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by trumeta | November 20, 2023

Do Adaptogenic Mushrooms Work? 

Let’s dive into the topic what are functional mushrooms more deeply. Today we are going to explore adaptogenic mushrooms. Do adaptogenic mushrooms actually work? Chances are, you’ve seen them in various forms – powders, teas, and even in products like ice cream and coffee – at health food stores or traditional Chinese medicine outlets. These mushrooms have a long-standing reputation in Eastern health practices, where they’ve been used for centuries to promote better health.

Have you ever wondered if there was a better way to gain more energy, have a better mood, and relax? Don’t you want to achieve all of this the natural way? Well, we’re happy to introduce you to the wonders of adaptogenic mushrooms. We’ll break things down for you in simple terms. But that’s not all – we will also back all our points up with scientific studies. After all, you should never put your trust in us blindly. 

So, if you’re all up for a body that can withstand the stressors of everyday life, read on. We’re going to excite your taste buds with delicious and healthy mushrooms that will do much to boost your wellness routine!

What Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms?

If you want to help your body adapt to stress better, you might find a fantastic solution in adaptogenic mushrooms. They’re a type of fungi with unique properties that promote balance. Your body is a powerful machine. Daily, it needs to manage physical, chemical, and biological stressors. To put things simply, it must bring things back to a state of harmony. 

Adaptogenic mushrooms are popular for their balancing effects, adaptability, and normalizing function. They vary in their fruit body structures, but their shapes usually include caps and stalks. Additionally, they come in colors like red, brown, or black. With their incredible mycelium network, nutrient absorption gets a boost. You can find them in different environments, from forests to the mountains. 

In Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps, and shiitake have been in use for millennia. Much of their utilization revolves around promoting longevity, reducing tiredness, and improving vitality. 

Although their usage goes far back, especially in traditional medicine, the Western community is only now figuring out their potential benefits. 

Do adaptogenic mushrooms work? And what advantages do they bring exactly? These are questions that scientists have been trying to figure out. 

Do Adaptogenic Mushrooms Work?

The use of adaptogenic mushrooms goes as far back as 3,000 BCE. Today, scientists are trying to figure out if they are effective as a means to treat cancer and improve survival chances. Can these mushrooms fight microbes, reduce inflammation, protect the heart, manage blood sugar levels, support the liver, and potentially even solve the never-ending cancer problem? Well, research suggests[1] that they can influence our body cells and boost our immune system. 

Over the last few decades, studies have revealed mushrooms’ cancer-fighting properties. Aside from slowing tumor growth[2], they can control cancer-related genes and help the body remove cancerous cells. They may even improve the effects of chemotherapy and protect the bone marrow during the process. 

Some mushrooms indicate positive effects on brain functions and the nervous system[3]. A Japanese study done back in 2010 explored how lion’s mane mushroom impacts menopause, depression, sleep quality, and general discomfort. In this four-week assignment, researchers divided 30 women into two groups, where one received the mushroom and the other a placebo. The first group recorded lower anxiety, irritation, depression, and discomfort scores.

The above studies support the growing confidence healthcare professionals have in adaptogenic mushrooms. Their benefits are numerous, and you’ll discover more on this topic as you read on. 

Types of Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Adaptogenic mushrooms come in various forms, and each brings unique benefits. Let’s explore some popular types. You’ll learn what they look like, why they’re beneficial, and some ways to incorporate them into your diet.


Reishi Mushroom in white background

Reishi is a shiny mushroom with a reddish-brown color. It’s kind of like a woody shelf you might find in the woods. People call reishi the “Mushroom of Immortality” because it’s been in use for a super long time, especially in Chinese medicine.

How can it help you? Among the things it’s famous for include:

  • Stress Handler: Reishi is like a natural stress manager. It helps your body deal with stress and stay balanced.
  • Immune Boost: It’s like a superhero for your immune system. It has special properties that help your body fight off sickness.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Reishi can also calm down inflammation[4] in your body, which is like turning down the heat when things get too hot.

You can have reishi in a cup of tea, take it as a supplement, or even add it to soups and recipes. It might taste a bit bitter, but many people find it really helpful for staying healthy.


cordycepts mushrooms image in white backgrounds

Cordyceps looks a bit like long, thin fingers or caterpillars. It’s a unique mushroom with an interesting story. Cordyceps is famous for being a natural energy booster. People have been using it for a long time to feel more active and strong.

Are you feeling tired and like you’re unable to handle the things life throws at you? Consider this mushroom for the following advantages:

  • Energy Booster: Imagine having a friend that gives you a little extra energy. That’s what cordyceps does. It’s like a natural battery charger for your body.
  • Breathing Aid: It’s like a superhero for your lungs. Cordyceps can help you breathe better[5], which is fantastic for your overall health.
  • Stress Handler: Cordyceps is also great at helping your body deal with stress. It’s like a chill pill for your system.

