Have you ever tried mushroom coffee before? Yes, it does sound a little strange, doesn’t it, but nowadays this type of coffee has become rather trendy of late, picking up steam fast in the popularity department. This fungi-brew is attracting many lovers who gather together at trendy coffee bars and sip their mushroom coffee.
Most people really want to know, “Is it healthy?” Medicinal mushrooms are good for you, yes, and it the medicinal mushrooms that are used in the mushroom coffees and teas. Research shows that there certainly are health benefits, like boosting your immune system, improving your brain cells and best of all, it has been mentioned that mushroom has the ability to fight the real serious stuff like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. You might want to take your next cup of regular coffee up a level or two by adding some mushroom coffee as well.
What is mushroom coffee really?
Maybe in your mind, you’re imagining something like a foamy cup of steaming coffee with little pieces of mushroom floating on top, or worse, at the bottom of the cup. But don’t get all worked up, it’s not like that at all! Actually, there are different kinds of mushroom coffee, all made by different competitive companies. What it really amounts to is regular coffee that has been infused with extracts from medicinal mushrooms. Some companies are even going so far as to make powdered combinations of both coffee and mushroom extracts, allowing fans to simply add boiling water.
These packets of extracts of mushroom contain some health-giving ingredients too. How does this sound? Peppermint Delight or Anise Energizer? Take one of these packets and add it to your favorite coffee or tea and there, you’ve got your cup of steaming hot, mushroom tea or coffee.
Choose which mushroom suits you best
As mentioned above, there are many types of mushrooms that are extremely beneficial to your health. Here are some of the more common type medicinal mushrooms that can be found in your mushroom tea or coffee:
o Lion’s Mane
o Turkey Tail
Of course, the difference between that of regular coffee and mushroom coffee is that mushroom coffee has mushrooms in it and the regular coffee doesn’t, right? But when you drink mushroom coffee, you also get the benefit of drinking your regular coffee, but with the added benefit of the mushrooms. We all know that drinking regular coffee can prevent us from sleeping properly at night due to insomnia or that it contributes to feelings of anxiety. By adding in the mushroom coffee blend, you get a more balanced cup of coffee to start your day off with, without all the caffeine that makes you feel so edgily-awake. Mushroom coffee has equal amounts of coffee and mushroom in it, making it, if your math’s is correct, to have half the caffeine content of what a regular cup of coffee would have.
And the taste, you ask? Those who are the manufactures of mushroom coffee and those who are drinkers of it say it does not even taste like mushrooms; that, in fact, it tastes similar to a regular cup of coffee!
The benefits of mushroom coffee types
For some, the concept of that first cup of morning mushroom coffee as a pick-me-up might seem disappointing, but in fact, if it’s the right mushroom coffee, it might well do the perfect job of boosting your overall energy. If you choose the variety called ‘Cordyceps Sinensis’ first thing in the morning, you might well get that energy boost. This variety comes from a rare species of mushroom which grows in the high altitudes, being used for many generations for the traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda.
Back in 1993, there were some female runners setting new world-records for long-distance runs over in Beijing, taking home medals at the Stuttgart Track and Field World Championships. Allegations were rife; claims were made that they must have been using anabolic steroids. But when the tests came back negative, the coach disclosed that the athletes had been taken Cordyceps supplements. One of the women, known as Wang Junxia, is still a record holder today in the 3000-meter run, taking home medals again in the 1996 Olympics. Years later, trials were done on the Cordyceps supplements at the Californian University with the verdict coming back that the supplements were responsible for “improving exercise performance”. The theory is that Cordyceps works in the body by maintaining the blood glucose levels when long periods of exercise occur, as well as showing improvements in lactate clearance. And many will love this – it is also known as the “Himalayan Viagra”. Many men claim using it for their erectile dysfunction problems whilst women find it to be a libido enhancer. Unfortunately, though, there aren’t any clinical studies proving these sexual benefits. But enjoy reading about the medical potential benefits of the cordyceps mushrooms. It is true that this fungus type has been used way back in ancient times as a herbal remedy. But when it comes to clinical trials on humans, there is not much to go by; in fact very little has been published so far. Still, many suppliers have been using it for many years. There are companies that sell their mushroom coffee on Amazon and both the Cordyceps and Chaga mushroom coffees would be the ones to look for if you want to get your energy levels up in the morning but with much less caffeine.
