To refresh your knowledge on this very trendy mushroom subject, we are sharing this tiny cheat sheet so you can get excited about making yourself a shroomy drink, dessert, dinner and everything in-between. Here are our top favorites that you see throughout our formulations… and you’ll understand more why we love them in a few minutes:
LION’S MANE: THE ULTIMATE BRAIN FOOD
Lion’s mane is a match made in heaven for morning coffee, as it gives us that sharpened and rejuvenated boost that we all seek within those cozy morning cups. Lion’s Mane is considered a “nootropic” — aka “smart drugs” — which are taken to improve cognition, clarity and focus. Lion’s mane is one of those mushrooms that are absolutely safe to intake daily, and it gives your nervous system and brain a boost and added kick for resilience.
CHAGA : THE ANTIVIRAL KING
Chaga is a charcoal-colored mushroom that, in the wild, grows predominantly in the cold Taiga forests in Russia, Scandinavia, Korea, Japan, the U.S. and Canada.The indigenous people living near the Ural Mountains in Russia were some of the first to enjoy the health benefits of the Chaga mushroom. Known as the “king of mushrooms”, chaga is an incredible immune protector. Chaga contains an unusually high amount of antioxidants, considered a top source of melanin — an antioxidant that most people know of as it relates to the skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies and the first barrier against pathogens. As such, taking chaga regularly serves as a “body guard” for our inner and outer wellbeing. It is traditionally made into an earthy decocted tea that can be used as a coffee substitute due to its rich dark bodied flavor.
Now there are cultivating methods that capture the naturally occurring bioactive compounds of the mushroom making it available beyond its limited existence in the wild. This allows it to be available to a much wider range of people. At Anima Mundi our mushroom farmer grows organic chaga (sclerotium and mycelium) without depleting the wild, making a truly potent extract powder of both. We invite you to experience it here.
CORDYCEPS: PRE (+POST!) WORKOUT BOOST
Discovered in ancient Tibet, and now a true beloved by athletes, cordyceps is known to provide energy without extra stimulation, as well as increase respiratory capacity. Cordyceps helps increase oxygen intake up to 20% which naturally boosts mental and physical energy. This precious mushroom can help us breathe more, making it perfect for a pre-workout boost or general energy jolt throughout the day without draining the adrenals or b-lining to a crash later. For you workout lovers, we recommend this with adaptogen Suma, which is also known to increase respiratory capacity, and increase muscle mass! No wonder this precious amazonian root was also coined “the russian secret”.
REISHI: SPIRIT TONIC + STRESS BUSTER
Reishi mushroom was first discovered by Chinese healers more than 2,000 years ago in the Changbai Mountains. Healers believed that the reishi mushroom had potent anti-aging properties, and it has long been used as a talisman of luck, healing, and wellness amongst many Asian folk cultures. Also known as “the queen” of medicinal mushrooms, Reishi has a unique ability to bust stress without causing too much sedation. Intaking this essentially rounds the edges, and helps to make you feel good. You might not feel it instantaneously, but it builds on itself and does long term work to our nervous and endocrine system. Sipping it before bed, or before a very stressful day will provide (and protect) just the right kind of stress relief. Reishi being a lung tonic, is excellent for pre-meditation practices, breathwork, lucid dreaming, and more.
AGARICUS: ANCIENT MULTIVITAMIN
Agaricus blazei is a mushroom originally native to a small village, named Piedade, in the highland areas of Atlantic forest, near Tauape, in the province of São Paulo, Brazil. It was discovered in 1960 by Takatoshi Furumoto a grower and researcher who sent it to Japan in 1965 for investigation. The first recorded historical description about the use of this mushroom for medicinal purposes comes from Byzantine medical treatises, showing its long tradition. Since Furumoto became interested in the mushroom and the impressive health benefits of those living in Piedade, it has become a serious topic for researchers in different fields, and investigated for its health benefits. Images of Agaricus Blazei have also been found in frescoes and clay fragments from the Aztec times. Agaricus was a primary nutrient dense staple to indigenous peoples in the Amazon, known to provide 18 different amino acids, 10 different minerals, 16 different vitamins, linoleic acid and polysaccharides: 1-3/1-6 beta glucans). Studies of its compounds have found it to be a life extending mushroom with powerful immune protective effects as well as liver and heart protecting properties.
