- Would you want this powerful cancer blend?
- The adaptogen Cordyceps and how it increases endurance and more
- Lion’s Mane, the #1 Nootropic mushroom that even boosts curiosity!
- How colors can reflect what a mushroom or herb does
- The common Tree Oyster even packs some amazing benefits
- Are Magic Mushrooms Medicinal Mushrooms?
- And much more
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.
Logan: Hey guys, welcome back to The Vital Way. We’re going to continue on our talk about medicinal mushrooms right here with Part 2. Last time, we were just wrapping up with chaga. We’re going to start right there this time.
Zane: I described briefly what it does for you. One of the things with the cultivated chaga is because it’s not on birch trees, it’s not pulling that betulinic acid out of the trees and concentrating it. I don’t know if you would even have any in cultivated chaga. So it’s just something to consider with chaga. Obviously, we would wish we could have wild chaga all the time and I really wish that I had wild chaga now but even cultivated chaga is going to be way better than not drinking any chaga at all.
Logan: Yeah, it’s something as we’ve said kind of earlier there, the wild mushrooms especially the chaga if we go through those three treasures it’s more of a jing substance. This kind of goes along with the DNA protectiveness of it because the jing is really your primary essence. If you can fortify that and even restore it, which this chaga seems to be able to do, it’s definitely protecting it the whole bunch, that’s what gives it that. You’ll also notice that colors have a lot to do with it. The black color of—chaga is a black mushroom—that tends to indicate that jing may be at play in there so that’s just one thing interesting. But it also has some of the shen benefits like reishi does once again. I just think those are going to be stronger with the wild chaga than the cultivated.
Zane: I have a question about reishi. Sorry, I totally spaced on this but I think some people—I don’t know if you know that answer—like to know if they’re more into the Chinese medicine, making tonics and stuff, what the difference is between black, red and all those different colors of reishi?
Logan: That’s a good question and I don’t have an answer, just that there will be some sort of differences between them like I was going to say the black reishis may have a little more benefits that go in line with the jing. I can’t say 100% for sure. The red color, red is the most common color of reishi whether it’s a dark red or sometimes they get even very bright red but that’s going to generally indicate more of a cardio benefit, having to do with the blood circulation, that sort of thing of which reishi definitely has component. So there are definitely different colors of reishi, they may not be different species but just by the fact that they have different colors, they’re going to have different components in them and likely that’s going to translate to the benefits.
So once again, you can’t say exactly what these are but that’s one of the cool things that I think about offering our four-color reishi products. You’re getting a more sort of well-rounded thing so that you’re getting the wider range of benefits rather than just one single thing. Even though you may just be taking the reishi, if you were taking that you’re already kind of working with a mushroom blend.
Zane: Cool. I didn’t know that.
Logan: Definitely the color can be a good indicator but you kind of have to know what those mean and sometimes it’s working more on a symbolic level than something straight through. We were talking about chaga being an anti-cancer drug in Russia. Actually, I should give a bit of a back story that’s going to go with this. As you guys may or may not know that are listening, our mother died from breast cancer. She was a nurse. She went through the whole western treatment and it worked at first. She went into remission. It ended up coming back, went away again, came back and eventually took her life. That wasn’t fun.
It was a few years after this that I was at David Wolfe’s Longevity Conference where Paul Stamets that I mentioned previously, one of the world’s foremost mycologists, was giving a talk. He was talking about how his mother was diagnosed with cancer and she was like 80-something. I believe they did western treatment but he also gave her a whole bunch of medicinal mushrooms, one of which was turkey tail, Trametes versicolor, which has quite a bit of research even in the west here behind it showing that it’s that great for helping with cancer. His story was successful in the end. It was kind of after that conference that I got really excited about mushrooms. As I went hunting mushrooms in my area, I noticed that turkey tail is just common. There’s lot of it out there and it grows in most parts of the world actually. I was just oh, here’s one of the best things for cancer and it just grows basically in my backyard and I had no idea about it.
Still today cancer is one of the biggest killers of all kinds of people across the world so one of the things that I’d like to put together, and this may take some time, is to take these mushrooms which are some of the best anti-cancer stuff out there. Of course, there are many other great herbs but the mushrooms, particularly from the ones we talked about, reishi, definitely chaga, turkey tail, also shiitake is really great for this which a lot of people do have some familiarity with that, but take a blend of these four powerful mushrooms, put them together specifically to help people that are in that sort of situation which there are many out there.
