Do you know the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms that can be found growing in Canada? Each type of mushroom has it’s own unique health profile. An example is Reishi, a popular medicinal mushroom that can boost your immune system and give you more energy. Compared with Lion’s Mane Mushrooms, which has been reported to help improve memory, concentration and focus.
In this guide on the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms found in Canada, we aim to teach you about the different health benefits and characteristics of these truly functional mushrooms.
Many medicinal mushrooms can be found growing in Canada. Mushrooms generally grow best in moist, excellent conditions, so the forests and fields of the Canadian landscape are great places to forage for medicinal mushrooms.
By now, you may have heard of the medicinal properties of mushrooms and their health benefits. Everywhere you look, mushrooms are popping up. You’ll find them in pop culture and on the rack at your local grocery store.
But did you know many medicinal mushrooms can be found growing here in Canada? Keep reading and I will outline four of the most prominent medicinal mushrooms with benefits that you can find on Canadian soil.
Warning: Consuming a wild-grown mushroom is never recommended unless you know its identity and edibility. Never attempt to identify a mushroom from photographs alone – and when in doubt, don’t eat it. People with pre-existing health conditions (such as kidney disease) should be mindful of consuming wild mushrooms – always consult your physician.
Four Medicinal Mushrooms You Can Forage in Canada
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s mane is a mushroom commonly grown on decaying trees throughout North America. The health benefits of medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane are well-known. Their ability to repair nerve damage, and people’s moods makes them a top pick among mushroom lovers.
Lion’s Mane has been used as herbal medicine for centuries in East Asia and a good reason! The research on lion’s mane mushrooms has determined numerous health benefits to incorporating this mushroom into your diet.
Studies found that lion’s mane may improve cognitive function and protect against dementia, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even help repair nerve damage. It also has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting abilities. Antioxidants have lowered the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi)
Reishi is one of the most well-known of all the medicinal mushrooms. Interestingly, even though reishi are most commonly grown in China – they can also grow in the wild all over Canada.
One of the easiest mushrooms to identify, with few poisonous lookalikes, Reishi is safe to consume. However, you don’t want to put these on your BBQ; these are not cooking mushrooms. Reishi has an almost wood-like texture and a bitter taste to accompany it.
What are the benefits of taking reishi mushrooms?
Namely, longevity, but many people report that reishi improves sleep. All the while, they are sharing in the immune-boosting beta-glucans found in these superfood fungi.
There are many species of reishi mushrooms, and they can be found in various regions worldwide. However, the benefits of medicinal mushrooms like reishi are similar among the different varieties. The medicinal properties of reishi mushrooms are well known, and it’s considered a class of natural medicine referred to as adaptogens. In simple terms, reishi mushrooms help your body manage stress and can reduce stress’s harmful effects on the immune system.
In addition, reishi mushrooms are known to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral. When consumed regularly and consistently, reishi mushrooms have positively impacted the reduction of blood sugar and have also been shown to reduce blood pressure. In recent years, reishi mushrooms have been used to treat diabetes.
Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
The oyster mushroom is a commonly known edible mushroom that can grow in Canada – or even are called ‘oyster mushrooms’ due to their shape – you guessed it, they look similar to an oyster! This particular mushroom is loaded with nutritional and medicinal value. Oyster mushrooms are an excellent source of protein and are high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre… things often lacking in the typical North American diet.
The Medicinal Benefits of Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are not often considered a medicinal mushroom with health benefits. But consumption has been linked with a decreased risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease and can improve the immune system’s overall function. A study conducted in 2015 found supporting evidence that linked the consumption of the dietary fibre found in oyster mushrooms with a reduction in triglyceride accumulation in the liver.
Ultimately, those who consumed higher amounts of this dietary fibre found in oyster mushrooms had lower cholesterol levels. A 2012 study also revealed that oyster mushroom extract could suppress breast and colon cancer growth and spread in human cells.
With just 28 calories per one-cup serving with 1g fat, 2g dietary fibre, and 3g protein, oyster mushrooms are a great addition to any healthy diet, and the light, delicate taste makes them easy to incorporate into various meals! They are high in riboflavin, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin C and amino acids.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga mushrooms are non-toxic, edible, and grown naturally in Canada. Primarily, they are found growing on living birch trees. Chaga is a medicinal mushroom with many benefits, often found in the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere, such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Korea, and, of course, Canada.
These rare mushrooms are not easy to come by; they can take at least five years to mature. They are known to be powerful antioxidants. They have one of the highest contents of antioxidants than any other herb or fungi in the world…pretty impressive!
Canadian chaga mushrooms are considered to be superior to those found in other regions due to the high concentrations of melanin. The enormous health benefits of medicinal mushrooms like chaga found in Canada means higher concentrations of melanin which equates to more antioxidant activity overall.
A win for Canadian medicinal mushrooms.
Like the other mushrooms mentioned above, Chaga mushrooms can be highly beneficial to one’s health, and it’s becoming a popular health supplement.
Our Final Take
The health benefits of medicinal mushrooms can improve physical well-being and longevity. Foraging your mushrooms can be challenging, but luckily, there are other ways to incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your diet.
These superfoods can all be used to supplement your mushroom intake. Taking mushrooms in this format is an easy alternative to cooking and can benefit your health in the long run.
Please take a minute to reflect on this information, perhaps even read it over again. Understanding the benefits of medicinal mushrooms is essential to a well-balanced natural health program.