Top 6 Functional Mushrooms

October 20, 2022

In our last blog we dove into the world and anatomy of functional mushrooms. We learned about their anatomy, function, and what capacity they have to benefit our health.

We learned that these power-houses have a pretty impressive ability to help with chronic pain and illnesses. Their adaptogenic properties are a wonder to behold for sure. Now let’s learn about how to incorporate these influential funguses and reap the benefits!

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Top 6 Functional Mushrooms

With over 1.5 million types of fungi and mushrooms it can be hard to know which one will be worth getting. Here are the top six mushrooms to utilize for great health benefits.

Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi Mushrooms

This odd looking mushroom is known in China to promote longevity and spirituality. It’s been used in Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years! This particular mushroom has several names such as: “bridge between Earth and Heaven”, “mushroom of immortality”, and “mushroom of spiritual potency” or the “ruler of herbs”.

Reishi has incredible adaptogenic properties that support you through occasional stress and promote restful sleep. Use this nightly to calm and relax your body to prepare it for sleep.

Pair it with cacao to counter the slight bitterness and you’ve got an incredible night tonic to soothe the soul so your body may do its nightly repairing while you sleep.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

This mushroom grows on hardwood and looks shaggy, white, and fluffy. While it may look light and airy, it actually has a meaty texture and mild texture.

Lion’s Mane is known to be your brain’s best friend. It’s been utilized for the incredible ability to sharpen and help with focus. Buddhist monks have been using Lion’s Mans to bring focus to their meditations for years. Also known to bring creativity and a sense of productivity to a busy day.

A great way to use this in powder form in your morning hot beverage. Easily blends well as a powder in smoothies! Sauteing them fresh with olive oil and fresh herbs is always a fun way to add new healthful ingredients into your dishes.

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga Mushroom

Now here’s a mushroom that doesn’t really look like a mushroom. It resembles a rock more so, it’s dark in color with some rusty brown spots and forms into a clump. More often found in colder places in northern regions like Siberia, North Korea, and Canada.

Interestingly, in WWII it was used as a coffee substitute when coffee rations were low. It’s similar in taste and color to medium roasted coffee!

Chaga is bursting with antioxidants and beta-glucans especially in fully grown ones that take up to 20 years to grow and mature! Great for the immune system!

It can be brewed like tea or ground into a powder to be blended into any savory dish. I love adding powdered chaga into a hearty stew or soup to bring depth and richness as well.

Cordycep Mushrooms

Cordycep Mushrooms

These strange mushrooms look like caterpillars and have been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine. The story of their origin sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel. They grow as an endoparasitoid, like a parasite typically on caterpillars!

Cordyceps are often used for athletic performance, to support stamina and endurance. It provides you with a potent feeling to get up and get going! 

Again, I take the powder version and put it in my coffee in the morning if I’m having a hard time getting up.
Another easy way is to use it as a pre workout. Simply add the powder to a drink with electrolytes or a hot cacao and you’ve got a naturally non-stimulant pre workout drink!

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

These mushrooms look like they sound. Displaying beautiful, light and dark brown stripes in a fanned pattern. This mush grows on the underside of fallen trees, making it a polypore. It’s also rather abundant worldwide!

Turkey Tail has a great amount of prebiotics and antioxidants making it great to protect and support your gut!

Best used as a tea. Turkey tail is naturally chewy in texture so cooking it fresh is not ideal. Powder form is again, another great way to add into your diet.

Tremella Mushroom

This cloud looking mushroom is touted for its ability to bring vibrancy and beauty to those who consume it. It is an extremely hydrating functional mushroom (it can hold up to 500 times its weight in water)! This helps provide your skin with a glow.

The flavor is subtle to be sure, which makes it great to mix into any food or drink! I even used it as an added superfood ingredient into salad dressing. Blended great and goes with any flavor! 

Get creative and try to incorporate these powerhouse ingredients and reap the health benefits! 

There’s tons of fun interesting ways to add them into your daily routine. Here at Vitality Natural Medicine we love using Four Sigmatic in our morning coffee or smoothies.

A creamy shiitake fettuccine is lovely for a fall or winter meal. For the summer and spring time the  barbecue pulled portobello sandwich goes great with the warm weather.
Try these simple recipes to get you started!

Spiced Chaga Collagen Coffee Latte



  • ¾ cup filtered water boiled
  • ⅓ cup Nut Milk of choice (we like hazelnut milk)
  • 2 tsps of Chaga Mushroom powder
  • ½ tsp Raw Cacao powder
  • ½ tsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Butter
  • 2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • Sprinkle with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves 

Stir-Fried Noodles with Mushrooms



  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • ¼ lb shiitakes or oyster mushrooms
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup cooked soba noodles
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Splash of sesame oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp mirin
  • Sesame seeds, to garnish


1. Heat oil in a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender and starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add ginger and garlic and cook 1 more minute, stirring to combine.
3. Add noodles, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, and mirin. Use tongs or a wooden spoon to combine and heat through all ingredients.
4. Remove to a plate and garnish with sesame seeds.

Pulled BBQ Mushroom Sandwiches

Source Fresh Mushrooms, Mushroom Council:


  • 4 Portobello mushroom caps (about 1 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 1/3 cup your favorite bbq sauce
  • 2 hamburger buns

Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime  juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Remove the stems* and clean the tops of mushroom caps with a damp paper towel. Using a spoon, gently scrape off the black gills from under the mushroom caps.
  3. Place the mushroom caps on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes to dry them out. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. You can also use the air fryer to dry out the mushrooms for 15 minutes at 400°F.
  4. Gently pull apart the roasted mushrooms using two forks until they have that shredded “pulled” look. Set aside.
  5. In a skillet, heat olive oil at medium heat. Sauté onions until tender for about 5 minutes.
  6. To the sautéed onions, add the shredded mushrooms, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste, liquid smoke (if using), and bbq sauce.
  7. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all is warmed through and well combined.
  8. Serve pulled portabellas on hamburger buns with slaw. Enjoy!

Francesca Quinn
Naturopathic Doctor Denver
(720) 310-0797
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