Mushrooms are a diverse crowd. They run the gamut from mildly nutritious, tasty salad toppings to medicinal and even psychedelic properties. A new trend that has taken the wellness scene by storm plays on the medicinal properties of some shrooms by combining with ingredients to make a delightfully refreshing beverage.
This group of functional mushrooms is noted for having several positive effects on the human body, including managing stress and boosting immune function. Functional mushrooms typically include the likes of lion's mane, chaga, reishi, turkey tail, and shiitake.
History of Functional Mushrooms
While the western world deals with herbal medicine in fads and trends, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been using functional mushrooms in treatments for a long time. Modern science has taken a look at the claims, and it seems that there is plenty of research to support positive effects on digestive and immune system functions, as well as other claims like stress management.
What are the Benefits of Functional Mushrooms
The benefits of functional mushrooms vary slightly from one variety to another. Most of the popular mushroom drinks combine a blend of different mushrooms in order to offer multiple benefits.
- Reduces stress
- Promotes good sleep
- Boosts immune system function
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Improves stamina
- Boosts mental performance
- Delivers a healthy dose of antioxidants
Types of Functional Mushrooms
There are many different types of mushrooms that are associated with varying healing properties ranging from promoting a healthy balance to easing symptoms of chronic disease and even some cancer treatments. The popular functional shrooms for drinks include:
The reishi mushroom is known in TCM for longevity and spirituality. It is an adaptive mushroom associated with stress management because it works to normalize bodily processes. Reishi mushroom concoctions are consumed to promote restful sleep and manage stress levels.
A dark, rich mushroom with robust flavor was drunk as a coffee during WWII and is still popular as a coffee additive in wellness circles. Chaga mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and help strengthen the immune system. Chaga has a long maturity cycle, often taking 15 - 20 years to reach its peak.
Cordyceps mushrooms are an unusual, parasitic variety that lives on the head of Tibetan caterpillars. Wealthy families throughout Chinese history have consumed cordyceps for energy, vitality, and endurance. In western wellness trends, this mushroom is consumed to support immune system function and energy levels. Cordyceps are particularly popular with fitness enthusiasts for endurance.
Lion's mane mushrooms have a rich history among Buddhist monks. Perhaps this is because they promote healthy cognitive function and mental clarity. Functional mushroom drinks containing this variety might even help students perform better on tests.
Shiitake mushrooms are very common and widely recognized around the world as a sort of superfood. These mushrooms are touted for their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Drinks containing shiitake mushrooms help improve skin, beauty, and general wellness.
Edible Alchemy offers a wide selection of high-quality therapeutic mushroom powders to make delicious beverages. All of our powders are made from wild-sourced or organically-grown mushrooms, harvested, and extracted with our unique three-step process. Learn more today!
Turkey tail mushrooms are common fan-shaped fungi that grow on the underside of fallen logs and dead tree stumps. These mushrooms are most well-known for their positive impact on digestion and immunity. It is common to consume turkey tail in teas and other drinks.
Maitake is a Japanese mushroom that is a little difficult to find. But when you do come across it, maitake is good for supporting healthy digestion. Some individuals eat the mushroom naturally before meals to help with digestion. However, it can cause some sensitivity issues, so tea might be preferred.
Enokitake is an Asian mushroom found in China, Japan, and Korea. This nutritional mushroom is fantastic for cooking and is included in many Asian dishes. Enokitake is rich in antioxidants and contains a large amount of niacin, a b-vitamin that supports healthy cell function.
Oyster mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans which are linked to lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugars, and boosting immune function. These mushrooms might also reduce stress levels. Oyster mushrooms are typically combined with other stress-beneficial shrooms to make relaxing drinks and cocktails.
Tremella mushrooms are popular with chemotherapy patients. It can help fill nutritional gaps and ease the side effects of treatments. Tremella also contains the highest food source of vitamin D available. These mushrooms have plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Related: Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Functional Mushroom Drinks
Coffee-type drinks are popular for combining the benefits of functional mushrooms in daily doses that are easy to consume. Coffee has a bold flavor that works well with the natural flavor of mushroom powders. And as plant-based milk has offered shelf-stable alternatives, many manufacturers are embracing pre-made lattes as well.
Mushroom drinks include:
- Chai Tea Mixes
- Mushroom Powder Creamer
- Canned Lattes
Who Drinks Functional Mushroom Drinks?
Functional mushroom drinks started in wellness and herbal medicine groups but have wandered into mainstream light as of recently. As word spread of their benefits, these drinks became popular with people looking for natural medicine alternatives. Weightlifters and exercise buffs caught on to mushroom drinks that promote energy and endurance. And now it seems like just about everyone is open to trying these drinks. These trends are driving up demand for mushrooms, ballooning the mushroom market to a projected $3.5 billion by 2027.
The interest in mushroom drinks is growing proportionately alongside other unusual and potentially medicinal elixirs like CBD-infused beverages. And as the interest grows, the science community is testing the merits of the numerous claims and finding enough evidence to support mushrooms as a superfood.
The Bottom Line
Functional mushroom drinks are coffees and teas made from a blend of adaptogenic mushrooms that purport to have numerous health benefits. From lowering stress levels and promoting healthy sleep cycles to easing the discomfort of traditional cancer treatments, these magic mushrooms are the next new thing in natural supplements.
At Edible Alchemy, we focus on providing the highest quality of mushroom supplements for tinctures, powders, drinks, and more. Our products are available through a network of local farmers' markets or direct sales to individuals and wholesalers. Shop our catalog now!