Savory, creamy, and packed with delicious mushroom flavor, this mushroom risotto recipe strikes the perfect balance between indulgence and comfort.
If you’re looking for a dish that’s comforting, nourishing, and a perfect way to incorporate mushrooms into your cooking, look no further than this recipe. With its creamy texture, earthy flavors, and wholesome warmth, it’s the perfect, satisfying dish to welcome the changing of seasons.
Jump to a section:
Mushroom risotto is an Italian dish that has a creamy texture and rich, earthy flavors. The key ingredients include:
While mushroom risotto is a relatively easy dish to make, it might sound complex if this is your first time giving it a try. Fear not, because here’s a quick run down to show you the basics. The key is gradually adding the warm broth to the rice and stirring continuously until the rice is creamy and cooked.
Here's a general overview of how mushroom risotto is prepared:
That’s it! The process is simple but requires your constant attention. It’s all worth it though, as the end result is a rich, comforting dish that celebrates the natural umami goodness of mushrooms. Plus, you get all those incredible mushroom health benefits that go along with it, making it a win-win.
As mentioned earlier, this dish requires some attention to detail to achieve the perfect creamy texture and rich mushroom flavor. Here are some tips to help give you the best, most flavorful results:
Risotto is best served fresh and immediately. But if you have leftovers, here are some tips:
Now on to the recipe!
Feel free to customize the mushroom risotto by adding herbs like thyme or rosemary, or even a splash of truffle oil for an extra layer of flavor if you’re feeling fancy. The options are endless as to how you want to finish the dish and what you’d like to pair it with.
This dish is hearty and features the umami-packed flavors of mushrooms and parmesan, so it is a satisfying meat-replacement dish if you are trying to cut back on your meat consumption.
Overall, it’s the perfect dish to share with some friends and celebrate! So invite some people over and enjoy in good health!
Lobster mushrooms are a fall favorite amongst foragers. These delicious fungi make a great addition to many dishes, like pasta, soups and stews, and even sandwiches. Below we present you with what we consider to be the ultimate lobster mushroom recipe to add to your culinary repertoire.
Incidentally, lobster mushrooms are not actually mushrooms – more on that below – but they are absolutely delicious and have health benefits worth noting!
We’ve also included two additional flavorful recipes that are sure to become favorites in your home kitchen as economical and meat-free alternatives to seafood dishes. So let’s dive in and explore the world of lobster mushrooms.
There are three main ways to acquire lobster mushrooms.
The first option is to visit local organic produce markets. You would be able to find them during later summer and the fall when these delightful fungi are in season. However, they are usually only available fresh in Northern parts of the USA and Southern parts of Canada where they grow in the wild.
If fresh lobster mushrooms are not an option in your area, you can find many online sellers of dried mushrooms that may have them available. Take care to vet the quality of their company and products to avoid getting old, stale, or low-quality dried mushrooms.
Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous, you can forage for lobster mushrooms yourself using these tips.
Lobster mushrooms have no toxic lookalikes, so they are generally easy to identify without risk.
A lobster mushroom is not technically a mushroom at all! It is a growth that forms when a certain parasitic fungus consumes one of two types of common mushrooms: Short-stalked Russula (Russula brevipes) or Lactarius mushrooms.
As the fungus eats up the host mushroom, it generates a strangely delicious orange-red output that looks and tastes suspiciously like a cooked lobster tail. So, if you want to be technical about it, you’d be cooking up Hypomyces lactifluorum.
To the mushroom aficionado, this happy fungi accident may sound familiar: See how chaga forms.
Lobster mushrooms have a unique flavor profile that sets them apart from other varieties. They offer a savory taste reminiscent of seafood. Their texture is firm yet tender, and they get slightly sweet as they cook. Similar to culinary uses of lion’s mane mushrooms, they are a popular substitute for seafood in dishes.
A great lobster mushroom recipe will ideally make use of the similarities between this fungus and real lobster meat.
Aside from their delectable taste, lobster mushrooms also provide some health benefits. They are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins B and D, potassium, and iron. Like other culinary mushrooms, these are low in calories, but dense in fiber, so they are ideal for filling you up and supporting your gut health.
If you are using fresh lobster mushrooms, preparation prior to cooking is simple. Rinse them under cold water to remove any debris, then move on to the next step below.
If you are using dried lobster mushrooms, you’ll need to rehydrate them before moving on to cooking. Place the dried mushrooms in a heat-safe bowl, then cover with boiling water. Let soak for 15-20 minutes, agitating them gently about halfway through to help loosen any debris. Carefully remove the mushroom pieces and rinse well under cold water. If the mushrooms were not dirty prior to soaking, reserve the soaking water for cooking.
Before incorporating fresh lobster mushrooms into a recipe, it's crucial to prepare them properly. Start by cleaning the mushrooms thoroughly using a soft brush or damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Then slice them according to your desired thickness.
For each of the recipes below, we recommend sautéing the lobster mushrooms in a preheated pan with olive oil or butter until they turn golden brown. Make sure the pan is already hot prior to putting the mushrooms in. This is key to cooking mushrooms so they don’t go soggy.
The CEO of Real Mushrooms, Skye Chilton, created the video below of his lobster mushroom foraging and how he cooked up these delicious delicacies:
Now that we’ve covered the basics of lobster mushrooms, let’s dive into the recipes!
The following recipe can be made using fresh or dried lobster mushrooms. We have included preparation instructions for the mushrooms themselves just above this section.
This delightful creamy pasta dish featuring flavorful Hypomyces lactifluorum is a perfect choice for adventuring into a new and delicious culinary realm. It’s especially fun to experiment with ingredients like these if you’re looking for satisfying meat or seafood substitutes.
This creamy bisque recipe is sure to become a cold-weather favorite. One of our team members adapted this recipe from the original, found on One Tomato, Two Tomato. Freshly foraged lobster mushrooms were used here, but you could easily swap with rehydrated dried ones if that’s all you have on hand.
We found this drool-worthy recipe for meat-free lobster rolls and couldn’t resist including it! If you’re craving a satisfying sandwich, this is one recipe you will definitely want to try. The original recipe can be found on Forager Chef, or view his YouTube video below.
When it comes to the lobster mushroom, it is one of those strange treats that nature in all her weirdness has created and our tastebuds happily benefit from.
If you're looking for a meat-free sandwich recipe that is packed with flavor and health benefits, then this Bahn Mi mushroom sandwich recipe is perfect for you! This vegetarian version of the classic Vietnamese banh mi sandwich features sautéed mushrooms and a unique fermented bean paste that adds an interesting twist to the traditional liver-y pâté.
Not only does this sandwich satisfy your taste buds, but it also offers numerous health benefits thanks to the three types of mushrooms used in the recipe: oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and cremini mushrooms.
