clearly inform the consumer on what is in the product.

Too often, brands disguise the true nature of their products and misdirect consumers who want to buy effective medicinal mushroom products. Here we will separate the myths from the facts about mushroom terminology, their active compounds, and the marketing hype, to give you the information you need to buy a supplement with the most medicinal mushroom benefits.

To reap these benefits, you need a supplement with high concentrations of the parts of the fungi that offer the most therapeutic compounds. This article gives you the knowledge you need to make informed purchasing decisions, so you can truly experience the adaptive health benefits of medicinal mushroom supplementation.

Fruiting Body vs. Mycelium

The Difference between Fungal Parts

A mushroom is the “fruiting body” of a fungal organism called a basidiomycete (except in the case of the cordyceps mushroom — they are an organism called an ascomycete). Basidiomycetes have three distinct parts that develop throughout its lifecycle: spore, mycelium, and mushroom.

The spores are in the surrounding air all around us, and under favorable conditions, these will germinate and begin to grow branching filaments called hyphae. As the hyphae continue to grow, they will fuse together to form mycelium.

Mycelium is an underground network that expands and feeds off of organic plant matter. This phase of the basidiomycetes’ life cycle is the vegetative stage or the vegetative body of the organism. During this time, the mycelium produces enzymes that break down the plant material in its growth radius and recycles it into beneficial compounds that return to the soil.

In nature, this typically means that mycelium will form large networks of fungal matter by breaking down wood, logs, leaves, and other plant matter. The plant matter on which fungi feed is commonly referred to as the substrate. The mycelium becomes entwined in whatever substrate it’s in, making an inseparable mass of substrate and mycelium.

If environmental conditions are right, the mycelium will produce a mushroom, a.k.a. the fruiting body. The mushroom is actually the reproductive structure of this organism. When fully mature, it produces spores that, when distributed across plant matter, will allow for the creation of new mycelial networks, and ultimately the spread of the fungus.

Mycelial networks can live for hundreds, if not thousands of years and spread across vast distances. In fact, the largest organism on earth is a mycelial mat of a honey mushroom in eastern Oregon that is 890 hectares in size and over 2,000 years old!

It is important to reiterate that just as a mushroom is not mycelium, mycelium is also not a mushroom. These terms are not synonymous and should be accurately differentiated.

From spores to fruiting body - mushroom life cycle

Identifying Fillers in Your Supplement

Read the ingredients on the mushroom or mycelium supplement package to see which part of these fungi the producer used. Based on the labelling, many times it is unclear. The product could be any combination of mycelium, mushroom, sclerotium, spore, and substrate matter, dried, ground into a powder and then potentially extracted. 

Using all the parts of the fungi might seem like an effective way to reap the most benefits. However, there are parts of the basidiomycete, like the mushroom (fruiting body), that contain more active beneficial compounds than others. The mycelium, on the other hand, is typically grown on a solid substrate which will become part of the finished product. 


The majority of commercial producers grow mycelium on grains like rice, oats, or sorghum. Therefore, all that grain becomes inseparable from the mycelium and remains in the final product, leading to high amounts of starch.

When myceliated grain forms the bulk of a supplement, the grain acts as a filler and "dilutes" the product because it doesn’t contain any active compounds. Myceliated grain dramatically reduces how much beneficial compounds are in each serving of your supplement.

Mycelium on Grain. This is not the fruiting body

Mycelium grown on grain

The Key Medicinal Compound in Mushrooms: Beta-Glucans

Functional mushroom benefits are derived from their active compounds, which are found in abundance in the mushroom (fruiting body) itself, and less so in the mycelium. The most important of the key compounds in fungi are called beta-glucans, and they offer a host of health benefits.

Current research shows that beta-glucans’ most important benefit to our health is to modulate the immune system. Additionally, they can help regulate blood sugar, improve feelings of fatigue, and increase overall endurance. 