The issue with that is this one would take a little bit more of an investment to get it started because this is not as much of a readily available one as some of our other mushrooms so I’m thinking about actually doing a Kickstarter campaign. But even before I do that, just for the people listening, something like that could really help support people in what they’re doing with cancer regardless of whether they’re conventional or other alternative treatments. I’ve heard this before but if I was diagnosed with cancer today, the first thing I would do is load up on medicinal mushrooms and continue doing that for the days to come. But if something like that sounds interesting to you, just email me. Email the team. Let us know. We’d love to hear some feedback and having this sort of cancerous discipline would be something that we’d definitely like to make available because of that sort of personal drive for it as well as just to help people out there.
Zane: Yeah, it’s unfortunate that there is this information out there and it’s so under the radar. That’s what we’re trying to do, bring it out there more. Yeah, we’ve been hit up with a few people with cancer or that just got cancer and in general that’s our first recommendation, that you should be on certain mushrooms. The funny thing with a lot of them is some mushrooms work better for different cancers. Each mushroom tends to target or be better for a different cancer although turkey tail and shiitake are just like immune superheroes.
Logan: Yeah, there’s definitely quite a bit of research going on about that and more definitely to come because there are quite some promising benefits to them. Let’s move on to a little bit of a different topic. Let’s talk about cordyceps, something of a different mushroom.
Zane: Cordyceps is weird because it turns insects into zombies, little miniature zombies, by taking over their brain. One of them, it makes them climb to high places then well actually the fruiting body will puncture their head or their bodies—it depends on the species—and it will send out those fruiting bodies and spore out and try and get as many of that particular insect. Each cordyceps species is only for one insect species which is really kind of crazy.
Logan: Very specialized assassins.
Zane: Yeah, but it works. They’ve been around for millions of years. But the cordyceps we’re talking about in particular come out of the head of a little caterpillar high up in the Himalayas and are amazing.
Logan: Cordyceps sinensis.
Zane: Amazing for health, endurance, high altitude, just the really good immunity. In Chinese medicine, they’re especially good for the lung meridians.
Logan: That has a lot to do with the endurance benefits and being able to adjust to the high altitudes. That shows some of the benefits and that’s what sort of sets it apart from most of the other medicinal mushrooms. I’d say cordyceps is strongly an adaptogen, which is why we put it there in Spartan blend. For this reason, it’s pretty different from the other medicinal mushrooms.
Zane: Yeah, the other medicinal mushrooms tend to focus more on the immunity aspect of things. Cordyceps and one of the reasons why it was actually the first mushroom we got though with a different supplier is just because it helps so well with athleticism and adapting to things. Actually, one of the ways it does help your endurance is by actually expanding your aorta during heavy activities so you get more blood pumping away from the heart to the areas that need it.
Logan: I was not aware of that one.
Zane: I actually read that from Paul Stamets. That was one of the mechanisms. You’re getting more oxygenated blood to the cells that need them so you have more endurance in the end if you keep doing what you’re doing.
Logan: Very interesting. It kind of makes sense that this one would be different when you look at the nature of this fungus versus the others. One, just its location in the world is definitely something although some people do use different forms of cordyceps. Ours is not wild cordyceps. Wild cordyceps cost literally more than gold. They’re very expensive. Ours is grown in a laboratory but apparently some people have ones out there that aren’t what they claim to be whereas this one, they’ve done genetic matching and it may actually be a symbiosis of two different types of fungus rather than just one. Still, I believe they’re investigating that further but it’s pretty interesting stuff.
But when you look at the nature of it, how it attacks and takes over a thing versus how many funguses actually support the immune system of the plants or the trees that they’re growing on, that’s very different stuff so it makes sense that it has some different benefits. It’s a really strong adaptogen. Actually in Chinese medicine, they classify it as both yin and yang and a jing supporting herb as well as a chi herb as well.
Zane: Definitely an aggressive mushroom that it eats—
Logan: This is definitely an early one that I experimented with and got great results.
Zane: Yeah, I’ve used it a lot in running. A word of advice for people – don’t drink a whole bottle of cordyceps tincture before you go a ten-mile race. It’s not fun. I did really good.
Logan: It’s more like don’t drink a whole bottle of tincture before anything.
Zane: It sounds important, right? I like taking the stuff. No, I did really good.
Logan: Generally, a tincture bottle is two ounces so that’s like two shots, a double.
Zane: That’s true. That’s a really healthy shot. I don’t know if that actually did anything but it’s good to experiment.
