It’s no secret that we love mushrooms here at Life Cykel and it is clear to us that more and more people are starting to fall for this fruitful kingdom too.
And we're not talking about your average white button mushroom (not that there is anything wrong with them, we love them too!), we're talking functional mushrooms. These bad boys are some of the most nutritionally rich, antioxidant packed and health boosting shrooms out there. They tend to be more rare and not commonly seen on your dinner plate (with the exception of Shiitake, love me some Shiitake). Some of our all time favourites are Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Cordyceps and of course Shiitake.
Interest in and use of functional mushrooms is rapidly expanding around the world, which is awesome! Functional mushrooms were ranked #3 on the Whole Foods Report in 2018 and according to Grand View Research, US sales of mushrooms alone accounted for almost $5 billion in revenue in 2017.
Although functional mushrooms have been a solid part of traditional eastern cultures for many millennia, it is within the past decade that we have seen a significant boom in the use of functional mushrooms and other natural remedies in modern culture.
It is particularly alluring (and amazing) when our body’s show a natural capacity for self-repair, if the appropriate conditions are provided, which natural and alternative medicines provide, included in those medicines are functional mushrooms of course.
A report published by the World Health Organisation stated that in the past 10 years “there has been a renewed attention and interest in the use of traditional medicine globally” and this can be seen in both developing and developed countries. Complementary and alternative medicines are now becoming mainstream in Europe, Australia and North America and it is estimated that 4 billion people in developing countries rely on medicinal products of herbal origin.
However the reasons for the use of natural medicines within developed and developing countries may differ somewhat. For example people within the developing world may choose to opt for herbal medicines as opposed to pharmaceuticals because they simply cannot afford the latter and also from anecdotal and historical accounts from ancestors. Whereas interest in natural medicines within the developed world are more likely to be stemmed from the increased awareness that what we put in to our body really does matter... More and more people are jumping on the health train and really becoming in tune with what their body needs whilst using the most natural sources possible.
Although, with every New Year usually comes a new health trend, that somewhat dissipates over time but fear not! Functional mushrooms are here for the long run, considering they have already been around for thousands of years and we believe they will continue to be an essential part of people’s diet to enhance health and wellbeing.
The reason these marvellous mushies have stuck around for so long in western populations already is not due to their earthy flavours but because of the increased awareness of their medicinal benefits due to more research into the area. With more scientific research comes more trust and acceptance. Paul Stamets, the godfather of mushrooms has said that mushroom research is really picking up and that they could be on the brink of some major breakthroughs.
Functional mushrooms first hit the market in powdered form. However now they are coming in a range of products such as soups, teas and liquid extracts. There is a big race in the market to see who can create the most bioavailable product and we don't want to be smug or anything but we think we have nailed it on the head with our liquid extracts! Check our range of liquid extracts here https://lifecykel.com/products/biohackerset
There is also a growing interest into sustainability and efficiency and since we know a thing or two about growing mushrooms, we can tell you that mushrooms are some of the most sustainably produced foods as they require minimal water, substrates and space to grow. Therefore functional mushrooms are not only great for your health but great for the environment too, how good is that!?
Side note** Please do not take this information as a means to ignore your health care professional
Carr, T. (2019). Mushroom magic: why the latest health fad might be on to something. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/16/mud-wtr-mushroom-water-coffee-health-benefits.
Ekor, M. (2014). The growing use of herbal medicines: issues relating to adverse reactions and challenges in monitoring safety. Frontiers in Pharmacology, [online] 4. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3887317/.
World Health Organisation - Traditional Medicine a Report by Secretariat (2003)
Photo by Angelina Hoeppner