In some cases, beta-glucans can have a positive effect on malignant conditions based on their ability to increase certain immune cells that increase autophagy.*

Also, consider that medicinal mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with varieties like reishi, shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, turkey tail, and cordyceps being the most revered for their powerful health benefits. TCM practitioners still use medicinal mushrooms to treat a host of different ailments and health conditions.

Beta-Glucans: Mycelium vs Fruiting Body

The chart below shows the significant difference between mushroom (fruiting body), pure mycelium and myceliated grain. Pure mycelium can be produced by growing the mycelium in a liquid substrate instead of a solid substrate.

This is known as liquid fermentation.

At the end of the growing process, the liquid can be drained off yielding pure mycelium. However, most producers of mycelium-based products grow the mycelium on a grain substrate. 

The Percentage of Beta-glucans and Alpha-glucans in Cordyceps Fruiting Body and Cordyceps Mycelium

Beta-glucans Alpha-glucans
Cordyceps militaris mushroom 34.36% 1.65%
Cordyceps Cs-4 (Pure mycelium) 7.58% 1.61%
Cordyceps mycelium grown on grain 1.5% 64%

Analytical data courtesy of Nammex™

The consistency of Alpha-glucans content between mushrooms and pure mycelium confirms that the extremely high alpha-glucans in myceliated grain are from the undigested grain in the final product. 

A helpful example of visualizing myceliated grain is the food product tempeh. Tempeh is a traditional cake-like Indonesian food that is made from cooked soybeans fermented with a fungus. 

Grain-based Tempeh

Grain-based Tempeh

The producer packs the tempeh and forms it into patties or logs.  As the fungus grows on the the soybeans it becomes as inseparable mass, which they sell as a meat replacement food.  Similarly, with myceliated grain, the resulting finished product retains BOTH the mycelium and the grain substrate it grows on.

Is that Supplement Made of Real Mushrooms?

Too often, supplement brands bring to market medicinal mushroom products with claims of being pure mushroom extracts. However, the product could be any combination of mushroom (fruiting body), mycelium, sclerotium, spore, and substrate matter. There are many documented cases of mushroom supplement packaging and labeling that obscures or outright misrepresents exactly what the buyer is getting. This marketing misstep causes consumers a lot of confusion and jeopardizes the integrity of the supplement market.

Reishi fruiting body

Reishi fruiting body

Investigating Mushroom Supplement Integrity: Reishi Products

Part of the issue facing the mushroom industry is the lack of standardized testing for various mushroom types. However, Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is an exception. 

Given its long-standing use in traditional Chinese medicine, researchers have developed reliable testing methods for identifying Reishi compounds in products. 

Using these proven testing methods, six scientific researchers conducted and published a study in partnership with the US Pharmacopoeia to evaluate 19 reishi mushroom supplements purchased online in the U.S.A. from websites such as Amazon and Ebay. Only FIVE of the 19 supplements (26.3%) contained genuine reishi. The sample of products evaluated in the study included six mushroom powders, one mushroom powder with added polysaccharides, one reishi mycelia product and eleven extracts. The results of this reishi supplement study indicates that several commercially available mushroom supplements do not contain what the consumer expects based on the product information and labels. 

Additionally, ConsumerLab investigated reishi supplements and uncovered contradictions between product labelling and product contents. One of the seven top-selling brands they analyzed made claims on its label that could not be supported. The brand’s product name includes the term “mushroom” and the packaging features an image of the mushroom (fruiting body) on the front. However, the product itself contained reishi mycelium only and no mushrooms whatsoever.  

ConsumerLabs went on to say that, “Its chemical fingerprint matched that of mycelium, but the inclusion of “mushroom” in the product’s name and the image of fruiting body, rather than mycelium, on the front label could lead a person to believe that the product contains reishi fruiting body and to expect concentrations of compounds normally found in the fruiting body. In fact, [the product] contained hardly any beta-glucan; instead, it contained the highest concentration of alpha-glucan, which is simply a polysaccharide from the grain (brown rice) on which the mycelia were grown.”

Fungi Buyer Beware: What to Look Out For

The above examples illustrate an ongoing problem within the medicinal mushroom industry as well as supplements in general. Consumers need to be aware of what they’re getting. 

