CULTURES around the world have been harnessing the healing powers of the humble mushroom for thousands of years. They’ve long been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine, while the pharaohs of Egypt prized mushrooms so highly they decreed only royalty could eat them.

Here are four superfood mushrooms being hailed as quiet achievers in the health and supplement industry, that any health buff worth their kale smoothie should really know about.

Lion’s Mane: This hairy mushroom gets its peculiar name from its appearance, which bears a resemblance to (yep, you guessed it) a lion’s bushy mane. This bearded shroom grows on broad-leaf trees in temperate areas of North America, Europe, and Asia, although it is rare to find in the wild.

So what magical properties does it possess? “Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane mushrooms can help to improve cognitive function and ease symptoms of anxiety and depression,” says Emily Hedgman, a spokesperson from Link Nutrition ( In addition to helping enhance brain function, Hedgman explains that Lion’s Mane can also help to support the heart and circulatory system, improve digestive health and reduce inflammation.

Chaga: The Chaga mushroom has been slowly gaining popularity in the west for its broad range of life-boosting benefits.

It’s been used for hundreds of years in Siberia and Asia, where they cut or grind dried Chaga and steep it in hot water, releasing its bioactive compounds into a mild tea. These hardy mushrooms mainly grow on the outside of birch trees in colder climates and have a lumpy exterior that makes them look similar to a piece of charcoal.

Reishi: This flat fan-shaped mushroom, also known as King of the Mushrooms, has been used for more than 2000 years in Asia, where its effects were so powerful, it was thought to grant immortality.

“Reishi, which is considered to be an adaptogen, is strongly anti-inflammatory and has uses tied to longevity, better immune function and mental clarity,” explains Hedgman.

Adaptogens help us to deal with the negative effects of stress, such as depleted energy levels and various types of hormonal imbalances.

Cordyceps: “Cordyceps is an anti-ageing, energy-boosting mushroom found in the Himalayas, that many experts claim can boost aerobic capacity and improve stamina,” says Hedgman.

These impressive mushrooms are known for their natural ability to fight free radicals, infections and inflammation.