It's no secret that both prepared teas and mushrooms have a lengthy history of medicinal use that spans across many cultures, but what happens when the two cross paths? Many historical records (and even some modern research) point to a bounty of nutritional and spiritual mushroom tea benefits.
Now, we’re learning more and more about how many of these functional mushrooms have adaptogenic and nootropic properties, meaning they may help regulate key bodily functions and boost brain performance. There are very few limits to who can benefit from a daily dose of mushrooms, and a potent tea brew makes it simple (and delicious) to work these superfoods into your daily wellness routine.
Before you get started, here's what you need to know:
Most mushroom species are known to contain bioactive compounds like beta-glucans that can interact with the body's regulatory systems. They also usually contain a plentiful supply of vitamins and minerals, as well as terpenes and other therapeutic compounds that may help improve mood, boost immunity, regulate sleep cycles, and more.
Before we dive too deep into the total body wellness factors of different types of mushroom tea, let's talk about some of the general mushroom tea benefits that make these steeped beverages so popular:
Mushrooms are well known for their earthy, umami flavor, or a savory flavor related to the glutamate found in most mushrooms. This necessary amino acid is not only health, but provides a unique depth of flavor that’s not found in many foods. The savory flavor of mushroom tea is a great building block for all of your favorite add-ins, like honey and cinnamon.
We mentioned that mushrooms are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibers, and more, including a variety of micronutrients and minerals that are sometimes hard to fit into your diet. It varies by mushroom variety, but some of the nutrients you can expect to find in most mushroom teas include:
Mushrooms, especially those classified as functional mushrooms, have long been revered for their various healing properties. Across several cultures, you can find reports of various functional mushrooms being used to boost circulatory health, increase cognition, prevent aging, and treat various diseases. Now, many of these functional mushrooms are being reviewed against these various benefits, often with some surprising results.
Let’s take a look at what we know about the many different types of mushroom teas and their research-based and anecdotal benefits:
There are many different varieties of functional mushrooms that are commonly made into tea, but the most popular include:
The Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushroom grows in cool climates, such as Siberia, Russia, Korea, Northern Canada, and Alaska, and reports of its medicinal use can be found in the ancient documents from all of these cultures. This woody mushroom grows deep in the forest, usually off the bark of birchwood trees, and is not suitable for raw consumption. Instead, it’s generally dried and powdered or carefully cleaned and steeped to create a potency, savory tea.
Chaga is a woody mushroom known for having a strong, earthy flavor and aroma. While Chaga tea can be bitter, it’s often enjoyed with cinnamon, nutmeg, or other earthy spices, as well as natural sweeteners and milk to enhance and lighten the bold herbal flavor.
Chaga has not been confirmed to treat or cure any illness or health condition, but there is evidence surrounding chaga’s potential ability to:
The amount of chaga you take depends on factors like the type of chaga you use and your personal tolerance. We recommend starting with low doses and increasing slowly to lower the risk of stomach irritation, which can be a side effect of the increased fiber intake. Many people use up to a gram of whole, dried chaga to steep a potent tea, which can be consumed up to 3 times a day.
Read more about Chaga:
Reishi is another adaptogenic mushroom known for it’s vitality-boosting properties. It’s sometimes described as the “Mushroom of Immortality” thanks to it’s potential benefits for slowing aging and preventing degeneration. Like may other mushrooms, reishi is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
Unlike some other functional mushrooms, though, evidence of reishi’s medicinal use dates back over two thousand years. It’s considered by some cultures to be a “shen tonic” meaning it can help balance spiritual imbalances to potentially help regulate mood and sleep.
Reishi mushroom also tastes earthy and woody, but generally to a milder extent than other bitter mushrooms. Reishi pairs well with most spices, but also with deep flavors like cocoa.
For now, research is limited, but some of the reason people may take Reishi include:
The Reishi dosage used varies greatly from person to person and depends on a range of factors, like your weight, tolerance, and health conditions. Studies base therapeutic doses on a range from 1.5 to 9 milligrams of concentrate per day, though most people use doses around 3-4 milligrams per day.
Read more about Reishi:
The Lion's Mane mushroom, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus,is another medicinal mushroom that grows off the bark of hardwood trees. This mushroom is revered as a delicacy in some cultural cuisines thanks to it’s delicate seafood-like flavor and texture.
Historically, it’s been used to support cognitive functions and energy sustenance, although we’re still learning more about how Lion’s Mane may benefit the body. To sum it up, Lion’s mane may have powerful benefits for supporting the brain and cognitive performance, balancing mood, and improving immunity.
