Shiitake is one of the few mushrooms that combines truly delicious flavor with superior health benefits. Today it is the second most commonly cultivated edible mushroom in the world. Both fresh and dried shiitake are used frequently in the cuisines of East Asia, and it is the main protein source for many Asian vegetarians. Medicinal use of shiitake dates back at least as far as 100 A.D. in China.
Shiitake mushrooms are claimed to combat both cancer and AIDS by stimulating the body’s immune system.
Why to Use Shiitake
One reason to include shiitake in your diet is its very pleasing flavor, prized by many connoisseurs. Of course, another very important feature of the mushroom is its significant health benefits. These include immune system support, reduction of platelet aggregation, and antibacterial and antiviral properties. Shiitake mushrooms are claimed to combat both cancer and AIDS by stimulating the body’s immune system.
Shiitake is also promoted as an aid to cardiovascular disease prevention, lowering harmful cholesterol levels. It is also thought to be effective in treating viral infections such as hepatitis, since it contains biochemical predecessors to interferon – a protein that inhibits virus replication.
How to Use Shiitake
Before using dried shiitake mushrooms, they must be rehydrated by soaking in water. Although fresh shiitake mushrooms are not poisonous, it is recommended that the mushrooms be well cooked. This will prevent shiitake dermatitis, a rash that occasionally affects some users of the raw mushroom.
If you wish to use shiitake strictly for medicinal purposes, you can take it as a supplement, in capsules or as a liquid extract. There are many companies offering high-quality shiitake dietary supplements, at reasonable prices.
Shiitake mushrooms are non-toxic, allowing you to enjoy them even in large quantities over many days in a row, with no negative effects.
Credit: kozumei / Flickr
Where to Buy Shiitake
In North America and Europe, fresh shiitake mushrooms can be bought from bigger grocery stores; shiitake dietary supplements can be found in most any health or natural food store. In Asia, shiitake is as common a food as rice – it can be purchased anywhere.
If you want to test a product containing shiitake, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Winning, which contains 6 other mushrooms and rose hip along with shiitake. You can find FSF Winning HERE.
Tremella has a long history of use in Chinese cuisine, primarily in beverages and sweet dishes. It is a rather flavorless mushroom, but is appreciated for its texture and medicinal benefits. Other names for tremella include silver fungus and snow ear fungus in English, 银耳 / 銀耳 (“silver ear”), 雪耳 (“snow ear”) and 白木耳 (“white wood ear”) in Chinese, and shiro kikurage (“white tree jellyfish”) in Japanese.
Tremella is said to be the beauty secret of Yang Guifei (born 1 June, 719; died 15 July 756), Imperial Consort and one of the Four Beauties of Ancient China.
Why to Use Tremella
The make-up of the tremella mushroom is more than 70 percent dietary fiber. It includes substances such as polysaccharides and vitamin D, making it an excellent choice for a healthy diet. Tremella’s gelatinous but fairly firm texture and faint, almost undetectable flavor make it a most interesting ingredient in various dishes.
How to Use Tremella
Currently there are not many ways to introduce tremella into your diet. The easiest is to take it in dietary supplement form – as a tincture, capsule or tablet. If you want to go “hardcore,” find some fresh or dried tremella fungus and use it in cooking. Since tremella has almost no flavor, it is easy to incorporate in almost any recipe.
Photo credit: Pellaea
Where to Buy Tremella
Tremella products are not common in America or Europe, but they can sometimes be found in larger health food stores or smaller specialized stores. In Asia, tremella products are far more common, found in most food stores and available from any practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine.
If you want to test a product containing tremella, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Mania, which contains 6 other mushrooms and rose hip along with tremella. You can find FSF Mania HERE.
Bee pollen is highly valued and extremely nutritious food, appreciated as a complete food by many health experts. Bee pollen has been used all over the world, for thousands of years. It is mentioned in the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran and the Book of Mormon, as well as in some ancient writings of the Far East.
Bee pollen is gathered for human consumption using filters placed at the entrance of the apiary (beehive). When bees pass through the filter, it gathers 10-15% of the pollen they carry, leaving plenty for the bees’ own uses.
Bee pollen is considered one of the best protein sources in the world. It contains 25% protein, with a high absorption rate.