View our video for a quick recipe run-down and read on for the details:
Glutamate is a naturally occurring amino acid that plays a key role in the taste sensation known as umami. Umami is often described as a savory or meaty flavor that enhances the overall taste of food.
Mushrooms are rich in glutamate, which is why they have a naturally delicious and satisfying flavor. This makes them an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian and plant-based recipes. When cooked, mushrooms release their natural glutamate, providing a similar umami taste to that of meat.
Of all the mushrooms, shiitake and enoki have the highest concentrations of glutamate. That’s why this recipe adds in dried shiitake powder - to bring in an extra boost of umami flavor. The presence of glutamate adds depth and complexity to dishes but also helps create a more satisfying eating experience.
The dense texture of mushrooms paired with the glutamate factor gives them a meat-like quality. It’s why mushrooms are an ideal alternative for those looking to reduce or eliminate meat consumption without sacrificing taste or texture.
By incorporating three types of mushrooms into your Bahn Mi sandwich, you not only enhance the flavor but also boost the nutritional value of your meal. Mushrooms have some amino acids, fiber types, and compounds that aren’t easy to get from other sources yet are pivotal allies in maintaining cell health, immune health, and gut health.
Now, get ready to tantalize your taste buds while nourishing your body with this delightful mushroom sandwich creation!
Now that you have all the steps laid out for this delicious Bahn Mi mushroom sandwich recipe, it's time to gather your ingredients and start cooking! This plant-based twist on a traditional favorite is sure to impress your taste buds with its rich flavors and unique combination of ingredients. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out!
Time: 45 minutes
Storing your ingredients
The quick pickles and the pâté can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated, separately, in airtight containers.
Mushrooms are a sustainable, healthful, and satisfying substitute for meat in this recipe. But say you don’t have access to all the ingredients. Here are some ideas for substitutes:
Instead of fresh oyster mushrooms - Use large portobello mushrooms. You’ll still get the density and size to be able to have large slices and a meaty texture.
Instead of dried shiitake - Use lion’s mane mushroom extract powder (1 tbsp). It will have a lighter umami taste (reminiscent of seafood) but will provide a concentrated boost of unique compounds that enhance brain health and immune health.
Instead of fresh cremini - Did you know that cremini mushrooms are white button mushrooms that have been left to grow for longer? So, if you can’t find cremini just use old faithful.
This recipe was a take on an original by Jim Webster.
If you make this recipe, please share your impressions and photos with us!
A vegetarian twist on a classic favorite, this mushroom shawarma recipe includes two different sauces, giving your taste buds options and your belly joy.
Are you craving all the flavors of shawarma, but looking for a meatless option? We’ve got you covered! Enter mushroom shawarma, a delicious and satisfying vegetarian version of the classic dish that is easy to make at home and sure to please both the meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
Shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern dish consisting of marinated meat cooked on a spit and served in a wrap or pita bread with vegetables and a flavorful sauce. This is a delicious and satisfying meal, but there aren’t typical plant-based alternatives. This is where mushrooms come in!
Culinary mushrooms like oysters, shiitake, and maitake are packed with health benefits. They are substantial and satisfying meat alternatives that deliver both nutrition and flavor.
Not only did we create a recipe that replaces the meat with mushrooms, keeping all the delicious meaty flavor and texture, but we also gave you two different sauces. Whether you make one or both, you won’t be disappointed!
To make mushroom shawarma, you will need a few key ingredients, including mushrooms, vegetables, spices, and pita bread.
The mushrooms are the star of the dish, and you can use any variety you like, although oyster mushrooms work particularly well because of their meaty texture.
For the spices, you'll need a blend of cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric, which gives the mushrooms a warm and aromatic flavor.
The second stars of the dish are the sauces! We included not one, but two different sauces so you can take your pick. One sauce to satisfy your sweet tooth and one to satisfy your creamy, tangy tooth.
For the sauces, you will need greek yogurt, spices, garlic, lemon juice, apricot jam, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, honey, and dijon mustard. It may sound like a lot, but both sauces are incredibly easy to make. You just mix all the ingredients together in one bowl. Each sauce can be made in under five minutes!
The only hard part will be choosing which sauce to use, but here’s a pro tip: the best combination is both sauces together!
This mushroom shawarma is incredibly easy to make at home.
Easy, healthy, and restaurant-worthy. Check, check, check.
Now onto the recipe!
As promised, here are two different sauces to choose from:
If you’re looking for a tangy, slightly spicy flavor to accompany your shawarma, this yogurt-based sauce is for you! It is cooling and refreshing and pairs well with the warm spices used in the dish.
If you’re looking for a sweet and tangy sauce, this one's for you! It combines the fruity flavor of apricot jam with savory spices and pairs well with the earthy flavor of mushrooms.
With its flavorful spices, fresh vegetables, and nutritious flavorful fungi, this mushroom shawarma is a crowd-pleaser that makes for the perfect dish to enjoy with friends. So invite some people over and try it out at home!
For anyone new to keto, the question, “Are mushrooms keto-friendly?” is unavoidable.
And the answer is a resounding yes! Mushrooms are perfect for keto primarily because they’re low on carbohydrates.
That’s not all.
Mushrooms also provide a host of vitamins and micronutrients that help resolve common challenges of the ketogenic diet.
As you may know, keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that restricts most fruits and vegetables due to their high carb content. This can pose a challenge when it comes to meeting your daily fiber, vitamin, and mineral requirements.
Mushrooms’ fiber and essential nutrient content can play a massive role in helping you stay the keto course.
That’s why today we want to delve deeper into:
Mushrooms are an ace in the hole in achieving the keto trifecta—high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.
To stay true to the keto diet, you need your total daily calories — 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men — to come primarily from fats. We break down keto nutrient distribution in the table below (1).
For context, one banana (∼100 grams) may give you anywhere between 23–27 g of carbs.
This begs the question: how low is the carb content of mushrooms compared to the limits of keto?
The carb content of mushrooms ranges between 4 g per 100 grams for white button mushrooms and 8.5 g per 100 grams for king oyster mushrooms.
This is well below the minimum carb threshold you’re aiming for with keto.
For your body to stay in ketosis (burning fat instead of sugar), your daily intake of carbs should be approximately 35 g and no more than 50 g.
While you need to be more cautious with shiitake mushrooms, adding a serving of mushrooms (100 g, or about 4 oz) to one or more meals will give you amazing nutritional benefits without spiking your blood sugar or destabilizing ketosis.
Despite being low carb, mushrooms have a relatively high fiber content: 1.7–4.4 g of fiber per 100 grams of mushrooms. That’s better than carrots or broccoli!
Fiber is typically found in fruits, veg, and grains, which are all restricted in keto. Therefore, you’ll need all the fiber you can get to aid your digestion while following the keto diet.
Mushrooms contain two types of dietary fiber:
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of a specific type of soluble fiber called beta-d-glucan.
