The power of mushrooms for body and mind is being discovered by more and more people. There is currently a lot of attention for medicinal and adaptogenic mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga, Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail and Cordyceps.
Whether you want to develop more resistance to stress, strengthen your immune system, improve your sleep, increase your energy levels, balance your mental and emotional well-being or optimize your focus, medicinal mushrooms can make a powerful contribution.
Medicinal mushroom products are made from different parts: the fruiting body, the mycelium or a combination of both. As a result, both the properties and the quality of these products can differ considerably. In this article I explain more about what the terms mean, what the characteristics are and why I chose my specific ingredients in the High Vibeology blends.
Mushrooms are not plants, but belong to their own kingdom: the fungi.
Their DNA is not only more similar to that of humans than that of plants, humans even share almost 50% of their DNA with mushrooms.
The visible part of the fungi that grows above the ground, consisting of the cap with plates and the stem, is the mushroom: the fruiting body of the fungi. It grows from the underground thread-like filaments or hyphae that form a network together: the mycelium. You can think of the mycelium as a fruit tree and the mushrooms as the fruits that grow on it.
All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms.
Mushroom products: fruiting body or mycelium?
If we consider the nutrients, each part of the fungi has its own specific characteristics.
The thick walls of the fruiting body contain fibers that are good for your gut, among other things. Mycelium, on the other hand, is thinner and therefore easier to digest.
Some types of fungi contain unique components in their fruiting bodies that are not present in the mycelium and vice versa.
The production method of the product also plays a major role. This determines the quality of a product and therefore also how much you will benefit from it.
In mushroom cultivation, the mycelium is usually mixed with rice, wheat or oats as a building material to grow the mushroom.
Products that only contain the fruiting body do not use mycelium, which makes them very pure.
Products that use the entire fungus, mix the fruiting body with the mycelium.
Some products only contain mycelium. This means that the mycelium is mixed with the rest of the grain and ground into the final product. The production process becomes much easier and faster this way, but in most cases it also lowers the quality.
Cultivated fungi often have the mycelium so entangled with the grain used for the growth process, that the concentration of active ingredients is much lower than in the fruiting body.
Mushroom expert mycologist Jeff Chilton says that medicinal mushrooms and extracts made from the fruiting body contain about 30-40% beta-glucans. Mycelium that is cultivated on grain, however, usually contains a maximum of 7% beta-glucans and often even less, according to Jeff.
Beta-glucans are polysaccharides that, among other things, contribute to a strong immune system. Oats for example also contain beta-glucans, but the ones in mushrooms are more pure.
This does not mean that products made from mycelium are by definition of lower quality.
Mushroom expert mycologist Paul Stamets, for example, is a big proponent of products with mycelium. His company produces these according to a specific method in which part of the grain is converted and the mycelium expands.
The point is that not every company has the knowledge and resources to produce at the level of, say, Paul Stamets.
There is virtually no quality assurance on these types of products and the average consumer simply does not know what type of product they get.
The quality and integrity of a product is an absolute priority in my opinion, which is why it is important to do your own research.
I personally believe that a combination of fruiting body with good quality mycelium is absolutely valuable.
Research has shown * that the two components of Lion's Make (Hericium erinaceus) that stimulate the NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) are found in different parts of this fungus. Hericenones are only in the fruiting body and Erinacines only in the mycelium.
I chose to work with fruiting body for my products, because I consider it the purest and highest quality. This is mainly due to the lack of insight into the purity of cultivated Mycelium.
If I will grow my own mushrooms in the future and learn from other experts, then I'm very curious about the possibilities.
All seven types of mushrooms from the High Vibeology blends; Reishi, Chaga, Lion's Mane, Cordyceps, Shiitake, Maitake and Tremella are 100% fruiting body from organic cultivation.