Real Mushrooms only uses extracts from the mushroom (fruiting body) itself and doesn’t include any substrate matter or fillers in its formulation. We label our products to show exactly what ingredients we include and from what part of the fungi. Further, we list the percentage of Beta-Glucans in each serving.

By carefully reading the ingredients on any supplement label, by selecting a product with the mushroom (fruiting body) as the primary content, and by choosing organic suppliers who list the percentage of medicinal compounds (Beta-Glucans) in each serving, you can improve your chances of buying a high-quality mushroom extract powder with effective medicinal concentrations. 

Therefore, to get the most potent and high-value medicinal fungi supplement, look for extracts made from the mushroom (fruiting body) which also specifies beta-glucan content. Also, refrain from buying supplements that do not specifically state the part of the fungi they use. The ingredients label should say whether you are getting the mushroom, the mycelium, or a blend of both.

Without myceliated grain and other fillers, Real Mushrooms supplements deliver a high-potency dosage of medicinal beta-glucans per serving, the main active compound in mushrooms and mycelium. We list the beta-glucans content of all our products to show and guarantee you that they are present.

Nutrition Label Real Mushrooms Beta Glucans

A reliable fungi supplement should list the % of Beta-Glucans

How to Choose an Effective Mushroom Extract

A Mushroom Supplement Buying Guide

By understanding the difference between mushrooms and mycelium, you can cut through the noise and make an informed product choice. To know what you are getting and reap full benefits from these fungal wonders, shop with these guidelines in mind:


  1. Read the product's Supplement Facts panel and attempt to distinguish the true contents of the product.
  2. Select products that primarily contain the mushroom (fruiting body), not just mycelium, myceliated grain, or myceliated biomass.
  3. Avoid buying products that lack specific information about the plant part of the fungi (whether mushroom or mycelium).
  4. Look for an extract as extraction breaks down the fungal cell wall and improves bioavailability.
  5. Look for brands that list the beta-glucans content in their Supplement Facts panel. It's important for it to be in the Supplement Facts panel and not just in any marketing materials. 
  6. Ignore any polysaccharide numbers because polysaccharides also measure starches
  7. Make sure the ingredients are organically grown. 
  8. Always choose to buy from a trusted source. 

Real Mushrooms' commitment is to provide you with the very best quality and greatest possible potency of mushroom supplements. Read our story and Shop Real Mushrooms products to try our line of 100% real mushroom extracts that deliver all the health benefits of a real medicinal mushroom.


Real Mushrooms Capsules

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Who is Dr. Neal Sivula?

Dr. Sivula is the founder of Dancing Paws Animal Wellness Center, an Integrative Veterinary Practice in Richfield, Ohio.

Dancing Paws offers patients personalized care using both traditional and holistic methods.  The holistic therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic, nutrition, rehabilitation (including underwater treadmill therapy), and Chinese and Western herbal medicines.

Dr. Sivula is a past board member of the AVCA, COAC, and the AAVA. He is also a past President of the AAVA. He is currently the President of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), an Executive Editor of the American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Chair of the Integrative Medicine Committee for the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, and Chair of the Advanced Certification Committee of the AAVA. He has served as the AAVA’s Delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates and is a current faculty member for the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies.

What conditions do you treat the most?

We see mostly geriatric pets, so the most common problems that our patients have are chronic arthritis, neurologic problems, stomach and kidney issues, and cancer. We also see a number of patients for post-surgical rehabilitation.

What are the most common causes of these conditions?

Most of the conditions we see are the result of the aging process. Some of the patients we see have acute neurologic problems like bulging or ruptured intervertebral discs that are not chronic in nature.

How do you use Real Mushrooms with your patients?

We certainly recommend Real Mushrooms for our cancer patients or anytime we feel that the immune system needs to be addressed. Also, we find that Real Mushrooms improve the quality of life of our geriatric patients in general, no matter what health problems they may have.

What is your recommended dosage for canines?

For our typical 40-80 pound canine patient I recommend 1 capsule twice daily, sometimes more depending on their general health.