Beta-d-glucan, an immunomodulator, binds to immune receptors, up-regulating or down-regulating immune responses according to your body’s needs.
Benefits of beta-d-glucan include:
To tie it all together, mushrooms’ fiber content may be the answer to challenges common in the keto diet. These include:
Five servings of fruit and vegetables per day give us the vitamins and minerals we need to function healthily.
Unfortunately, keto diet restrictions can severely limit your nutrient options. This is where mushrooms come in, helping you bridge the nutrient gap.
Essential nutrients in mushrooms include:
The ketogenic diet can affect your metabolism, fat breakdown, hormonal balance, kidney function, and energy levels (11).
Boosting the above nutrients with mushrooms will help you remain healthy throughout your keto journey.
Now, let’s look at a few delicious, keto-friendly mushroom recipes.
Why we love this recipe: It’s a simple, mostly hands-off recipe that’s packed with flavor, healthy fats and protein, and the mushroom superfood lion’s mane, which supports heart, brain, and gut health.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Expert Tip: If you want a meatier flavor and texture or more substantial portions, switch out the cremini mushrooms for portobellos.
For a creamier stuffing, our Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms are the way to go. Plus, they’re keto-friendly too.
Why we love this recipe: It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth craving while being fully keto-friendly and delivering brain health benefits, thanks to the lion’s mane mushroom.
Serves: 12 donut holes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
"I love Lion's Mane in my morning coffee. It gives me energy, clarity, and focus and helps me be on point in my communication. It helps with recall and retention."
Why we love this recipe: It’s a calming drink that can help stabilize your energy levels throughout the day.
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Top with black sesame seeds.
This flatbread recipe combines wholesome ingredients with the health benefits of Cordyceps mushrooms, creating a decadent yet nutritious meal that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Whether you’re looking for a savory appetizer, a light meal, or a dish to impress your dinner guests, this Cordyceps mushroom and caramelized onion flatbread recipe is sure to tick all the right boxes. Bonus: it also ticks the multi-benefit health box too!
The combination of earthy mushrooms, sweet onions, and tangy goat cheese on crispy flatbread is a flavor explosion. And, when you throw in Cordyceps’ ability to enhance energy, improve respiration, and support the immune system, you have one powerful and tasty meal.
Cordyceps mushrooms have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine to address a variety of ailments, to strengthen the lungs and kidneys, and to improve a person’s vitality.
Learn more about the abundant benefits of Cordyceps mushrooms here.
From Traditional Chinese Medicine all the way to your kitchen, you can now enjoy all those benefits when you whip up this delicious flatbread!
Cordyceps' taste can vary depending on how it is prepared and what it is prepared with. Some have described it as having an earthy and nutty flavor, with a hint of umami. It pairs excellently with the goat cheese, caramelized onions, and balsamic vinegar found in this recipe.
In general, fresh Cordyceps have a more mild, earthy flavor, similar to other mushrooms, and dried Cordyceps have a slightly stronger flavor.
For an in-depth shopping guide, take a look here. The gist is:
Dried Cordyceps mushrooms are incredibly easy to cook. We suggest poaching them for this recipe. For a detailed run down, you can take a look at this article.
The basics of poaching dried Cordyceps:
And that’s it! As we said, easy!
Keeping with the theme of ease, this whole recipe requires just a few ingredients and can be done in a short amount of time. The most time-consuming part is caramelizing the onions - everything else can be done in under 20 minutes! However, we guarantee you the effort of doing a slow, proper caramelization of your onions will bring you outstanding flavor. It will make this dish restaurant-worthy.
Here are the basics:
The longest part of this recipe is cooking the onions because you want them to really caramelize. The wait is worth it though because your guests and your taste buds will be crediting you with culinary praise, thinking you slaved for hours over the recipe.
If you’re looking for an easy and satisfying way to incorporate the benefits of Cordyceps mushrooms into your diet, this flatbread is for you! Whether you’re looking for a boost in energy, endurance, or immunity, or simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, this Cordyceps flatbread is a wonderful choice.
So invite some friends over, throw a dinner party, or just treat yourself to a true culinary delight and give this recipe a try!
If you're looking for a new way to use mushrooms in your cooking, look no further than Cordyceps. This medicinal mushroom is gaining popularity in the culinary world for its earthy flavor and wide range of health benefits. Eating Cordyceps mushrooms, a.k.a. caterpillar mushrooms, is one way to bring diversity and color into your everyday meals. The unique nutritional profile of this mushroom also makes it a winner for the health-conscious foodie.
Cooking Cordyceps is easy, and there are endless possibilities for recipes. We'll show you the simplest way to prepare Cordyceps mushrooms so you can enjoy their delicious flavor and health benefits any time you want.
When shopping for cordyceps mushrooms, you might notice there are two main varieties: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
The first, Cordyceps sinensis a.k.a Himalayan gold, is a functional mushroom that grows in very few regions of the world. Additionally, Cordyceps sinensis only grows on the caterpillar of one very specific moth. Given such precise growing circumstances, it has become so rare and sought after that the price tag is out of reach for most people (around $20,000 per kilogram!). Its alternative name clearly rings true as Cordyceps sinensis is the most expensive mushroom in the world - gold indeed!
The good news is Cordyceps militaris is a wonderful and very affordable alternative. It can be commercially cultivated on brown rice or wood substrate. This makes the Cordyceps mushroom more readily available for the average consumer, and it provides the same kind of healthy compounds as the sinensis variety. In fact, Cordyceps militaris contains even higher concentrations of the key health-supporting compound, cordycepin (which will be discussed later in the article). Good news for our bodies and our wallets!
A few helpful hints for your shopping excursions:
Now that you know what you’re looking for and where to buy it, why would you even want to include Cordyceps in your diet in the first place? What health benefits do Cordyceps mushrooms have? And the all-important question, do they taste good?
If you like an earthy and nutty flavor, with a hint of umami, then the answer is yes, Cordyceps mushrooms do taste good! And if you’ve been looking for a new culinary ingredient with an abundance of health benefits, then eating Cordyceps is for you!
Pleasant taste and positive health support are two huge reasons to give this mushroom a try. But, if you’re not quite convinced yet, let’s dive further into the benefits of Cordyceps militaris from its nutraceutical standpoint.
First things first, what does “nutraceutical” mean? The word was first introduced by DeFelice who combined the two words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” and defined it as “food or a part of food which not only impart health benefits but also contributes in preventing or treating various diseases.” To sum it up, nutraceuticals are components found in food that play an important role in maintaining your normal physiological function and well-being (1, 2). They’re the good stuff you want, and cordyceps has plenty of them!
In fact, Cordyceps is full of nucleosides, polysaccharides, sterols, proteins, amino acids, polypeptides, and vitamins. And if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what that means for your body and health, this table breaks it down for you.