SHIITAKE: BLACK FOREST MUSHROOM
Shiitake is one the most widely cultivated mushrooms in the world, second only to the button mushroom, making it the most easily accessible mushroom in the list. It has been estimated that the origin of shiitake mushrooms can be traced to the cretaceous period, over one hundred million years ago. It is found growing wild in the mountainous regions of China, Japan, Indonesia, and Taiwan. The scattering of shiitake spores has been traced using typhoon wind patterns as the mushrooms were dispersed from one country to the other. Shiitake has been considered a panacea since the get-go, primarily used to treat and prevent upper respiratory diseases (which is why it’s in our Elderberry Elixir!) support the liver, lower cholesterol, protect the immune system, boost circulation, increase energy, decrease fatigue, and as a general chi-enhancing elixir. In Japan and China the chemicals found in shiitakes have been analyzed for medicinal properties. Extracts have been used in treating cancer, and claims have been made that it prolongs life, enhances sexual power, kills viruses, and improves circulation.
Maitake, is also known as ‘dancing mushroom’ in Japanese, and while there are many reasons one may dance with joy over these shrooms, one story stands out for the reason behind the nickname; Maitake was a highly valued commodity in feudal Japan, where local lords would trade with their subjects an equivalent weight in silver for maitake! Thus, the name “dancing mushroom” stems from the Japanese commoners who would dance for joy when they found maitake in the wild, knowing they would be greatly compensated for their discovery. The mushroom was so highly valued in Japan that up until it was commercially grown, the expert foragers would keep their harvest areas hidden, and only reveal the locations after their death in their wills.
Maitake contains an impressive amount of polysaccharides, triterpenes and additional bioactive chemicals that are known to have a plethora of health benefits. Research shows that its beta glucan content has immune-supporting effects, anti-viral properties, and supports the body in helping to ward off pathogens and infections. Maitake is a nutritional powerhouse and an excellent ally to eat or consume as medicine if experiencing a weakened immune system.
Dark Chocolate Adaptogenic Mushroom Tart
By Loria Stern
This is a perfect summer tart recipe as it requires minimal baking, is refreshing to eat on a hot day and better yet, will leave you feeling healthy and energized as it's infused with all of those amazing mushrooms listed above! Plus, it's gluten and grain free, dairy free, vegan and unrefined sugar free. I would even go as far as calling this rich, chocolatey dessert an aphrodisiac. Let us know what you think!
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (225 grams)
- 1/4 cup heirloom cacao powder (25 grams)
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (45 grams)
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (60 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- optional: 1 teaspoon fine ground espresso
- 1 can coconut milk or 1 1/2 cups of any other dairy free milk
- 16 oz dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or bourbon)
- 1 teaspoon Adaptogenic Mushroom Powder or Reishi powder
- 1/2 cup dried mushrooms (these must be dried / dehydrated. In this photo, I used a combination of house dehydrated mushrooms— button, crimini, oyster, enoki, and shiitake)
- pinch of Maldon sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350°F and line tart pan with parchment paper. For the crust, stir together almond flour, raw cacao powder, salt and espresso if using. Then make a well and pour in coconut oil, maple syrup. Store until evenly combined. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 12 minutes, or until it begins to feel firm. Remove from the oven and let cool.
As the crust is baking, prepare the chocolate filling by heating the coconut milk on the stovetop until it simmers. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a bowl with the adaptogenic mushroom powder, and pour the coconut milk evenly over the top of it. Wait 1 minute, and with a silicone spatula stir together until the chocolate mixture is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the chocolate filling into the baked crust, and smooth the top with an offset spatula until it is even. Then arrange the dried mushrooms. Mix up the sizes and textures or create an arrangement. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the center is firm. You can speed up this process by letting the tart set in the freezer for 1 hour and then the refrigerator for the other hour.
Slice into desired slices and serve chilled, sprinkled with a pinch of Maldon flaky sea salt. Enjoy!