Sleep aid mushrooms are a type of medicinal mushroom that are used to help people get a better night’s sleep. They are believed to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock that regulates our body’s daily functions. Common sleep aid mushrooms include reishi, lion’s mane, turkey tail, shiitake, cordyceps, and chaga. My personal favorite is Reishi mushroom 🙂 Let’s find out what other health benefits of these mushrooms!
What is Reishi mushroom?
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a type of mushroom that is native to many parts of Asia. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for its medicinal properties and to boost immunity, energy, and longevity. It is also known as the “Mushroom of Immortality” due to its purported health benefits. Reishi mushrooms are known to contain polysaccharides, triterpenes, and other compounds that may help to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and support overall health.
What are the health benefits of Reishi mushroom?
- Boosts Immune System: Reishi mushroom has been found to boost the immune system by increasing the activity of immune cells and increasing the production of cytokines.
- Antioxidant Properties: Reishi mushroom contains antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Reishi mushroom has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Improves Liver Health: Reishi mushroom has been found to protect the liver from damage and improve its functioning.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Reishi mushroom has been found to reduce stress and anxiety in some studies.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Levels: Reishi mushroom has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in some studies.
- Improved Sleep: Reishi mushroom has been found to improve sleep quality in some studies.
Who should avoid Reishi mushroom?
People with impaired liver, kidney, or immune function should avoid reishi mushrooms, as they may interfere with their medications or health conditions. People with allergies to fungi should also avoid using reishi mushrooms.
What is a Lion’s Mane mushroom?
Lion’s mane mushroom is a type of edible mushroom that is found in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. It has a white, shaggy appearance that resembles a lion’s mane and a mild, seafood-like flavor. It is commonly used as a health supplement due to its high levels of antioxidants, fiber, and B vitamins.
What are the health benefits of Lion’s Mane?
- Boosts Cognitive Function: Lion’s mane is a natural nootropic that may help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Studies have found that lion’s mane may help improve short-term memory, concentration, and mood.
- Supports Nerve Growth and Regeneration: Lion’s mane contains compounds called hericenones and erinacines, which are believed to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is a protein that supports the growth and regeneration of nerve cells.
- Improves Heart Health: Lion’s mane may help reduce levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It may also help prevent atherosclerosis, a condition that involves the hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
- Protects Against Ulcers and Gastrointestinal Disorders: Animal and test-tube studies have found that lion’s mane may help protect against the development of ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders.
- Enhances Immune Function: Lion’s mane may help enhance immune function by increasing the activity of white blood cells, which fight infections. It may also reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Improves Digestive Health: Lion’s mane has been shown to protect against and heal stomach and intestinal ulcers, as well as reduce inflammation of the digestive tract.
- Lowers Blood Sugar: Studies have shown that lion’s mane can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Who should avoid Lion’s Mane?
People who are allergic to mushrooms should avoid lion’s mane. Additionally, those with a weakened immune system should consult a doctor before consuming the mushroom.
What is turkey tail?
Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is a type of mushroom that grows in the wild. It is found on dead or decaying hardwoods, and is recognizable by its multi-colored fan-like shape. The mushroom has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is believed to have medicinal properties that can boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and protect against cancer.
What are the health benefits of turkey tail?
- Rich in Antioxidants: Turkey tail mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
- Boosts Immune System: Turkey tail mushrooms are a good source of beta-glucans, which helps to boost your immune system.
- May Help Prevent Cancer: Turkey tail mushrooms contain a polysaccharide called PSK, which is believed to have anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that it may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer, as well as improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
- May Help with Digestive Issues: Turkey tail mushrooms may help to improve digestive health, as they contain a type of prebiotic called beta-glucan. This prebiotic helps to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
- May Help Lower Cholesterol: Studies have shown that turkey tail mushrooms may help to reduce cholesterol levels. This could be due to the presence of beta-glucans, which are believed to help reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestine.
Who should avoid turkey tail?
Turkey tail mushroom should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women, people taking certain medications or those with autoimmune conditions.
What is shiitake?
Shiitake is a type of edible mushroom native to East Asia. It is typically used in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cooking, and is prized for its meaty texture and umami flavor. It is often found dried or fresh, and is used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stir-fries, and grilled dishes.
What are the health benefits of shiitake?
- Supports a Healthy Immune System: Shiitake mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants that help to boost the immune system. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B2, vitamin D, copper, and selenium, which help to support the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
- May Help Lower Cholesterol: Studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms may help to reduce cholesterol levels. They contain a compound called eritadenine which helps to reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting its absorption in the intestines.
- May Help Reduce Blood Pressure: Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of potassium, which helps to reduce blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range.
- May Help Prevent Cancer: Studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms may have anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties due to their high levels of polysaccharides. They may also help to protect against certain types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer.
- May Support Brain Health: Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of the B vitamin choline, which helps to support brain health and cognition. They also contain compounds that may help to protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Who should avoid shiitake?
People with weakened immune systems, those taking immunosuppressant drugs, and anyone with a mushroom allergy should avoid shiitake mushrooms.
What is cordyceps?
Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grows in the soil and attaches itself to the bodies of certain insects and other arthropods. It is most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for its purported health benefits.
What are the health benefits of cordyceps?
- Boosts energy and stamina: Cordyceps has been used traditionally to increase energy, stamina, and endurance. It is believed to stimulate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s primary energy source.
- Enhances exercise performance: Cordyceps is believed to improve oxygen uptake, which may help enhance exercise performance.
- Improves heart health: Cordyceps has been studied for its effects on heart health, and it has been found to reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and improve circulation.
- Improves respiratory conditions: Studies have shown that cordyceps can improve symptoms of respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis, and COPD.
- May improve immune function: Cordyceps has been studied for its effects on the immune system, and it has been found to have immune-boosting effects.
- May have anti-aging effects: Cordyceps has been studied for its potential anti-aging properties. It is believed to help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and improve collagen production.
- May reduce inflammation: Cordyceps has been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- May reduce fatigue: Cordyceps may help reduce fatigue, especially in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Who should avoid cordyceps?
People with weakened immune systems or those receiving immunosuppressive medications, such as chemotherapy or steroids, should avoid taking cordyceps supplements. Additionally, people with autoimmune conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis, should talk to their doctor before taking cordyceps. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take cordyceps supplements.
What is chaga?
Chaga is a type of mushroom that grows on the bark of birch trees in cold climates, such as Northern Europe and parts of North America. It has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional medicine for centuries and is considered a superfood due to its high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants. Chaga is believed to improve overall health, aid in digestion, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation.
What are the health benefits of chaga?
- Antioxidant Protection: Chaga mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including melanin, polyphenols, and superoxide dismutase (SOD). These antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, reducing inflammation and promoting overall health.
- Immune System Support: Chaga mushrooms contain beta glucans and polysaccharides, which are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. This makes them a great immune system booster.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Chaga mushrooms contain compounds that have been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity, helping to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Heart Health: Chaga mushrooms contain compounds that have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.
- Liver Health: Chaga mushrooms help to protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Anti-Cancer Properties: Chaga mushrooms contain compounds believed to help prevent and fight cancer.
Who should avoid chaga?
People who are taking medications should avoid taking Chaga until they have consulted with a doctor. People with existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, or diabetes, should also talk to their doctor before taking Chaga. Pregnant or nursing women should also avoid Chaga.
Veronica is dedicated and experienced nutritionist and certified health coach who specializes in functional medicine, She's a published author, nutritional instructor, WBFF professional figure athlete, and both the brains and beauty behind all that Makeover Nutrition offers.
Veronica is also the President & CEO of a BC based health and wellness association; Pacific Alliance of Body Care.