The MycoSophia* Research Institute is dedicated to educating you about the traditional uses, benefits, and healing properties of mushrooms.
*Myco means relating to fungi, mushrooms. Originally carrying a meaning of “cleverness, skill”, sophía means “wisdom” in Greek (σοφία).
“Retain Your Health, Resume Your Life”E. Oneal Latimore, Founder and Formulator
For recipes using our MycoSophia Mushroom Blends visit Recommended Recipes.
Origin: Cordyceps are native to the Tibetan Plateau (Tibet, Qinghai, West-Sichuan, SW-Gansu & NW Yunnan), and the Himalayas (India, Nepal, Bhutan).
Other recognizable names: Caterpillar Fungus/Mushroom, Himalayan Viagra, Yatsa Gunbu, Yarshagumba, Keera Jhar, Dong Chong Xia Cao meaning “Winter Worm, Summer Grass” in Chinese.
Cordyceps has been widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. Of the many benefits most closely associated with this weird and wonderful fungus, it was mainly used to protect the liver, improve kidney function, alleviate symptoms of respiratory illness and to enhance libido. It was also recommended as a tonic for “all illness”, with the ability to improve energy, endurance, stamina, appetite and disrupted sleep patterns.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Cordyceps, mold, or fungi. Cordyceps may cause dry mouth, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea or dizziness. Cordyceps is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Cordyceps is possibly unsafe for pregnant women as it may affect steroid hormone levels.
Alongside other medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps is a powerful immune booster. It stimulates the immune system by increasing the number and boosting the activity of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell), which protect the body from viruses and bacteria.
Discovered by the Yak herders of Tibet, Cordyceps has since been found to enhance cells’ ability to utilize oxygen, thus assisting the herders at high altitudes where oxygen is in shorter supply. This effect is thought to protect the lungs, make it easier to breathe and improve respiratory function in general.
Another benefit of increasing the cells’ ability to utilize oxygen is the effect it has on athletic performance. This was famously seen at the 1993 Chinese National Games, where the Women’s Field and Track team broke 9 world records – not just by a little bit but by startling amounts! The governing sports authorities suspected some performance enhancing drugs had been used, however it was freely admitted by the coach that the secret to their success was the Cordyceps he had been giving the team.
Powerfully antioxidant, Cordyceps increases the action of Super-Oxide-Dismutase (SOD), a potent antioxidant in the body. SOD will quench the free radicals and other toxins that can cause premature aging and degenerative diseases.
Cordyceps benefits the liver by increasing the efficient function of this important organ.
Also known as “Himalayan Viagra” and “The Sexual Potentiator”, Cordyceps highly influences the release of testosterone by increasing the blood circulation, thus enhancing erectile function, virility and stamina. It is especially good for women who may be in the menopause or post-menopausal – this is partly because it enhances the biosynthesis of the steroid hormones cortisol, estrogen and testosterone.
Other recognizable names: Ling chih, Ling zhi, the Mushroom of Immortality, the Mushroom of Spiritual Potency
One of the oldest mushrooms to have been used therapeutically, the Reshi Mushroom belongs to a special class of Chinese Medicine known as “tonic herbs”. These are herbs that make a powerful contribution to overall health and vitality and are not just prescribed for illness, rather they should be incorporated into one’s daily diet to reap their various benefits.
Traditional Eastern Medicine attributes the success of Reishi Mushroom to its ability to “defend the equilibrium” and maintain balance in the body. For thousands of years Reishi has been used by monks, Taoist adepts & spiritual seekers throughout Asia in the belief that it helps to calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves and build willpower resulting in the attainment of wisdom – earning it the name “the Mushroom of Spiritual Potency”.
Take 2 grams up to twice a day or as directed by a herbal practitioner.
Side effects from reishi can include dizziness, dry mouth and throat, nosebleeds, and abdominal upset. These rare effects may develop with continuous use over three to six months. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult a physician before taking reishi.
