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A description of the three mushrooms used for tinctures at Mondo

Mushroom tinctures can come from hundreds of different species, however at Mondo we have three that are considered to be the most popular and beneficial to the human body. This article will serve as a guide to the three tinctures available at Mondo: Reishi, Chaga & Lion’s Mane.

Lion’s Mane – Versatile Mushroom

The Lion’s Mane mushroom is an edible type of mushroom that has been commonly used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It was commonly used in ancient China to its ability to help with the digestive system, water regulation and ability to improve concentration. It was common for other civilisations across Asia, Europe and North America to use Lion’s mane due to its beneficial attributes on the body and mind. 

The mushroom can be found throughout the whole northern hemisphere, with higher prevalence in Asia due to its importance in ancient Chinese medicine, which is still widely practiced in China. The fruiting bodies of Lion’s Mane can range from 5-40cm in diameter, and tend to be a white/creamy colour (it can change to more of a yellow/brown the older it becomes). In the wild, they are usually found amongst hardwoods and the mushroom tends to dangle downwards. Alternatively, in Asia it is common for organisations to produce them in mass on wood logs .

Lion’s Mane is renowned for being a versatile mushroom. They can be used to make a range of products, such as tinctures or even for culinary purposes. Furthermore, it is known to be quite a resistant  mushroom. It deals well with other species trying to colonise the same wood. Another function for Lion’s mane is its ability to support healthy cognition. This is because it contains all compounds functional fungi contain, as well as erinacenes and hericenones. These last two are the components that help with healthy cognition. 

 

Reishi – The ‘Mushroom of Immortality’

Lingzhi, commonly referred to as Reishi, is a polypore fungus belonging to the Ganoderma genus. It is one of the most commonly used mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine. This specie has been used for over 3000 years and is frequently referred to as the mushroom of immortality. This was because of its ability to help with so many medical/therapeutical treatments such as: sleep deprivation, anxiety, digestion, etc. On top of this, it was frequently used in teas, broths and other culinary recipes. 

The Reishi mushroom is a kidney-shaped mushroom with a red/brown colour cap that can grow up to 30cm in diameter. They like to grow in moist and temperate forest climates where there are many deciduous trees, most commonly plum and oak trees. In nature, it is known to grow at the base and stumps of said trees. However out of 10000 trees, you will only find 2 or three that contain Reishi growth. This makes it incredibly rare to find in the wild. Therefore, the majority of Reishi is cultivated on hardwood logs, woodchips and sawdust. 

Like the Lion’s Mane, this specie is very versatile too! Various studies, the majority of which are on mice, show that reishi contains compounds known as polysaccharides. This compound is known to help the body fight cancerous tumor by stimulating the immune system and production of white blood cells. Other beneficial substances or compounds found are:

  • Sterols  Acts as a natural antihistamine, reducing allergic reactions and inflammation
  • Antioxidants  They help counteract the damaging effect of oxidation on human skin
  • Triptenes  Help lower blood pressure which helps with circulation.

 

Chaga – High in Antioxidants

The Chaga fungus, is a parasitic species that grows mainly on birch trees in Russia. Similarly to the other two mushrooms, this fungus was used over 500 years ago by indigenous population of Siberia, Ural Mountains and Scandinavia. According to texts of traditional medicine, Chaga was used to treat cancer, tuberculosis, ulcers and other gastric issues. 

Oddly enough, this specie is not a mushroom, but rather a dark coloured sclerotium. Its colour is partly due to the large amount of melanin it contains. However, when you open up the fungus you will find that it is a sharp and bright orange. This fungus tends to grow up to 40 cm in size and looks like a large clump of charcoal, so it is quite easy to spot. Unlike the other mushrooms, this fungus is one of the easiest fungus to forage for and is available all year round in the Northern Hemisphere. 

In modern times, the Chaga fungus has been thoroughly studied by scientist for its health benefits, with over 1600 published studies readily available. Chaga is known to be full of beneficial vitamins & antioxidants making it a very popular fungus for people to use. Interestingly enough, it is the fungus specie with the highest concentration of antioxidants, making it a great product for skincare. It is also known to have the following benefits:

  • Increase productivity  Helps metabolise food into energy 
  • Ease inflammation  Studies show that I can prevent and ease swelling related to arthritis 

It is clear to see that many of these mushrooms have health benefits. They have been used for over 5000 years and they seem to still be relevant in modern times. The demand of these fungus species has increased over the last decade and will continue to do so as more medicinal research papers and studies come to light. It is very interesting to see how each of these functional fungi have different compounds to each other, and how they help benefit the human body and mind. 

 

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