Functional Fungi

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What’s with the “Mushroom Coffee?”

“Tyler? A Venti Americano Psilocybin, for Tyler?” 

No, not that kind.

I was doomscrolling through Facebook the other day when an ad for Mushroom Coffee caught my eye.

Despite my frequent heart palpitations, I’m a coffee lover. A caffeine queen, if you will. This ad had everything my little millennial heart could want.

Black. Neon colors. Holographic packaging. Coffee.

Oh, you’re gonna hear me roar, you bet’cha.

I forgot: I’m not too fond of mushrooms.

To preface, I have previously looked into coffee alternatives to appease my addiction to the nectar of the gods. That may have influenced the social media ads pushed my way.

I immediately clicked “add to cart” on the “free” week-long trial.

Well, if several hours of research and overthinking counts as “immediate.”

In my research, I learned that this flashy not-coffee brand might not be as unique as I had first thought. Companies offering mushroom supplements, teas, and coffees have been popping up across the country, all singing the praises of the almighty fungi.

What’s the hype?

Mushrooms have been used in medicinal practices for thousands of years, thanks to their immunity, digestive, and anti-inflammatory properties.

In typical Western culture fashion, it took us Statesiders a minute to catch up.

“And another thing – Please explain again how you all manage to get six weeks vacation ?”

Here’s why so many are swapping their morning beverage of choice to reap the mushie benefits:

🍄 Immune support

The most common reason people reach for powders, tinctures, or tablets is immune support. Mushrooms are stuffed with antioxidants and compounds that boost overall immunity. Studies have shown these supplements can benefit heart health, diabetes, and possibly cancer treatment.

🍄 Better sleep – more energy

Swapping your morning cup-o-Joe for a fungi alternative will significantly reduce caffeine intake, avoiding that dreaded afternoon crash. The best mushrooms are also adaptogenic, meaning they assist your body in dealing with fatigue, stress, and anxiety.

🍄 Mental wellness

If you’re feeling a little foggy, fungi may be for you. Along with immune-boosting compounds, certain mushrooms support focus, memory, and overall brain function. Studies show they may even help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

🍄 Glowing skin

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and is a reflection of your overall health. When you feel good, you look good! Thanks to their host of antioxidants, mushroom supplements can give you a smooth, glowing complexion.

🍄 Anti-anxiety

Are you a nervous wreck? Triterpene is known for its calming effect on the nervous system, and certain mushrooms are full of it. Regular intake of this compound eases anxiety, fights depression, and aids in better sleep.

Not All Shrooms are Created Equal!

Mushroom coffee is starting to sound pretty good. Before pulling any supplement off the shelf, you’ll want to read the label and fine print. Here are a couple of things to look for in the best products:

🍄 Watch what the product is made of

The mushroom structure includes fruiting bodies and mycelium. Mycelium, the woody stem structure, cannot be separated from the grain. Choose supplements made with fruiting bodies for maximum health benefits.

🍄 Pay attention to how the mushroom is prepared

Never go foraging whole or raw mushrooms when supplement shopping. Our bodies cannot digest the tough cell wall that encloses the nutrients of the fruiting bodies. Choose products that have extracted the mushrooms into a powder, tonic, or tablet.

Types of Mushrooms

Over two-thousand species of edible mushrooms have been identified.

So which ones hold the health benefits you need? You won’t find stress relief in the mushrooms on your pizza. (Un)Fortunately, you’re not looking for psychoactive psilocybin mushrooms, either.

Seek out products including adaptogen mushrooms, such as these:

Reishi

A calming mushroom.

Reishi is used for immune support, depression, and anxiety.

Chaga

An anti-inflammatory powerhouse.

Chaga has been used to boost immunity for centuries.

Lion’s Mane

A fungus focused on the brain.

This mushroom has a range of benefits, including nerve health support to improve cognitive function.

Cordyceps

An energy-boosting mushroom that puts the “fun” in fungi.

Cordyceps boosts energy levels, aides in muscle recovery, and may even fight off aging.

Here to Stay:

What goes around

does come back around.

And mushrooms are no exception. I doubt they were brewing mushroom lattes thousands of years ago, but the benefits are the same.

My holographic package of trial coffee arrives in less than a week.

  • Will I ditch my favorite iced latte for functional fungi?
  • Will I grow luscious locks and sport glowing skin?

Will I finally have the energy boost I need to keep up with my toddler?

To be continued…

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References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancasalonga/2022/03/30/a-first-timers-guide-to-healing-with-functional-mushrooms/?sh=2e6630a52dcb Bianca Solange, 2022
https://www.eatthis.com/functional-mushrooms/ Julia Guerra, 2019
https://www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/best-mushroom-supplements-1322448/ OSCAR HARTZOG, SAGE ANDERSON, 2022
https://www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/best-mushroom-coffee-1319143/ Oscar Hartzog, 2022
https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12708 Li et al., 2021
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/best-medicinal-mushrooms-to-try#forstress Tiffany La Forge, 2020
Dudhgaonkar S, Thyagarajan A, Sliva D. Suppression of the inflammatory response by triterpenes isolated from the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum. Int Immunopharmacol. 2009 Oct;9(11):1272-80. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2009.07.011. Epub 2009 Aug 3. PMID: 19651243. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19651243/ 


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Shelby Dunn

Copywriter | Nail Artist in Training

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Phylum of Alexandria
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November 11, 2022 9:04 am

Great write-up, and welcome! This week is a veritable bonanza of new contributors.

