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Author: Tero Isokauppila

Reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, chaga… there’s a lot to love about these top four functional mushrooms – but perhaps you’ve been left wondering about the many benefits of the other fungi out there?

After all, with a species count bordering on the millions – and many of those edible – the fungi in your mug of Mushroom Coffee and in the produce section of your local market barely scratches the surface.

We all have our favorite mushroom… but with such a large kingdom, have you been wondering, “What else is out there? What else could support my health more, and better?”

Sometimes the “new new” health food has been sitting right under our noses this whole time.

So what’s this mystery mushroom I speak of?

‘Shroom fan, meet the powerful Shiitake.

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t shiitake just a stir-fry ingredient?”

While I’ll agree with you (they’re pretty darn tasty), shiitake are more than their delicious flavor. Because of their culinary joys we easily can lump them together with button mushrooms, but they can do much, much more...

But first, a little history:

The use of Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushroom dates as far back as AD 100 in China, where it was used to treat a variety of ailments. It’s common name, Shiitake, is of Japanese origin and is composed of shii, referring to the tree, Castanopsis cuspidata, where it would often grow, and take, which means mushroom (think: mai-take, enoki-take, etc…). Shiitake mushrooms grow primarily in their native habitat of East Asia, where they’ve been cultivated on hardwood trees for centuries.

So, what makes the shiitake mushroom so powerful?

When consumed as properly extracted (I’ll get to the why behind this in just a sec), shiitake offers a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and potassium; boasts seven of the nine essential amino acids required by the body; and possibly best of all? Shiitake could promote skin health from the inside out, thanks especially to vitamin B and D.

We’ve all heard that beauty comes from the inside, right? When it comes to shiitake’s ability to assist liver function, that statement couldn’t be more true – a happily functioning liver often equates to glowing skin.

In fact, one of the most powerful examples I’ve seen of shiitake’s potential to assist skin health comes from a young teenage celebrity, who was suffering from a particularly bad case of acne (something that would stress any of us out, let alone a public figure). After trying his hand at all kinds of treatments with no luck, in dire need he began taking 1,500 milligrams of shiitake extract. After about a month, his skin had cleared up considerably, and after several, his acne was completely gone.

But therein lies the catch (there’s always a catch, right?).

To truly reap the rewards of shiitake, you can’t just sprinkle it on your pizza and call it a day.

So, how DO you harness the power of the shiitake mushroom?

First thing’s first: Quality matters. While most commercially-grown shiitake are grown in grain or sawdust, the best quality and most potent shiitake are log-grown. Since shiitake grow naturally on hardwood trees, it stands to reason that the environment that most mirrors their natural habitat would produce the best product, such as the shiitake used in our 10 Mushroom Blend.

Second? Though shiitake is a tasty recipe ingredient, if you’re looking to capture all the benefits of this mushroom, it should be taken as an extraction or in supplement form. This guarantees the best bioavailability of the most important properties of the mushrooms. I don’t recommend eating shiitake mushrooms raw!

The good news is that extracts do make shiitake super user-friendly for you. Try mixing a spoonful of our blend into your morning coffee or smoothie, or try out the recipe below.

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Superfood Nut Butter Toast by @Flora_and_vino


1 tsp 10 Mushroom Blend

2 Tbsp nut butter of choice

1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Toasted bread

Optional: granola, hemp hearts

Mix 10 Mushroom Blend and nut butter together (adding maple syrup, if using) until well combined. Spread on toasted bread and top with granola and hemp hearts, if using. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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