Ingredient Spotlight: Reishi, Chaga & Cordyceps

It may be hard to believe, but humans and fungi have nearly half their DNA in common. This means that mushrooms have developed survival methods and protection against issues and diseases that could translate to humans.

Why mushrooms?

Mushrooms have many healing capabilities ranging from immunomodulating effects (increasing immune system responsiveness and flexibility), anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic (balancing the effects of stress), anti-cancer (preventing tumour development)[1], strengthening the digestive system, nerve regrowth, antimicrobial, antifungal… I could go on!


The history of mushrooms

There is a deep cultural history of mushrooms being used for medicine. From Hippocrates to the Aztecs, to Shennong (credited for discovering tea) to the Indigenous cultures of North America. In ancient Chinese medicine, mushrooms were known as powerful ‘tonics’, meaning they can be consumed regularly to maintain or increase general health, wellbeing and longevity.

“Mushrooms are ephemeral—they may be in our experiential view for just a few days, whereas our encounters with plants and animals can last months or years. That some mushrooms can feed you, some can heal you, some can kill you, and some can send you on a spiritual journey speaks of their diverse chemical constituents.”

- Paul Stamets et all [2]


How to get started with mushrooms

Choose a method of taking mushrooms that suits your lifestyle. You can get mushrooms in tinctures, capsules or powder. We opt for powders - they’re versatile. We’re all about intentional here and we definitely find that taking mushrooms in powder form is as intentional as it gets. You can also easily vary the amount you’re taking. You can add powders to your lattes, smoothies and elixirs, protein balls, oats and more.  

In 2015, we started blending mushroom powders with our matcha. We recognized the potential in combining to complement and boost the energizing and mood boosting effects of matcha. Intention, intention, intention. When we set the intention of our matcha blends, specific mushrooms just made sense.

How and why we chose reishi, cordyceps and chaga for our functional matcha lattes.

REISHI

  • is a nervine, meaning, it restores the nervous system and helps you chill out.
  • is adaptogenic, calming the mind and helping you body adapt to stressors.
  • is anti-inflammatory
  • is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger
  • promotes clear-headedness 

CHAGA

  • has strong immunomodulating effects, encouraging better immune response and flexibility 
  • strengthens and replenished the digestive system
  • acts as an adaptogen
  • grounding

CORDYCEPS

  • increases ATP production, thereby increasing energy
  • increases blood oxygen levels, increasing endurance
  • help fight fatigue

REISHI (Ganoderma lucidum)
a.k.a the Queen of mushrooms, the 10,000 year old mushroom, or the ‘tree of life’ mushroom.

Found in: Amoda Matcha Bliss and Amoda Matcha Spirit

Easily one of our favourite mushrooms for its ability to help with stress and anxiety.

Reishi has many health benefits and is used today for immune modulation, inflammation, anti-cancer, liver protectant, and more. However, its use as a nervine and adaptogen was what brought reishi onto the shortlist for Matcha Bliss.

The intention for Matcha Bliss was to enhance the mood boosting qualities of matcha, further calming nerves and promoting a relaxed state. Reishi was a natural choice to combine with cacao and maca in this blend.

Herbalist David Winston tells us that reishi helps calm the shen, a TCM term that refers to our ‘spirit’ in the sense of consciousness and emotional balance (not in terms of our soul). “Disturbances of shen produce anxiety, insomnia, bad dreams, moodiness, listlessness, and poor memory.”[3]

Reishi’s immune benefits, anti-inflammatory properties and traditional use as a life-extending herb is what drew us to it for Matcha Spirit. This blend is intended to be your daily go-to for general health and wellbeing. It’s your travel companion to keep your defenses up when your mind and body are adapting to time zones, travel stress and germs.

CHAGA (Inonotus obliquus)
a.k.a King of mushrooms

Found in: Matcha Spirit

Our choice when gearing up for a big trip, project, presentation or exam.

Chaga is an adaptogen and an immunomodulator. It helps increase our resistance to physical, emotional and mental stress and helps our immune system become more responsive to those stressors.

As we mentioned, the intention for Matcha Spirit is to become part of your daily routine to strengthen your adaptability and immunity. Chaga is also energetically grounding. You can think of being grounded as having a strong foundation to stand on. Being ungrounded, you may feel as though you’re in your head and not in your body. Overthinking or emotional strain can push us out of the moment, ungrounding us from our environment.

CORDYCEPS (Cordyceps sinensis)

Our favourite for staying energized.

Fun fact: cordyceps grow on the head of a caterpillar about 5400 mt up in the Himalayas. Wild cordyceps retain their caterpillar shape.

Cordyceps are adaptogenic - they help fight fatigue, help your mind and body adapt to physical and mental stress and rejuvenate and replenish adrenals. For athletes, cordyceps improves physical endurance, performance and muscle building. If you’re recuperating from illness, cordyceps is a good choice.

The intention for Matcha Fuel was to create a completely plant-based, filler-free pre-workout that gets your mind and body focused and in flow. As we know, matcha gives you a boost of energy and focus with a combination of caffeine and the amino acid l-theanine. Cordyceps was a must-have for this blend.

ATP is the molecule in the cell that releases energy and cordyceps has shown to increase ATP production by 30%! It also increases blood oxygen by 40%. Blood oxygen levels are important when exercising. Your blood oxygen level is an indicator of how well your body is distributing oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, including your muscles. Low blood oxygen levels will cause you to feel fatigued and increase muscle soreness after you exercise.

As you can see, there’s a tremendous amount of thought that goes into formulating our matcha blends!

 


  1. Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Immune modulation from five major mushrooms: application to integrative oncology. Integrative Med Clin J. 2014;13(1):32–44.
    [link]

  2. Stamets P, Zwickey H. Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science. Integrative Med J. 2014 Feb; 13(1): 46–47. [link]

  3. Winston, David and Maimes, Steven. (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Release. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

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