As you can see from the table, there are various bioactive components found in Cordyceps, and they all have great therapeutic effects. Out of all of them, though, cordycepin is considered to be the most vital.
Cordyceps have a wide range of therapeutic potential. Studies have shown that Cordyceps mushrooms can support your health in the following ways (3, 4, 7):
Talk about a small-sized mushroom with big talents!
On the nutritional side, Cordyceps militaris contains vitamins B1, B2, B12, E, and K. And that’s not all - it is abundant with proteins, fats, essential amino acids, volatile oils, carotenoids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and minerals (Fe, Ca, Mg, Ni, Sr, Na, Ti, Pi, Se, Mn, Zn, Al, Si, K, Cr, Ga, V and Zr). Finally, Cordyceps militaris has different types of healthy carbohydrates like monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, sterols, nucleosides, and polysaccharides like beta-glucans, (3, 9, 5, 8, 6).
Vitamins, check. Minerals, check. A nutritional powerhouse, check. Something you probably want to include in your diet, check check!
Now that you know how beneficial this mushroom is for you, you’ll want to discover ways to use it. The great news is, Cordyceps is easily prepared and can be added to many recipes to boost both the taste and nutritional profile. To show you just how easy, here’s a basic rundown of how to cook dried Cordyceps:
Once you’ve got the basics of cooking Cordyceps down, you can move on to the fun part - finding your favorite food combinations with it. The delicious taste and versatility of Cordyceps mushrooms make them an easy addition to numerous meals.
If you need some help getting the creative juices going, consider adding cordyceps to these dishes:
Make your favorite version of the dishes and throw some Cordyceps in it. In all cases, try to cook the Cordyceps just until they soften. Otherwise, overcooking these mushrooms will turn them rubbery and will make eating Cordyceps a less pleasant experience.
Although cooking Cordyceps is incredibly simple, there’s an even easier route; one where you can get all those health benefits on a daily basis - without turning on the stove at all. Enter Cordyceps supplements.
You can find Cordyceps supplements in capsule form or as a powder. You can add the powder to your favorite tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Or sprinkle it on top of salads, eggs, soups, stir frys, your favorite dishes, etc. There’s truly no limit to what you can do with Cordyceps extracts.
If you’re looking for other creative ways to easily add Cordyceps extract powder to your snacks and drinks, check out this article.
Whether you decide to get creative in the kitchen and whip up some culinary masterpiece with Cordyceps mushrooms, toss some on your favorite dish you’re already cooking, or you go the supplement route - one thing is sure: you can’t go wrong with eating Cordyceps!
1. Ahmad F., Ashraf S.A., Ahmad F.A., Ansari J.A., Siddiquee R.A. Nutraceutical Market and its Regulation. Am. J. Food Technol. 2011;6:342–347. doi: 10.3923/ajft.2011.342.347.
2. Ashraf S.A., Adnan M., Patel M., Siddiqui A.J., Sachidanandan M., Snoussi M., Hadi S. Fish-based Bioactives as Potent Nutraceuticals: Exploring the Therapeutic Perspective of Sustainable Food from the Sea. Mar. Drugs. 2020;18:265. doi: 10.3390/md18050265.
3. Elkhateeb W.A., Daba G.M., Thomas P.W., Wen T.C. Medicinal mushrooms as a new source of natural therapeutic bioactive compounds. Egypt. Pharm. J. 2019;18:88–101.
4. Bawadekji A., Al Ali K., Al Ali M. A Review of the Bioactive Compound and Medicinal Value of Cordyceps militaris. J. North Basic Appl. Sci. (JNBAS) 2016;1:69–76. doi: 10.12816/0021378.
5. Hur H. Chemical Ingredients of Cordyceps militaris. Mycobiology. 2008;36:233–235. doi: 10.4489/MYCO.2008.36.4.233.
6. Li S., Li P., Ji H. RP-HPLC determination of ergosterol in natural and cultured Cordyceps. Chin. J. Mod. Appl. Pharm. 2011;18:297–299.
7. Wang D., Zhang Y., Lu J., Wang Y., Wang J., Meng Q., Lee R.J., Teng L. Cordycepin, a Natural Antineoplastic Agent, Induces Apoptosis of Breast Cancer Cells via Caspase-dependent Pathways. Nat. Prod. Commun. 2016;11:63–68. doi: 10.1177/1934578X1601100119.
8. Yang F.Q., Feng K., Zhao J., Li S.P. Analysis of sterols and fatty acids in natural and cultured Cordyceps by one-step derivatization followed with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 2009;49:1172–1178. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2009.02.025. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
9. Zhu J.S., Halpern G.M., Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of a precious ancient Chinese herbal regimen: Cordyceps sinensis: Part II. J. Altern. Complement. Med. 1998;4:429–457. doi: 10.1089/acm.1998.4.429. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
There is no denying it – mushroom extracts are garnering huge interest among pet parents and veterinarians. They are multi-benefit additions to dog and cat diets and supplement protocols. But, why are experienced veterinarians and pet carers turning to the reishi mushroom for dogs in particular?
When it comes to functional mushrooms for pets, the most popular one has been the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor). This interest has occurred in part because there are two compelling veterinary clinical studies that researched the impact of an extract from pure turkey tail mycelium on dog health.
However, there is another mushroom that rivals turkey tail in the clinical study department, but on the “human” side. This highly-studied mushroom is Ganoderma lucidum, a.k.a. Reishi. Reishi (Lingzhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a wonderful mushroom to consider for your dog, and possibly your cat. We will get to the “possibly your cat” explanation later on in this blog.
Reishi, often referred to as the “mushroom of immortality,” has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to improve health and longevity for thousands of years. It is one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms in China, Japan, and Korea.
TCM practitioners have long prescribed reishi to influence the Heart, Lungs, Liver, and Kidney channels, balance Qi (the body’s life force), calm the mind, and relieve cough and asthma.
This mushroom was and is revered in China, in particular, because of its multi-faceted and storied health-supporting properties. So much so that it is common to see reishi represented in ancient and modern art, literature, and architecture.
Reishi contains over 400 different bioactive compounds. These include triterpenoids, polysaccharides (including beta-glucans), nucleosides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, proteins, peptides, and trace elements (1).
Many of these bioactive compounds are secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites are natural products synthesized by bacteria, fungi, and plants. They are not essential for growth (in contrast to primary metabolites like chitin and beta-glucans), and many of these secondary metabolites have been used in the creation of drugs.
An example of this is Taxol, an antitumor agent derived from plant secondary metabolites (2,3). These secondary metabolites send complex messages to the cells that are primed to receive these signals. It is somewhat like the alphabet where the more letters that are available, the more sentences can be written.
In Reishi's case, a triterpene called ganoderic acid is the secondary metabolite receiving the most attention and research. Some of the benefits of this reishi triterpene include antitumor, antimicrobial, anti-malaria, antihepatotoxic, and blood pressure reduction activity (4). There are many more triterpenes in reishi in addition to ganoderic acid. These triterpenes work on their own to provide specific benefits and act synergistically with the beta-glucans in the mushroom.