Lion’s Mane, when cooked and consumed whole, tastes a bit like crab or lobster in that it’s delicate, chewy, buttery, and a bit sweet. When steeped as a tea, it has a milder, sweeter flavor than many other functional mushrooms. This light brew tea can be taken with or without cream or sweetener, and may make a great base for latte-style beverages as well.
Many of the benefits of Lion’s Mane have only been researched on a limited basis, but here are some of the areas of interest:
Lion’s Mane dosage varies by dosage and intention, but studies use Lion’s Mane doses ranging from 750 mg to 3,000 mg. Taking Lion’s Mane with other adaptogens or functional mushrooms may also lower the mount necessary to reap its full wellness benefits.
We recommend starting with a low dose, possibly around 1 gram of Lion’s Mane daily, and increasing slowly until you reach the desired effects.
Read more about Lion's Mane:
The Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondrosa) is often considered to have adaptogenic properties, meaning it may resolve imbalances that cause various mental and physical challenges.
Maitake, called the "Hen of the Woods" mushroom thanks to it’s brown, feathered appearance, grows at the base of hardwood trees and is often harvested to be eaten raw or prepared as a luxury cuisine. For centuries, though, it’s also been thought to have a variety of wellness benefits that support total-body vitality.
Maitake mushroom has an earthy, woody flavor that is slightly spicy and doesn’t require many additives beyond the occasional cream or natural sweetener.
Modern evidence is still in its preliminary stages, meaning Maitake has not been proven to manage or treat any condition, but some of the areas being researched include:
The amount of Maitake you should take daily depends on the form of Maitake you use. Doses range from 10 to 30 mg of the extract and from 200 to 2,500 mg of whole mushroom powder. Again, it’s best to start with a lower dose and increase slowly until you experience the desired effects.
Read more about Maitake:
If you’re ready to add mushroom tea to your daily care routine, you should consider the following:
You may have your eye on a few benefits of just one functional mushroom, but often you’ll find that people combine different mushrooms (and even other adaptogens and nootropics) to create a multifunctional blend that offers more complete benefits.
For instance, a blend of Chaga and Reishi may be used for winding down at night, while a combination of Lion’s Mane and Chaga can suffice as a daytime dose to boost mental and physical performance.
You can either independently combine your functional mushroom formulas or purchase a premade blend. Either way, you should pay attention to the dosage for each individual mushroom and keep in mind that less of each may be needed when using multiple adaptogenic formulas at one time.
Also consider starting with a small dose, usually at least the smallest dosage recommended on the product label of the high-quality product you choose. Some people may even choose to start with smaller doses, especially if they aren’t familiar with mushrooms or think that the increased fiber intake may cause an upset stomach.
Wherever you start, try a week of consistent dosing before you decide to increase your daily dosage. You may also consider taking multiple doses a day instead of one large dose.
Don’t forget that you can add anything you like to your mushroom tea, and many additives may even have additional benefits. For instance, whole spices like cinnamon, turmeric, and nutmeg may have therapeutic benefits of their own.
As is true for most functional medicines and especially adaptogenic supplements, you need to keep up with a consistent dose to reap the most benefit from your mushroom tea. A one-off dose may not provide the results that you’ll see from several weeks of consistent dosing.
Discuss changes in your wellness routine with your doctor first. Most functional mushrooms have a sound safety profile when used in moderate quantities for up to several weeks or months. In some cases, however, mushrooms can interact with some prescription or over-the-counter medications.
In other cases, they could cause allergic reactions or negatively impact some health conditions, especially those affecting blood pressure, blood sugar, and thyroid levels.
Many functional mushrooms host a range of benefits for immunity, blood flow, cognitive function, and more. The exact mushroom tea benefits you will experience depend on your unique health condition and the formulas you choose.
In rare cases, some people may have an allergy to mushrooms. Some medications also react adversely with some functional mushrooms. Always talk to your doctor before adding new supplements to your wellness routine.
Some forms of mushroom tea may have a positive impact on appetite and could help support weight loss, especially thanks to the increased fiber and vitamin intake associated with mushroom teas. However, mushroom teas are not primarily considered to be weight loss supplements, rather they have a wide range of potential wellness benefits.
Many mushrooms have a woody, earthy flavor. Others are sweet or slightly spicy. The flavor varies depending on the type of mushroom used in each formula, as well as the way that it is manufactured. You can add sweeteners, cream, and spices to your cup to enhance the natural flavor of mushroom tea.
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