The Medicinal Power of Mushrooms

There’s a fungus among us. And it’s the almighty mushroom.

The history of mushrooms (the edible kind) goes back to ancient Egypt where mushrooms were considered to be the plants of immortality and only the royals were allowed to touch or eat them. Lucky us, we now get to eat them anytime we want. Let’s look at what makes them fit for royalty.


The mushroom is NOT a plant; it’s a fungi. There are 300 edible species of which 30 have been domesticated but only 10 are commonly grown commercially for consumers.

The root system of the mushroom is called mycelium (don’t worry, there won’t be a test at the end). This root system can be small and compact or it can span thousands of acres underground. Oregon holds what is believed to be the largest mycelium network from the Honey mushroom: 2 square miles and is around 8,650 years old. Where there is mycelium, there are sprouting mushrooms.


They contain 2 powerful antioxidants; ergothioneine (an amino acid) and glutathione. Oyster mushrooms have 1000 units of ergothioneine; more than 9x its closest competitor; the black bean. Research is showing that the common white button mushroom might even be higher in both ergothioneine and glutathione than the oyster mushroom. It’s been found that when the body is deficient in ergothioneine, it leads to accelerated DNA damage & cell death.

These antioxidants, along with others, help counteract the damage of free radicals that wreak havoc in our body and cause common issues such as cataracts, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia etc making them anti-aging compounds.

Furthermore, it’s been shown that ergothioneine concentrates in our body where there’s a lot of oxidative stress (the lens of the eye, liver, bone marrow, semen and inside the mitochondria).

Studies show that one of the ways in which mushrooms improve our immune system is by boosting antibody production; another is by improving the health of our gut and digestive system and another is by reducing chronic inflammation. Mushrooms are a prebiotic and prebiotics feed the probiotic microbes (good gut bacteria) to help stimulate a healthy balance and growth of our gut microbiota. They also help regulate diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gut conditions, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and possibly even neurodegenerative diseases often which are tied to gut health, or lack thereof.

Other studies have shown that the mushroom, “Lion’s Mane”, promotes brain health by boosting neuronal function and improved recognition memory. They also induce nerve growth factor which helps improve outcomes of ischemic stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimers and depression when eaten daily.

A study was conducted in Australia on women in China, demonstrating the mushroom’s cancer fighting ability
- The women were divided into 2 groups; those who ate the equivalent of ½ button mushroom per day vs. those who didn’t.
- Those who consumed the mushrooms were 64% less likely to develop breast cancer and that number increased to 89% when they drank ½ cup of green tea 
  per day compared to age-related, “no mushroom” eaters. Source: “Breasts: The Owners Manual, K. Funk, MD”


Mushrooms have also been shown to lower PSA levels in men who have prostate cancer. Maybe there’s a preventative force in mushrooms that could stop recurrence or prevent it from ever occurring in the first place?

The mushroom, Cordyceps, has been shown to increase blood flow by dilating the arteries to allow for blood and oxygen to flow more freely, ultimately improving endurance. Cordyceps also improves the production of ATP, a source of energy for our body’s cells. When you put these 2 things together, you’ve got a reliable athletic endurance enhancer (and, you’ll test clean).

The white button mushroom is the infant, the cremini is the teenager and the portobello mushroom is the adult. They’re all the same mushroom. Who knew?!


A 2019 study showed the mushroom, “chagas”, helped stimulate hair follicle cells in a petri dish - with better results than Menoxidil. This mushroom is used in shampoos in China.


  • They help turn rotten vegetation into new growth.
  • They have a symbiotic relationship with other plants
    • They colonize the roots of a host plant. This helps the plant access and absorb more nutrients and water. In return, the plant provides the fungi with carbohydrates through photosynthesis.
  • They allow nutrients to be added back to the soil and water so other plants can use them to grow and reproduce.
  • They’re sustainably grown; they don’t hurt the soil, they only take up a little space when farmed and there’s no need for deforestation.


  • Make sure you buy mushrooms grown in the U.S.
  • Make sure you cook them before eating (the only mushroom that doesn’t need to be cooked is the Porcini). And, a good thing, cooking doesn’t affect the antioxidant levels of the mushrooms.
  • I haven’t tried it (yet) but from what I read, growing your own is fast and inexpensive.

As you can see, mushrooms should be a part of our diet. If they're not, try sneaking them into sauces, stir-frys, stews, chilis and soups. The smaller you chop them, the less they'll go noticed. Keep your eyes open as the research is continuing into further health benefits.

I'll leave you with this quote from Dr. Joel Fuhrman: 

“there are receptors (in our body) to accept ergothioneine in mushrooms, that then affect and stabilize our DNA, and how mushrooms affect the ability of the immune system to recognize abnormal cells, before they can become cancerous. It’s almost as if our body was built, with the machinery, to benefit from mushrooms and mushroom ingredients, demonstrating how critical some of these foods were, in the development of the human species; because our immune system is really dependent on these foods for maximum function”

Are you looking for an affordable, supported, strategic path to reverse or prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Click here to get more information about how we can make this happen.


© 2020 Karin Yehling. All rights reserved. Web design by Design Concepts.