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Top 10 Mushrooms for Better Health

A tray of wild mushrooms. Mushrooms for health and wellness.

Mighty mushrooms are making waves in the wellness world. We’re using them as adaptogenic herbs for stress, immune boosters for year-round health, as a source of beauty nutrition and more.

From delicious and nutritious mushroom recipes to potent mushroom supplements and even mushroom coffee—mushrooms are everywhere, and their benefits are many. Let’s explore some trending mushrooms and their benefits for body and mind.

Mushrooms as Adaptogens

Before exploring the top 10 types of mushrooms you’ll want to try, let’s get familiar with adaptogens. Also referred to as adaptogenic herbs, adaptogens are nature-sourced ingredients that help counteract the effects of stress.1 Adaptogens are trending as a way to support a healthy response to daily stress.

There are many adaptogenic herbs—some are mushrooms, others are not. Non-mushroom adaptogens include ashwagandha, shisandra, rhodiola rosea, ginseng, and more. Many of the mushrooms below have adaptogenic properties, so it’s definitely a buzzword to know.

Discover the Power of Mother Nature. Shop our innovative, science-backed herbal supplements.

10 Types of Mushrooms & Their Benefits

Mushrooms are a type of fungi, and experts estimate that there may be as many as 5.1 million fungal species on our planet, most of which we cannot see.2 In fact, the visible part of fungi we know as a mushroom is actually the “fruit” of the organism, and the body of fungi is known as mycelium.3 Mycelium and mycelium extract is often used in supplements and it’s a source of many of the benefits of mushrooms.

While there may be a lot of mushroom types out there, far fewer are cultivated for consumption and many types of wild mushrooms are not even safe for humans. However, several types of mushrooms have been clinically-researched for health. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Cordyceps Mushroom Benefits

Cordyceps, also known as the “caterpillar fungus,” is a mushroom-like fungus with a history in traditional Tibetan and Chinese health practices. It’s found at high altitudes in the Himalayas, and traditional uses have varied widely—from supporting longevity and general vitality to sexual health, liver health and beyond.4

Modern science backs up its use as a wellness supporter with studies on cordyceps fungus for energy, stamina, antioxidant support, anti-aging and heart health.5,6 Research shows that cordyceps may enhance aerobic capacity, helping optimize oxygen use and boosting cellular energy.6 It’s also used as an adaptogen to support a healthy stress response and to promote immune function.6

Cordyceps Supplements to Try

Swanson Premium Cordyceps: This powerful, energy-enhancing tonic is produced through modern culturing techniques and made from pure, deep-layer extract. Swanson Premium Cordyceps is certified free of yeast, mold or other potentially harmful microbes.

Swanson Superior Herbs Cordyceps Complex: Delivers unprecedented support for immune health in a triple-action formula featuring state-of-the-art extracts of cordyceps mushroom, reishi mushroom and shitake mushroom. This supplement is standardized to deliver consistent concentrations of active constituents and guaranteed potency in each veggie capsule.

Discover the Power of Mother Nature. Shop our innovative, science-backed herbal supplements.

2. Reishi Mushroom Benefits

The prized reishi mushroom, or Ganoderma lucidum, is so highly valued in Eastern traditions that it’s known in many Asian countries as the “mushroom of immortality.”7 References to reishi as an herbal health tonic date back as far as 100 B.C. Reishi mushrooms boast around 400 active compounds that provide benefits throughout the body.7

Reishi mushroom has been studied as a supporter of immune function and antioxidant activity, as well as for cardiovascular support.8 It’s also taken to as a liver detox aid, as an adaptogen to reduce stress while supporting energy levels, and it’s a popular ingredient in mushroom coffee.

Reishi Supplements to Try

Swanson Premium Reishi Mushroom: Promote strong defenses against daily stress, support immune health, liver detox, energy, mood and more with this potent reishi supplement featuring 1.2 grams of Ganoderma lucidum fruiting bodies.

Swanson Organic Certified Organic Ganoderma (Reishi) Mushroom Coffee: Add a healthy twist to your morning cup of coffee with this blend of organically-grown Columbian coffee with vitality-boosting, organic reishi mushroom.

3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits

This exotic-sounding mushroom gets its name from its shaggy, mane-like appearance. Lion’s mane mushroom has adaptogenic properties and supports balanced health in both mind and body, promoting a feeling of calm alertness and boosting antioxidant activity.9

Studies have shown that lion’s mane mushroom may also benefit cognitive health and memory, as it contains two compounds, hericenones and erinacines, that may promote brain and nerve cell health.10

Lion’s Mane Supplements to Try

Swanson Premium Lion’s Mane Mushroom: Sharpen your mind, promote a sense of calm alertness, and boost antioxidant activity with the power of lion’s mane mushroom, a treasured culinary delicacy with clinically-studied benefits.

4. Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits

Turkey tail mushrooms are among the most researched of them all due to beneficial polysaccharides, beta glucan and many other nutrients within them that promote health. Polysaccharides are powerful immune boosters, and beta glucan is a type of dietary fiber with a broad range of potential health benefits, including promoting heart health.11,12

Turkey tail mushrooms contain more beta glucan than other types of wild or cultivated mushrooms.13 Since beta glucan is also a prebiotic fiber, it may promote healthy gut flora and improve digestive health, which can also promote immune health. Read Trust Your Gut to learn more about how digestive health and immune health are linked.

Turkey Tail Supplements to Try

Swanson Superior Herbs Turkey Tail Mushroom: Strengthen your body's defenses at the most fundamental level with the protective power of turkey tail mushroom. Traditional Chinese and Japanese herbalists treasure this powerful tonic for the immune system and healthy liver function. Modern science has revealed that turkey tail mushroom features polysaccharide compounds that support the body's cellular defenses.

5. Chaga Mushroom Benefits

Revered for its anti-aging benefits and often sipped as chaga tea, chaga mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, beta glucans and a variety of botanical compounds that offer benefits for the immune system, heart and energy levels.14

It’s the extremely high levels of antioxidant phytonutrients in chaga that make it a popular anti-aging pick since antioxidants help fight oxidative damage, a major contributor to signs of skin aging.15

Discover the Power of Mother Nature. Shop our innovative, science-backed herbal supplements.

Chaga Supplements to Try

Swanson Premium Full Spectrum Chaga Mushroom: These chaga mushroom capsules feature all-natural whole chaga powder. They can be taken as a capsule or opened into hot water to create a tea infusion similar to the traditional method of use in Eastern Europe.

6. Agaricus Blazei Mushroom Benefits

Agaricus blazei is native to the Brazilian village of Piedade, where the local people were known for their remarkably good health into old age.16 Agaricus blazei mushrooms were a regular part of their diet, which inspired Takatoshi Furumoto, a Japanese-born scientist living in Brazil to study the mushrooms, with samples also being analyzed by third-parties at the University of Buenos Aries, the University of Province of Mie in Japan, as well as a national research center in Japan.

The research suggested that Agaricus blazei mushrooms did in fact play a role in the health of the people of Piedade, showing promise as an immune system booster and cellular defender. Agaricus blazei is also believed to have adaptogenic properties, helping fight physical and emotional stress.17 It’s now cultivated in Japan and China, and it’s extensively researched in Japan where it’s sometimes used as a food additive.

Agaricus Blazei Supplements to Try

Swanson Superior Herbs Agaricus Blazei Mushroom Extract: Agaricus blazei provides cellular-level immune system support and contains high concentrations of beta glucans, making it one of the world's most powerful cellular protectors. Our Agaricus Blazei Mushroom Extract is standardized to 30% polysaccharides for guaranteed potency in each capsule.

7. Zhu Ling Mushroom Benefits

Records of the use of zhu ling mushroom as a health tonic date back to the 5th century, and it was likely used much earlier.18 This mushroom has held a valued place in traditional Chinese healthcare for ages. Zhu ling is often taken to stimulate the immune system and promote liver health.19

Zhu Ling Supplements to Try

Swanson Premium Zhu Ling Mushroom: Cultured under controlled conditions in the USA, and featuring pure, powdered zhu ling mushroom mycelia, our premium supplement delivers a convenient dose of this master health mushroom used by traditional Chinese herbalists for centuries.

8. Maitake Mushroom Benefits

In Japanese, maitake means “dancing mushroom.” And if folklore is correct, it got its name because people were so happy when they found one of these healthful mushrooms that they started dancing on the spot.20

Maitake mushroom is an adaptogen that supports a healthy response to daily stress, and it also works to help balance systems throughout the body and support immune health.20 It’s rich in antioxidants, beta glucans, vitamins B and C, copper, potassium, fiber and amino acids.20

Maitake Mushroom Supplements to Try

Swanson Premium MSR-3: This advanced complex harnesses the power of three leading tonic mushrooms—maitake, shiitake and reishi—to reinforce the body's defenses. As a potent immune system booster, this trio supports NK cells, lymphocytes, B cells and T cells.

Discover the Power of Mother Nature. Shop our innovative, science-backed herbal supplements.

9. Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of shiitake before, as it’s one of the most popular mushrooms for cooking. And you might want to have a regular helping because compounds in these mushrooms boost immunity, support heart health and more.21

Many studies have been conducted on shitake mushrooms, showing that eating just two dried shiitake mushrooms daily for a month can have beneficial effects on the immune system and overall health.21 They’re also a natural source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium to build strong bones.21

Shiitake Supplements to Try

Swanson Triple Mushroom Complex:  This trio of 100% whole-herb shiitake, reishi and maitake mushrooms promotes immune health and a normal response to daily stress. It’s also energizing, reduces fatigue and promotes a healthy mood.