These triterpenes are also what give Reishi its distinctive bitter taste. Reishi is definitely the most bitter of the popular medicinal mushrooms. This bitterness is something to be aware of when considering using this mushroom in our pet protocols. It is a rare dog or cat that doesn’t shy away from a bitter taste. Bitter is often associated with something being poisonous, so animals instinctively shy away from bitter tastes (5). Later in this blog we will discuss some ways to “hide” the bitter taste so that reishi is more palatable for pets.
One of the more challenging aspects of working with mushrooms is the lack of actual clinical data or studies related to veterinary medicine. There are very few studies focusing on dogs and, as far as I know, none on cats. It is for this reason that we have to turn to human clinical studies, to in vitro (test tube or petri dish) and in vivo (lab animal, usually rat or mouse) studies. We can also consider the evidence from the abundance of anecdotal feedback from pet parents touting the benefits they are seeing when they add mushrooms to their pets' lives.
Here are some of the benefits that have compelled veterinarians and pet parents to begin using reishi mushrooms for dogs:
Let’s dive deeper into a few of these benefits...
Reishi has a beneficial effect on the nervous system and may be helpful for anxious pets, or during those stressful situations like thunderstorms or fireworks.
TCM practitioners have long utilized reishi to help alleviate insomnia and anxiety and as a support for meditation. Mouse studies have shown reduced sleep latency and prolonged sleep duration with Reishi (6).
This is one reason Dr. Rob Silver added reishi to Real Mushrooms’ “Relax” pet chews: for its potential to be an excellent calming agent for dogs and cats. It is also a wonderful synergistic mushroom to lion’s mane, which is also in the “Relax” chews.
Overall, Reishi exhibits broad neuroprotective effects. Reishi should be considered in case of animal neurodegenerative diseases and brain injury, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, degenerative myelopathy, spinal cord injury, stroke, or epilepsy (7).
An exciting and promising use for reishi in veterinary medicine is in relation to allergies, asthma, and possibly mast cell cancer.
Dogs and cats with seasonal allergies may benefit from the immune-modulating and antihistamine activity of Reishi. Ganoderma (Reishi) helps to stabilize the mast cells to inhibit their release of histamine. Histamines are released by mast cells in reaction to allergens or pathogenic invaders. An overactive response—such as we find with allergies—can cause itching, runny nose, eye irritation, and redness of mucous membranes. In our pet population, this can look like excessive scratching/chewing, sneezing, wheezing, or runny discharge from the eyes or nose.
A 2010 study involving mice showed that the extract of G. lucidum can inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells in vitro, suggesting that G. lucidum extract has anti-allergic activity and could be effective against mast cell-mediated itch (8).
Martin Powell, a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, biochemist, author, and mushroom expert, weighs in on administering reishi mushrooms for dogs with allergies:
“Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) as immunonutrition, with its unique array of compounds working in concert, could play a major role in current treatment practices for histamine-mediated allergic response. Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) is an effective agent to restore the normal balance between the TH1 and TH2 immune states in patients with histamine-mediated immune responses. Such an approach treats the underlying cause for the TH2 condition.” (9)
PubMed is an excellent free resource to explore clinical studies. When “Ganoderma and cancer” is entered into the PubMed search engine, 683 results are available. This is an indication of how much attention reishi is receiving when it comes to cancer research.
Reishi acts as a biological response modifier (BRM): it can modulate the immune response needed by the body. The mushroom’s compounds can stimulate both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Reishi interacts in a positive way with natural killer (NK) cells, neutrophils, and macrophages, and stimulates cytokine expression and secretion.
A good example of this BRM activity is in relation to cancer. In general, Reishi triterpenes could directly suppress the growth and invasive behavior of cancer cells, whereas reishi polysaccharides, such as beta-glucans, could synergistically modulate immune anti-cancer activity. The result is the activation of Natural Killer T cells and the production of anti-neoplastic cytokines (6).
Reishi may be a good mushroom to consider if you have opted to have chemotherapy or radiation treatment for your pet. Radiation and chemotherapy can kill stem cells for red and white blood cells in the bone marrow. This results in anemia and a deficit of the important white cells needed to maintain health and freedom from infections.
Reishi can support animals undergoing cancer treatment by helping to protect their stem cells from the toxicity of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. An interesting study induced immunosuppression in mice and then treated them with a water-soluble extract from reishi. The researchers found the reishi-treated mice had increased red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), NK T cells, splenic NK cells, and a number of bone marrow cells (10).
Additionally, reishi has the potential to enhance the effects of chemotherapy by increasing the dose of a chemotherapeutic agent that accumulates within a cell. A study using Ganoderic acid, the triterpene mentioned earlier, found it enhanced the accumulation of the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin in tumor cells (10).
DO remember that these are all either human, in vitro or in vivo studies. There are currently no clinical studies of reishi in veterinary medicine. Regardless, if I had a dog or cat that was dealing with cancer, I would definitely consider adding reishi extract to the protocol along with turkey tail mushroom extract. This can be done by using these single mushrooms alone or by utilizing our 5 Defenders(™) mushroom extract complex for pets that contains reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, maitake, and chaga.
Unlike some of the other therapeutic mushrooms, reishi is not a culinary mushroom. It needs to be given as a supplement because it is too tough and leathery to be eaten as food.
It’s also important to remember that reishi is very bitter. The easiest way to administer the reishi is either in capsule form or as a pet chew. Dr. Rob Silver, Real Mushrooms Chief Veterinary Officer and product formulator, created 2 wonderful Real Mushrooms pet chews and both contain reishi! Our Relax chews for pets is calming and our Immune chews are for supporting the immune system.
There are some cats that will accept being given the reishi capsules, and quite a few enjoy the pet chews. However, do be aware that it could be difficult to get Reishi into a very finicky cat, because of its bitterness. Milder-tasting mushrooms like lions mane or cordyceps might be the better choice for the picky kitty.
Finally, do your homework when purchasing mushrooms in the supplement marketplace.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports, 74% of Reishi products did not live up to the package claims.
Before purchasing mushroom supplements, or any supplement for that matter, it is highly recommended that you do some research. Know what to look for in a good quality mushroom supplement.
Here is some good information on what to look for in a reishi product: How to I.D. the Best Reishi Mushroom Supplement.
Do reach out to the Real Mushrooms Pet team if you have any questions about buying and using an extract of reishi mushroom for dogs:
1) Zhou, L.-W. et al. 2015. ‘Global diversity of the Ganoderma lucidum complex (Ganodermataceae, polyporales) inferred from morphology and multilocus phylogeny’, Phytochemistry, 114, pp. 7–15. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.09.023.
