There are hundreds of wild mushrooms in Canada, and their benefits, properties, and composition can vary greatly between them. Mushrooms can grow in a wide array of climates, and you’ll find them all over Canada from the southern tip to the far north. Mushrooms generally grow best in moist, cool conditions, so forests and fields are great spots to spot wild-grown medicinal mushrooms in Canada.
By now, you may have heard of the medicinal properties of mushrooms – from blogs, to newspapers, to TV shows, mushrooms are becoming a popular way to supplements one’s diet and reap the numerous health benefits. But did you know many of these medicinal mushrooms are grown right here in Canada? If you’re interested in learning more, you’re in the right place. In this post I’ll outline 4 medicinal mushrooms that are grown in the Canadian Wilderness.
Warning: It is never recommended to consume a wild-grown mushroom unless you are absolutely certain of 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 on consuming wild mushrooms – always consult your physician.
1. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s mane is a mushroom commonly grown on decaying trees throughout North America. These powerful mushrooms are edible and provide some impressive medicinal benefits. Due to their delicious taste and health benefits, they have become increasingly popular in the health and wellness industry in the last five years. Chefs around the world have been incorporating lion’s mane mushrooms into their dishes, and the taste is similar to lobster and seafood – they are delicious! That being said, there are few strains commercially available, so it’s still a rare site to see lion’s mane mushrooms on the menu at your local restaurant.
This mushroom has been used as herbal medicine for centuries in East Asia, and for good reason! The research on lion’s mane mushrooms have determined there are 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 strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting abilities. The antioxidant properties have been shown to lower the risk of serious illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
A lion’s mane mushroom typically grows alone from wounds on hardwoods, and they often pop-up in Canada during the late summer and fall.
2. Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi)
Reishi mushrooms are one of the most well-known types out there and can be found growing in the wild all over Canada. They are one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, and with few poisonous lookalikes, they are generally safe to eat. Reishi mushrooms begin growing naturally in Canada at the end of the Spring season, and they continue to grow well into autumn.
There are many different species of reishi mushrooms, and they can be found in various regions around the world. However, the benefits between species are similar despite regional differences, if not, the exact same. The medicinal properties of reishi mushrooms are well known, and it’s considered to be a class of medicines referred to as an ‘adaptogen’. In simple terms, reishi mushrooms help your body manage stress, and can reduce the harmful effects that stress has 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 had a positive impact on the reduction of blood sugar and has also shown to reduce blood pressure. In recent years, reishi mushrooms have been used to treat diabetes.
3. Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
The oyster mushroom is a common type of edible mushroom, that can be found naturally in Canada or grown easily in-home. They are called ‘oyster mushrooms’ due to their shape – you guessed it, they look similar to an oyster! This particular mushroom is loaded with nutritional value. Oyster mushrooms are an excellent source of protein, and are high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre… things that are often lacking in the typical North American diet. Oyster mushrooms are also an incredible source of antioxidants, which provide the body with a host of health benefits.
Oyster mushroom consumption has been linked with a decreased risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease and can improve the overall function of the immune system. 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 has the ability to suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer and colon cancer in human cells.
With just 28 calories per one-cup serving with 1g fat, 2g dietary fiber, and 3g protein, oyster mushrooms are a great addition to any healthy diet, and the light, delicate taste makes them easy to incorporate into a variety of meals! They are high in riboflavin, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin c and amino acids.
4. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga mushrooms are non-toxic, edible, and grown naturally in Canada. Primarily grown on birch trees, you’ll find Chaga mushrooms 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 5 years to mature. They are known to be powerful antioxidants, in fact, they have one of the highest contents of antioxidants than any other herb or fungi in the entire 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 high concentration of melanin equates to more antioxidant activity. Chaga mushrooms, like the other medicinal mushrooms mentioned above, can be extremely beneficial to one’s health, and it’s becoming a popular health supplement.
Medicinal mushrooms grown in Canada have incredible health benefits that can improve physical well-being and longevity. Foraging your own mushrooms can be a challenge, but luckily, there are other ways to incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your diet. We can teach you how you can harvest fresh, organic mushrooms in under 4 weeks. With a Black Oyster Mushroom Farm Kit, you could be harvesting your own mushrooms next month, and reaping the health benefits associated with medicinal mushrooms in no time. If you want to learn more about what we do head over to our About Us page here or click here to check out our shop.
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