The Magic of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the new superfood craze you may not have heard of yet. Though they’ve been used medicinally for thousands of years for things like boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation, they’re only now becoming popular in mainstream culture due to the immense research that’s been done to assess their health benefits.

Tero Isokauppila’s Healing Mushrooms lays out all the things you need to know about the most advantageous mushrooms and includes 50 easy recipes utilizing specific varieties.For example, Isokauppila notes that reishi are considered the queen of mushrooms and deliver myriad health advantages, including ridding you of seasonal allergies and trouble sleeping. As a regular part of Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years, your well-being is sure to reap the rewards, according to the book.

Struggling to ward off a cold or lower inflammation from your busy life? Chaga is here to assist you as they’re one of the highest sources of antioxidants in the world—it’s content is over 50 times higher than blueberries, which are commonly considered one of the ultimate sources of antioxidants we can consume.

Cordyceps will increase physical performance and energy, and they can even alleviate asthma or bronchitis. Historical lore from the Himalayan areas where they grow in the wild tells us that yak herders observed their herds becoming far more active and playful when they grazed fields where cordyceps grew, and they’ve proven to have similar effects on humans.

Lion’s mane mushrooms are among the most fascinating varieties discussed in Healing Mushrooms. Their ability to improve memory, boost concentration, and protect your nervous system has many older people regularly supplementing in pill form. There is even compelling evidence that suggests strong Alzheimer’s-fighting properties. You can buy these in pill form from health food stores such as Natural Grocers.

Shiitake are the most common medicinal variety of mushroom cultivated in the world. Local growers at Wakarusa Valley Farm regularly supply our community with freshly grown, organic shiitakes among several other varieties. Beyond their ability to lower cholesterol and support your liver, they’ve been shown to have incredible results with skin-related issues like acne. It may be time to introduce your hormonally-challenged teenager to these beauties!

There’s a lot to learn from natural medicine, and mushrooms are gaining the lead in terms of promising research. Once you know which varieties you want to try out, Isokauppila offers tons of recipes to help you incorporate them into your diet. From Mushroom Hot Chocolate to Lion’s Mane Pancakes to Mushroom Sauerkraut, there’s something for everyone to enjoy while simultaneously benefiting their health.

-Logan Isaman is the Community Assessment Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library