Medicinal or adaptogenic mushrooms have been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine practices for centuries due to their various health benefits. In recent years, multiple scientific studies have confirmed what ancient wisdom surrounding medicinal mushrooms has been claiming all along.

Also, compared to plants and herbs, mushrooms prove to be more potent for humans. But why is that? Let's dive in and explore why mushrooms can have such incredible effects on us.  

What are mushrooms?

Mushrooms belong to the kingdom of Fungi. Fungi are primarily microscopic organisms and therefore invisible to the naked eye. To reproduce, they contain spore-producing organisms which, at certain times, will produce large 'fruiting bodies' that we call mushrooms. 

It is believed that consuming certain mushrooms can reduce stress, increase mental focus, strengthen immune system response, fire up libido and even slow down the growth of cancer cells. 

But how can we explain this potency? Time to take a closer look at the biology of mushrooms!

Why medicinal mushrooms have such an extraordinary effect on humans

Just like us, mushrooms breathe. They absorb oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide to stay alive and grow. Even though the behaviour of a mushroom is very different from humans (they don't move or reproduce sexually etc.), genetically, we have more in common with mushrooms than with any other kingdom. Mycologist Paul Stamets clarifies: "We separated from fungi 615 million years ago. We are descendants of fungi. We share more common ancestors with fungi than we do with any other kingdom.  

Although more research is necessary, it is thought that this genetic closeness is one of the reasons why mushrooms can have such an extraordinary effect on our bodies.

December 17, 2021 — Lilian Buechner

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