How do you personally use mushrooms?

I use the 5 Defenders Mushroom Blend Capsules for overall general health. They help with daily wear and tear, stress, and support my energy levels.

Where can we learn more about you?

Practice business: www.dancingpawsawc.com
Personal website: www.nealjsivula.com

As a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine, I’m often asked the question “is ________ a good herb?

We can only answer this question by first asking “for who, and when?”

Since the late 1990’s we have been subjected to advertising from the pharmaceutical industry and taught that for a certain problem we should take a particular drug. Problem “X” means you need to take drug “Y.” And an entire supplement industry has arisen that rides on the coattails of this way of thinking.

Generally speaking, life is not so simple. As any health concern or problem a person has is embedded in a complex tangle of biochemistry, lifestyle habits, genetics, social relationships and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what things mean.

So I’m always cautious when talking about herbs and other natural medicines.

The simple algebra of pharmaceutical medicine that seeks to change one thing, that is tightly targeted toward one biochemical interaction, does not begin to cover or address the complex calculus of living systems.

With this as the frame for our conversation here, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite medicinals for treating lung issues like bronchitis, asthma, dry coughs and allergies in people who have some weakness with the lung or respiratory system.

Dong Chong Xia Cao - The Caterpillar Fungus

In Chinese, Dong Chong Xia Cao, translates literally to “winter bug, summer grass” or as it’s commonly known in English, Cordyceps sinensis. It is an unusual and helpful medicinal mushroom that has long occupied a place of high status in the Chinese medicine world.

Up until recent times, it has not been easy to come by. It’s found in high mountain regions and is fairly rare. In China, they say “those who buy it don’t eat it, and those who eat it don’t buy it.” Meaning it was often given as a gift to curry favor from those in positions of power.

For centuries the Chinese have known of this mushroom’s ability to strengthen the lungs and kidneys and improve a person’s essential vitality. We are fortunate to have pioneers like the folks here at Real Mushrooms working on the cultivation of these precious and rare substances.

So now anyone can have access to these medicinals that in the past were only consumed by royalty, those in positions of power and privilege, or those who lived in the areas where these mushrooms occurred in the wild (and they knew how to find it).

Chinese medicine doctors see Cordyceps as strengthening the lungs and kidneys. In our modern-day, it’s often taken by athletes who are looking for a competitive edge, as it improves stamina. I use it in my clinical work for those who have asthma, allergies, COPD, bronchitis, and frequent colds. When taken on a regular basis over the course of a few seasons I’ve seen significant changes in my patient's lung issues.

Now, I want to be clear here that medicinals like Cordyceps are not going to bring you immediate relief of respiratory symptoms. Herbal medicine is like attending to a garden. You see changes over the course of months or seasons as you attend to the health of the soil and pay attention to the local ecosystem. Often these kinds of changes come slowly. So slow you might not notice how your symptoms are changing as we usually fail to notice what is no longer present or bothersome in our lives once it has disappeared.

So if you are using this or any other medicinal for your wellbeing and health, it’s helpful to write down the problems you’re currently having and every month or so check in with yourself and chart out how you are feeling.

Let me give you an example.

I have a patient with allergies. She hates trees as when they bloom she’s miserable. Two years ago in allergy season, she would always wear a mask to protect herself from the pollen, it was a bit of an obsession. In the last allergy season, I asked her how she was doing and she still had the story in her head about “hating trees.” As I inquired further about how much time she could spend outside and her use of a mask, she replied: “I can walk my dog for pretty much as long as I want, and I take a mask but usually don’t use it.” Furthermore, it had been weeks since she needed her rescue inhaler which she used to use on a daily basis.

Isn't that interesting?

She still had a story in her mind about how trees were the enemy of her lungs, but in fact, over the course of a year, she clearly had improved lung function and less sensitivity to pollen. So keep in mind if you are using mushrooms or really any medicinal herbs, it is important to track how you are doing.

The Importance of a Practitioner

Finally, if you have a health concern, it is important that you see a qualified practitioner. Herbs are “natural” but that does not mean you should use them without understanding how they work in the human body.