Logan: Here’s that one thing I want to put in. Some people, definitely when they get the tincture they tend to feel it but people when they take it like a magic pill right before the workout in order to get the benefit but as an adaptogen, you’re really going to get the best benefits when you’re on it consistently for a period of four weeks, six week, even like six months. You’re really going to get the benefits and more build-up when your body gets used to using that sort of herb, that adaptogen in which you can then get the benefits. So I definitely would recommend that and yes, people won’t feel the benefit taking it right before something.
Logan: Yeah, works though.
Zane: So there are just a lot of studies on the physical aspect. It’s definitely probably one of the most physical fungi to act. You don’t happen to know if that endurance quality comes about more through the water extract or the alcohol extract or is it both because I definitely do not know that?
Logan: I am not sure on that one.
Zane: I’ve had them both. I’ve had ours and it works for sure but I’ve also had the alcohol extract and that’s worked for me, too. I don’t know if that’s a placebo mindset
Logan: Let’s just say I’ve done more of the mycelium or hot water extracts of them. I’d know if I’d had the tincture. I definitely noticed an effect with that so we know that at least it works with that.
Zane: Yeah, and I like ours. It’s pretty good. Can’t taste it though. We do however would like to eventually, maybe even if it was just for a short time, offer the real cordyceps.
Zane: The wild kind of cordyceps would be amazing.
Logan: We’d also like to go and find them ourselves. We’ll see how that works out.
Zane: Dude, I’m totally go.
Logan: Let’s talk about lion’s mane mushroom, our newest medicinal mushroom offering at Superman Herbs. It should definitely be out of available by the time this podcast is up. Lion’s mane is another one that’s fairly unique. I guess we’ve talked about a lot of unique ones. They all seem to have some type like the cordyceps’ immunomodulation, it does seem to have some anti-tumor properties. It definitely works on those similar things with other mushrooms but it has those sort of really unique benefits, too, itself.
Lion’s mane is the same sort of way except in a different direction. I know you’ve been doing a whole bunch of research on this and off with lion’s mane.
Zane: The lion’s mane, like you were saying, all these mushrooms tend to have immune support. Lion’s mane is no different. It definitely has been found to have cancer-fighting abilities, blood cancer-fighting abilities in particular. It’s actually eaten a lot in Asian countries. They use it as a substitute for meat and just consuming it that way, you’re getting a lot of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and it’s a high profile food. But the main thing—
Logan: It tastes pretty good, too. I actually got to eat some fresh the other day. I sautéed it in some butter and it is quite tasty.
Zane: Right? It’d be nice to throw it in soups or anything like that.
Logan: Yeah, definitely. I think I’ll probably showcase some different ways to cook with our lion’s mane.
Zane: Yeah. Sorry. I’m trying to figure out where I’m going. The main thing with lion’s mane and the unique aspect of it is going to be the promotion of nerve growth factor in the brain. Lion’s mane has a couple of different mechanisms that they found so far. There are two little components found separately in the mycelium and the fruiting body, the hericenones which is in the fruiting body and the erinacines which is in the mycelium. Both of them promote nerve growth factor but it seems like the mycelium one is a lot stronger in promoting nerve growth factor.
They’re starting to do a lot more studies on this. Basically Alzheimer’s disease, if you take that that is basically your body stops production of nerve growth factor and that’s where Alzheimer’s comes about. This actually can, I guess, I would say reverse it or at least slow it down to a crawl. There have been a lot of people that have regained themselves from this. There are a lot of stories out there.
One we heard at the Fungus Fair I like to tell people because it’s really interesting. A guy was giving a lecture on all this stuff, talking about lion’s mane to a group of college kids. This college girl raised her hand and asked if it would help her dad who had early-onset Alzheimer’s. He was in his early fifties. She hit him up two weeks later and said it was like I have my old dad back. That’s amazing. That’s a terrible disease. Losing your memory probably has to be one of the worst things. The gnarly thing about this is it’s not just for old people. Young people have it, too. Logan and I have been taking it for a while now and testing it out and holy mother, it really helps your memory!
Logan: Yeah. Like I said, most of the investigation into this has to do with Alzheimer’s and definitely a lot of that is strongly possible. I believe some people might be looking at it as far as Parkinson’s or some other nervous disorders but as you said, I believe this fits into the nootropic class of herbs.
Zane: It is. I would definitely call it nootropic.