Reishi Mushrooms contain hundreds of biologically active molecules which promote the immune system, longevity, the cardiovascular system and the brain. One of these compounds is Ganoderma Lucidum Peptide which is thought to be responsible for its potent antioxidant capacity, with polysaccharides & triterpenes targeting inflammation which in turn can bolster the immune system. Triterpenes also offer protection against viruses, fungal and microbial infections and have been shown to strengthen the lining of the digestive system, helping to fight off bad bacteria whilst encouraging the growth of good bacteria. This can result in better digestion which leads to the absorption of more nutrients from the food you eat. It is now known that gut health plays an important role in immunity, with a healthy gut being an essential component to a strong immune system.
The Reishi Mushroom is a powerful anti-inflammatory and a known adaptogen – adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients which help your body adjust to stressful circumstances ranging from extreme heat or cold to infections or trauma. These adaptogenic qualities also help to improve liver function – this important organ is responsible for flushing toxins from the body and in circulating healthy blood and nutrients.
Reishi benefits don’t stop there – its steroid like anti-inflammatory compounds inhibit histamine, the chemical responsible for allergic reactions, giving it the potential to decrease the symptoms of allergies.
Studies show Reishi can lower inflammation within the blood vessels whilst balancing hormone levels (high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be caused by hormonal issues). This strengthens the cardiovascular system and lowers blood pressure, making Reishi Mushrooms a great contributor to heart health.
The most important active compound of Agarikon is Agaricin, also known as agaric acid. This fungus is a white powder that is water-soluble and can be administered either topically or orally. Many pharmaceutical companies synthetically produce Agaricin, which is an anti-inflammatory, anhidrotic and parasympatholytic agent.
Origin: Europe, Asia, and North America, as well as Morocco.
Other recognizable names: Quinine Conk, Eburiko, Brown Trunk Rot and Larch Bracket Mushroom
Groups of people have talked about the healing qualities of this amazing mushroom going back 2000 years. The ancient Chinese believed that Ganoderma mushrooms promoted longevity, and the Greek Healer Dioscorides talked about the amazing healing qualities of Agarikon Mushrooms, calling it the elixir of long life. Historians have noted that Native Americans mashed the fungus and used it as a medical remedy for a variety of ailments.
Two coumarin compounds unique to a variety of Agarikon, for example, have been shown to help fight the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. Agarikon also exhibits antiviral activity against cowpox, swine and bird flu, and herpes.
Dose – In capsules, Agarikon Mushroom powder can be taken at the rate of 500 mg up to 3000 mg daily. Remember all herbs and supplements should only be taken for 7 to 10 days.
Suggested Use: 1 tsp twice daily, or as directed. Try adding to hot water, hot chocolate, or smoothies. Sprinkle on food as a condiment.
Consider using this product as a food as well as a supplement. Mix into eggs for an omelet, add to stock or soups, combine with mashed beans for veggie burgers, or enjoy sprinkled over french fries or salads. The applications and possibilities for support are endless. This is a full spectrum delicious and earthy powder that we love stirred into hot water or whipped up with steamed milk as a coffee substitute.
So far there are no side effects to taking this mushroom, but large doses can cause diarrhea and GI upsets. As always, small children and those who are pregnant, nursing should not take this herbal product.
Throughout history Agarikon Mushroom has been used for treating tuberculosis and it’s symptoms. Dr. Scott Franzblau and his staff found 2 super potent anti-tuberculosis compounds in this mushroom.
Agarikon Mushroom is also a good anti-inflammatory agent that helps with arthritis, joint pain, sciatica, and other inflammatory diseases and symptoms.
Agarikon Mushroom is also a good antibacterial agent that helps to heal infections. This mushroom has so many compounds that so far have not been classified and totally understood… but it may be a powerful agent for healing many diseases. Works well for E. Coli and Candida infections.
For those who have constant stomach complaints including constant indigestion, nausea, and vomiting … taking this mushroom as a tea 1 to 3 times a day works well for bringing about health.
This mushroom also helps with pain and thus helps to ease suffering from arthritis, lumbago, and other disease processes.
