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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari and Physician Brandon Yew on July 4, 2022

What Is Mushroom Coffee And How Do You Use It?

Mushroom coffee offers many of the same benefits as regular coffee but without the caffeine or jitters. Is it too good to be true? Find out here.

Mushroom coffee min scaled

If you’ve been paying attention to the advertisements on your social media pages lately, then you’re probably already familiar with the mushroom coffee craze.

In fact, mushroom coffee has become so popular that many people are ditching their regular coffee for it. So, what is it and how does it work?

For those of us who are not familiar with mushroom coffee, this guide can help explain it. Plus, our experts weigh in on whether it’s better than regular coffee.

What Is Mushroom Coffee?

Mushroom coffee is made with ground medicinal mushrooms instead of traditional coffee beans. It’s caffeine-free and contains a wide range of antioxidants and chemical compounds that help regulate the nervous system response.

Like regular coffee, mushroom coffee may help boost energy levels, but the difference is that there is no caffeine. Instead, mushroom coffee may help lower anxiety and cortisol levels to promote better focus without caffeine jitters or crashes.

Some products contain a blend of medical mushrooms and instant coffee. If this is the case, your mushroom coffee may still contain caffeine. Always check the label of your product to be sure.

How does it work?

Unlike mushroom coffee, regular coffee may lead to caffeine jitters, crashes, and dehydration.

Mushrooms contain adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are substances found in various foods, such as medicinal mushrooms, that regulate the body’s stress and immune responses.

They work on a molecular level in the brain to promote neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, anti-anxiety, cognitive-enhancing, and central nervous system-stimulating activity.

Research shows that adaptogens may increase your mental workload and enhance your attention span when you are stressed, fatigued, and mentally exhausted.

Is Mushroom Coffee Better Than Regular Coffee?

We’ve all been guilty of reaching for a cup of coffee when we feel tired to help us get through the day. While it might help wake you up for a short time, have you ever noticed that you usually feel worse later on?

Drinking too many cups of coffee could leave you prone to caffeine jitters, anxiety, and dehydration. These things work against your productivity, making it harder to concentrate and focus.

We consulted Senior Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Brandon Yew for more information. He pointed out that due to the caffeine content, which is a potent nervous stimulant, regular coffee is best taken in moderation. He said to limit it during the daytime so it will not cause sleeplessness at night. 

“In addition, regular coffee is a diuretic. Therefore, not only should one consume it in moderation, but also be mindful of constantly hydrating oneself with sufficient amounts of plain water for the body system to function properly,” stated Physician Yew.

Lastly, he advised, “Coffee is also known to stimulate gastric acid production and secretion. Therefore, its consumption has to be reduced or even avoided for people suffering from gastric problems like gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or gastric ulcers. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to consume coffee after meals, never on an empty stomach.” 

Health Benefits Of Mushroom Coffee

From a TCM perspective, mushrooms generally are beneficial for boosting the physical health and functions of the five vital organs. 

Other possible benefits include antiallergic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, cytotoxic, antihyperlipidemic, antidiabetic, digestive, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, osteoprotective, and hypotensive properties.

Here are some of the best medicinal mushrooms you can use to make coffee:

Cordyceps

Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) are parasitic fungi that grow on caterpillars in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau’s alpine zone in north-western or south-western China.

“From a TCM perspective, Cordyceps is a tonic that you can use to boost kidney function, enhance yang (active energy), improve lung health, manage chronic cough and breathlessness. From a modern pharmacological and nutritional science perspective, it is potentially anti-aging and anti-tumor, effective in managing type 2 diabetes, improving heart health, and helping to reduce inflammation,” explains Physician Brandon.

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms, also known as Ganoderma lucidum or Lingzhi are antioxidant-rich adaptogens that can help the body adapt and fight stress.

Containing over 400 different bioactive compounds, these mushrooms can improve overall health, boost the immune system, promote longevity, and reverse aging.

“If eaten customarily, it makes your body light and young, lengthens your life, and turns you into one like the immortal who never dies,” a famous herbalist of China’s Shu Dynasty, Shen Nong, is recorded as having said some 2,400 years ago.

Turkey tail

The medical term for turkey tail mushroom is Yunzhi (Coriolus Versicolor). It’s a medical mushroom that has a distinctive appearance.

Yunzhi is easily recognizable by its bands of white, gray, brown, black, blue, and red concentric circles that fan outwards in frilly layers. This gives it the appearance of a turkey tail.

It’s an excellent source of unique antioxidants and prebiotic fiber. It may help fight cancer, boost digestive health, and lower blood sugar levels.

According to Physician Lim Sock Ling, “From a TCM perspective, turkey tail benefits the Liver, Spleen, and Lung meridians. It strengthens the Spleen and removes Dampness, relieves cough and breathlessness, and clears Heat and toxins. It also contains anti-cancer properties.” 

Other mushrooms to try

Here are some other mushrooms you can use and how they are used in TCM: 

  • Straw mushroom: Sweet and cold in nature; clears Heat, stimulates the production of qi and blood 
  • Oyster mushroom: Pungent, sweet, and warm in nature; boosts the yang energy of the Kidneys to soothe tendons and strengthen joints; and dispels Wind and Cold pathogens 
  • Wild mushroom: Salty and warm in nature; dispels Wind and Cold pathogens, soothes the tendons and relaxes the joints 
  • Lion’s mane or monkey head mushroom: Sweet and neutral in nature; strengthens the 5 vital organs and promotes digestion 
  • Shitake mushroom: Sweet and neutral in nature; strengthens the Spleen to promote digestion, improves qi flow and resolves Phlegm, dispels Wind and toxins 
  • Button mushroom: Sweet and neutral in nature; strengthens the Spleen and promotes digestion, calms the liver, and refreshes the spirit 

How To Make It

Choose a high-quality mushroom supplement to make your coffee with. This will help maximize results.

You can make mushroom coffee right at home. Many supplements come in powder form. All you have to do is add a scoop to hot water and stir.

You may also buy medical mushrooms in capsule form, break them apart, and add them to hot water.

Ultimately, different mushrooms have differing natures, properties, and health benefits. This is especially true for people with existing medical conditions(s).

The idea is to not only minimize potential side effects but also maximize health benefits. Be sure to let your doctor know before you start taking mushroom coffee if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

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