Medicinal Mushrooms: Unlocking Their Powerful Health Benefits And Uses

Mushrooms are always a healthy choice, but if you want specifics, there’s a mushroom for your every health concern.

You might think that naturopathy and homeopathy are pseudo sciences and stray away from articles touting “magic mushroom” solutions to serious health problems. And you’re probably right – no single food is going to cure you instantly. However, just like eating healthy food is part of living a healthy lifestyle, medicinal mushrooms can play a part in improving your health.  

It should be noted that many of the mushrooms on this list share beneficial qualities (like supporting your immune or cardiovascular system and being rich in antioxidants) but if you want to focus on specifics, each of these medicinal mushrooms possesses nutritional compounds that can help you get to where you want to be. 


Table of Contents 
Reishi Mushrooms – Immunity Booster 
Chaga Mushrooms – Antioxidants and Digestive Health 
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms – Nervous System Function 
Shiitake Mushrooms – Heart Health 
Maitake Mushrooms – Adaptogenic 
Portobello Mushrooms – Anti-inflammatory
Cordyceps – Overall Health Booster
Picking The Best Mushroom
Other Guides To Plant-Based Benefits

Reishi Mushrooms – Immunity Booster 

BEST FOR: Immune system support, better sleep, and regulating the body’s stress response.

medicinal mushroom benefits of reishi

Also called the “mushroom of immortality,” the reishi mushroom is particularly good at fortifying your immune system with helpful beta-glucans and triterpenoids like ganoderic acids. These nutrients all help increase the number and effectiveness of white blood cells your body produces, which in turn reduce fatigue, boost your immune system, and can help fight cancer

Chaga Mushrooms – Antioxidants and Digestive Health 

BEST FOR: Digestion, healthy skin, and protection against heart disease.

medicinal mushroom benefits of chaga

The key to radiant skin is also a happy healthy gut, which is where chaga mushrooms reign supreme. Although many medicinal mushrooms have antioxidant properties, chaga mushrooms are packed with some of the best. These include polyphenols — which help with brain, gut, and heart health, melanin — which helps clear and protect your skin, and triterpenoids — which exhibit antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-lots-of-bad-things activity!  

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms – Nervous System Function 

BEST FOR: Mood boosting, brain health, and nerve repair 

medicinal mushroom benefits of lion's mane

This medicinal mushroom has gotten popular lately in the naturopathy circle – and for good reason! Lion’s Mane mushrooms are believed to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, protect against developing dementia and treating other diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. They are also believed to stimulate nerve regeneration when recovering from nervous system injuries like stroke.  

Other uses for Lion’s Mane mushroom include general mood boosting, regulating blood sugar, and protecting the digestive system from ulcers and inflammatory conditions by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori bacteria. 

Shiitake Mushrooms – Heart Health 

BEST FOR: Regulating cholesterol and blood sugar, and decreasing inflammation

medicinal mushroom benefits of shiitake

This is one of the more commonly known mushrooms that you might already frequently eat at the dinner table. Shiitake mushrooms are not only tasty, but they’re great for supporting your cardiovascular system with their fiber and vitamin-rich structure. Shiitake mushrooms work as a medicinal mushroom because they are full of polysaccharides and a compound called eritadenine which helps boost immune systems and regulate cholesterol, respectively.  

Maitake Mushrooms – Adaptogenic 

BEST FOR: Immune function, reducing inflammation, and stress recovery.

medicinal mushroom benefits of maitake

The maitake mushroom is best known as “adaptogenic,” which means it helps the body recover from the effects of chemical, biological, or physical stress. Maitake mushrooms are high-fiber and nutrient-dense with antioxidants, beta-glucans, vitamins B and C, amino acids, and fiber. The promising effects of maitake mushrooms include the potential to help treat and fight certain cancers, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and fighting off viral illnesses. 

Portobello Mushrooms – Anti-inflammatory 

BEST FOR: Vitamin boosting and lowering blood pressure

medicinal mushroom benefits of portobello

Besides being a great meat substitute in many dishes, portobello mushrooms are chock-full of various beneficial vitamins and minerals. Portobello mushrooms are a good source of potassium (about 300mg per mushroom), which helps with sodium balance in the body and by extension, better heart health.  

Cordyceps – Overall Health Booster 

BEST FOR: Energy and exercise performance, reducing inflammation, boosting immunity.

benefits of cordyceps

Overall, cordyceps are a super medicinal mushroom. Their benefits range from improved lung capacity, higher energy levels, increased oxygen intake, and may promote steady hormone regulation by the body. There is also research that suggests it can reduce inflammation and supports healthy a immune system.  

Picking The Best Mushroom 

Every mushroom on this list serves a unique purpose. But as mentioned, many mushrooms share similar health benefits and can do your body a lot of good. To summarize their benefits, just follow this quick guide:  

Heart Health: Shiitake, Chaga, or Portobello 

Mental Health: Lion’s Mane 

Immunity: Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake 

Anti-Inflammatory: Cordyceps, Maitake, Shiitake 

Digestion: Chaga 

Other Guides to Plant-Based Benefits 

Plant-based eating is a great way to stay on top of your healthy eating game. Eating mushrooms for their amazing benefits is just the tip of the iceberg! Check out these other guides to see what other plant-based foods can boost your health. 

7 Plant-Based Foods That Reduce Bloating 
Garlic Benefits: Can It Help Lower Blood Pressure? 
Relieve Menopause Symptoms with a Plant-Based Diet 
Bacopa Benefits: Can Bacopa (Brahmi) Improve Memory? 
Ashwagandha Benefits for Sleep and Anxiety 
Gotu Kola Benefits for Less Anxiety and Better Cognition 
Turmeric Benefits: Can It Treat Cancer and Heart Disease?