Did you know that there are around 50,000 mushroom species out there? Although a very small percentage of these species are known to be poisonous, the rest are considered very useful in today’s modern society. For centuries, humans have used mushrooms in various applications, from medicine to food preparation.
Because of its high nutritional content, mushrooms have been considered as a staple not only in cuisines but also in improving one’s health and well-being. Sure, there are some very popular mushrooms that you can easily find in the market but there also a few numbers of unique mushroom species that are deemed useful. If you want to know more about these mystical mushrooms, here are some of the rarest mushrooms out there.
1. Reishi (Lingzhi)
Known as “Lingzhi” in China and “Reishi” in Japan, the Ganoderma lucidum is a type of medicinal mushroom endemic in the East. Its wild form is considered very rare. In Chinese culture, this type of mushroom is often associated with the god of longevity. True enough, Lingzhi or Reishi is known for the health benefits it provides. When taken as a health supplement, it can help you sleep better, reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve your focus.
Studies have accounted for the presence of triterpenoids, polysaccharides, peptidoglycans, and other molecules as the reason behind its many health benefits. Aside from its calming properties, Lingzhi or Reishi is also known to boost one’s immunity. Because of its effect on your white blood cells, this mushroom not only strengthens your immune system but also helps prevent cancer in the long run. Although more research is needed to prove these claims, reishi is also considered as an aid to help control your blood sugar levels, optimize your heart health, and improve good cholesterol.
2. Lion’s Mane
Mushrooms are often associated with fungi and are known for their umbrella-shaped heads. However, that’s not the case with Hericium Erinaceus or Lion’s Mane. Lion’s Mane got its name from its globe-shaped and shaggy appearance that resembles the lustrous mane of a lion. For years, a lot of people have been buying lions mane mushroom to enjoy its cognitive and heart health benefits. Just like Reishi, Lion’s Mane is also part of traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. Thanks to its mood-boosting properties, it is also used to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, what makes it rare is that it can promote nerve factor growth and myelin production, which is very important for your brain’s overall health. So if you want to improve your memory, level of cognition, and concentration, Lion’s Mane mushroom is a good choice. This can be taken either in the form of tea, food supplement, extract, or as an ingredient to a dish. Regardless of how you take it, consumption of Lion’s Mane can certainly boost not only your brain function but also your immune system, heart health, and digestive system.
3. Cordyceps Sinensis
Priced at $20,000 per kilo, wild Cordyceps Sinensis is known to be the most expensive mushroom species in the world. The reason why Cordyceps are so expensive is that they are only grown at very high altitudes in China and the Himalayas. Apart from that, they are also considered sacred by devout Buddhists, making them harder to be cultivated for mass production.
Known as the Viagra of the Himalayas, Cordyceps are perfect if you want to boost your energy and libido. They are also recommended for boosting athletic performance. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are served as a special tonic for the royalties to treat respiratory problems and low energy. On the other hand, recent studies have proven their anti-inflammatory properties, making them a good supplement to aid muscle recovery.
Aside from being expensive, truffles are considered very rare because it is nearly impossible to cultivate them for mass production or store them for a lengthy period of time, while they are also hard to find. Used in a variety of dishes, truffles are proven to be rich in antioxidants, Vitamin D, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Aside from making dishes more flavorful, truffles are known to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They can also be used for cancer prevention and liver health.
Throughout history, various types of mushrooms have been integrated into our medicinal practices and cuisine. Their uses surpass being just an ingredient to a variety of international dishes. Mushrooms have also been proven to be a powerful component in improving one’s health and well-being. While research on particular health benefits is still ongoing, traditional medicine has relied on these precious ingredients for centuries.