Mushrooms have long been praised for their health benefits. Containing fiber and antioxidants, these fungi have been used in Eastern medicine since ancient times. Drinking mushroom tea has become quite popular, and making mushroom tea at home is an easy and healthy way to get the benefits of mushrooms into your body.
- What is Mushroom Tea?
- Types of Mushrooms Used in Mushroom Tea
- More About Making Mushroom Tea
What is Mushroom Tea?
In the most simple way, mushroom tea is just what it sounds like, a tea made from steeping mushrooms in hot water. As opposed to making tea with tea leaves or bags, the steeping process often takes longer to make sure the flavor and medicinal properties are thoroughly extracted from the mushrooms.
Since getting a hold of raw mushrooms that are suitable for making mushroom tea is not as easy as going to the store and finding them in the produce section, oftentimes the mushrooms used will be dried or even powdered.
In powdered form this comes as a concentrated extract. Premade mushroom teas will often be combined with tea leaves such as green tea to enhance the flavor and provide additional benefits.
Mushrooms used in mushroom tea are adaptogens, non-toxic plants that help the body handle stress. Prolonged use of adaptogens can train the body to respond to mental, physical, and emotional stressors. Other plants such as ginseng and rhodiola are adaptogens as well.
Types of Mushrooms Used in Mushroom Tea
There are different types of mushrooms used to make mushroom tea that are safe and medicinally beneficial. Always avoid using mushrooms found in the wild unless you are trained in identifying mushrooms, as many varieties of wild mushrooms are harmful and potentially deadly.
Commonly found in health food stores under the names Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, reishi mushrooms have long been used in Eastern medicine for its antioxidant properties and to help strengthen the immune system.
The most common form of reishi mushrooms, the red reishi, can be found on hemlock trees in China and similar areas. It is often cultivated in wood chips or sawdust.
Reishi mushrooms are used to help support the body’s sleep cycles, as a general de-stressor, and to support the immune system. The taste is often bitter, and as such can benefit from the addition of almond milk or sweeteners.
How to Make Reishi Mushroom Tea
- ¼ pound dried reishi mushrooms or reishi mushroom powder
- 8 cups water
- If using dried mushrooms, chop them coarsely and then, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind them into a fine powder.
- Wrap the powder securely in muslin, cheesecloth, or a coffee filter.
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot.
- Place the bag with reishi mushroom powder into the water.
- Lower the heat and simmer for approximately 1 hour, reducing the amount of liquid by half.
- To reduce bitterness, consider adding a natural sweetener such as agave or honey. The flavors also blend well with ginger root or green tea.
Grown on birch trees all over the northern hemisphere, chaga mushrooms resemble hardened clumps of mud or dirt. They are rich in antioxidants and contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, potassium, amino acids, and B-complex vitamins.
While the reishi mushroom’s history is placed around Chinese medicine, chaga mushrooms are very popular in Russian and Scandinavian cultures. Mentions of chaga go back to Russian medicinal texts from the 16th century as a treatment for many ailments including ulcers, gastritis, tuberculosis, and even cancer.
Chaga mushrooms taste less bitter than reishi, and are often described as having an earthy flavor.
How to Make Chaga Mushroom Tea
- 4 cups water
- 1 large piece of chaga mushroom
- Pour the water and chaga mushroom into a pot.
- Bring to a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer until the liquid is reduced and the desired strength is achieved, at least 30 minutes but up to 3 hours.
- Add spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or star anise in the last half hour of simmering.
- Serve with nut milk.
Chunks of chaga mushrooms can be reused up to four or five times after steeping.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms are another type of mushroom used in Asian medicine. They are white, bulbous, and have an almost furry exterior. As with other mushrooms described here, they are high in antioxidants, helping to fight inflammation. Lion’s mane is also used to improve cognitive health and can be beneficial in fighting anxiety and depression.
Lion’s mane mushrooms have a savory, earthy taste suitable not only for tea but also for cooking.
How to Make Lion’s Mane Mushroom Tea
Because of its already excellent taste and soft body, lion’s mane mushrooms do not need to be steeped as long as other mushroom teas.
- 1 teaspoon lion’s mane mushroom powder
- 2 cups water
- Measure lion’s mane mushroom powder into a tea infuser, sachet, or muslin bag.
- Put the infuser into a large teacup or mug.
- Heat water to boiling.
- Pour water into teacup.
- Steep for approximately 10 minutes.
Found in China, Japan, and the northeastern United States, maitake mushrooms are also known as the “king of mushrooms” due to their size. The fungal clusters grow on oak trees and can weigh up to 100 pounds. They are commonly used in many Japanese dishes, boasting an intense flavor with a delicate and feathery texture.
Maitake mushrooms possess antioxidants and may aid in lowering blood pressure. In addition, they contain beta-D-glucans which can help boost T-cell and white blood counts.
How to Make Maitake Mushroom Tea
Maitake mushrooms blend well with green tea, adding an additional layer of flavor and a slight kick of caffeine.
- 2 teaspoons maitake mushrooms
- Half a vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon green tea leaves or 1 tea bag of green tea
- 8 ounces water
- Heat water to a boil in a pot.
- Add maitake mushrooms and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients and steep for 5 minutes.
The cordyceps mushroom is a very rare and powerful fungus most often found in the Himalayas. They grow by infecting bug larvae, taking over the caterpillar’s body underground, killing it, then growing up through the soil. Because of this strange maturing behavior and the difficulty in harvesting it, wild cordycep mushrooms are extremely hard to come by.
Cordyceps have antioxidant properties and are used in Eastern medicine as an energy booster. They can stimulate the production of hormones like testosterone as well as increase metabolism. In addition, cordyceps mushrooms may help fight autoimmune disease, and there are reports of them limiting tumor production.
How to Make Cordyceps Mushroom Tea
- 1 tablespoon cordyceps mushroom powder
- Fresh ginger
- 8-10 ounces of water
- Heat water to boiling.
- Add cordyceps mushroom powder.
- Boil for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add ginger.
- Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Strain into large teacup or mug.
More About Making Mushroom Tea
Full of antioxidants, nutrients, and chemical compositions that can improve health, there are many benefits to making mushroom tea at home. Because of possible interactions, be sure to check with your health professional if you are taking any medications for existing health problems.