You can take cordyceps in a supplement, add it to your smoothies, or even put it in your favorite recipes. People who want a natural way to feel more energetic often like cordyceps.

Lion’s Mane

Lions Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane looks like furry icicles hanging down. It’s kind of like a fluffy sea creature in the mushroom world. People love Lion’s Mane because it’s not just good for your tummy; it’s like a brain booster, too! This is a fantastic mushroom to add to your diet. Why?

  • Happy Pill: Lion’s Mane is like a friend for your brain. It might help you think more clearly and stay in a good mood.
  • Nerve Grower: It has extraordinary things inside called hericenones and erinacines. These help your nerves grow strong and healthy, like a workout for your brain.
  • Memory Booster: Many people say Lion’s Mane helps them remember things better[6]. It’s like having a superhero sidekick for your memory.

You can cook with Lion’s Mane in soups or stir-fries, or you can take it as a supplement. People who want their brains to be super sharp will find Lion’s Mane irreplaceable.


Chaga Mushroom

Chaga is like a dark, rough piece of something you might find on a tree. It looks a bit like burnt wood or charcoal. People call chaga the “Strong Mushroom” because it’s really good at keeping you healthy, kind of like a natural superhero! How does it benefit you? 

  • Toxin Fighter: Chaga has powerful antioxidants. These are like superheroes that fight off bad things in your body.
  • Immune System Companion: Chaga is great at being a friend to your immune system. It helps it stay strong and ready to protect you.
  • Pain Calmer: If your body has any spots that feel sore or hurt, chaga might help calm those down. It’s like a cozy blanket for your body.

People often make chaga tea by soaking it in hot water. Some also take it in powder form. It has an earthy taste and results in a warm and comforting drink.

Turkey Tail

turkey tail mushroom

Turkey Tail looks like colorful turkey feathers. It’s like a bunch of tiny fans all together, and each one has different colors. People love Turkey Tail because it’s like a friend to your immune system. It helps your body stay strong and ready to fight off the bad guys!

  • Immune System Assistant: Turkey Tail has fantastic properties that boost your immune system[7]. It’s like having a superhero team inside your body to keep you healthy.
  • Natural Bodyguard: If viruses or bacteria exist in your body, Turkey Tail might help your immune system kick them out. It’s like a bodyguard for your health.
  • Digestive Tool: Turkey Tail helps your tummy feel good. It’s like a happy dance for your digestive system.

You can find Turkey Tail in capsules, as an extract, or even in tea form. Take the mushroom to keep your immune system strong, especially during flu season.


Shiitake mushrooms in white background

Shiitake is a delicious mushroom with a wide cap and a meaty texture. It’s like a delightful treat from the forest. People love shiitake because it’s not only tasty but also really good for health[8]. It’s like a double treat!

  • Happy Heart: Shiitake has nutritional qualities that make your heart happy. It helps keep your cholesterol in check, which is like a high-five for your heart.
  • Germ Fighter: Shiitake is like a defensive mechanism against germs. It has special powers that can help your body fight off what makes you sick.
  • Immunity Booster: The special qualities in shiitake also help your immune system stay strong. It’s like having a shield to protect you from getting sick.

You can cook with shiitake in all sorts of tasty dishes. People around the world use it in soups, stir-fries, and many other recipes. You can also find shiitake in supplement form if you want another way to incorporate it into your diet.

What Are the Benefits of Adaptogenic Mushrooms?

Adaptogenic mushrooms, a diverse group including reishi, cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, chaga, Turkey Tail, and shiitake, bring a myriad of health benefits, touching on both mental and physical well-being. Renowned for their adaptogenic properties, these mushrooms help the body respond to stressors, promoting balance and resilience.

  • Immune Support: Adaptogenic mushrooms like reishi, chaga, and Turkey Tail are rich in compounds that enhance immune function, providing defense against infections and illnesses.
  • Energy and Endurance: Cordyceps is recognized for its role in boosting energy levels and improving endurance, making it popular among those seeking physical performance enhancements.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chaga and reishi exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to the reduction of inflammation in the body and potentially mitigating chronic conditions.
  • Cognitive Function: Lion’s Mane, with its neuroprotective compounds, has been associated with improvements in cognitive function, including memory and mental clarity.
  • Stress Adaptation: Reishi and cordyceps, as adaptogens, support the body’s ability to manage stress. They act on the body’s stress response system, promoting a more adaptive and balanced reaction to stressors.
  • Mood Enhancement: Many experts believe that Lion’s Mane and reishi have mood-regulating effects, contributing to a positive mental state.

Do adaptogenic mushrooms work? Countless people would agree. Adaptogenic mushrooms are embraced for their holistic benefits, aiding in immune resilience, energy enhancement, stress management, and cognitive support. Integrating these mushrooms into a balanced lifestyle may contribute to an overall sense of well-being. 