2) S. Sanchez, A.L. Demain. 2014. Secondary Metabolite - an overview.
6) Xia Feng, Yan Wang. April 30, 2019. Anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive and sedative-hypnotic activities of lucidone D extracted from Ganoderma lucidum. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31078150/
7) Xiangyu Cui, Yonghe Zhang. 2019. Neuropharmacological Effect and Clinical Applications of Ganoderma (Lingzhi). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31777017/
8) Inhibitory Effects of the Methanol Extract of Ganoderma lucidum on Mosquito Allergy–Induced Itch-Associated Responses in Mice111123 Tsugunobu Andoh , Qun Zhang , Takumi Yamamoto , Manabu Tayama , Masao Hattori , Ken Tanaka ,and Yasushi Kuraishi. DOI: 10.1254/jphs.10180fp
10) Sanem Bulam, N Şule Üstün, Aysun Peksen. April, 2019. Health Benefits of Ganoderma lucidum as a Medicinal Mushroom. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335032099_Health_Benefits_of_Ganoderma_lucidum_as_a_Medicinal_Mushroom
11) Evaluation on quality consistency of Ganoderma lucidum dietary supplements collected in the United States https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06336-3 Ding-Tao Wu, Yong Deng, Ling-Xiao Chen, Jing Zhao, Anton Bzhelyansky & Shao-Ping
If you’ve been wanting to experiment with different mushrooms in your meals, then we present you with a simple but delicious and nutritious meat-free lion’s mane mushroom stir fry recipe.
If you don’t happen across a lion’s mane mushroom in the wild, you can find fresh ones at farmer’s markets and some specialty grocery stores.
Since lion’s mane is abundant in beneficial compounds for the brain, gut, and immune system, this protein-packed mushroom is ideal as a meat substitute on many levels.
Without further ado, we present you with this delicious lion’s mane mushroom stir fry recipe:
· 1 lb. lion’s mane mushrooms
· 2 medium-sized daikon radishes (diced)
· 3 shallots (diced)
· 4 cloves of garlic (sliced)
· 1 medium carrot (grated)
· Large bunch of kale (washed and chopped into bite-size pieces)
· Olive oil/butter
· Salt and pepper to taste
1. Brush any dirt away from the lion’s mane mushroom. (Do not immerse in water as it will absorb the liquid and alter the body of the steaks.) Slice into 1” – 1.5” steaks.
2. Heat a cast iron pan and add equal parts of olive oil and butter (enough to coat the bottom of the pan.) Add the garlic slices and the lion’s mane steaks, a single layer, depending on the size of the pan and the amount of mushroom you are cooking, you may need to fry two batches.
3. The heat should be medium to high, and the steaks will sizzle. Allow enough time on one side so the mushroom turns golden brown and a little crisp on the edges. Flip the steaks and sauté the other side. Remove from the heat and plate them.
1. Heat a cast iron pan. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt into the oil. Sauté the diced shallots and daikon radishes until almost tender. Add the grated carrot and sauté for another few minutes. Finish by adding the chopped kale. Stir until kale is wilted. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Add the sauteed mushroom to your vegetables and you’ve got the perfect nutritious lion’s mane mushroom stir fry. Enjoy in good health!
Learn more delicious ways to use lion’s mane in our article, Lion’s Mane Recipes: 7 Creations Using This Unique Mushroom!
Don’t have access to fresh lion’s mane mushroom? Consider adding lion’s mane powder extract to your recipes to infuse them with all the health benefits of this fabulous functional mushroom.
Drinking Ganoderma coffee is a great way to incorporate the benefits of functional mushrooms into your daily routine. Ganoderma lucidum is the scientific name of the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi—known for its significant health benefits in alleviating fatigue, promoting restful sleep, and calming frayed nerves.
A quick search of Ganoderma coffee yields dubious recipes involving instant coffee-mushroom blends. We call foul.
Do you know what the secret to delicious mushroom coffee is? Start with high-quality, well-brewed coffee and pure organic mushroom extracts. Don’t skimp on the ingredients!
The simplest Ganoderma coffee recipe is to stir half a teaspoon of reishi mushroom extract powder into your everyday brew. Done.
One of our customers, Hillary, can vouch for it:
“Reishi is my favorite mushroom....now I finally have an efficacious way to take it, with beta-glucans intact and proven. I love to have 1/2 tsp in my a.m. coffee. I find that using a light or medium roast blends best with the reishi.”
That said, we want to take an even tastier approach to making your mushroom coffee at home; adding more nutrients and building up the flavor profile.
But what if you don’t like coffee or want to cut caffeine out of your diet, yet still reap the benefits of Ganoderma coffee? We’ll explore that too.
In a nutshell, we’ll break down:
What’s not to love about this warm twist on Ganoderma coffee? It features the warm fall flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and mint, which all pack a strong antioxidant punch.
More importantly, it contains reishi mushroom extracts, which simultaneously boost mood and sharpen focus.
If you’re trying to cut caffeine, or you need a warm drink to give you that mental pick-me-up, this cacao, coconut, and mushroom drink is perfect.
Here’s what one customer experienced with reishi coffee:
“I usually take reishi in the morning as soon as I wake up. It definitely improves my mood and sense of wellbeing. I'm not a pleasant person to be around in the morning if I don't have my reishi.” - Gregory
Another customer shared their own recipe for a caffeine-free coffee alternative using reishi:
“I have been taking reishi as part of my adaptogenic protocol for several months- blended into my dandelion/chicory/cinnamon coffee substitute. I happen to love the vibrant taste of this mushroom powder! It feels alive and at work in my body.” - Michelle
Cold brew coffee is perfect if you have a sensitive gut. It’s less acidic and has a smoother taste than drip coffee or espresso. If you’re tired of the over-diluted taste of iced coffee, get ready for some cold brew magic.
We’ll start with a delicious cold brew base and ramp up the benefits with functional mushrooms to boost various body functions.
Expert Tip: For a great-tasting cold brew coffee:
Leaving your coffee to brew overnight makes cold brewing so simple there’s no need to buy commercial, ready-made cold brews.
Our customers couldn’t agree more with the coffee-mushroom combo:
“I had a stroke 4 years ago, and have issues with depression. I take both chaga and lion's mane. They work great for my memory issues. I recommend taking it in the morning to get your day started.” - Jovi
The effectiveness of your Ganoderma coffee will depend on the quality of the mushroom extracts you use.
One way to ensure that you’re using the best quality ingredients is to check that your mushroom supplement manufacturer uses USDA-certified organic mushrooms, which will be free of pesticides and other chemical contaminants.
Did you know that over 70% of reishi mushroom supplements on the market contain little or no reishi mushrooms? Instead of the reishi fruiting body, these powders either source cheaper mushrooms or reishi mycelium grown on grain substrates.
Simply put, you get significantly more starch filler and significantly less immune-modulating beta-glucans in supplements made from myceliated grain.