Why to Use Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is packed with nutrients. It contains a full range of vitamin Bs (with the exception of B12), vitamins C, D and E, a full amino acid profile, 12 salient enzymes for the digestive system and up to 60 minerals. In addition, it contains carotenoids, small amounts of lecithin, choline, fatty acids, and the nucleic acids DNA and RNA.
Bee pollen is considered one of the best protein sources in the world. It contains 25% protein, with a high absorption rate. According to some clinical tests, some of bee pollen’s nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream directly from the stomach – not a common trait among foods.
It has been found that bee pollen may enhance sexual willingness and ability. It boosts energy levels and performance, and speeds and optimizes recovery after exercise. It has been seen to reduce histamine production, and so can lessen or neutralize the effects of some allergies.
Credit: tony_the_bald_eagle / Flickr
How to Use Bee Pollen
One can use large amounts of bee pollen daily, but it is a good idea to start off gradually, so the body can adjust itself to the new food substance. One tablespoon a day is a good amount to begin with. Soaking in water for 12 hours enhances bee pollen’s bioavailability. Bee pollen can be mixed with your morning cereals, mixed into smoothies or even used in baking. High temperature can ruin some of pollen’s nutrients, so the less it is heated, the better. This is also one reason freeze-dried bee pollen is a smart choice.
Where to Buy Bee Pollen
Bee pollen products are available in health food stores throughout North America and Western Europe. In Asia, it can be purchased in regular supermarkets as well. You can find many different Bee Pollen products online, but in terms of sustainability and quality we trust only Y.S. Organic Bee Farms’ products.
Amazon US (Affiliate*): Y.S. Organic Bee Farms Fresh Bee Pollen Whole Granules
*Affiliate program link: Product costs the same to you but Four Sigma Foods gets a percentage of the sales to bring more healthy products to you.
Cistanche is a highly valued (Yang) tonic herb in the traditional Chinese medicine, and now it’s starting to be known in the West as a true super herb. Cistanche deserticola and Cistanche salsa are the main sources of Cistanche. The Chinese herbal medicine uses mainly Cistanche deserticola. Cistanche deserticola is a holoparasitic desert plant, which lacks chlorophyll and obtain nutrients and water from the host plants whose roots they parasitize.
Cistanche is recognised in the Shennong Bencao Jing and Bencao Gangmu, two important books on Chinese herbal medicine, which means it has been used as a medicine at least 1800 years.
Why to use Cistanche
Cistanche is known to strengthen sexual function, treat impotence, and promote blood and lymph. Some studies state that Cistanche deserticola may possess anti-fatigue properties as it is shown to decrease muscle damage, delay the accumulation of lactic acid and improve the energy storage. Cistanche is also shown to enhance learning and memory, which is believed to be due to its action in upregulating nerve growth factor. Some ancient texts claim that the consumption of Cistanche enhances the strength of erections by directing the blood flow to the pelvic and genital area.
How to use Cistanche
Cistanche is a very gentle root, which you can use even longer times without any negative effects. Use it for strengthening your (or your partner’s) sexual function, as a blood tonic, a brain tonic or for enhancing your overall energy levels. Most common way to consume cistanche is in capsule and tincture form. While those are good ways to consume cistanche, FSF believes that it should be part of our everyday diet as it’s quite tasty and very easy to add into smoothies, shakes, raw chocolate and raw ice creams.
Where to buy Cistanche
You may find some cistanche dietary supplements from your local health foods stores or major international e-tailers.
The meshima mushroom grows on mulberry trees, and has long been important in the traditional medicine of China, Korea and Japan. Its name means “women’s island,” and it grows on an island of the same name. Meshima is almost completely unknown in the West, but recent scientific studies, one conducted by Harvard University, have increased awareness of this potent food.Its most interesting attribute, however, is its usefulness in combating skin, lung, and breast cancer.
Why to Use Meshima
Like most of the medicinal mushrooms, meshima contains polysaccharides, which have helpful effects on many bodily functions. Traditionally, it is used for stomachache, and for arthritis of the knee. Its most interesting attribute, however, is its usefulness in combating skin, lung, and breast cancer.
How to Use Meshima
A traditional way to consume Meshima is as a tea, but today most users take it in tablet or capsule form, as a dietary supplement.
Where to Buy Meshima
Meshima products are in short supply in the Americas and Europe, and it is difficult to find them. In Asia, meshima products are more common, though still not main-stream. There are no good meshima products on the market yet, and we don’t want recommend you any bad ones. As soon as a good product shows up, we let you know about it.
