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The surge of the Adaptogens: functional mushrooms are grown in Bali too!

Editorial Team | May 7, 2024 | 0 comment |

What is an adaptogen?

Adaptogens, a clever assortment of plants and fungi, support optimal bodily performance. Employed in home remedies and traditional medicine for millennia, they are now gaining traction in the Western world as remedies for common issues stemming from our fast-paced modern lifestyles, such as low mood, stress, anxiety, depression, and weakened immune systems.

Well-known adaptogens include Ashwagandha, Tulsi, Ginger, Maca, Schisandra Berry, Turmeric, Ginseng and Functional Mushrooms. These adaptogens are also central to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and have also been studied in clinical trials (search Google Scholar, Science Direct and PubMed for a deep dive).

What exactly is a functional mushroom?

Functional mushrooms are the superfood class fungi that contain additional, adaptogen compounds. They carry many of the dense nutritious benefits of usual mushrooms like selenium and Vitamin D but they also contain bioactive compounds that help keep our body in a natural state of balance.

The most well known are:

  • Lion’s Mane – Natural nootropic, aiding focus and cognitive health
  • Chaga – Packed with antioxidants
  • Reishi – Immune supportive & anti-aging properties

What makes them different to regular mushrooms?

Some medicinal mushrooms, such as Lion’s Mane, are edible, and we are thrilled to have found and be selling a source of local fresh Lion’s Mane. Reishi and Chaga are more bitter and indigestible due to their high levels of  Beta D glucans and triterpenes. Most functional mushrooms are dried, brewed into a tea or turned into concentrated extracts. While mushrooms are generally known for their fruiting body, that is usually eaten, the extracts also use the mycelium – the delicate threads beneath the soil – because these contain valuable compounds that contribute to their adaptogenic qualities.

What are the benefits of functional mushrooms? And in particular, the benefits of mushrooms in drinks?

You have to google this one! There are quite a few clinical trials but research is ongoing so consider the evidence. In a nutshell, Beta Glucans have been shown to support the immune system working synergistically to help synthesize compounds we already produce. For example, Nerve Growth Factor, essential for cognitive and neuronal health, is stimulated by the erinacines and hericenones found in Lion’s Mane. Repeated in vitro studies in mice have shown positive antidepressant and hormone regulating effects (yes humans are different to mice but their brains work in similar ways). Clinical trials are ongoing regarding the potential of Lion’s Mane to combat degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s due to its powerful effect on neuroregeneration. Chaga is full of antioxidants such a triterpenes, polyphenols, and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). This concentration as well as the diverse types of antioxidants makes Chaga a great natural support in overall health. Reishi, a key ingredient in TCM, also contains Lingzhi-8, a protein found to inhibit tumour growth.

Concentrated mushroom extracts are highly soluble and bioavailable so they work perfectly in drinks such as our Nootropic Smoothies, Bali Bohem’s Chaga Cacao drink, Bali Extract’s Lion’s Mane or in bulk from Bali Direct Store.

Bali fungi!

There has been a gathering of mushrooms in Bali and all mushrooms are now available here although Chaga and Lion’s Mane are usually from colder climates. The notable rise in self care and further clinical research studies on adaptogens, fungi and internal systems have brought credible ingredients such as functional mushrooms to market. We have some great options for you to integrate these products into everyday ceremony! If you don’t feel like cooking fresh Lion’s Mane (available in all our stores) then how about adding our Nootropic House Blend, which contains Reishi, Chaga and Lion’s Mane, into your smoothie at our Canggu store bar.

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