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) does not look anything like a typical kind of white mushroom. Its name literally does explain its appearance –like a lion’s mane. This type of mushroom is found in Europe, Asian and North America. It almost looks like you could run a comb or hairbrush through the long strands of this mushroom, but nature has provided this mushroom perfect alignment of those magnificent strands – they certainly don’t need a hairbrush. If you are looking for an excellent brain supplement on the market day, and who isn’t, this mushroom, in the last 30 years or so, has been touted by researchers as possibly being the best brain stimulant to support growth of nerve cells. Back in 1994, a certain Dr. Kawagishi observed that Lion’s Mane had the ability to “induce the neuronal differentiation and to promote neuronal-survival” in certain cultured nerve cells of rats. Read the medical connection to this mushroom here. As with the Cordyceps mushroom above, human tests are still preliminary and not proven yet, and yet it is still noteworthy that mushrooms like Lion’s Mane have other benefits too, such as being beneficial for weight loss, cancer, dementia, gastritis, anxiety, etc.
Lion’s Mane as well as Cordyceps mushroom coffee flavors probably also have extracts of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) in them. Across Eastern Europe and Russian, this is a rare mushroom, growing only on the birch tree, but having a long traditional medicine history. Those who do research on mushrooms and folklore report that much of the benefits of this mushroom go around cancer; that aromatic compounds have been found in this fungus, demonstrating anti-tumor benefits in some lab studies. Read about the medicinal benefits here. Again, there are no human clinical studies that have taken place and the prelim cancer research still remains unproven and theoretical. There has been a human study of 20 healthy South Korean men to test for antioxidant activity in the mushroom. When tested for hangovers from drinking, it was proven that “…reduced oxidative stress and hangover by mitigating plasma alcohol concentrations and elevating anti-oxidative activity in healthy male adults.” Unfortunately, there were other ingredients included in the testing, and therefore the study remains somewhat irrelevant. In Siberia, where this mushroom tea is traditionally consumed, they boil the mushrooms into a tea and drink it that way. Boiling is actually required in order to break the walls of the cells to digest the phytonutrients which are rich in antioxidants.
Reishi, lingzhi, and Ganoderma
The fungal genus Ganoderma includes these species:
All these are used in traditional Chinese medicine for the past 2000 years. The Japanese and Koreans have been using these mushroom species for centuries as well.
There might be differences and general uses for each of the species, but generally speaking, they are all called by the name of Reishi mushrooms. There have also been no preliminary clinical trials on humans to evaluate this species although this species is thought to be good for heart health, asthma, HPV, cholesterol, fibromyalgia, and others. Once again, this series of mushrooms has shown great interest in its cancer-fighting abilities. Read just a couple of examples here regarding cancer and fibromyalgia.
Other mushroom types are
Agaricus blazei murill (Agaricus blazei Murill)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Can we drink to our health with a cup of mushroom coffee?
1. First of all, it has anti-cancer benefits to it. It has been reported many a time that mushrooms are actually known to benefit your immune system with their anti-cancer, anti-tumor properties and activity. There was a study done in 2015 (the Journal of Ethnopharmacology) on the type of mushrooms used in mushroom coffee – the particular mushroom being the Chaga mushroom. A derivative of the Chaga mushroom called ergosterol peroxide was known to show very impressive anti-cancer activity in humans, especially in colorectal cancer. In fact, look at what Dr. Axe says about mushrooms, even though he is talking about the Shiitake mushroom here. The above 2015 study did conclude that the Chaga mushroom properties are able to suppress human colorectal cancer from spreading – the power of mushrooms!
2. Secondly, mushrooms are packed with antioxidants. Scientists today are showing that a cup of mushroom coffee or tea contains higher anti-aging antioxidants in them and disease-fighting properties than even other beverages such as green tea, cocoa, black tea and your herbal teas. And most of us know that the more antioxidants we can get in our diet, the more our bodies are able to protect us from harmful disease and health problems.
3. Thirdly, mushrooms contribute toward decreasing oxidative stress, defending your body against free radicals that we get exposed to on a daily basis; things like air pollutants and the like. These free radicals cause oxidative stress and oxidative stress goes on to cause cell damage, which further causes more serious diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. If that’s not reason enough to drink and enjoy the benefits of mushroom coffee!
4. Fourthly, your liver benefits. And we surely all know just how important this largest organ in our body is. It does so many important jobs in our body like cleansing the blood, and producing that very important liquid in our bodies; digestive bile. Reishi mushrooms are very rich in adaptogens and these help in improving how the liver functions; even to prevent liver diseases. The adaptogens in reishi mushrooms encourage toxins and wastes to be flushed away out of your body.