Here’s a table comparing the ratios of alpha and beta-glucans in extracts made from mushrooms vs. myceliated grain:
So what information should you look for?
Reishi mushroom supplements should:
If you can check off all the above, you know you’re getting all the energy and immunity-boosting benefits from the triterpene, beta-glucans, and other compounds of reishi with none of the empty starch fillers or additives.
It was this lack of pure, organic mushroom products in the North American supplement market that prompted the birth of Real Mushrooms.
We’re proud to provide the best mushroom supplements on the market consistently and to celebrate our customer’s health wins when they use our products.
“So often when I'm taking supplements I feel little difference ... With reishi and Real Mushroom products, I’ve felt a difference in my energy, hormonal balance, and gut health. Very impressed!” - Carol
In sum, Ganoderma coffee can give you the calm and focus to start your day off right, whether or not you actually include the caffeine. The healthy mushrooms carry their own weight and then some.
Being able to add your own mushroom extracts to your favorite brew means:
a) you can customize your coffee to be the type and quality you like,
b) you know exactly what kind and quality of the mushroom supplement you’re adding.
If you’re ready to start the day right with a powerful mushroom boost, try Real Mushrooms Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder or our 5 Defenders Organic Mushroom Complex if you want a mix of reishi and other healthy mushrooms.
All the creamy, robust flavor of traditional gravy, but is vegetarian, gluten-free, and packed with a helpful immune boost thanks to the turkey tail mushroom extract. It’s a dish you can feel good about serving!
Gobble gobble gobble! It’s the turkey-eating time of year, but you’re among the countless meat-free eaters. Hoping to join in all the turkey fun, yet wanting to maintain your vegetarian or vegan lifestyle? We’ve got you covered! You can have your turkey and eat it too. Turkey tail mushroom that is! Enter this vegetarian mushroom gravy recipe.
If you’re searching for a dish that’s sure to please carnivores and vegetarians alike, look no further. This mushroom gravy has all the flavor of traditional gravy, minus the turkey drippings, and plus the nutrient powerhouse that is turkey tail mushroom.
It’s healthy, delicious, and a definite crowd-pleaser!
What makes this vegetarian mushroom gravy so tasty and healthy?
You just need a few simple ingredients to make this gravy recipe, some of which you probably already have in stock. The major players are:
As you can see, with all the herbs and flavors of traditional gravy, this vegetarian version is quite similar to the real deal. The mushrooms have a satisfying, meaty flavor that really takes this gravy to the next level.
Unlike traditional gravy, you won’t find any hidden starches, not in the recipe and not in the Turkey Tail mushroom extract powder! This is a gravy that you can feel good about pouring over all your favorite foods.
As mentioned, a bonus factor of this recipe is that it doesn’t require any additional flours to thicken, as is found in most gravy recipes. While providing a nice punch of flavor and adding in some extra nutrients, the pureed parsnips do the thickening. It imparts that creamy mouth-feel that we all love and know of gravy and keeps the recipe gluten-free.
This is the fun part - you can pour this gravy over so many foods! You can go the traditional route and use it with mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or experiment a little. Try pairing it with portobello or lion’s mane mushroom “steaks,” lentil meatloaf, rice, or these paleo biscuits. You might surprise yourself and come up with a new favorite combination!
Although this recipe does require a bit of blending, it’s quite simple! Here’s the quick run-down:
Overall, this recipe is fairly easy, and it just requires a blender and a big pot with a lid. If you prefer your gravy completely blended - that works great too! Instead of just blending the parsnips, blend the whole mixture and serve. Both ways are equally delicious.
To help save some time on the actual day of celebration, you can make this mushroom gravy up to three days ahead of time. Just note that it will thicken up in the refrigerator, but don’t worry because it will go back to the right consistency once you heat it up. When reheating, you might need to add a bit more vegetable broth, depending on your preferred consistency. Store in a sealed glass container for best results.
This is truly such a merry time of year; a time for gratitude and coming together in community. That’s one of the perks of this vegetarian mushroom gravy - it’s sure to please everyone around the table, no matter their dietary preferences. And on top of that, the nutrients within help you to feel good and protect your wellness.
So invite friends, make a delicious feast, celebrate, feel your best, and enjoy this recipe in good health and happiness!
What if there was a way to ramp up the energizing effects of your morning cup of joe in a healthy and natural way? There are many benefits to drinking mushroom coffee, and this article will outline the 5 main ones.
If you’re frequently tired, you know that relying on caffeine is a delicate dance between drinking just enough to get the juices flowing and not overdoing it to the point of hand tremors.
But do you know how you can boost your energy without chancing a mid-day caffeine crash? Add a scoop of mushroom extract to your morning coffee or tea.
Tiredness can manifest through both physical and mental signs. From sore, weak muscles and slowed reflexes to brain fog, moodiness, and difficulty concentrating—fatigue is many-sided.
We’ll look at the different ways in which mushroom extracts in your coffee can:
Mushrooms are antioxidant powerhouses that help your body to maintain healthy inflammation responses, which could get derailed by chronic inflammation.
Persistent low-grade inflammation (1) keeps your body in a state of high alert, expending more energy than it has available—this creates a feeling of fatigue.
Inflammation is a natural part of how your immune system works to protect your body from harm. That said, chronic inflammation typically builds gradually, manifesting as feelings of tiredness, headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain. Therefore, you need to look at balancing out inflammation as a long-term game.
To counter the negative effects of unbalanced levels of inflammation in the body, current research (2) found that chaga mushroom extracts:
It makes sense to use chaga mushroom extract in your daily coffee or tea to help maintain healthy levels of inflammation in your body. This will support optimal energy levels and stave off fatigue.
However, it’s important to think of your entire system and lifestyle as working in tandem.
That’s why certain lifestyle changes may also ease fatigue-inducing inflammation. These lifestyle changes include:
This was Drew’s experience with chaga mushroom powder:
“It gave me energy. Prior to the use of Chaga… I could hardly wake up. Now I feel refreshed… I will be a lifetime customer.” — Drew, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Verified Real Mushrooms Customer
Expert tip: Mushroom coffee benefits are built on accumulation. To fully experience the beneficial effects of our 100% pure organic mushroom powders, we recommend taking a ½-teaspoon a day for a prolonged period of time.
Sometimes, because of age, poor diet, or hormonal changes, our metabolism may function sub-optimally. This impacts our energy levels, including our ability to exercise regularly and effectively.
Functional mushrooms, specifically Cordyceps, can enhance our metabolism and have an invigorating effect.
So, considering exercise boosts mood, focus, heart health, and better sleep, how can we support healthy metabolism in order to be more active?
A study on the effect of Cordyceps on the metabolism (3) found that regularly supplementing with these mushrooms:
Regularly supplementing mushroom extracts can aid your body in providing balanced energy, allowing you to stay active well into old age.
