Functional Mushrooms: What Are They, And Why Are They Good For You?


It’s true that not all mushrooms are created equal. Some will send you on a spiritual journey. Others make for great pizza toppings. Some could poison you. Many others will heal you.

So, how do you know which mushrooms to trust?

While scientists are only just beginning to understand why functional mushrooms work, some cultures have been using these mushrooms for centuries as healing agents for medical purposes. Across the world, mushrooms such as reishi, chaga, or lion’s mane have been prescribed to treat physical ailments, mood disorders, and more.

These mushrooms are unique because they support the body’s natural ability to adapt to internal and external stressors. It’s not they are a miracle cure-all. Instead, functional mushrooms are an excellent aid for the body and mind to function optimally.

“Scientists have only recently confirmed what ancient cultures have known for centuries: mushrooms have within them some of the most potent medicines found in nature…Differing from most pharmaceuticals, these healing agents have extraordinarily low toxicity, even at high doses.”

— Paul Stamets, author of MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms

What Are Functional Mushrooms?

“Functional mushrooms” is an umbrella term for mushrooms that Mother Nature has graciously designed to help the human body recover, heal, and perform better.

Medicinal mushrooms and adaptogenic mushrooms both fall under the category of functional mushrooms. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, so it can get slightly confusing.

Generally speaking, these mushrooms help the nervous system and the immune system. By assisting our bodies in this way, the effects are often felt internally but seen externally with fewer skin issues, looking less tired, and having healthier hair, skin, and nails.

If eating mushrooms means you can look and feel younger than your age, why not enjoy some earthy goodness, right?

Some common functional mushrooms include (but are not limited to):
Lion’s Mane
Turkey Tail
Royal Sun
Black Fungus
White Button

On their own, these mushrooms provide health benefits ranging from improving mood to fighting cancer. ALL of these mushrooms are in our Miracle Mushrooms gummies.

Note: Psychedelic mushrooms DO NOT fall under the functional mushroom category. While they have healing properties, psychedelic mushrooms contain the psychoactive component psilocybin, which alters the mind. Functional mushrooms do not contain psilocybin and are not hallucinogenic.

Why Are Functional Mushrooms Good For You?

While there is no concrete claim that functional mushrooms “cure” diseases, there is research that species of fungi labeled as functional, medicinal, or adaptogenic can support the body in many ways.

The Nervous System

The nervous system is responsible for nearly every process in your body. Your neurotransmitters are constantly firing. With every thought and movement, signals are sent throughout your body to determine what happens next.

In today’s society, we are constantly berated with information that our nervous system has to sort through and its duties to send information throughout the body. Whether you know it or not, our modern society is forcing many people’s nervous systems to feel like it is under attack most of the day.

Why is that?

Back in primitive times, our nervous systems knew how to be calm until it needed to react in a fight or flight situation. Nowadays, it doesn’t really understand how to be calm because there is a constant flow of stressors. With all the text message pings, social media notifications, and phone calls, your nervous system is in overdrive more often than not.

Ever feel like you’re going to bed feeling exhausted, but your head hits the pillow, and you feel “tired and wired” simultaneously? That’s an indicator that your nervous system is getting maxed out.

Some functional mushrooms act like a “chill pill” for your nervous system, including:

  • Reishi: better sleep, lower anxiety, depression aid, reduced brain fog
  • Lion’s Mane: overall cognitive function, improved memory, increased ability to concentrate on tasks

The Immune System

Your immune system is not just responsible for fighting against bacteria and viruses. It helps fight against inflammation due to stress, toxins, and other harmful microbes that have a detrimental effect on your body. Anything your body doesn’t recognize as helpful is automatically targeted by your immune system to take out.

In our modern world, the amount of environmental toxins is overwhelming. From plastics to air pollution, our bodies work hard every day to eliminate harmful substances entering the body through our skin, what we breathe in, or what we consume.

Think about your regular routine. How many toxins do you think you come into contact with daily? Your tap water, lotion, and chemically-based nutrition bar are enough to send your immune system into a frenzy.

Functional mushrooms don’t replace your immune system. Instead, they support your immune function by helping different aspects of recovery and inflammation and provide potent amounts of antioxidants to combat the risk of sickness (and make you look years younger).

  • Chaga: anti-aging properties, fight inflammation, lower LDL cholesterol
  • Shiitake: improve heart health, lower blood pressure
  • Turkey Tail: overall immune support, packed with antioxidants
  • Cordyceps: increase oxygen uptake, boost the immune system, support athletic recovery

How To Safely Use Functional Mushrooms

First and foremost, consult with a naturopathic doctor or a physician you trust to get you started with the functional mushrooms that will benefit you most. Functional mushrooms are often found as powders, teas, pills, and tinctures, and are often blended with other superfood ingredients and adaptogens. Make sure you are not sensitive or allergic to mushrooms or the ingredients listed within the product.

Look for brands you trust to have high standards for how their ingredients are harvested or obtained. Make sure they are organic and do not contain harmful chemicals.

Often, functional mushrooms are marketed as a coffee alternative or added to hot chocolate mixes. These can taste great! But sometimes, the earthy taste can taste like, you guessed it, dirt. If that’s not your cup of tea, try it in something that feels like a treat. Trufa Health’s mushroom gummies might be a great way to incorporate functional mushrooms into your daily routine without feeling like drinking a cup of sand.

Feel Better With Functional Mushrooms

Are you tired of feeling like you’re trudging through mud to make it through your day? Functional mushrooms are a healthy alternative to consider adding to your daily routine.

“Without leaves, without buds, without flowers;

Yet they form fruit.

As a food, as a tonic, as a medicine;

The entire creation is precious.” (Chang & Miles, 1989, p. 345)

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