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Mental health benefits of medicinal mushrooms: lions mane, reishi, and cordyceps

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we wanted to take a minute to recognize the various ways that we can support our mental wellbeing with functional mushrooms. 

Psychedelic mushrooms get a lot of the spotlight for their impact on mental health, and for good reason!  A lot of amazing research has been done on the power of psilocybin containing mushrooms with some pretty incredible results. 

But for this post, we're turning the spotlight back on functional mushrooms and will explore the benefits of three specific mushrooms: lion's mane, reishi, and cordyceps.

Lion's mane mushroom

lions mane mushroom for mental health

Benefits reported in studies:

  • ⬆️ improved focus & cognition
  • ⬇️ reduced anxiety & depression

Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is well known for its ability to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus.

Research shows that lion's mane contains compounds that stimulate the growth of new brain cells and enhance neural connectivity, which may help to prevent cognitive decline and improve mental performance.

Lion's mane has also been studied to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. A study conducted on menopausal women found that taking lion's mane supplements for four weeks significantly improved their mood, reduced irritability and anxiety, and improved sleep quality.

Another study was also done on mice which showed a decrease in depressive behaviors and blood markers that indicated depression. 

Links to the studies mentioned above: one 2015 study done with mice, and another placebo controlled study 2010 study done with 30 women.

Reishi mushroom

reishi mushroom mental health benefits

Benefits reported in studies:

  • ⬇️ decreased fatigue
  • ⬇️ reduced anxiety & depression
  • ⬆️ improved mood

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is another mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

It has a range of health benefits, but in recent years it's been most notably used for helping people manage stress and anxiety. Reishi is known as an adaptogenic mushroom.

Reishi contains compounds that promote relaxation and reduce inflammation, which can help to improve overall mood. Studies have specifically noted that the polyphenols and flavonoids may be part of the reason for its observed benefits.

Studies have also shown that reishi may improve the symptoms of depression. For example, in one study cancer patients who took reishi mushroom showed significant improvements in well being, fatigue, and depression symptoms. 

In another study done in mice, the anti-anxiety effects of reishi mushroom were on par with the control drug (diazapam), and showed significant anti-anxiety activity. 

Cordyceps

cordyceps health benefits

Benefits reported in studies:

  • ⬇️ reduced depression

Cordyceps mushroom (cordyceps militaris) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat a range of health issues, including fatigue, respiratory disorders, and kidney disease.

Cordyceps is has been studied for it's ability to improve endurance and energy. In particular, helping athletes improve their VO2 max.

However there also has been some research done on this mushrooms ability to help with depression and anxiety. In this study done in rats the use of a water extracted cordycepts mushroom showed antidpressent-like effects

Conclusion

Overall, these three mushrooms have a range of potential benefits for mental health. They can improve cognitive function, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and promote relaxation.

Clearly, we have a ton of love for these mushrooms, but there is more research needed both into the benefits and any potential side effects of these mushrooms.

They are generally considered safe for most people to use, however if you're interested in incorporating these mushrooms into your diet, please speak to a healthcare professional first to ensure they're safe for you to use.

Pow Mushroom Products

Here at Pow all of our products use functional AKA medicinal (not psychedelic :) mushrooms.

We do only a few things (just 2 core products) and we do them well. Focusing on quality, efficacy, and of course taste. 

Wonder Matcha is our flagship product which combines ceremonial grade organic matcha with fruiting body lions mane mushroom extract (learn more about what to look for in mushroom supplements) with adaptogens for a morning ritual that will set you up for all-day success and long term health. 

Wonder MCT is our 100% coconut MCT oil based creamer which combine all three functional mushrooms in this post with L-theanine and pink salt. This is the perfect addition to Wonder Matcha, coffee, or any tea / smoothie.

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Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions drop us a comment!

This making you thirsty? Buy some Wonder Matcha.

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