January 30, 2024
Mushrooms have been a staple in traditional remedies for thousands of years, dating as far back as the ancient Greeks. Although mushrooms featured frequently in ancient cultural practices, it’s only in recent years that contemporary science has reaffirmed what ancient societies recognized ages ago—that mushrooms harbor potent beneficial properties. PureBulk carries three mushroom extracts: chaga, turkey tail, and lion’s mane mushroom extract. 
Chaga mushroom, scientifically known as Inonotus obliquus, thrives on birch tree bark in cold climates like Northern Europe, Siberia, Russia, Canada, and Alaska. Chaga goes by many names, including black mass and cinder conk. These names come from its burnt, charcoal-like appearance. Traditional cultures used chaga for centuries to enhance their immune system and promote overall well-being. Modern research shows that chaga mushrooms are rich in fiber and packed with antioxidants. Chaga mushroom extract is a concentrated form of the beneficial compounds found in chaga.
Chaga mushrooms have high concentrations of Beta-D-Glucans, a type of polysaccharide with immunomodulatory properties that can interact with immune cells, such as macrophages, and stimulate various aspects of immune function. Beta-D-Glucans are the main bioactive compounds responsible for chaga’s immune-boosting effects. Chaga’s anti-inflammatory properties also support the immune system. While inflammation is a normal part of the immune system response, too much of it can damage organs and cause joint pain. Chaga is rich in several antioxidants, too, including several polyphenolic compounds, triterpenoids, and superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD helps neutralize superoxide radicals, which are a type of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that cause oxidative stress. Chaga also owes its adaptogenic properties to these antioxidant compounds. Adaptogens enhance the body's resilience to stress. [2 - 13]
Incorporating chaga mushroom extract into your routine can be as simple as brewing a cup of chaga tea. Centuries ago, people had to grind chaga into a fine powder before brewing it. Now, it’s available as a convenient supplement powder to make chaga tea easily. Add ¼ of a level teaspoon of chaga powder to a tea bag or tea ball infuser. Steep the chaga mushroom extract for 10-15 minutes in eight ounces of hot water before removing the chaga. Never pour boiling water over chaga, as extremely hot temperatures can destroy the antioxidants. Many describe chaga tea as having an earthy or woody flavor with a mild bitterness. Combining chaga with ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, or citrus can impart additional layers of flavor. Some prefer to enhance their chaga tea with honey or sugar substitutes.
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a distinctive-looking mushroom with cascading white spines, resembling a lion's mane. Many Asian countries use lion’s mane as an edible mushroom to enhance culinary dishes. Traditional Chinese remedies used lion’s mane to promote gut health for centuries. Recent studies show that lion’s mane mushrooms support cognitive function and nerve health.
Like chaga, lion’s mane mushrooms are rich in phenols and polysaccharides. It’s also an antioxidant-rich adaptogen and anti-inflammatory that can reduce oxidative stress and support the immune system. Outside of these similarities, lion’s mane mushrooms have unique benefits due to their high concentrations of hericenone and erinacine phytochemicals. Hericenones are aromatic compounds with neuroprotective and nerve growth-promoting properties. They stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) proteins that are crucial for nerve cell growth, maintenance, and survival. Erinacines also have neurotrophic effects, particularly in supporting nerve cell health and promoting nerve regeneration. Lion’s mane may also foster better moods and alleviate stress by improving how the part of the brain that regulates emotional responses functions. [14 - 44]
You will need ½-1 teaspoon of lion’s mane mushroom extract to brew an eight-ounce cup of lion’s mane tea. Add the extract powder to a tea infuser or bag. Pour heated, but not boiling, water over the extract powder and allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes. Lion’s mane tea is subtly sweet, but you can add whole spices to your mug while your tea brews for a more complex flavor profile.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) is a vibrant mushroom with a fan-like appearance, resembling the tail feathers of a turkey. Traditional Chinese cultures, dating as far back as the Ming Dynasty, brewed turkey tail mushrooms to support lung health and the immune system. Modern research validates this ancient cultural practice, as studies show that turkey tail mushrooms contain bioactive compounds with immune-modulating properties./h4>
Turkey tail mushrooms exert their most significant effects on the immune system. It’s an abundant source of the polysaccharopeptides krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). PSK stimulates white blood cell production, particularly T cells, which are crucial immune system components. PSP helps modulate the immune response, promoting a balanced and efficient immune system. Turkey tail is rich in antioxidant compounds, with a study identifying 35 such compounds in its extract. It’s also abundant in prebiotics that can support good gut bacteria and promote a healthy gut biome. Like chaga and lion’s mane, turkey tail is an adaptogenic mushroom rich in beta-glucan polysaccharides. These polysaccharides, along with turkey tail’s peptides and trametenolic acid content, support the body's ability to adapt to stressors and maintain balance. [45 - 58]
Add ½ a teaspoon of turkey tail mushroom extract to an empty tea bag or tea infuser. Heat eight ounces of water and pour it over the turkey tail extract. The water should be warm but not boiling. Boiling water can destroy its beneficial compounds. Allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes before removing the bag or infuser. Like chaga, turkey tail mushroom tea has a woody, earthy flavor. Consider adding lemon, ginger, cinnamon, or honey for broader flavor nuances.
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