What is a Mushroom Drink?
Having been born and raised in Hong Kong, the practice of consulting Chinese doctors was far from foreign to us. Returning with sacks filled with herbs and mushrooms, which would undergo hours of boiling before consumption, was a routine ritual. While some mixtures were more forgiving than others, the entire process required patience and effort.
In my twenties, a curiosity stirred within me—an aspiration to translate herbs and mushrooms into delightful renditions. This fervent interest found its expression within the walls of my health food cafe, an establishment I nurtured for over seven years. It was here that the spirit of experimentation thrived, especially concerning mushroom drinks transformed into lattes and smoothies. Through my culinary journey, our brand took its nascent steps, a tribute to the art of blending age-old tradition with modern contemporary innovation.
Drinking mushrooms has become increasingly popular – as it sounds – a mushroom drink is formulated with powdered mushrooms and mushroom extracts infusing various types of medicinal mushrooms, (fungi that possess health benefits and therapeutic properties). These mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Medicinal mushrooms are known and researched for their immune-supporting, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogenic properties.
Mushroom drinks are an excellent vehicle for ingesting the many dynamic therapeutic compounds found in medicinal mushrooms.
So what is a mushroom drink and how do you create one?
When creating a mushroom drink, powdered and/or extracted medicinal mushrooms are used. These can be mixed with hot water, milk (dairy or plant-based), or other liquids to create a deliciously flavourful and health-enhancing drink. Additional flavourings, herbs, spices, cacao and fruits like you find in our Phyto Nectar range are also added to dynamise the flavour profile often making the mushroom drink more palatable, whilst also adding the additional health and nutritional benefits of certain plants.
Some popular medicinal mushrooms used in drinks and our Phyto Nectar range include:
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Known as the "mushroom of immortality," reishi is believed to support the immune system, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus): Chaga is often used for its potential antioxidant properties and immune system support. It's rich in betulinic acid and other bioactive compounds.
- Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus): Lion's mane is thought to support cognitive function and nervous system health. It contains compounds that are being researched for their use in supporting nerve and brain health.
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordycep mushrooms are used to enhance energy levels and endurance. Cordyceps are often used by athletes for their potential performance-enhancing properties.
- Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Maitake is sometimes called ‘hen of the woods’ or the "dancing mushroom", researched for its positive effects on immune and digestive function and overall health.
- Tremella mushroom, scientifically known as Tremella fuciformis, it's commonly referred to as "snow mushroom," "white jelly mushroom”, or the “beauty mushroom”. Tremella is known for its potential to enhance skin health and appearance. The high content of polysaccharides and water-absorbing properties of Tremella mushroom can help improve skin hydration and elasticity and makes the most delicious mushroom drink.
Mushroom drinks are created for their health benefits, some of the main reasons to drink mushrooms include:
- Immune Support: Many medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi and Chaga are believed to have immune-modulating properties. These mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that might help enhance the body's natural defence mechanisms and promote overall immune health.
- Stress Reduction: Medicinal mushrooms, including Reishi , Maitake and Lion's Mane, are considered adaptogens. Adaptogens are substances that are thought to help the body manage and adapt to stress, potentially reducing the impact of stress on the body's systems.
- Cognitive Health: Mushrooms like Lion's Mane are used and studied for their support for cognitive function and brain health. Compounds found in Lion's Mane mushrooms may promote the growth of nerve cells and help protect against cognitive decline.
- Energy and Vitality: Cordyceps mushrooms are often associated with increased energy levels and improved stamina. They are sometimes used to enhance physical performance, making it a popular mushroom drink for those who are training.
- Digestive Health: Some medicinal mushrooms contain compounds that may support digestive health. For example, Maitake mushrooms are believed to help regulate blood sugar levels and promote a healthy metabolism.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Many medicinal mushrooms, like Chaga have been studied for their potential anti-inflammatory properties. These effects can contribute to overall wellness and the prevention of chronic diseases.
- Skin health: Mushrooms like Tremella are beneficial for maintaining moisture balance within the body, their water-absorbing capacity support hydration and the body's natural fluids. In combination with their anti-oxidant properties which help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body, potentially reducing oxidative stress, UV damage and inflammation.
- Overall Wellness: Medicinal mushroom drinks are used as tonics for overall well-being. Regular consumption of these drinks can promote balance within the body, support various physiological systems, and contribute to vibrant health and longevity.
- Nutritional Enhancement: Medicinal mushroom drinks can provide an additional source of nutrients and bioactive compounds that may be lacking in a standard diet. This can contribute to a more well-rounded nutritional intake.
- To holistically support you throughout the day and year, our Phyto Nectar range infused with medicinal mushrooms make such a delicious and health giving ritual.
Lions Mane research