Mushrooms are the great connectors and communicators of the natural world – teaching us that all life is connected. They are not plants but have their own unique set of attributes. Although the use of mushrooms has become increasingly popular, the relationship between human and mushroom is ancestral – the mushrooms influence is deeply intertwined into our behaviours, cultures, health, medicines, rituals and life itself. More on this soon.
The study of mushrooms is called mycology
‘Myco’ - Meaning ‘mushroom’ or ‘fungus’ from the ancient Greek ‘mykēs’ meaning mushroom or anything shaped like a mushroom.
We work with different mushrooms at different stages of their growth and development cycles, we do this to harness as many of the therapeutic constituents as possible.
All of our mushrooms and mushroom extracts are grown, cultivated and harvested from second and third generation organic mushroom cultivators and wild harvested from co-operative farmers and villagers who are paid more than fairly for their work.
The underground networks of mushroom filaments that behave like arteries and neurons, creating complex underground mushroom networks responsible for communication, development, growth, regeneration, reproduction and more. Contrary to beliefs these complex networks are the main part of the mushroom, in fact mushroom mycelium is the largest living organism on the planet, spreading for miles underneath the soil.
These large swaths of mycelial networks nourish the land, creating symbiotic relationships between the earth, soil, plants, animals and other mushrooms, they are essential for life itself.
Mushroom mycelium can contain a wide range of bioactive molecules which can differ from other parts of the mushroom – for example we extract both the sterile conk and mycelium for our Chaga mushroom to ensure we have the optimal concentration of therapeutic polysaccharides, triterpenoids, acids, tannins and polyphenols.
The overground ‘traditional’ part of the mushroom formed once or twice a year (depending on the soil nutrients, temperature and humidity) with the formation of germinated mycelium networks. The mycelium forms a fruiting body or mushroom that grows up and through the soil – tree – substrate, growing in different sizes, colours, textures and forms depending on the mushroom and its environment. The fruiting body is the sexual reproduction system of the mushroom, growing for a short time before releasing its seed (called spores) into the world. The fruiting bodies contain a diverse array of therapeutic constituents and many of our mushrooms are extracted from the fruiting body.
Released and shared from the fruiting body of the mushroom and distributed by the help of wind, rain and animals. The microscopic spores travel through the air and land on the soil, other trees, vegetation, rotting logs where they are able to germinate and start a new lifecycle.
Take Reishi spores which we use in our Rested formula they have all the genetic substances and similar bioactive components of the Reishi fruiting body but the concentration of the triterpenes, polysaccharides, ganoderic and nucleic acids is slightly different.
Our Top 5 Mushrooms - in no particular order – we love them all.
Reishi - Ganoderma lucidum
The mushroom of immortality
Arguably the most famous mushroom – the superstar of the mushroom world – due to its wide range of health properties that have been used for more than 2,000 years.
Reishi has been studied extensively for its broad spectrum of potential health benefits like its tonic actions – strengthening your body for more resilience, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, immune enhancing and for lowering blood pressure.
The main biologically active components are the mushroom polysaccaharides and triterpenes found in the fruiting body and spores (a smaller amount is also found in the mycelium).
Reishi spores are the mature germ cells of Ganoderma lucidum with similar health components of the fruiting body, they have been researched for their effects on the central nervous system and sleep, which is why they are an integral part of our I am Rested Phyto-Nectar.
If you are capable of all these magical health benefits like strengthening the whole system and helping us calm down, relax and sleep – no wonder Reishi is hailed as the mushroom of longevity, we love Reishi and could not live without it.
Tremella – Tremella fuciformis
The beauty mushroom – used in traditional Chinese Medicine as an anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, used to clear heat and dryness – supporting skin and brain health.
Tremella is rich in mushroom polysaccharides – these are the main bioactive components, they have been studied for their use to enhance circulation, improve immunity, support brain health and memory enhancement as well as being used in cosmetic applications both internally and externally to protect and nourish the skin.
It is for these reasons that we love Tremella and infuse its properties in to our I am Radiant Phyto-Nectar.
Cordycep – Cordycep militaris
Famed for its ability to support fatigue and endurance Cordyceps militaris is hailed in traditional Chinese medicine for its invigorating effects particularly for its physical and mental rejuvenating properties.
The fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris are rich in protein, amino acids and other nutrients, as well as a whole host of mushroom chemicals, vitamins and minerals, all of which have been researched for their anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting, anti-oxidant, anti-aging and brain protecting properties.
You can find the brain and physical enhancing properties of Cordycep mushroom in our I am Focused Phyto-Nectar.
Lions Mane – Hericium erinaceus
Not called the super brain for nothing – Lions mane is a power house of a medicinal mushroom, used for centuries in traditional Chinese Medicine. As the look of the mushroom suggests it’s a traditional remedy for the issues of the brain and cognition, it also tastes great so an excellent culinary mushroom.
The polysaccharides extracted from Lions mane mushrooms have been researched for various promising actions particularly for brain and cognitive health or ‘neuro-protection'. Lions mane also has powerful antioxidant, anti-fatigue and anti-aging properties.
It is these health benefits that make Lions Mane an integral part of our formula.
Maitake – Grifola frondosa
One of the world’s great culinary and medicinal mushrooms, studied for centuries for its bioactive compounds primarily found in the fruiting body.
The major health beneficial components are the polysaccharides β-glucans. The polysaccharides extracted from Maitake have been researched for their various health enhancing effects including for its immune support, antiviral, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory actions.
In recent years, an increasing number of studies have also attributed or linked the health and therapeutic effects of Maitake polysaccharides to their capacity for modifying digestive microbiota and improving gut health.
Maitake's therapeutic potential and its great flavour are the reasons for including it in our I am Focused Phyto-Nectar.
We’ll be delving even further into the world of mushrooms through the journal, do sign up for exclusive information and discounts.
For further mushroom reading we highly recommend
Radical Mycology – Peter McCoy
Medicinal Mushrooms, a Clinical Guide – Martin Powell