Mushroom coffee? Sure, I’ll try it. Especially if it’s psilocybin, but even if it’s a more everyday kind.

I’m not really into taking supplements, as a rule. If a doctor says I need more Vitamin D, I’ll take the supplements to make them happy, but I also try to supplement with more vitamin-rich foods. Maybe it’s different outside of the US, but I generally don’t trust supplement suppliers, who are regulated as food companies here are (as in, hardly at all).

That’s reasonable me. Here’s where un-reasonable me starts to creep in:

There is no way in hell I’m going to ingest Cordyceps fungus! I AIN’T TURNIN INTO NO MUSHROOM ZOMBIE!!

I kid, but not really. It does freak me out enough to make me cautious. And while I can fully admit that a lot of my fear is irrational, I don’t know if all of it is.

I want to be confident that the cultivation regimens are taking into account the neurotoxic properties of the fungus so that none of those properties are accidentally boosted or altered in some way that could affect human brain functioning, as opposed to just insect neuromotor functioning.

And yet, since food production tends to lack transparency in the US, and supplements are treated as foods, my concerns will likely never be assuaged, by Crimini. Ah well.

In any event, it seems like the perfect space to give Bjork a shoutout for her recent Mushroom-themed album! I love this track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTL8zh361NI

Last edited 24 days ago by Phylum of Alexandria
Phylum of Alexandria
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November 12, 2022 8:56 am
Reply to  Shelby

To be honest, it took me a while to get into Bjork’s new album. If anyone else has experienced the same trouble, here’s the secret: the sequencing really sucks!

Here’s my preferred track order:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3DBMzQt6GMFNRjEByOEZpU?si=a66670f9a9f04c4b

cappiethedog
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cappiethedog
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November 12, 2022 4:31 pm

When I play Revolver, I skip “Taxman”.

Phylum of Alexandria
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November 13, 2022 8:27 am
Reply to  cappiethedog

Heresy!!

…I mean, you do you!  😉 

Virgindog
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Virgindog
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November 11, 2022 9:46 am

I just tried to track down the Focus lion’s mane coffee pictured above and it’s out of stock. Shelby, just how much did you buy?

I’ve never heard of mushroom coffee but I’m American and, like you say, a little late to the party. I’m calling it now: I’ll ask my European wife about and she’ll know all about it. I no longer kid myself that I’m in any way hip.

The list of different mushrooms is very helpful. I have a feeling I’ll spend way too much time looking at all the varieties available and have to drink plain old regular coffee until my shipment comes in.

mt58
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mt58
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November 11, 2022 9:50 am

Welcome, Shelby!

Judging by some of the comments below, you already have some converts!

Bring on the funki!

( ^ Ugh. Sorry. Worst Pun Of The Week.)

Phylum of Alexandria
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November 11, 2022 10:15 am
Reply to  mt58

You’re a real fun guy, despite the sporious puns.

Aaron3000
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November 11, 2022 1:50 pm
Reply to  mt58

Don’t sell yourself short mt, that’s some funny shiitake right there.

Welcome to Shelby (and all of our other new contributiors)!

mt58
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mt58
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November 11, 2022 2:31 pm
Reply to  Aaron3000

Um… Something.. something… portabello

(I am so bad at this.)

Last edited 23 days ago by mt58
Phylum of Alexandria
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November 11, 2022 2:44 pm
Reply to  mt58

Amanita thesaurus for any more!

cappiethedog
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November 11, 2022 6:21 pm
Reply to  mt58

This is the best I could come up with.

“Are You There Barista? It’s Me, Portabello.” by Judy Plume.

cappiethedog
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cappiethedog
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November 11, 2022 6:26 pm
Reply to  cappiethedog

Her married name is Judy Plume-Shroom.

JJ Live At Leeds
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November 11, 2022 11:58 am

Another big welcome to another newbie!

I don’t do coffee or mushrooms so I won’t be rushing to seek out any stockists over here. Then again, my wife is partial to both and Christmas is on the way so what better way to surprise her than with some mushroom coffee? Should she fail to be wowed I can always point her to the benefits helpfully outlined by Shelby.

Pauly Steyreen
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November 11, 2022 2:38 pm

Our first TNOCS article with references! (Uh, maybe… I didn’t verify this.)

Excellent first article. You sparked my curiosity and I need to research this further. I could use more energy, calmness and better cognitive function. Waiting for the sequel.

mt58
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mt58
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November 11, 2022 2:55 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

It is indeed the first with official citations.  📖 

I kind of got a kick of that; I know that the many scientists and educators that hang with us here would appreciate Shelby’s use of references.

Pauly Steyreen
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November 11, 2022 2:42 pm

Speaking of mushrooms…

Where I grew up, morel mushrooms were called “Dry land fish” because they could be fried and when you slice it vertically, it kind of resembles a fish.

Mmmm… fish… 🐟

cappiethedog
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cappiethedog
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November 11, 2022 3:25 pm

Shout-out to mushroom tea.

Welcome, Shelby.

dutchg8r
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dutchg8r
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November 12, 2022 8:29 am

Awesome, another debut article, well done Shelby!!

The thing that always fascinates me with these tried and true natural remedies is pondering how long did it really take before people associated weird food x with a health benefit? Or a detriment for that matter?

And then to develop something like mushroom coffee in our modern society?!

Edith G
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Edith G
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November 16, 2022 3:55 pm

Welcome , I’ve never heard about the mushroom coffee before, you learn something new every day.

I’m more a mushroom pizza fan, and sometimes to add it to other meals.

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