What are Medicinal Mushrooms ?
Certain fungi have been found to possess particular chemical compounds which have health benefits.
These fungi have become a new health-food, supplement & natural medicine trend throughout the world. The most common medicinal mushrooms includes Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Maitake & Lion's Mane.
Mushrooms have been used for health purposes for thousands of years and are part of medical systems including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Modern medicinal mushrooms extracts are a result of:
a) Scientific study & research on fungi
b) Technological advancements to optimise extraction methods
c) Commercial farming, enabling greater access to mushrooms
Much of the modern medicinal mushroom research & development was started and carried out in China and Japan from the 1950's onwards, however over the last few decades research has been undertaken in many other countries.
Scientific research has focused on different fungi for different conditions (e.g Turkey Tail for cancer care or Lion's Mane for cognitive health). Specific active compounds have been identified within different mushrooms, which make them therapeutically potent.
It is these main active compounds which are the benchmark that is used for dosing in clinical trials. This enable research to more objectively determine the effectiveness of the mushrooms.
Extraction is crucial to bio-availability.
Not all mushrooms are equal
Very few medicinal mushroom companies worldwide specify the
bio-available main active ingredients. This is mainly because often what is sold includes very little or even no active ingredients.
Although it is compulsory to have a Certificate of Analysis, very few companies share this info as their results are not their main selling point. Oriveda shares its Certificates of Analysis with customers.
All third-party test results are available by clicking here.
Heavy metals / trace elements were tested at CWC Labs, Beta-Glucans / Polyphenols were tested at Eurofins and Ganoderic acids, Cordycepin and adenosine were tested at Alkemist Labs.
Using ratios as a quality marker stems from herbal practice: a dried herb (± 10:1) is more potent than the fresh one in general - this is applicable even to kitchen herbs!
Using a ratio-indicator with mushrooms is often deceiving, because it only indicates a decrease in volume / weight (which one is never specified, somehow), and in itself reveals nothing about chemical composition or bio-availability - the consumer still has no clue if the product is in fact therapeutically useful.
Some companies emphasise that their products are grown in the wilderness or semi-wilderness or the original environment (e.g in China), often accompanied with nice images of pristine nature.
Whilst it is true that fresh mushrooms in the forest are premium treasures, in case of most medicinal mushrooms it is simply not viable, nor sustainable, to harvest from pristine nature in the origin country and sell commercially in health-food stores across 'first world' countries.
So when the company selling mushrooms says "semi-wild" on package, it may mean that perhaps 1-5% of the mushrooms are grown in the wild, with the rest grown in mushroom farms.
Wild harvesting should also not be an excuse for not having the mushrooms tested for key active ingredients. Why not do both?
Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with growing the mushrooms in contrived evironments, providing it is done with care and experience.
All Oriveda products are USDA Organic certificate, issued by EcoCert SA. However, 'organic' is NOT a good quality indicator for medicinal mushrooms; as it only focuses on things that should NOT be present in the product (e.g. traces of pesticides and fertilisers) instead of focusing on the things that ARE PRESENT in the product (bioavailable bio-actives). In the end these compounds determine the usability and therapeutic potential of the product.
Organic does not ensure there are no microbial or heavy metal contamination either! Again testing is imperative.
Despite the good intentions "organic" labelling it is used by the majority of vendors as an effective marketing tool only. In the case of medicinal mushrooms 'Organic' is not a reliable quality indicator !
Putting herbs or herbal powder in a bottle together with alcohol and/or water is called 'cold-extraction'. Liquid extracts or alcohol tinctures are effective with herbs, but never with mushrooms. Alcohol or water does not break down chitin, the main structural ingredient of fungal cells that our body cannot digest. Some directly exposed bioactive compounds will dissolve in the liquid, but the percentages are very low. Mushroom tinctures therefore rarely specify bio-active compounds on their supplement facts label, because these levels are entirely unpredictable and in general below the level of detection. At least 95% of the tincture is just liquid and the therapeutic potency is minimal, if any.