If you want to test a product containing meshima, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Mania, which contains 6 other mushrooms and rose hip along with meshima. You can find FSF Mania HERE.
Roseroot is also known by the common names Rhodiola, Ruusujuuri, Rosenroot, Golden Root, Arctic Root, Orpin Rose, Rhodiole Rougeatre. Allegedly roseroot was in use as far back as the Vikings as a medicine and for its strengthening properties on hard work. The first materia medica in Iceland said roseroot to “enhance the intellect”, “tonic against inﬁrmity” and “restore weak nerves”. The recent use of the herbal medicine in traditional medicine comes from northern Jamtland, Sweden. In Sweden Lapps are said to chew on bits of roots during long journeys to gave them much needed endurance. Even the functional claim of Rhodiola dietary supplements currently mentioned in the Consolidated list of Article 13 health claims of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) states “contributes to optimal mental and cognitive activity”.
Roseroot is also considered being an anti-fatigue anti-stress, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arrhythmic and anti-tumor superherb.
Why to use Roseroot
Roseroot has an impressive list of possible benefits, including – among many others – stimulating blood circulation, harmonizing sexual functions, uplifting mood, scavenging free radicals, being a neuro-, cardio- and hepatoprotective, and the list goes on. Roseroot is also considered being an anti-fatigue anti-stress, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arrhythmic and anti-tumor superherb. It is shown to stimulate the central nervous system, especially effects on cognitive functions such as attention, memory and learning capabilities. There’s actually very little that this miracle food is not said being able to deliver; hence it could be just the thing you have been looking for for your own modern lifestyle challenges.
Photo credit: talaakso
How to use Roseroot
Roseroot is an adaptogen you may not want to use too much or otherwise your body will adapt to it. Use roseroot when you feel especially stressed or when you have a task needing high mental or physical performance. Most common way to consume roseroot is capsules and tinctures. FSF thinks that roseroot has so much more potential than being a dietary supplement. It should be part of a 3 Michelin star restaurant’s menu. Besides culinary cuisines, roseroot is a perfect addition to smoothies, shakes, raw chocolate and raw ice creams.
Where to buy Roseroot
You may find some roseroot dietary supplements from your local health foods stores or major international e-tailers.
If you want to test a product containing roseroot, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective products out there are our FSF Endurance and FSF Focus. You can find them HERE.
Mucuna pruriens seed has been used for anti-Parkinson and as a sex booster in ancient Eastern Indian ethnotherapeutics for ages, but in the western medicine Mucuna is more or less unknown plant until recently. Mucuna has been getting more attention especially among bodybuilders and those who are looking for natural sex boosters.
Why to use Mucuna pruriens seed
Mucuna pruriens seed an antihypertensive and anti-hypoglycemic agent, which contains active substances that boost the production of our “brain hormones” like serotonin and dopamine. That helps out with sleep quality, daily energy levels, sex drive, and general mood levels. Although a powerful sex booster and well-being herb, the science has drawn attention to Mucuna pruriens seed especially because of its anti-Parkinson’s disease properties.
Some scientific studies showed that Mucuna pruriens seed treatment signiﬁcantly restored the internal levodopa, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin content in the substantia nigra (a brain structure located in the midbrain that plays an important role in reward, addiction, and movement). A metabolic disturbances in the substantia nigra are associated with Parkinson’s disease and with Huntington’s disease. Nicotine adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and coenzyme Q-10 are both present in Mucuna and are shown to have a therapeutic beneﬁt in Parkinson’s disease, but L-DOPA is believed to be the main chemical of Mucuna pruriens seed’s Parkinson’s disease inhibiting properties.
Photo credit: scott.zona
L-DOPA is a chemical, which humans (amongst the some other animals and plants) make through biosynthesis from the amino acid L-tyrosine. L-DOPA is the precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine – an important brain chemical involved in mood, sexuality, and movement.
Mucuna has also exhibited signiﬁcant antioxidant effects – ability to scavenge DPPH radicals, ABTS radicals and reactive oxygen species – iron chelating properties. Polyphenols of Mucuna crosses the protective blood–brain barrier, thus exert their antioxidant and iron chelating properties in the brain.
By being a strong brain food it also assists in building more testosterone, making it an optimal addition for people looking to change their body composition by losing fat or gaining muscle.