How to Use Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms into your routine is a straightforward and flexible process, allowing you to enjoy their potential health benefits. One of the easiest ways to integrate adaptogenic mushrooms is by adding them to your diet. You can include shiitake, for example, in various recipes, while Chaga and Reishi can be brewed into teas. You can also find mushroom powders that blend seamlessly into smoothies, soups, or even coffee.

Feeling lazy? Good news! Adaptogenic mushroom supplements are widely available in various forms, including capsules, tinctures, and powders. These offer a convenient way to ensure consistent intake, especially for individuals with busy lifestyles. Following the recommended dosage on the product label or consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance is advisable.

Perhaps you prefer a drink instead. Creating mushroom teas or tonics is a popular method. For example, one can simmer chaga and reishi to make a comforting tea. You can do the same with Lion’s Mane and cordyceps. Simply mix into hot water or blend into beverages for a tasty and health-supporting drink.

Many adaptogenic mushrooms, such as shiitake and Lion’s Mane, can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. From stir-fries to soups, experimenting with mushroom-infused recipes allows you to enjoy their unique flavors and potential health benefits.

Remember, individual responses to adaptogenic mushrooms can vary, and listening to your body is crucial. Starting with small amounts and gradually increasing them is an excellent approach to assessing tolerance. 

Are Adaptogenic Mushrooms Safe?

Adaptogenic mushrooms are generally considered safe for most people when consumed as part of a balanced diet or in recommended supplements. However, it’s essential to be aware of certain considerations:

  • As with any supplement or food, individual responses can vary. Some people may be more sensitive to certain mushrooms, and adverse reactions are possible.
  • While rare, allergic reactions to mushrooms can occur. Individuals with known mushroom allergies should exercise extra caution before trying adaptogenic mushrooms.
  • Certain adaptogenic mushrooms may interact with medications. Individuals taking medications or with pre-existing health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating adaptogens into their routine.
  • Excessive supplement intake, including adaptogenic mushrooms, may lead to unwanted side effects. Following recommended dosages and guidelines or product labels is crucial.
  • Ensure that the mushrooms are sourced from reputable suppliers to minimize the risk of contamination. Contaminated or improperly harvested mushrooms may pose health risks.
  • When consuming mushrooms in culinary preparations, ensure you cook them properly, as some can be toxic when raw.

While adaptogenic mushrooms are generally safe for many people, it’s essential to approach their consumption with awareness and moderation. Consulting with a healthcare professional, especially before starting a new supplement regimen, is advisable to ensure safety and appropriateness based on individual health considerations. 


In exploring the realm of adaptogenic mushrooms, we’ve uncovered a fascinating world of natural remedies that offer many potential health benefits. From reishi’s stress-relieving properties to cordyceps’ energy-boosting power and Lion’s Mane’s cognitive support, each mushroom brings something unique to the table. While it’s important to approach any supplement cautiously and consult with healthcare professionals, the rich history and emerging scientific evidence surrounding adaptogenic mushrooms make them an intriguing addition to a holistic wellness routine. Whether you choose to sip on a comforting chaga tea, savor the umami of shiitake in a delicious dish, or simply embrace the convenience of supplements, adaptogenic mushrooms let you explore the possibilities of enhancing your physical and mental well-being naturally. By embarking on a journey of well-being, you’ll enjoy:

  • Better immunity
  • More energy
  • Lower stress

So, do adaptogenic mushrooms work? Listen to the experts and try them out. The realm of adaptogens awaits, offering a natural and flavorful way to nurture your body and mind.


How do adaptogens differ from regular mushrooms?

Adaptogens are a subset of mushrooms with unique properties to help the body adapt to stress and promote balance. Regular mushrooms, while nutritious, may not possess these qualities. 

How long does it take to see the benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms?

Some individuals may experience effects relatively quickly, within a few weeks, while others may require several months of consistent use. Individual responses depend on overall health, dosage, and the specific adaptogen used.

Can I consume multiple types of adaptogenic mushrooms together?

Yes, it’s generally safe to consume multiple types of adaptogenic mushrooms together. Combining different adaptogens may offer a broader range of health benefits.


[1] Guggenheim, A. G., Wright, K. M., & Zwickey, H. L. (2014). Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(1), 32–44. 

[2] Patel, S., & Goyal, A. (2012). Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review. 3 Biotech, 2(1), 1–15. 

[3] Chugh, R. M., et al. (2022). Fungal Mushrooms: A Natural Compound With Therapeutic Applications. Frontiers in pharmacology, 13, 925387.

[4] Wachtel-Galor S, Yuen J, Buswell JA, et al. Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 9. 

[5] Tuli, H. S., Sandhu, S. S., & Sharma, A. K. (2014). Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin. 3 Biotech, 4(1), 1–12. 

[6] Rossi, P., et al. (2018). Dietary Supplementation of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type Mice. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 20(5), 485–494. 

[7] Benson, K. F., et al. (2019). The mycelium of the Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail) mushroom and its fermented substrate each show potent and complementary immune activating properties in vitro. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 342. 

[8] Dai, X., et al. (2015). Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(6), 478–487.

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