Sometimes, the foods that taste the best aren’t the best for our bodies; medicinal mushrooms, on the other hand, are as healing as they are delicious.
From traditional medicine to modern health
If you’re familiar with traditional Asian medicine, you may be no stranger to medicinal mushrooms. For thousands of years, practitioners across Singapore and beyond have used powdered fungi to treat a whole range of illnesses and provide numerous health benefits. Now, these amazing immune boosters are gaining popularity worldwide, even among those with no connection to traditional practices-and that’s because they really work.
There are numerous types of mushrooms used as health aids, and each one has its own benefits. Reishi, for example, is one of the most popular mushrooms, regulating the immune system and even fighting cancer cells. But its most unique benefit is that it also functions as a mood-booster, alleviating anxiety and depression as well as improving focus and sleep. One mushroom almost everyone is familiar with is shiitake. Alongside its great taste, this variety helps keep the liver and heart in great shape, maintaining good circulation and lowering cholesterol. Other great mushrooms to try are the athlete’s companion cordyceps, cancer-fighting turkey tail, anti-ageing chaga and brain-boosting lion’s mane.
Extracting the active nutrients
Compared to most other vegetables, mushrooms are very easy to grow. All farmers need are microscopic mushroom spores and a nutrient-rich substrate called spawn. They grow best in dark, moist environments, so farms don’t even need special lighting or complex facilities.
However, creating medicinal mushroom powders is a little more intensive. First, the mushrooms in question must be dried. This reduces them to just 10% of their original weight, which is why mushroom supplements can be pricey. Once dried, the mushrooms are ground into a fine powder and put through a hot water or alcohol extraction process. The remaining liquid is a concentrate of all the nutrients in the mushrooms, which must then be converted into powder form again.
Just a little sprinkle
The great thing about medicinal mushrooms is that their powder form makes it easy to add them to a whole variety of dishes. Some people simply sprinkle some of the powder onto their usual breakfasts, lunches and dinners. However, it’s even more fun to use it in innovative ways. A spoonful of mushroom powder in your coffee, tea or hot chocolate may not sound like a great combination, but many people swear by its flavour and texture. Powdered mushroom can also be used like a regular seasoning to bring an umami flavour to omelettes, soups and more.
Restaurants that use mushroom powder
Don’t fancy whipping up your own medicinal mushroom concoction? Why not order the 88 Fries from Two Bakers? Each batch is tossed with a delicious homemade mushroom powder and white truffle oil.