You just have to watch any of these videos or documentaries to get a hint of just how magical mushrooms really are. And I’m not just talking about the psychedelic, mind-altering versions. They are such a diverse genera; neither animal or plant but fungi! A mushroom is the fruit of the fungal organism that produces them, and mushrooms carry the spores to ensure the continuation of the species. The mushroom is, therefore, the reproductive organ of the fungus. Fungi are the main recyclers in nature, they break down wood and humus providing food for living plants by breaking these materials down into their simple organic matter.
When I met with Four Sigmatic Foods (FSF) earlier in the year, I was given two of my favourites mushrooms in instant form, Reishi and Cordyceps, and a new mushroom for me to learn all about, Lion’s Mane. Reishi is a great anti-stress and sleep-aider, Cordyceps helps with immunity and energy levels and apparently sex drive! Lion’s Mane protects the nervous system and increases memory and concentration.
Four Sigmatic don’t just powder their mushroom, they extract them in both hot water and alcohol for all beneficial compounds to become bioavailable. The final extracts are standardised, before being combined with herbs and natural flavours including liquorice root, star anise, mint, stevia and rose hip. The results are absolutely delicious! One person asked me if it tasted like soup, and the answer is no! Whilst the idea of a mushroom drink may not appeal, the blends are so tasty that FSF products taste just as good, if not better than a herbal tea!
Four Sigmatic Foods Instant Reishi is my go-to bedtime drink, it really helps me to unwind at the end of a long, hard day. If I’m going through a particularly stressful day then it is also my mushroom of choice. It has an instant calming effect, and really settles nerves. It has been shown that Reishi improves blood circulation and also lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.
Four Sigmatic Foods Instant Cordyceps helps me at times when I am feeling run down and in need of an energy boost. Cordyceps is an adaptogen and not a stimulant so it helps sustain energy levels. It also contains a compound called cordycepin which is an adenosine analogue which increases the speed of the conversion of ADP to ATP and in fact, Cordyceps has been shown to increase ATP levels by up to 50%! Cordyceps also improves lung function and can increase VO2 max by up to 15%, improves blood circulation and also increases libido, sperm count and testosterone levels.
Four Sigmatic Foods Instant Lion’s Mane is great for improving memory and concentration, and also helps protect the nervous system. I’ve had a rather stressful time recently, and as a result, my memory has been particularly poor. Lion’s Mane stimulates nerve growth factor, which is why it helps improve concentration and memory, as well as promote greater creativity. It’s also proven to protect against various brain and nervous system related diseases and some psychiatric disorders.
Next on my list to try from the FSF range is Instant Maitake and Instant Shiitake, and anyone who’s looking for immune support this winter I recommend you check out the Instant Chaga! AND I’ve just spotted they do hot chocolate with a hit of mushrooms, definitely a must-try!
I am by no means a mushroom expert, in fact, I know more about the medicinal mushrooms than the wild mushrooms that Mr BB and I like to go a-walking to find. Here are some of our top finds form the past year or so –
Mimi likes finding mushrooms too (although these are highly poisonous and not recommended for munching!)