How to use Mucuna
The most common ways to use Mucuna are as a powdered extract (as a loose powder extract or in capsules). We, at FSF, believe that that is a huge disrespect towards this magnificent herb. We could do so much more out of it. Mucuna extract would actually make a delicious raw chocolate. Easiest way is to craft a basic raw chocolate and add 1-3 teaspoons of Mucuna extracts. It also goes well with smoothies and raw ice creams. Let’s be creative.
Where to buy Mucuna
You may find some Mucuna dietary supplements from your local health foods stores or major international e-tailers.
If you want to test a product containing mucuna, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Princess and FSF Prince. You can find them HERE.
The drama behind royal agaricus’s Latin name is one of the stranger stories in the world of superfoods. When the mushroom was discovered by Westerners in the late 19th century, it was named Agaricus subrufescens. Since then, it has been “rediscovered” – and given a brand-new name – several times. The most famous of these extra names is Agaricus blaze; the most recent is Agaricus brasiliensis. In addition to these, there is also Agaricus rufotegulis, adding to the naming game. Despite all the labels, there is just one species involved, and according to authorities, its official designation is Agaricus subrufescens – the oldest name taking taxonomic priority.
Royal agaricus is said to be native to the area of the small village of Piedade, tucked away in the mountainous rainforest near Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Royal agaricus supplements are very popular in Japan, where they are used for immune system and anti-cancer support.
Why to Use Royal Agaricus
This “mushroom of God” was traditionally used for the prevention of diseases such as cancer, hepatitis, atherosclerosis, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and dermatitis. Studies originating in Japan have demonstrated royal agaricus’s anti-infection and anti-tumor properties, making it a useful adjunct to a healthy diet.
Royal agaricus supplements are very popular in Japan, where they are used for immune system and anti-cancer support.
Credit: Nathan Wilson / Wikipedia.org
How to Use Royal Agaricus
There are several ways to introduce royal agaricus to your diet. The easiest is as a dietary supplement in the form of a tincture, capsule or tablet. If you prefer to take a more traditional path, you can make a tea infusion, or cook a delicious meal with the mushrooms – they have a subtle, almond-like flavor.
Where to Buy Royal Agaricus
Royal agaricus products are available in most health and natural food stores in America, Western Europe and Asia. However, there are no good royal agaricus products on the market yet, and we don’t want recommend you any bad ones. As soon as a good product shows up, we let you know about it.
Our best selling product so far, Instant Reishi, has received a lot of attention lately amongst people all over the world. I have received a myriad of Reishi related comments from many different countries, and the gist of them is pretty much the same - Your Instant Reishi is the most effective reishi product I have ever tried. How do you do that?
Since there are quite a lot of people wondering why our products are so effective, we decided to let the cat out of the bag, and tell openly “our secret” to everyone;
We focus on quality
It truly is that simple. By using the best possible cultivation method, choosing the highest quality ingredients, developing recipes that have synergistic properties, keeping an eye on the whole manufacturing process, and selecting potent extracts we have managed to create products that really work.
In case of Reishi, for instance, it means that we have decided to use only the red Reishi, which is arguably the best strain of all the different (red, black, blue, white, yellow, purple) Reishi mushrooms. It has a great number of scientific research, the highest content of polysaccharides, which are the key elements of health effects of Reishi, and even historical writings are most often talking specifically about red Reishi.
We have intensively studied different cultivation methods and chosen the best option for us. And yes, we use cultivated Reishi, not wildcrafted as research has shown that the health-enhancing properties of Reishi are strongest when the plant is fully mature. In the wild Reishi hardly never gets fully mature due to the unstable conditions of environment that exist in the natural surroundings of Reishi plants.
Four methods of cultivation
Rice mass, Wood pulp, wooden box, and natural wood log cultivation are four common methods of cultivating the Reishi plant.
Rice based cultivation is getting more and more common especially in the West as it is the easiest and the cheapest way to cultivate Reishi. Reishi fungi and some fertilizers are added into the nutrient-poor white rice mass. This is what I like to call “factory farming of Reishi” – trying to get as much quantity as possible with the least possible effort no matter what.
In wood pulp cultivation, wood pulp along with Reishi fungi are placed in a glass bottle. Even though this growing method is lightyears ahead of rice mass cultivation, it still yields small mushrooms of relatively poor quality. In wood box cultivation, which is again a bit better in terms of quality, involves grafting the fungi into a wooden log that is then placed in a wooden box. Medium size and moderate quality Reishi are generally produced through this method after six months.