Some also find that taking Agarikon Mushroom tea daily also helps with kidney infections, inflammation, and other kidney related issues.
Agarikon Mushroom helps to lower fevers.
Agarikon Mushroom also helps increase circulation and thus help with heart disease, strokes, poor circulation in the distal extremities and more.
Agarikon Mushroom is also great for bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, chronic coughs, and other issues of the lungs. Helping to open up the lungs and get rid of mucus and inflammation and allowing for easier breathing.
Agarikon Mushroom also helps with retained water, edema, and other related conditions.
Agarikon Mushroom also works to boost up our immune system thus helping to prevent disease. Contains beta-D-glucan and other polysaccharides that help to boost up our immune system.
Agarikon Mushroom also helps to boost up interferon, T cells, interleukins, and tumor necrosis factor for fighting off cancer.
The powdered mushroom can also be used for speeding up healing of skin wounds.
Adrenal fatigue is very common now and this wonderful mushroom for short periods of time can help to heal fatigued adrenal glands.
Origin: Indigenous to northeast Japan, Europe, Asia, and the eastern side of the North American continent.
Other recognizable names:Hen of the Woods, Sheep’s Head, Ram’s Head, Huai Su Gu
As with other mushrooms in East Asia, the Maitake was treasured for its longevity properties and was thought to bring vigor to the body. Taken as a tonic, this mushroom was rumored to fortify the immune system, lower blood pressure and bring extra vitality when taken regularly.
Although the medicinal benefits of the maitake mushroom are very important to the Japanese, it is the taste that has made this mushroom famous. Described as woody, smoky, deep and rich, maitake is said to awaken ‘umami’ or ‘the fifth taste’ and acts as a natural flavor enhancer when cooked with other foods.
Maitake shouldn’t be taken by those who have low blood pressure as this Mushroom could lower it even further. Maitake shouldn’t be taken by those on diabetes medication to lower blood sugar as it might cause blood sugar to go too low.
The fruiting bodies of maitake mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, in particular beta-glucans, with one portion of these complex sugars known as maitake’s “D-fraction”. These powerful compounds activate a host defense response by stimulating the proliferation of immune cells such as macrophages, T-cells, natural killer cells and neutrophils. These cells will help the immune system to rapidly and efficiently fight against illness, increase resistance against sickness and disease, help the body to remove cellular waste and speed up recovery from tissue damage. The polysaccharides found in maitake mushrooms are also helpful to those undergoing heavy treatment for life threatening illnesses and have been reported to reduce the side effects of certain treatments.
There is evidence to suggest that maitake mushrooms may help to lower blood sugar levels. According to a study by Japanese researchers Hiroake Nanba and Keiko Kubo, a decrease in blood glucose levels is observed in mice given doses of maitake mushrooms compared to a control group. This led them to believe that the mushrooms may work to decrease insulin resistance, which in turn led them to conclude that maitake may be useful for the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes.
A study done by the College of Pharmacy at Yeungnam University in Korea found that maitake mushrooms demonstrate an anti-inflammatory effect on the GI tract, with the authors concluding that maitake is a “valuable medicinal food for IBD (irritable bowel disease) treatment and may be useful as an alternative treatment for IBD”. In the study, it was shown that maitake reduced a primary inflammatory signal known as TNFa, inhibiting colon ulceration and free radical damage, thus promoting a healthy GI tract.
Fiber rich and low in calories, these fabulous fungi can increase satiety and a feeling of fullness.
Other recognizable names: Kawaritake (Japan), Cloud Mushroom, Yun Zhi (China)
Turkey Tail has an ancient history of being used as a medicinal mushroom. In many Asian cultures, turkey tails’ incurving cloud forms symbolize longevity and health, spiritual attunement and infinity. It was traditionally brewed into a soothing tea and has been used for centuries in TCM to clear damp condition, increase energy, strengthen the lungs, stomach and spleen and to assist in convalescence from long-term diseases.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Powder can be blended with a superfood smoothie, encapsulated, mixed with fruit juice, taken simply with water or sprinkled into food.