Logan: Yeah, it’s not just for this protection. It’s the same thing that we’ve been talking about. You don’t only take mushrooms if you want to help with cancer but it’s probably good for the prevention side of things. You have that but they also benefits that extend beyond that, helping your memory to be even better, helping to improve, helping to function and possibly beyond memory. I’ve been taking it fairly regularly for a while now. I always feel pretty on but I’d say I’m even more so than before.
Zane: Right? I definitely noticed a difference from when I started taking it to before I was taking it in just the ability for my brain to recall things. If I couldn’t think of something, a second later it would just pop into my mind which is not normal because of the alcohol. One thing I did find and I also noticed this, too, is that they found in a study after four weeks of not taking it, it seemed like the effects all dropped off and pretty much disappeared for the neuroprotective effects or neuropromoting effects. I’ve also noticed that, too. When I’m not taking it, it does tend to drop off fast. You can notice it. That’s always a good thing with herbs. When you can notice it, you know you’ve got something good there after you stop taking it.
Logan: And it’s called lion’s mane because it can take on the appearance of a lion’s mane. As many other names, it goes by the Latin Hericium erinaceus and there are many different species of it, somewhat used somewhat interchangeably. The interesting thing about it is it’s more of like a spongy mushroom. If you saw it, you might not even think it’s a mushroom because it’s what called a tooth fungi. It has these long sort of toothed gills and like I said it can take on many different shapes but it is white in color, a pretty substantial white. Some people say that that reflects that it works on the white matter of the brain and that it may help with the myelin sheath and all that. It’s just interesting to see that. So we have the sort of black fungus with chaga indicating one thing and we have this white fungus, the lion’s mane, indicating something different.
Zane: Yeah, if you look at some pictures, it does look like a human brain.
Zane: The doctrine of similarity, is that what it’s called?
Logan: Doctrine of signatures.
Zane: Doctrine of signatures, yes. See, I haven’t taken my lion’s mane and I keep forgetting. Aw, I left it in Santa Cruz, no!
Logan: Here’s a way to remember of that. Signatures are the signs of nature because that’s what it’s pointing to. Like I said, there are a lot of symbolic uses. If it looks like a brain, like a walnut, yes, that does work but looking at colors, the symbology around that and that sort of thing you can have a lot more layers of information just beyond sort of the surface level. But the signs of nature, that’s the doctrine of signature.
Zane: Yeah, I need some help with that one. Interestingly, there was one study they did. They were looking at some different aspects but they also found that it seemed to promote curiosity in rodents. That’s very interesting. They were more interested in the stuff that they’re doing it than they were before that.
Logan: Interesting, I’m curious about that now. I have not come across that one before. Interesting.
Zane: Then of course they’ve done a couple of studies that found when there’s brain damage, it really helps regrowing and reconnecting the brain. Again, that goes with the nerve growth factor, no doubt. It’s something to consider when you get into a car crash.
Logan: So it’ll be good for some of those football players in the Super Bowl yesterday and those concussions. I guess we just gave away when we recorded this podcast but that’s okay.
Zane: All right, should we talk about shiitake a little or oyster?
Logan: Actually, we can do a little bit on some of the other ones then it’s probably about time to wrap up.
Zane: Yeah, okay. Well, I think one of the big ones and I just want to talk about them because they’re so good and you can find them anywhere is the oyster mushroom. They are really actually kind of powerful. You don’t have to take these as a powder anyway. You can eat these whenever you want. Actually, with anything, you should be eating more mushrooms. Instead of eat your broccoli, I would say eat your mushrooms.
Logan: Just make sure you’re getting good and high quality ones and organic or wild-crafted because that’s one thing we learned with conventional mushrooms. While there are white button mushrooms we were talking about, they are very heavily sprayed and they basically act like sponges. They just soak that stuff up. Mushrooms really can concentrate material. You mentioned that with the betulinic acid from the birch trees and the chaga, they also heavily concentrate minerals and heavy metals. These can be positive trace minerals but they can also be radioactive type of stuff so you do want to be careful of the areas that you’re getting the mushrooms from because they’re very good at concentrating all kinds of things.
Zane: Yeah, for sure. That’s huge. Don’t ever eat conventional mushrooms unless they’re wild-crafted and then they won’t be organic so they’ll be labeled as conventional. I found that the logo. But the oyster mushrooms, basically they’re good for anything on your skin, they’re huge immune boosters. They actually work very well on stubborn cancer lines. They found out they weren’t working on other stuff, like hormone-induced cancer lines, I guess.
Zane: I don’t know where I’m going with that.
