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Tonic Herbs, Adaptogens and Medicinal Mushrooms: What You Need to Know


By now, you’ve more than likely heard the terms ‘tonic herbs’, ‘adaptogens’ and ‘medicinal mushrooms’ being talked about excitedly in health and wellness circles over recent months. But if you’re new to the world of herbal medicine, you may be wondering what these substances actually are, how they differ, and what benefits they offer. 


We’re taking a closer look at these heroes of the herbal universe, so you can understand how to harness the phenomenal power of tonic herbs to boost both physical and mental health.

Firstly, what’s the difference between tonic herbs, adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms?


The term ‘tonic herbs’ is used to cover any herbs that are believed to be ‘superior’ according to traditional Taoist principles. This means they can be incorporated into the diet on a long-term basis as a way to heal the body and promote longevity.


Within the tonic herb category comes a wide range of herbs, including tree mushrooms - which are commonly referred to as medicinal mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms include varieties such as reishi, Lion’s Mane and maitake - all of which hold potent and diverse health benefits.


Adaptogens are herbal substances that work to counteract the effects of stress in the body. These non-toxic plants have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to help the body resist physical, chemical and biological stressors.


Certain varieties of medicinal mushrooms are adaptogenic mushrooms, meaning they can be used to reduce the impact of stress on the body.


The Health Benefits of Adaptogenic Mushrooms


Different types of medicinal, adaptogenic mushrooms can provide powerful health benefits in a variety of areas - from brain, mood and mental focus to hormones, immunity and energy levels.


To give you an insight into how different varieties of mushrooms can improve your health and wellbeing, we’re highlighting six types of adaptogenic mushrooms and the benefits they can bring.


1. Reishi


Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, reishi mushrooms are the Xanax of the mushroom world! With powerful adaptogenic effects, they’re known to relieve stress and anxiety, boost immunity, promote deep sleep, lower blood sugar, and reduce excess fat storage.


2. Lion’s Mane


The ultimate herbal brain booster, Lion’s Mane stimulates the production of a bioprotein called nerve growth factor (NGF), which is a key element in brain health and neurone regeneration. Lion’s Mane can help to improve memory and focus, boost creativity, and enhance mental clarity.


3. Cordyceps


By supporting your adrenal glands and boosting energy levels, cordyceps can help to boost strength and stamina, beat fatigue, and enhance exercise performance and recovery. What’s more, as cordyceps increases cellular oxygen absorption, it can be beneficial for people with asthma.


4. Chaga


A natural anti-inflammatory, Chaga mushrooms are highly effective in reducing inflammation in the body. They’re also proven to fight against viral infections and support immunity, as well as providing sustained energy and protecting against damaging free radicals.


5. Shiitake


Revered as a symbol of longevity for thousands of years, shitake mushrooms are more than just a tasty addition to your stir-fries. These potent adaptogenic herbs are rich in B vitamins, vitamin D and zinc, helping to fortify the immune system and support cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


6. Turkey Tail


Boasting strong antiviral properties, turkey tail is a great way to strengthen your immune system and protect against viral infections such as influenza. This adaptogenic powerhouse also offers gut-healing benefits, helping to nourish healthy bacteria in the microbiome for improved digestive health.

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