5. Fifthly, your digestive health as well as diabetic health benefits. Mushrooms come enriched with polysaccharides. To not get all technical and complicated, polysaccharides simply are like probiotics in your bodily system. Polysaccharides help you with overcoming fatigue, helps you to maintain good blood pressure as well as blood sugar, keeps your mood positive, improves your libido levels, and more. The beta-glutens in these mushrooms, in animal studies, revealed that it helps in decreasing body weight, lowers glucose and cholesterol levels. The Lion’s Mane mushroom has plenty of polysaccharides in them.
6. And finally, mushroom coffee today is made up of half the mushroom extract and half the coffee mixtures, so you really are getting only half the caffeine, as we mentioned above, and that means not being so jittery. You do need to check the packaging though on your mushroom coffee, but generally speaking, the amount of caffeine in mushroom coffee is less – for sure. It is true that caffeine, when drunk in moderation, has the ability to improve your focusing at the office for instance and this can be pretty helpful. But when drunken in excess, mushroom coffee can cause one to feel nervously edgy.
Where does this mushroom coffee idea come from? Is it something new?
Actually, the history of mushroom coffee is rather intriguing and surprise-surprise, it dates back to many years, in fact during World War II. Coffee back then was not an easy commodity to come by, and of course, the alternative would come up through the years. Back in the 1940s, the Finnish people were using their native Chaga mushroom as their wartime coffee fix. One founder of a mushroom coffee company has said lately that as far as they are aware, the forefathers invented mushroom coffee by using the Chaga mushroom as a coffee substitute. But today, it has become extremely popular even though there is no shortage of coffee. Today people want to just get more and more out of their social coffee get together, and when they drink it at home.
Any precautions in drinking mushroom coffee
Most people in the know about mushroom coffee say that a maximum of two packets of mushroom coffee is recommended to take in a day. Even though it does not have the same amounts of caffeine in it as regular coffee, you still don’t want to get any more caffeine because you are drinking too much.
Those who suffer from autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are warned by doctors that medicinal mushrooms might make those problem diseases worse. And it’s because these diseases stimulate the body’s immune system, it could be that medicinal mushrooms could interfere with any medications taken for these diseases. Medicinal mushrooms might over-activate certain of the immune cells. This same warning applies to anyone who has a history of blood clotting or bleeding – medicinal mushrooms can also interfere with proper clotting of the blood.
Any side effects that could occur as a result of drinking mushroom coffee can be as a result of the mushroom type you ingest. So you might need to double-check the type of mushroom in your coffee and also if there are any side effects to drinking it. If you are someone who has ongoing health problems or you are on certain medications, you need to definitely check it out with your general practitioner first – it might even be possible that you have an allergy to mushrooms. If you have an allergy to any mushroom, you shouldn’t be drinking mushroom tea or coffee.
Final verdict and conclusion
Mushroom coffee today is another very intriguing option in the world of hot beverages, especially for ardent coffee lovers who are ready and willing to try other cups of coffee that offer such health benefits, and still plenty of flavor. It seems that many choose mushroom coffee just to reap the health benefits. One perk that the mushroom coffee drinker is raving about today is the fact that they feel more energized and focused, not jittery – as long as you don’t go overboard on drinking it; it does have caffeine in it as well, so it needs to be drunk in moderation.
The fact of the matter is that all the above mushroom types have been eaten and drunken by humans for probably thousands of years. Therefore the verdict is that adding them to your normal coffee drink – it is expected you should not suffer any major adverse medical reactions if you drink in moderation. Otherwise, if you were to drink too many, you might just end up with nasty nosebleeds, dry mouth, liver damage and sore throat. While the health and medicinal benefits still do remain speculative around mushrooms, drinking mushroom coffee does have health benefits, drunken in moderation. It is worth trying, it might be your best bet in the hot beverages department – let all drink to that!
Here is a special little recipe you can drink to; to try at home or with your friends:
CINNAMON MACA BULLETPROOF MUSHROOM COFFEE
• 1 Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee mixed with 6 oz hot water (available online, at health shops, etc.)
• 1 teaspoon coconut oil or MCT oil
• 2 teaspoons coconut milk, full-fat
• 1/2 teaspoon maca powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• Optional ingredients are: 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1 date, maybe a few drops of extract of stevia or a teaspoon of pure maple syrup or liquid sweetener.
To make, you add all ingredients to a blender, blending for around 30-60 seconds until creamy and frothy. Delicious!