Medicinal mushrooms are having a moment. While many women are hearing about or trying mushrooms like reishi and chaga for the first time thanks to wellness trends circulating the internet, the powerful healing properties of mushrooms have been understood by traditional medicine practices for thousands of years.

I like to include more mushrooms in my diet during the winter months as they are exceptionally beneficial in supporting the immune system. 

Mushrooms contain a significant amount of beta-glucans, which have been studied for their immune-modulating effects (the beta-glucans of mushrooms can help regulate a healthy immune response) and therapeutic benefits. (1)

With darker days, mushrooms also provide a substantial bioavailable source of vitamin D2 as well as a small amount of vitamin D3 (vitamin D3 can otherwise only be consumed from animal-derived foods or in supplements). (2)

A delicious way to enjoy mushrooms this winter is in this Mushroom Cacao Immunity Elixir.  

Chaga and reishi mushroom powders are blended in almond milk and mixed with cacao (offering a magnesium boost), maca (discover the 10 Hormone Balancing Wonders of Maca), and cinnamon (with blood sugar balancing benefits). The result is a creamy, relaxing elixir with an earthy and rich flavor – with serious health benefits right in your mug. 

Mushroom Spotlight:

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a mushroom well-known for its immune-boosting properties that help protect the body from viruses, cancers, and even blood sugar imbalances. (3) Even more recently, chaga mushrooms have been studied for their anti-viral properties against COVID-19. (4)

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) might be the most recognizable medicinal mushroom. Reishi mushrooms have adaptogenic properties, which can support hormone balance by regulating the body’s response to cortisol spikes from stress and adrenal fatigue. This mushroom has been shown to regulate inflammatory and allergic responses in the body (5), and also have remarkable potential in breast cancer treatment. (6)  

Tips: 

  • I used almond milk, but you can certainly try your favorite non-dairy milk in this recipe. Be sure to check the ingredients to find an unsweetened one with the least amount of additives.
  • Different mushroom powders have different health benefits. If you try another mushroom than chaga or reishi in this drink, let us know what you use in the comments below. 
Cacao Mushroom Elixir
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Recipe type: Drinks, Teas and Tonics
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • ½ tsp chaga mushroom powder
  • ½ tsp reishi mushroom powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp maca powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • For Serving
  • ⅓ cup frothed unsweetened almond milk
  • Ground cinnamon
How To Make
  1. Heat almond milk over low heat in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the sides. Whisk in remaining ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Pour into a large mug and top with frothed almond milk and sprinkle with cinnamon. Sip hot.
Note of precaution: Chaga is high in oxalates, so keep this in mind if you suffer from kidney stones, vulvodynia, mast cell disorders, or other oxalate-related symptoms. Chaga is also a blood thinner and can help lower blood sugar levels. For that reason, it may not combine well with blood thinning medications like Warfarin or aspirin or with diabetes medications. Always speak to a trusted physician or other health care provider before adding new supplements, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, are currently ill, or take medications.

Resources:

  1. Murphy, Emma J et al. “β-Glucan Metabolic and Immunomodulatory Properties and Potential for Clinical Application.” Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,4 356. 10 Dec. 2020
  2. Cardwell, Glenn et al. “A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin D.” Nutrients vol. 10,10 1498. 13 Oct. 2018
  3. Duru, Kingsley C et al. “The pharmacological potential and possible molecular mechanisms of action of Inonotus obliquus from preclinical studies.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 33,8 (2019): 1966-1980
  4. Shahzad, Fanila et al. “The Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Natural Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms and SARS-CoV-2 Infection.” Nutrients vol. 12,9 2573. 25 Aug. 2020
  5. Bhardwaj, Neha et al. “Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum.” Recent patents on inflammation & allergy drug discovery vol. 8,2 (2014)

Barbieri, Antonio et al. “Anticancer and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Ganoderma lucidum Extract Effects on Melanoma and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment.” Nutrients vol. 9,3 210. 28 Feb. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9030210