Large Reishi of superior quality are usually grown using the natural wood log method, which is the most complex form of cultivation. The process begins with the culturing of a high quality Reishi fungus strain in test tubes for about 85 days. A high quality germinated Reishi fungus strains are inserted into holes drilled into high grade logs between 26 to 30 years old. These logs are then placed in a greenhouse and buried under natural soil for 5 months. The Reishi fungi absorb almost all of the nutrients from the soil during this time, which means that after five years of use, the soil must lay unused for at least 2 years before it can be used again. This allows replenishment of nutrients back into the soil.
Growing conditions require continued monitoring to ensure a high quality Reishi harvest. Temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, light intensity and nutrients are all closely monitored to maintain optimum growth conditions. The greenhouse is sprayed with moisture daily to stimulate growth and maintain an optimum humidity.
The mushrooms are grown for approximately another 3 months until they mature and reach their full size. After some time, the mushrooms produce a thick coating of spores. The spraying is stopped when the mushrooms release their spores into the air. After that the Reishi grow additional two weeks before harvesting.
Large size, thick cap and overall weight are the signs of healthy and mature Reishi plants. It is true that Reishi mushrooms grow larger with age, but they are at their best when they are fresh and moist inside. Older plants may be larger in size, but they are also usually too dry to be effective enough.
To prepare Reishi for use in health products, the mushrooms are cut into small pieces and boiled for three hours. This boiling process is repeated three times to extract all the medicinal properties of the mushroom. After the boiling the mushroom extract is air-sprayed drier to transform the concentrated liquid to a instant powder form. In a nutshell this is how high quality Reishi is produced.
With a few rare exceptions, China and Japan are the only countries cultivating truly high quality Reishi in the world, and we are committed to producing our Reishi products in Asia until standards for Reishi cultivation in the West rises. A lot.
A recent Food Marketing Institute (FMI) report indicated 71% of shoppers are “very/extremely” concerned about products from China. “Yes, there is especially a healthy skepticism about herbs from India and China. This is unfortunate as both countries produce the lowest and highest quality botanicals in the world. The real problem is not with India and China as countries of origin for botanicals but the ignorance of U.S. manufacturers shopping for the cheapest materials or not knowing how to discern Ayurvedic and Chinese herb quality,” said AHPs’ Mr. Upton. (Source: International Botanical Trends 2012)
This very common mushroom can be found in almost every corner of the world. It is formally known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor. In English, the mushroom is most commonly called turkey tail, because of its resemblance to the tail of a wild turkey.
Today it is the best-selling anti-cancer drug on the Japanese market
Polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide-peptide (PSP) are two important substances extracted from turkey tail. As early as the 1980s, the Japanese government accepted the use of PSK in treatment of several types of cancer. Today it is the best-selling anti-cancer drug on the Japanese market, and is used there in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Why to Use Turkey Tail
Various studies have demonstrated turkey tail’s anti-cancer activity. Its protein-bound polysaccharides are reported to be effective immune system regulators. Turkey tail has also been shown to enhance white blood cell activity in scavenging toxins and destroying pathogens. Another of turkey tail’s distinctive features is its usefulness in treating human papillomavirus infection.
How to Use Turkey Tail
The most common ways to use turkey tail are as a powdered extract (as a loose powder or in capsules) and as a liquid extract.
Photo credit: Rebonnett
Where to Buy Turkey Tail
Turkey tail products are somewhat difficult to find in America and Europe; look for them in larger health food stores, or smaller specialized shops. In Asia, turkey tail is more common, with most local health food stores carrying it. Every practitioner of Chinese traditional medicine keeps some turkey tail on hand. Like most superfoods, turkey tail can easily be purchased though webstores such as iHerb.com and vitacost.com.
Fundi Perfecti Turkey Tail | The mushroom that cured Paul Stamets’ mother’s cancer.
Amazon US (Affiate*): Fungi Perfecti Host Defense Turkey Tail
Amazon US: Fungi Perfecti Host Defense Turkey Tail
*Affiliate program link: Product costs the same to you but Four Sigma Foods gets a percentage of the sales to bring more healthy products to you
If you want to test a product containing turkey tail, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Mania, which contains 6 other mushrooms and rose hip along with turkey tail. You can find FSF Mania HERE.