Remember the first question to ask when considering taking a medicinal mushroom or herbal preparation is “who is the person” and “is this substance right for them at this time.”

Symptoms are the tip of the iceberg and it's important to know what lies beneath the water and out of view. That being said, Cordyceps is a safe herb and one that you can take any time, other than when in the middle of having a cold or flu. It’s one of my favorite herbs to prescribe for patients who have respiratory problems because it is both safe and effective.


Who is Don Ollsin?

For the past five decades, I've been helping people cultivate a deeper relationship to the plant world. I've been interested in plants, herbs, and fungi for as long as I can remember. I offer excellent educare (bringing out that which is within) that heals while it informs. I offer books, courses, and programs that guide you through sustained development in your journey of self-healing, community healing, and earth healing. Your healing begins on the first day of the study. Learning not only the healing uses of plants but seeing them as teachers/other living beings you can get to know. I also mentor herbal students who want to become professional herbalists.

What conditions do you address the most with Real Mushrooms?

Inflammation and Infection. I work from a systems point of few and treat the person and the body as a whole. That is why I particularly love your Reishi. Almost every client we see is put on it.

What do you find are the primary causes of these conditions?

Stress. Poor sleep. Too much time on the computer. Not enough exercise. Poor diet. Relationship conflicts. Lack of time nourishing their spirit. Loneliness. Climate change. The 1 %.

How do you typically use Real Mushrooms with your patients?

I prefer powdered extracts.

What is your recommended dosage for your patients?

1/2 tsp 1 to 3 x a day depending on their dosha and condition.

How do you personally use mushrooms? 

Powder. Eat it with other herbs like nettles, kelp, and ginger.

Where can we learn more about you?

Ollsin Herbalism

Who is Katya Difani?

I am an herbalist trained in Western herbal medicine from Bastyr University and other herbal mentors. I have owned an herbal apothecary in Kirkland, Washington called Herban Wellness for ten years, where we consult with people about how to use herbs, mushrooms, superfoods, and other elements to support health.

What conditions do you address the most with Real Mushrooms?

I recommend mushroom extracts the most for building and strengthening the immune system. This can include those with weak immune systems that tend to get sick a lot, as well as those who have a history of cancer in their life or family. I also consider mushroom extracts beneficial for promoting and maintaining vibrant health, helping with energy and healthy sleep cycles. More recently, I and my staff have been recommending Lion’s Mane mushroom for its regenerative and restorative effects on the nervous system and the brain. I also often recommend Turkey Tail mushroom for those with a history or current diagnosis of breast cancer. Finally, I recommend Reishi mushroom for overall health and vitality, and for someone managing an underlying viral load.

Top 3 recommended mushroom extracts for healthy individuals?

I tend to like to recommend the 5 Defenders Mushroom Complex for healthy individuals, since it really covers the bases of health, from immune system to heart, liver, and brain health, as well as helping to manage inflammation in the body. I tend to like blends. I also really like Reishi mushroom extract for overall health. Thirdly, Cordyceps is a nice one for a healthy individual who may want more energy and to enhance their sexual health.

What dose you typically recommend for your patients?

If the mushroom extract is for overall health, I will recommend the individual dose according to the package instructions, ¼-1/2 tsp of extract per day. If the person is taking mushroom extracts for a current health condition or for regenerating tissue, I will recommend 1 tsp, at least once/day, sometimes up to 3 times/day.

How do you typically use our mushroom extracts with your patients/clients?

I recommend people either use the mushrooms in food (cereal, yogurt, smoothies, etc.) or get creative and add them to their coffee, make a blended herbal/mushroom latte with nut milk and add other superfoods or coconut oil, or spice to the mix and drink hot or cold. I also often encourage them to add the mushrooms to veggie or bone broth, where the mushroom flavor is naturally is tasty.

Where can we learn more about you?

You can learn more about me and my herbal apothecary and wellness shop in Kirkland, WA by visiting my website. Thanks for joining in and learning more about me!