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Eat Well Jan. 5. 2015
Beverages

The Ultimate Tonic

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

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder

The Ultimate Tonic, something that you need to bookmark for future use, trust me it’ll come in handy on days where you’re in need a little boost for your immune system! The word tonic is a bold statement, I know. I call it a tonic because it is! It’s invigorating, somewhat medicinal from the nutrients and compounds found from the mushrooms and other ingredients I use, and hopefully restorative to your health in the sense of when you’re feeling sick, sluggish, or simply want to keep your internal being nourished- a year round tonic for me.

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.

I’m not claiming this drink has the power to cure or treat; but what I can tell you is it’s PACKED with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and the active constituents in these mushrooms that have been studied showing immune strengthening and boosting properties amongst other health benefits. Even though some of these have been studied, many of these still need to be looked into specifically with testing in humans. Here’s a bit about what each mushroom is all about (i.e. intended use, claims, and the studies:

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) used for: enhancing the immune system, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, viral infections such as the flu (influenza), swine flu, avian flu, cancer, inflammatory disease, cardiovascular disease, and asthma and bronchial diseases. Reducing stress, kidney disease, hepatitis and liver disease, HIV/AIDS, altitude sickness, supporting chemotherapy, preventing fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), insomnia, and gastric ulcers. (read more)
  • Shiitake used for: enhancing immune system, cardiovascular health, anticancer, antimicrobial, antibacterial, inhibiting cell growth seen in prostate cancer, hepatotoxicity, (read more)
  • Chaga used for: anticancer, antioxidant, in immunotherapy, an anti-inflammatory, diabetes, etc.
  • Maitake used for: cancer prevention, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), hepatitis, hay fever, diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, weight loss or control, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancer including breast cancer, and chemotherapy support.
  • 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.

Note some of these mushrooms when taken orally in higher concentrations than if you were to just eat, may interact with other herbal supplements, herbs or medication- just throwing that out there, always be careful if you’re new to a food. Also, some mushrooms cause allergic reactions in some individuals, start slow and gradual.

All science aside, 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; and 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 it 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- perfect.

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).

The Ultimate Tonic
Recipe Type: drink, nut milk
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory packed tonic containing mushrooms, turmeric, cinnamon, and sweet dates with cashew milk. VGN GF Paleo
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups [url href=”https://nutritionstripped.com/guide-to-nut-milks/” target=”_blank”]homemade cashew milk[/url]
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

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

Have you all tried using dried mushroom powders in cooking or in general? I hope you all give this a try and enjoy it! I promise, it tastes amazing and the mushroom flavors are barely there yet their nutrient content is!

xx McKel

*NMCD database used 

The Recipe

Serves 1

Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups [url href=”https://nutritionstripped.com/guide-to-nut-milks/” target=”_blank”]homemade cashew milk[/url]
  • 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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