Suggested dosage range is 1-2g per day. It is recommended that the powder is added to a large glass of water (300ml) as taking it with water increases effectiveness.
None known, although it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
The Turkey Tail Mushroom is renowned in Asia as a powerful immune booster. According to Dr Leanna Standish (a neuroscientist and a naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic oncology), “Mushrooms are incredibly important as nutrition and also medicine. Humans co-evolved with mushrooms. They are probably far more important in our biology than we imagine”. In explaining how they work, she goes on to say, “Natural products have multiple mechanisms of action, and it is very difficult scientifically to figure out all those mechanisms. But our bodies have evolved to rely on them.” We now know that we’re more closely related to fungi than we are to any other kingdom, we share the same pathogens, i.e. bacteria and viruses.
Turkey Tail mushrooms are high in the protein bound polysaccharides PSK and PSP – both types of beta glucans. It is these compounds, that are thought to be responsible for its powerful immune boosting properties – improving the ability of the immune system’s natural killer cells which protect the body against viruses and bacteria.
Beta glucans provide receptors in the small intestine area that will keep the immune system strong and resilient. Turkey Tail has also been shown to modulate the immune system which further helps your body to fight off infections and illnesses. It is especially effective against the types of viruses responsible for causing colds and flu.
Turkey Tail mushrooms contain prebiotics which assist the microbiome. They feed the good bacteria in the gut, in particular acidophilus and bifidobacterium which are very beneficial to anyone suffering from leaky gut syndrome, a precursor to many diseases such as Crohn’s, IBS and even autism.
A smoother digestion process will lead to better absorption of key nutrients, enhanced elimination of toxins, increased energy and vitality and healthy weight loss.
Origin: Northern Hemisphere forested areas. The historical use of this fungus is thought to have originated in Siberia where the indigenous Shamans of the area gave it the title of ‘King of Mushrooms’. With evidence dating back to the 16th century and beyond, the people of Russia and parts of Eastern Europe have utilized Chaga for varying applications ranging from fuel, drums and of course for medicinal purposes. There are also indications that Chaga could have been used as far as China hundreds of years ago.
Other recognizable names: Tinder mushroom, clinker polypore (from its resemblance to the slag left after a coal fire, known commonly as a “clinker” when coal fires were common), cinder conk, black mass and birch canker polypore. In England and officially in Canada, it is known as the sterile conk trunk rot of birch. In France, it is called the carie blanche spongieuse de bouleau (spongy white birch tree rot), and in Germany it is known as Schiefer Schillerporling (oblique Inonotus). The Dutch name is berkenweerschijnzwam (birch glow mushroom). In Norwegian, the name is kreftkjuke which literally translates as “cancer polypore”, referring to the fungus’ appearance or to its alleged medicinal properties. In Finnish, the name is pakurikääpä.
Accounts date back as far as 1000 BCE in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with it being used to balance the body’s life force or “Chi” energy and to boost the immune system.
Chaga mushrooms are especially high in a compound called super-oxide dismutase (SOD), this is an enzyme which reduces the damage done to cells by “super-oxide”, the most common free radical in the body. Studies have shown that SOD acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with researchers now investigating the potential of it as an anti-aging treatment as it is known that, as we age, SOD levels drop whilst free radicals increase. Super-oxide dismutase also aids the body in using zinc, copper and manganese. Naturally synthesized and with a biological power unmatched, Chaga provides SOD in a highly bioavailable form which we can utilize either topically or internally.
Along with most other medicinal mushrooms, Chaga is rich in beta-glucans – one of the most potent and healing polysaccharides known. It is renowned for its role in in activating the immune system and reducing the blood sugar of people who have abnormal blood sugar peaks.
These powerful fungi are one of the most alkaline foods on earth due to their dense mineral content: Calcium, cesium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulphur and extremely high in zinc. It is thought that many diseases are unable to flourish in an alkaline environment.
Chaga is highly regarded as an adaptogen – adaptogens are a unique group of phytonutrients which help your body adjust to stressful circumstances ranging from extreme heat or cold to infections or trauma.
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