Here’s how two of our customers experienced their energy boost from Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Extract Powder:
“Helped me with my workouts. I noticed I didn’t run out of breath as quickly and I felt like I had more endurance.” — Daniel, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Verified Real Mushrooms Buyer
“It gives me energy in the morning before my workout.” — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Beth D., Verified Real Mushrooms Buyer
Expert tip: Cordyceps sinensis (wild Cordyceps) is so rare and difficult to cultivate that you won’t find it in any supplements available in the North American market. But what you will find in your Cordyceps mushroom supplement is commercially cultivated Cordyceps militaris, which is cultivated at scale in a sterile medium and doesn’t harm any insects.
Make sure that your Cordyceps mushroom powder is extracted from the fruiting body and not the mycelium (vegetative body). One way to check this is to see the package details for measured amounts of beta-glucans.
The fruiting body yields higher beta-glucan content and has no starch filler, unlike most mycelium-derived products. If you want to get actual health benefits from your mushroom coffee, pay attention to your product label!
Speaking of beta-glucans, these compounds are the key structural component of mushroom cell walls. As active ingredients in mushrooms, they help the body and its systems manage chronic stress, which often causes fatigue.
Let’s briefly break down how they do this.
Good bacteria in the colon ferment dietary fiber, including beta-glucans. The process releases nutrients that support a healthy immune response and improved psychological well-being.
This ability to support our bodies in self-regulating natural stress responses and aiding relaxation without compromising your health is what makes mushrooms adaptogens.
In one study(4), beta-glucans extracted from oyster, shiitake, and reishi mushrooms were used as supplements over a 6-month period. The results showed that these mushrooms:
Stress and therefore fatigue may also negatively impact heart health.
How do we counter this?
An animal study (5) showed that supplementing with shiitake and maitake mushrooms also helped to manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels—leading to better heart health.
A medicinal mushroom complex that includes shiitake and maitake, like Real Mushrooms’s 5 Defenders supplement, is a great way to manage physical and mental stress. One of our customers shared their experience with this health-balancing effect:
“Since taking Five Defenders I’ve been less susceptible to catching colds and in general I feel stronger and more balanced.” — Ingrid, Verified 5 Defenders Buyer.
Expert tip: If coffee (caffeine) makes you a jittery mess, you can still benefit from the mushroom powders by adding them to smoothies, yogurt, hot chocolate, elixirs, and even baked goods.
You can get the benefits of mushroom extracts by adding them to coffee, or by adding them to other drinks, snacks, or meals. Here’s our free mushroom recipe book to help you get started on your mushroom supplementation journey today.
Traditional Chinese medicine used reishi mushrooms to ease restlessness and insomnia for hundreds of years, showing that even ethnomedicine recognized sleep as a key health marker.
All the obvious symptoms we typically link to tiredness, such as slower reflexes, reduced cognitive efficiency, and impaired memory, can point to poor sleep quality.
In fact, one study (6) showed that it takes longer than 7 days of full sleep to recover from the same number of days of restricted sleep.
Good sleep hygiene is essential because, without it, we lose the regenerative effects of sleep hormones like melatonin and growth hormone. We also get a high amount of stress hormones in the body, which wreak havoc on the body’s resilience, immune response, and metabolism.
So, how exactly do mushrooms aid in good sleep quality?
An animal study (7) found that reishi mushroom extracts increased total sleep time and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
It’s no surprise since during NREM sleep, your body:
Our customer Steve definitely had this sleep-improving experience:
“I have been a light sleeper for a long time and relied on Melatonin and other sleep aids… I have been using Reishi extract exclusively for the past three months, and I am continuing to sleep noticeably better than before.” — Steve, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Verified Real Mushrooms Buyer
Expert tip: We recommend taking your Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder in the evening in your hot chocolate or tea to regulate your natural biorhythm and get you into a rejuvenating, deep sleep.
Balance these effects with the benefits of mushroom coffee in the morning. Simply add Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Extract and Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom to your brew to reset your biorhythm, wake the body up with an energy boost, and prime the brain for optimal functioning.
Many of us depend on our morning coffee or tea to wake our minds up and increase mental acuity. If you count yourself among this group, then you may have noticed that caffeine has its downsides.
Caffeine reduces the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Simultaneously, it increases the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline to give you energy (10). This is why many people struggle with sleepless nights, anxiety, and jitters after consuming caffeine.
Caffeine can also make you feel fatigued and irritable and even give you a headache after its effects wear off. This is often referred to as “crashing.” It typically occurs about five hours after consuming this stimulant (7,8,9).
One of the great benefits of lion’s mane, like the other medicinal mushrooms, is that it is a very effective adaptogen for promoting a healthy inflammatory response and supporting a healthy immune system. But it also has another unique characteristic.
Lion’s Mane has been receiving a lot of attention in relation to its effect on brain function and cognition. This is a relatively new use for this mushroom and is related to discoveries around its effect on Nerve growth factor (NGF) in the 1990s. More recent clinical studies have supported this discovery (11).
Human clinical studies have shown lion’s mane mushrooms can improve scores on anxiety and depression scales (12). Human studies have also demonstrated that lion’s mane can support better memory recall in aging people with mild memory issues (13,14).
Animal tests indicate compounds from lion’s mane may support nerve impulse transmission as well as support short and long-term memory (15). Interestingly, the same compounds were found to counter oxidative stress on the brain (15).
As many of our customers have noted, their cognition, memory, energy, and mood improved once they began supplementing with lion’s mane extract.
“I use Lions Mane in my coffee every morning, it helps calm my nervous system and is helping my anxiety greatly. I don't want to be without this in my daily routine! Also, I feel more energetic and less fatigued throughout the day.” - Annette, Real Mushrooms Verified Buyer
“From adding the lion's mane to my morning coffee I have really felt a benefit in my mental acuity.” - Dylan, Real Mushrooms Verified Buyer
Expert tip: Lion’s mane extract powder can be taken either as a replacement for caffeine or can be added to your caffeinated drink to help offset the potential for jitters and anxiety.
We’ve covered a lot of benefits but these immune-modulating, antioxidant, stress-relieving, and sleep-improving benefits of mushrooms are just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s review, in the table below, how all these mushrooms work to boost energy:
Remember, the effectiveness and potency of your mushroom supplements depend on their extraction from fruit bodies, grown organically; which is a core value of Real Mushrooms.
You can use the mushroom extracts individually or try them in a super blend, such as our 5 Defenders Organic Mushroom Complex.
With this 100% pure, organic blend, you’ll get a powerhouse of nutrients from chaga, shiitake, maitake, reishi, and turkey tail mushroom extracts. Together they deliver more than 20% of the recommended daily intake of beta-glucans.
Expert tip: Use our collection of mushroom coffee recipes to find unique ways to amp up your morning beverage game for whole health.