Wellness Weekly: Could drinking mushrooms have benefits for your health?

Wellness Weekly: Could drinking mushrooms have benefits for your health?


It may sound weird, but medicinal mushrooms could add a tremendous amount of health-promoting value to your life.

Think of a mushroom - and you typically think of a staple food that can be sauteed, grilled or pan-fried amongst many cooking methods.

Or we think of a fungus that can reportedly send us on a psychedelic journey

But what about drinking medicinal mushrooms?

The concept does admittedly sound strange, but it goes very deep indeed.

The world of medicinal mushrooms doesn’t involve familiar culinary mushrooms – but an ancient collection of potentially health-proofing fungi that have been respected for their healing properties for thousands of years.

Hippocrates — he of the famous quote ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ — noticed the healing qualities of medicinal mushrooms over 2000 years ago.

Egyptian hieroglyphics portray the mushroom as the ‘plant of immortality’ – and modern-day science is only now starting to catch up.

So what are they all about?

The power of medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms contain compounds called beta-glucans (1), found in the cell walls of the fungi.

The way in which they enhance your immune system is by activating natural killer cells and enhancing macrophagy (cells involved in the detection and destruction of harmful bacteria).

Let's take a look at some of the most prominent mushrooms in the world.

Chaga - the ‘King’ of the medicinal mushrooms
Chaga - the ‘King’ of the medicinal mushrooms

Chaga Mushroom

Known as the ‘King of the medicinal mushrooms’ chaga’s healing properties have been used for centuries in Siberia and Asia.

With an appearance similar to burnt charcoal, chaga can be brewed by steeping wild-crafted clumps or a grated fine powder of the fungi in hot water.

Chaga is known to reduce inflammation and fight aforementioned foreign cells (2) by stimulating white blood cell production.

The potency of Chaga has also been explored to the extent that it has been seen to be a possible treatment for cancer (3) as an integrative option alongside more conventional treatments.

Chaga has quite a mild taste; one that is a lot less stronger than coffee - so perhaps something to explore if you fancy some change.

Reishi Mushroom

Known as the Queen of Immortality, Reishi is a mushroom that has been relied upon for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a staple for longevity and immunity.

Studies have shown (4) that Reishi possesses polysachharides and triterpines, compounds that have anti-inflammatory, free radical scavenging and immune-enhancing properties.

Definitely not a mushroom to be slept on.

It's also been explored for its benefit to induced a calm, relaxed state.

I can say that personally, having a cup of reishi for bed has helped to ensure a restful night of sleep.

Other prominent and well-studied mushrooms include cordyceps, known as the athlete’s ally - and this is due to its capacity to increase production of adenosine triphosphate (5), which is the energy source of our cell mitochondria.

For those who train a lot, this can increase exercise capacity and allow you to train for longer, as well as improving antioxidant status.

A 2024 study (6) – albeit a small one – also showed that Cordyceps accelerated the resolution of post-exercise inflammation.

Could this potentially allow an individual to resume training quicker? Potentially, but with it being a small study it's hard to draw sweeping conclusions.

Lions Mane mushroom is another; this mushroom enhances cognitive function (7) and helps stimulate the growth of new neurons in the brain - a potent brain booster if ever there was one.

Shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, tremella - the list goes on and this piece could be 3 times as long to get those other mushrooms some air-time.

Reishi - the Queen of immortality
Reishi - the Queen of immortality

The world of healing mushrooms must not be slept on. Many health-focused brands such as Hybrid Herbs, Four Sigmatic and Hifas da Terra stock a multitude of these healing fungi designed for longevity, immunity and strength.

These superfoods have, as mentioned, long been a staple in ancient medicine, and it can only be a great thing that the modern world is beginning to stand up and take note.

Stay well,


(I am not affiliated in any way with the brands linked in this blog post; they are just three exceptional brands that I have used and would recommend when getting involved with high-quality ancient mushrooms).


  1. Effects of beta glucans on the immune system, Akramiene et al.
  2. Chemical and medicobiological properties of Chaga (review), Shashkina et al.
  3. Anticancer effects of fraction isolated from fruiting bodies of Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae): in vitro studies, Lemiszek et al.
  4. The anti-tumor effect of Ganoderma Lucidum is mediated by cytokines released from activated macrophages and T lymphocytes, Wang et al.
  5. Enhancement of ATP generation capacity, antioxidant activity and immunomodulatory activities by Chinese Yang and Yin tonifying herbs, Ming Ko et al.
  6. Cordyceps sinensis accelerates stem cell recruitment to human skeletal muscle after exercise: Dewi et al
  7. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, Lai et al.