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medicinal mushroom tincture
Eat Well Jan. 5. 2015
Beverages

The Ultimate Tonic

Jan. 5. 2015
Beverages
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

A medicinal mushroom tincture with turmeric infused nut milk to utilize the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

The Ultimate Tonic is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory packed tincture containing mushrooms, turmeric, cinnamon, and sweet dates with cashew milk. The word tonic is a bold statement, I know. This recipe is invigorating, somewhat medicinal from the nutrients and compounds found from the mushrooms and other ingredients I use, and hopefully restorative to your health when you’re feeling sick, sluggish, or simply want to keep your internal being nourished. It’s a year-round tonic for me.

What are medicinal mushrooms?

Many call mushrooms medicinal and have for centuries, especially in folk medicine, yet their compounds have just recently been studied (and there are so many more studies to go!).  The active constituents that make these mushrooms “medicinal” are primarily polysaccharides including beta-glucans and triterpenes.

Medicinal mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and active constituents that have been shown in studies to have immune strengthening and boosting properties among other health benefits. Even though many medicinal mushrooms have been studied, many of these still need to be looked into specifically with testing in humans.

Medicinal mushrooms are a type of adaptogen, or a food that helps your body fight inflammation and manage stress. There are several different types of adaptogens, but this tincture uses medicinal mushrooms.

Here’s a bit about what each medicinal mushroom is all about including intended use, claims, and the studies that support these claims:

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) used for: 

Enhancing the immune system to help alleviate hypertension; hyperlipidemia; viral infections such as the flu (influenza), swine flu, avian flu; cancer; inflammatory diseases; cardiovascular disease; and asthma and bronchial diseases. Also used for reducing stress, kidney disease, hepatitis and liver disease, HIV/AIDS, altitude sickness; supporting chemotherapy; and preventing fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), insomnia, and gastric ulcers. (read more)

Shiitake used for:

Enhancing the immune system to support cardiovascular health. Provides anticancer, antimicrobial, and antibacterial benefits inhibiting cell growth seen in prostate cancer and hepatotoxicity. (read more)

Chaga used for:

Cancer prevention by providing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties for immunotherapy.

Maitake used for:

Cancer prevention and alleviating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), hepatitis, hay fever, diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia. Also supports weight loss or control, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and chemotherapy.

King oyster used for:

Preventing and treating the common cold, influenza, allergies, atherosclerosis, snake and insect bites, bronchitis, cachexia, prevention of cardiovascular disease, cholera, colic, diabetes, diarrhea, flatulence, gastritis, gonorrhea, hemorrhoids, hepatomegaly, jaundice, leprosy, leptospirosis, malaria, skin wounds, skin diseases, ulcers, used as an astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, expectorant, anthelmintic, laxative, and tonic. (read more)

Cordyceps used for:

Strengthening the immune system, improving athletic performance, reducing the effects of aging, promoting longevity, treating lethargy, and improving liver function in people with hepatitis B. It is also used to treat coughs, chronic bronchitis, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, frequent nocturia, male sexual dysfunction, anemia, heart arrhythmias, high cholesterol, liver disorders, dizziness, weakness, tinnitus, wasting, and opium addiction. Also used as a stimulant, a tonic, and an adaptogen which is used to increase energy, enhance stamina, and reduce fatigue. (read more)

Many if not all of these medicinal mushrooms also are loaded with nutrients: B vitamins, zinc, manganese, choline, dietary fiber, vitamin D, copper, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and more.

Disclaimer: Note that when some of these mushrooms are taken orally in higher concentrations, they may interact with other herbal supplements, herbs, or medication. Always be careful if you’re new to a food or supplement and monitor how your body reacts. Also, some mushrooms cause allergic reactions in some individuals, so start slow and gradually increase the amount you take.

Benefits of Medicinal Mushroom Tinctures

The Ultimate Tonic is incredibly easy to digest, so it packs a nutrient punch very easily for your body to absorb and utilize. It contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, healthy fats from the chia seeds, flax seeds, and cashews along with omega-3 fatty acids plus contains all those compounds listed above from the mushrooms!

If you have dried whole mushrooms that would be fine to use, you would simply boil and rehydrate and then use that liquid in this tonic. I would also recommend drinking it warm if you choose to use the dried mushroom liquid rather than a freeze-dried powder.

If you’re wondering what a medicinal mushroom tincture tastes like, I promise it’s not too medicinal tasting. It’s slightly sweet, creamy, and has a touch of earthiness to it. I absolutely love it and find it incredibly delicious. If you’ve made my homemade cashew milk then you’ll have an idea of what this tastes like because I use that as my base. I also recommend drizzling the top with raw honey and a dash of ground cinnamon.

Tips for Making a Medicinal Mushroom Tincture

If using dried mushrooms: take 1-2 dried mushroom of each shiitake, chaga, king oyster, cordyceps, maitake, and reishi and soak at room temperature in about 2-3 cups of water until mushrooms are soft, about 1 hour. Strain and use this liquid for the recipe- note, the taste will be very earthy in comparison of using a freeze-dried mushroom mixed powder (as suggested).

Recommended mushroom powders: Mushroom Matrix (a brand with various) and Moon Juice (my absolute favorite brand to try!!!).

*NMCD database used 

The Recipe

Serves 1

Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups homemade nut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • 1-2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each organic powdered cordyceps, reishi, shiitake, chaga, maitake, and king oyster OR use 1 tablespoon of a mushroom mix
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Simply combine all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Adjust sweetness by adding additional dates
  2. Serve chilled over ice or serve warm by pouring into a small saucepan and gently heating until warm to touch.

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