It is really important to ensure the mushrooms you are buying have heavy metal analysis!!! Organically/naturally grown Mushrooms does not mean anything in terms of heavy metal composition.
To reassure you about Oriveda’s products we can honestly say all products are 100% safe. The extracts are tested by third-party laboratory for heavy metals and other trace elements. The test results are available here. The analytical labs used (CWC, Eurofins Group) are ISO/IEC 17025 accredited, which is the highest level of certification.
Value for money is determined by the amount of bioactive ingredients you get for your money, not by just the weight or the size of the package, nor the beautiful branding/story.
In case of Oriveda, globally highest percentages of third-party proven bio-active compounds are guaranteed to be present. Oriveda products may be more expensive than some mushroom supplements, however the bio-active compounds present are often dozens of times higher, making the purchase money well spent!
Knowing what is listed on the official supplement facts label (not just the the package/website) is essential to determining value for money.
A product without guaranteed levels of bio-actives cannot be valued objectively and as a consumer, one has no clue what is being sold. Accurate dosing is impossible because you don’t know the amount of bio-actives.
Popularity of mushroom products and edible fungi is growing like mushrooms after rainfall. Whilst buying mushrooms from your local grower is a great way to obtain mushrooms and support community, it does not mean better quality in terms of medicinal mushrooms.
Third party tested and guaranteed presence of bio-available and bio-active compounds remains the best and most reliable way to establish quality in the realm of medicinal mushrooms.
The most fair and reasonable method to ascertain quality of Medicinal Mushroom is third-party testing.
We recommend asking third party verified objective results from any of your supplement vendors as quality marker.
Oriveda products are manufactured with the highest compliance with the following quality standards by EuroFins
ISO 9001:2008, ISO 22000:2005, HACCP, cGMP
& Halal, Koosjer, USDA organic (EcoCert)
Why use medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are nutraceuticals, meaning 'food with therapeutic potential'. providing a wide range of trace minerals, supporting the immune system, enhance organ function and providing an excellent source of nutrition. It is wise to consume highly nutritions functional foods every now and then to make sure we give our bodies the best fuel.
Prevention & nourishment
Medicinal mushrooms are an excellent source of nourishment and balancing our health, due to the adaptogenic nature of mushrooms. Adaptogens are substances that "adapt" to our bodies needs. Simply said, if something is excessive, adaptogens help by reducing and if something is deficient, adaptogens support and build.
Mushrooms are one of the best adaptogenic foods available and can be very helpful in regulating optimal health.
Medicine & healing
In combination with allopathic treatment, mushroom extracts can often help to improve the positive effects of that treatment and to minimise side effects. In some cases they can even replace the regular treatment (please note we do not recommend to do so without serious consideration and discussions with your doctor). In general mushroom extracts do not have side effects themselves - they are nutraceuticals (food with therapeutic potential).
For example, Turkey Tail is proven to be highly effective to support cancer patients , Reishi has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years safely and effectively & Lions Mane is amongst the best supplements for neurological disorders. The research into mushrooms is still in infancy, however the result so far are overwhelmingly positive.
Medicinal mushrooms are not miracle cures! Do not replace your prescribed medicine with mushrooms. Always consult with you doctor for best outcome. Have an holistic approach, including management of lifestyle, stress, sleep, diet, emotional wellbeing, environment, exercise, meditative practices, etc.
Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has studied and used medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years (compared to a few decades in Western countries). TCM has a comprehensive and alternative understanding of how medicinal mushrooms can effect us. We highly recommend consulting with a Traditional Chinese Medicine expert of herbs in case of taking mushrooms, especially for medicinal purposes. Whilst small quantity of mushrooms is highly unlikely to cause any harm and most medicinal mushrooms are considered very safe, extended long term use can have unwanted side effects, that especially from TCM holistic point of view.
Because medicinal mushrooms are potent (Oriveda is especially potent), it is best to consult with expert herbalist to understand which mushroom, why and how long to take.