Mushroom Supplements for Stress Relief, Energy, and A Longer Life
Mushrooms have been admired for their healing properties in Eastern medicine for millennia, and their use can be traced back thousands of years across numerous ancient cultures.
It takes a unique combination of nutrients and bioactive compounds for mushrooms to be considered medicinal. Today, these medicinal or functional mushrooms are being studied for their extensive health benefits and are quickly gaining popularity in the natural health community.
Often called superfoods thanks to their valuable vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, they are also widely known for their adaptogenic or stress-relieving effect.
In this post, we’ll talk about the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms, what adaptogens are and how they work, as well as the top functional mushrooms and their qualities. We’ll then look at how and when you should consider taking a mushroom supplement.
Mushroom Master Blend Liquid Extract with Ashwagandha
The Extensive Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
The health benefits of medicinal mushrooms are nothing short of extraordinary. The following highlights some of the benefits that mushrooms have been known to provide.
High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Foods that are high in antioxidants protect cells from damaging free radicals that come from oxidation. Studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including cancer.
Many mushrooms have nutrients and bioactive compounds researched for their impact on cardiovascular health and therefore may help balance blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Shiitake and maitake are high on the list of edible mushrooms known to improve overall heart health.
Protect Brain Functions
Another bonus of adding mushrooms to your diet and natural medicine cabinet is that they can help protect your brain health. Those who consume them, even in small portions, report improved memory and focus.
Reishi mushrooms, which have a woody texture and are usually preferred to be consumed in the form of a supplement, are best known for their natural neuroprotective agents.
Immune System Tonic
Maitake, Reishi, and Shiitake are among the top mushrooms for a healthy immune system helping you respond better to infections, spend fewer days in bed especially during cold and flu season, and build resistance to viruses and pathogens.
Improve Gut Flora
Gut health plays an important role in our overall health. Any imbalance within the gut microbiota can lead to other parts of our body feeling out of sorts. Improving the composition of your gut flora through the inclusion of mushrooms will support your digestion, metabolism, and aid in controlling inflammation.
Lastly, beyond the above health benefits, mushrooms are being recognized for their ability to provide relief from physical and mental fatigue and stress. And who wouldn’t want to boost their energy levels and clear away brain fog?
But what are adaptogens and why do they help? Let’s find out.
What Are Adaptogens and How Do They Work?
Adaptogens help the entire body deal with stress, balance our physical and emotional health, and can make us more resilient. They strengthen our immunity and support our endocrine and nervous systems. This results in giving us more energy, makes our rest time more efficient, and helps us sleep better.
Their ability to do this may be due to their relationship with our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis where our body’s stress response begins. Adaptogens interact with the HPA to help keep our body in balance by returning it to a stable state.(1)
Adaptogens are found within herbs, roots, and other plants—such as mushrooms. We’ve already discussed how mushrooms have incredible benefits, but which ones are the best for adaptogenic purposes?
Let’s dive a bit deeper and learn more about the top adaptogenic mushrooms plus two of the most important adaptogenic herbs—all included in our AnnaKare Mushroom Master Blend Liquid Extract with Ashwagandha.
Top Adaptogenic Mushrooms and Herbs
The following mushrooms and herbs add many health benefits for those who struggle with frequent sicknesses, stress, and physical and mental fatigue. Each one has unique characteristics that make it helpful to add to your health routine.
Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitakes are considered a nutraceutical food with medicinal uses. Around the world, this mushroom is being researched for its nutrients that can help avoid disease and improve health. Pre-clinical research finds these mushrooms may offer the following benefits:(2)
- Antimicrobial and antiviral activity
- Potential anti-diabetic effects related to blood sugar levels
- Cholesterol-lowering ability
- Antioxidative and anti-aging actions—by protecting against cell damage
- Liver protective ability
- Immune system enhancement
Shiitakes are probably the best-known adaptogenic mushrooms. They contain the highest level of vitamin B compared to all other mushrooms. Vitamin B is essential to converting the food we eat into fuel and energy to get us through the day.
In tandem with Shiitakes’ other healing compounds, this contributes to supporting adrenal function, hormone balance, and fighting off fatigue.
Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)
Considered the mushroom of immortality in several Asian countries and often celebrated as the top adaptogenic mushroom, reishi have a long tradition of therapeutic uses.
