See how beneficial mushrooms can strengthen immunity, boost energy, fight inflammation—and much more.
At one time there were only two categories of life forms on Earth: animals and plants. Mushrooms were grouped with the plants because, after all, they certainly weren’t animals. But as scientists began to discover the miraculous world of mushrooms, they realized these organisms deserved their own unique classification. And so in 1969 the fungi kingdom was born.
Fungi, pronounced “fun-guy”, don’t contain chlorophyll. So unlike plants, they can’t perform photosynthesis to create their own food from the sun. Instead, they absorb nutrition from carbons in the environment around them.
The fungi kingdom forms the mycelial network—an underground superhighway that covers our entire planet and links the root systems of plants and trees from beneath the soil. Through this incredible network, fungi exchange carbons and nutrients with plants in a symbiotic, life-sustaining relationship. Around 90% of plants on land have a mutually-beneficial relationship with fungi.
Fungi also have a beneficial relationship with us humans—especially mushrooms. Mushrooms have long been revered for their many nutritional and health advantages. The use of mushrooms for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. Ancient cave and temple art featuring mushroom symbols have been found all over the world.
That’s largely because mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses containing a complex system of compounds—most noteworthy, chitin and beta-glucans. Simply put, these are sugars within mushrooms that can be extracted into a liquid so our bodies can easily absorb and utilize them. Chitin and beta-glucans have been shown to be beneficial for strengthening immunity, decreasing inflammation, managing blood sugar, boosting energy and supporting cognitive health. They also act as adaptogens to help mitigate the negative effects of stress.
In KAMU products, we use five kinds of mushrooms that are superfoods in their own right:
Known as the “mushroom of immortality,” the reishi has an overall nourishing effect on the body and mind. It has long been a staple of Eastern medicine thought to prolong life and slow aging. It helps fight fatigue and decrease stress and has been called by some “nature’s Xanax”. Reishi is also believed to promote liver, nerve, brain and lung function and help encourage restful sleep.
The turkey tail mushroom has been the subject of extensive research and found to be beneficial in improving immune function. It grows in most places around the world and gets its name from its appearance: it looks similar to the feathers in a turkey’s tail.
Lion’s mane is one of our favorite fungi—for good reason. In herbalism, they talk about the Law of Signatures in which plants (or mushrooms, in this case) provide clues about their benefits in the way they look or grow. So it's no surprise that this beautiful, brain-shaped mushroom has shown amazing promise in supporting brain health and cognitive function.
Chaga has been used in folk medicine to support the immune system for hundreds of years. It stimulates white blood cells which fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. It helps promote gut health and has been shown to have antioxidant qualities that combat premature aging. In fact, one study found that chaga contains 31% more antioxidants than blueberries. Impressive! Some people even use chaga as a coffee substitute to reduce fatigue and increase mental clarity. No wonder they call chaga the “king of mushrooms.”
Despite its unique, worm-like appearance, the cordyceps mushroom is known for its ability to promote energy and stamina and increase vitality—all without the negative side effects often experienced with other stimulants. The US is fortunate to be one of the largest producers of organic cordyceps, a hard-to-grow fungi.
Now you can see why we're huge fungi fans here at KAMU. Fungi are amazing enough already, but we predict we’ll be hearing a lot more about this incredible kingdom as additional mushroom benefits are discovered in the years to come. Some might even call them magical.