Logan: Maybe that’ll have to go together in the cancer blend
Zane: Right? And they’re also really good. Paul Stamets actually loved using oyster mushrooms to pull radiation or whatever out of the ground, too. So oyster mushrooms just play a huge role in ecologically reinvigorating the landscape and cleaning it up in the future.
Logan: That’s a whole other topic but yeah, it’s being investigated.
Zane: Then I would just want to briefly talk about maitake because I think some people would like to know maitake is very good for diabetes. It’s very good for helping in blood sugar.
Logan: There are a few different mushrooms that are good. We haven’t mentioned that effect but a few of them seem to really help with the blood sugar as well.
Zane: What’s the other one?
Logan: I know red belted conk is good for that but that’s not a wild mushroom we’re going to find. It just happens to work around here. Chaga does have some blood balancing effects.
Zane: I know there is. Maitake is also super anti-inflammatory and really helps with weight control. It actually prevents adipose cells from forming. A lot of the mushrooms will kind of do that supposedly. They’ve done studies where just eating more button mushrooms every week or a certain amount every day, 4 grams, I don’t remember, maybe it’s 4 milligrams but it wasn’t that much and just eating it every day over the course of a few weeks, people lost weight compared to the control group.
So all mushrooms have a weight-regulating effect to some extent and it has probably something to do with blood sugar levels but maitake in particular will help prevent fat cells from forming so you can eat whatever you want. Just take maitake with it. Maybe not.
Logan: Well, any final mushroom things? We mentioned a little. We could just keep going on.
Zane: We could keep going on.
Logan: There are more details or we can talk about some other mushrooms. That’s not all.
Zane: I forgot I was going to mention this because I haven’t heard this in too many places. We’re talking about medicinal mushrooms and I want to briefly bring up the mother of all medicinal mushrooms. I believe they’re called psychedelic.
Logan: Those are magic mushrooms. Those are a little different.
Zane: No, but interestingly the natives considered the psychedelic mushrooms the highest medicine compared to all the other ones. Some groups down in Mexico actually call psilocybin mushrooms and stuff the “flesh of the gods.” Interesting things can take place with your bodies. I’m not just talking about psychedelic things but the mushrooms have been shown to propagate healing. There are really no studies about that but I think there will be in the future.
Logan: I have heard that there are a couple of different places—these are schedule one drugs so it’s not easy to do this—working with psilocybin, LSD and MDMAs as far as helping people with PTSD, all kinds of other issues because it was one of the great medicines that the shamans used for themselves and for the people for some deeper level healing than just the physical often, although really physical, emotional, mental, spiritual are all tied together despite what our western medical system says and tries to do with it. That is another topic. Maybe we’ll cover that in a future podcast.
Zane: Maybe we’ll cover that. I just want to make a point though. We talked about lion’s mane and how it’s a nootropic, improves memory and that kind of stuff. If you look at psychedelics, they basically promote new connections to form in the brain. So even after you’ve had this fun, hopefully enlightening experience that grounded you, which usually you will have, you will still keep those new connections you formed in your brain long after you’re not experiencing any psychedelic stuff. So you might want to know that.
Logan: Also something interesting about the color on those, how they’re stained blue, blue is actually the probably rarest color for different foods on the earth and has some interesting things about that.
Zane: Like the blue eggplant?
Logan: Well, is there actually a blue eggplant?
Zane: I don’t know. I’m going to have to Google it. That’s just one thing that popped in my head, sorry. Blueberries, there we go. Got one.
Logan: Yeah. Okay, let’s think of something else. There you go. See? It’s that rare. Aside from blueberries, there’s really not much there.
Zane: Yeah. Well, I think we’re done for now. We can talk about psychedelics on a different show and really go into it, get into some weird stuff.
Logan: All right, that sounds good. If you have questions, I think for some future podcasts when we have an idea for a topic, we might go out to you guys and ask what your questions are on this topic. I think that’d be a good way to do it so then we have something to go off of. I hope you enjoyed this. If you listened this far, you’re either already interested in medicinal mushrooms or you’re getting there. The next part is to go out and get some of these, whether you knowledgeably go and wild craft some of it yourself or just go to the store, even just ordering powdered mycelia and extracts and taking them that way for whatever reason. I actually kind of gave a little bit of my reasons but mushrooms for me are very powerful and I kind of like them even more than other herbs just because I’m interested in them. I know some other people listening will be the same way. Mushrooms are fun. Go out and enjoy some.
Zane: Yeah, have fun. Don’t eat poisonous.