These include being taken to for longevity, to improve energy, to reduce stress, fight adrenal fatigue, to strengthen the immune system, brain function, and promote relaxation and the quality of sleep.(3)
In addition, reishi are recommended for reducing cholesterol levels, and recent studies have further analyzed the significant immune-system-enhancing capabilities of the polysaccharides abundant in this mushroom.(4)
Maitake Mushrooms (Grifola frondosa)
Maitake are referred to as the king of mushrooms as they can be found growing along the base of large forest trees and reach a weight of over 100 pounds! In medieval Japan, locations where this mushroom could be found where often kept secret due to its exquisite taste and high nutritional value.
Modern pre-clinical studies have researched the immune-boosting benefits of this mushroom’s polysaccharide content. Other studies have suggested potential blood sugar and cholesterol level-regulating benefits that may contribute to weight loss.(5)
While one of the lesser-known mushrooms, maitakes provide excellent adaptogenic support, helping to boost your body’s stress response, find relief from anxiousness, and improve your mood.
Ashwagandha Root (Withania somnifera)
This herb has played an important role in Indian and Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. Its name means the smell of a horse in Sanskrit and is more associated with the strength and vigor of a horse than its musky aroma.
Ashwagandha root is considered a leading adaptogenic herb. Here are some of its primary traditional uses:(6)
- Relieves negative effects of stress.
- Contributes to muscle strength and energy.
- Balances hormones.
- Improves memory and focus.
- Helps with blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
- Reduces inflammation and pain.
In one study, those who took an ashwagandha extract for eight weeks had considerably lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, likely because of the herbs moderating effect on the HPA axis.(7)
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
The genus name Glycyrrhiza means sweet root in Greek. In fact, the herb dates to ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Greek times, often taken for digestive upset and respiratory support.
It is a demulcent herb with an anti-inflammatory quality thanks to its gooey texture that can be used to coat and soothe the mucus membranes of an irritated respiratory or digestive tract. This may help with a sore throat, cough, stomach ulcers, canker sores, and inflammation.
The herb has also been traditionally used for adrenal support, hormone balance, liver support, anemia, and immune system support.(8)
Similarly to the ashwagandha root, the licorice root aids the body in regulating cortisol levels and adrenal function. It has also been known to improve energy and endurance, aiding in promoting better recovery and a more active lifestyle.
AnnaKare Mushroom Master Blend Liquid Extract with Ashwagandha
Our Mushroom Master Blend with Ashwagandha combines the 5 major adaptogens described above in a full-spectrum liquid extract. We use only the highest-quality mushrooms and herbs and are proud of our thirty-plus year collaboration with organic and sustainable growers and wildcrafters.
Liquid herbal extracts keep the natural make-up of each plant intact, harvest all the plants’ therapeutic benefits, and include only the extract, water, and ethanol. They are readily absorbable and free of fillers or binders.
Mushroom Master Blend Liquid Extract with Ashwagandha
When and How to Use an Adaptogen Mushroom Extract
Adding adaptogens to your wellness routine can greatly aid those who are struggling with:
- Frequent illnesses
- Heavy mental and physical fatigue
- Lost energy due to stress
- Low energy due to physical exertion
It’s also great to add adaptogens if you’ve been feeling run down lately, even overwhelmed, and feel as though you are putting out more energy than you can recuperate.
If you’re unsure how to add adaptogens to your wellness program, you can always talk with your doctor. We advise following the instructions on the bottle. And remember, that some adaptogens can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to feel their effects.
Fatigue Fighter Bundle
In many ways, it feels as though we are just scratching the surface of all the amazing health qualities that mushrooms can provide for us. Beyond being a rich staple to a healthy diet, they can give a much-needed boost to our overall body wellness in the form of a high-quality herbal supplement.
Our ancestors have known and appreciated the medicinal effects mushrooms can have on the body for years. But their identification as adaptogens in the middle of the 20th century and what they can do for our mental health, our stress, and how they elevate our physical ability is truly remarkable.
- UCLAhealth.org. (February 16, 2022) What are adaptogens and should you be taking them?
- Ahmad, I., et al. (2023) Therapeutic values and nutraceutical properties of shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes): A review
- Babu, D., and Subhasree, R. (2008) The Sacred Mushroom “Reishi”. A Review
- Ren, L., Zhang, J., & Zhang, T. (2021) Immunomodulatory activities of polysaccharides from Ganoderma on immune effector cells
- Wu, J., Siu, K., & Geng, P. (2021) Bioactive Ingredients and Medicinal Values of Grifola frondosa (Maitake)
- Singh, N. (2011) An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda
- Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, et al. (December 25, 2019) Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study
- Xiaoying, W., Han, Z., & Yu, W. (2017) Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice): Ethnobotony and Health Benefits
The statements in this article are grounded in natural wellness practice. They have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.