The saying goes that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. That technique is most useful when learning about mushrooms. There is so much out there and so much more yet to learn.
So here below we will take you through each type of mushroom that is beneficial to humans.
Functional, nootropic, and psychoactive. What are their differences and how do we best use them?
Ok, let’s start at the beginning.
It would be an incomplete list if we did not start with edible mushrooms.
Chanterelles, Oyster, and Portobello mushrooms are all well known in the epicurean community and loved by many as a replacement for meat. There is limited research on the benefits of edible mushrooms but they are quite delicious, and that in itself is plenty!
From there we get onto functional (aka medicinal) mushrooms. They can help the human body heal from chronic illness or prevent illness from manifesting altogether.
Current medical research is showing how they help manage our insulin levels, reduce overall inflammation, mitigate oxidative stress, improve cardiovascular conditions, and support both female and male sexual health… and the list goes on.
In this NCBI article dated 2017, it reads:
“Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms that are used as medicine. They have been used to treat infection for hundreds of years, mostly in Asia. Today, medicinal mushrooms are also used to treat lung diseases and cancer. For more than 30 years, medicinal mushrooms have been approved as an addition to standard cancer treatments in Japan and China. In these countries, mushrooms have been used safely for a long time, either alone or combined with radiation or chemotherapy.
In Asia, there are more than 100 types of mushrooms used to treat cancer. Some of the more common ones are Ganoderma lucidum (reishi), Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor (turkey tail), Lentinus edodes (shiitake), and Grifola frondosa (maitake).
Mushrooms are being studied to find out how they affect the immune system and if they stop or slow the growth of tumors or kill tumor cells. It is thought that certain chemical compounds, such as polysaccharides (beta-glucans) in turkey tail mushrooms, strengthen the immune system to fight cancer.”
As a contribution to the well-being of humans, functional mushrooms seem to be doing plenty. The vast intelligence of mushrooms means that we are barely scratching the surface of what else is possible.
From functional, we go one level deeper and onto nootropic mushrooms. These have compounds that can support and improve cognitive function.
Nootropics fight neuroinflammation, enhance oxygen to the brain and nervous system, encourage serotonin production and stimulate the repair and growth of nerve cells in the brain.
Brain benefitting and enhancing mushrooms are Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Reishi, and Cordyceps.
For example, Lion’s Mane stimulates Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). The center for Cognitive Health says in this 2021 article:
“A double-blind clinical trial assessing the oral administration of H. erinaceus fruiting bodies in elderly humans showed improvement in subjects with mild cognitive impairment compared to age-matched controls. Researchers measured improvements using the Revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale (HDS-R). The group ingesting H. erinaceus significantly increased their scores during the 16-week treatment period, indicating improvement compared to those not taking H. erinaceus. However, when subjects stopped taking H. erinaceus their scores began to fall, reflecting scores similar to those that were untreated, indicating the need for continued use.
Several different compounds in H. erinaceus appear to contain protective benefits, such as amyloid plaque reduction, insulin-degrading enzyme expression, enhancing NGF release, and even managing neuropathic pain.”
Important to note that nootropics do not produce any high or hallucinations of any kind but do support the overall health and functioning of our brains.
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Magic mushies. What do they actually do to us when we are tripping and why is it beneficial to take microdoses?
According to Psychedelic Invest. “There are about 200 species of psychedelic mushrooms which are distributed around the world. These species have different names and are often classified according to their biological genera. Psilocybin, gymnopilus, panaeolus, and copelandia are among the most common genera found throughout the world.”
What each of these different mushrooms above has in common is that they each have a hallucinogenic compound. Such compounds affect humans by helping manage moods, inducing neurogenesis, increasing presence, optimizing thoughts, softening behavior, and mitigating the many side effects of trauma.
To read more about the effects of psilocybin and why microdosing works, read our previous blog Microdosing for Massive Shifts.
Dosage AND support are very important when taking psychoactives, and extra care is required if currently taking pharmaceutical medications.
Stacking is the practice of combining mushrooms to a routine or protocol. One example is combining cordyceps with a microdosing protocol is a great energizer of the body and mind.
This is a very potent protocol that is to be used sparingly and carefully—recommended for those that are more advanced in their microdosing journey.
Let us know about your microdosing journey, you know we love a good brag!
Shine bright. Do good. Flow strong.