10. Snow Mushroom Benefits

Also known as Tremella fuciformis or white wood ear mushroom, snow mushrooms are making their way into beauty routines as a buzzworthy skincare ingredient. But long before it started appearing in the news, this white fungus was prized for its healthful benefits.

Snow mushroom may help stimulate the immune system, promote a healthy liver, and provide anti-aging benefits by supporting the skin’s natural collagen production to help keep skin firm.22,23 Snow mushroom is also a hydrating ingredient in some skin creams, since this mushroom can hold 500 times its weight in water.

Snow Mushroom Supplements

Swanson Premium Full Spectrum 14 Mushroom Complex: We’ve combined the best certified organic mushrooms from the world’s ancient traditions into one comprehensive formula for true global health support. White wood ear mushroom (snow mushroom) is one of the 14 healthful mushrooms in this unique mushroom blend.

Bonus: AHCC® Mushroom Mycelia Blend

AHCC® stands for Active Hexose Correlated Compound. It’s a patented and highly-studied blend of mushroom mycelia extracts from Basidiomycetes, one of the largest classes of mushrooms.

AHCC® offers stimulating support for immune defenders. Decades of research have shown that AHCC® provides powerful antioxidant support for the liver and contributes to healthy cellular activity. AHCC® increases the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and cytokines, some of your body's first-line defenses.24

AHCC® Supplements to Try

Swanson Ultra AHCC—Maximum Strength: Swanson Maximum Strength AHCC® is a proprietary extract of fungi in the Basidiomycetes family, enzymatically modified and co-cultured in a medium of rice bran extract. This blend delivers 500 mg of AHCC® per capsule to provide potent immune support.

Discover the Power of Mother Nature. Shop our innovative, science-backed herbal supplements.

Are Mushrooms on Your Wellness List?

Mushrooms are highly nutritious and have a host of wellness benefits to offer, from adaptogenic properties to immune health and beyond. Have you tried any of these mushrooms? Tell us what you think and how they helped you!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like 21 Vitamins & Supplements for Immune Health and What’s Trending Now? Buzz-Worthy Updates in Beauty. And sign up for Swanson Health emails for fresh advice from our wellness experts and our best promotions.

Lindsey Bristol, Swanson Health Products

 

 




About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products

Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.

Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.

Sources

1 Adaptogenic Herbs: List, Effectiveness, and Health Benefits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/adaptogenic-herbs (Accessed 02/12/2019)

2 The fungi: 1, 2, 3 ... 5.1 million species? PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21613136 (Accessed 02/12/2019)

3 What are Fungi? Utah State University Department of Biology https://herbarium.usu.edu/fun-with-fungi/what-are-fungi (Accessed 02/12/2019)

4 Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121254/ (Accessed 02/12/2019)

5 6 Benefits of Cordyceps, All Backed by Science. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefits (Accessed 02/12/2019)

6 Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. David Winston. https://books.google.com/books/about/Adaptogens.html?id=5NbXBhyQGUkC (Accessed 02/12/2019)

7 Identifying the “Mushroom of Immortality”: Assessing the Ganoderma Species Composition in Commercial Reishi Products. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055023/ (Accessed 02/12/2019)

8 Reishi Mushroom. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-905/reishi-mushroom (Accessed 02/12/2019)

9 9 Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom (Plus Side Effects). Healthline.  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom (Accessed 02/12/2019)

10 Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24266378 (Accessed 02/12/2019)

11 5 Immune-Boosting Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turkey-tail-mushroom (Accessed 02/12/2019)

12 Beta Glucan: The Heart-Healthy Fiber. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-glucan-heart-healthy (Accessed 02/12/2019)

13 Screening of beta-glucan contents in commercially cultivated and wild growing mushrooms. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27596390 (Accessed 02/12/2019)

14 What Are Chaga Mushrooms and Are They Healthy? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chaga-mushroom (Accessed 02/12/2019)

15 Oxidative Stress in Aging Human Skin. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4496685/  (Accessed 02/12/2019)

16 ABM Research. Semantic Scholar. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ed84/bdf01ded4cfde2bb8bba2d11dbfe53f021c7.pdf  (Accessed 02/12/2019)

17 The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249742/  (Accessed 02/12/2019)

18 Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684114/  (Accessed 02/12/2019)

19 Mushroom Health Benefits. Well.org https://well.org/healthy-body/power-of-mushroom/  (Accessed 02/12/2019)

20 Everything You Should Know About Maitake Mushroom. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/maitake-mushroom  (Accessed 02/12/2019)

21 Why Shiitake Mushrooms Are Good For You. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/shiitake-mushrooms#section7 (Accessed 02/12/2019)

22 Medicinal Benefits of Snow Fungus. Herb Museum. http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/medicinal-benefits-snow-fungus (Accessed 02/12/2019)

23 Effect of polysaccharides from Tremella fuciformis on UV-induced photoaging. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S175646461500554X (Accessed 02/12/2019)

24 The Benefits of ACC. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-ahcc-89399 (Accessed 02/12/2019)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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