Why I love my mushrooms, by major mushroom enthusiast, Holly Tucker
UPDATED 21ST SEPTEMBER 2023
Let me share the marvellous mood-boosting effects of mushrooms and why I'm a total fungi convert.
How my mushroom obsession began
Why do I like mushrooms? It all began when I walked into Selfridges and was greeted by two handsome, bright, healthy men who were sharing this thing called Dirtea. It wasn’t the tea itself that caught my attention (or even the guys — sorry guys!), but the beautiful, muted pink tin packaging with the clever logo — and for me, that’s an absolute aphrodisiac. It could’ve been filled with coal and you’d have got my interest but it happened to be mushrooms and these amazing ‘tea men’ explained the many benefits of fungi.
Now as someone who only got into herbal tea in the last few years since Sebastian Pole from Pukka Herbs came onto my Conversations of Inspiration podcast, I wasn’t someone who would naturally drink it, but I gave this mushroom drink a go and it has since changed my life.
Warning: I’m a bonafide mycophile!
What on the fungi loving earth is a ‘mycophile’ I hear you ask? It’s someone who’s devoted to mushrooms — AKA me. Why? Because here’s what the Dirtea founders, Andrew and Simon Salter, told me. Did you know…
- One teaspoon of powdered Chaga mushroom contains the same amount of antioxidants as 600 blueberries or 180 carrots? As someone obsessed with efficiency, this is pretty incredible!
- There are over 200 minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients in these mushrooms? I don’t know about you, but my body needs all the help it can get!
- 1.3 billion years ago, mushrooms were the first living thing to evolve out of the sea and on to dry land? Since Hippocrates raved about them in 5BC, functional mushrooms have been used by many cultures to help heal people — and let me tell you why.¹
Health fad or true superfood? The rise of mushrooms in wellness culture
From cordyceps (the best mushroom for energy apparently), to Lion’s Mane (the best mushroom for gut health and concentration), more and more people are starting to understand why fungi are so much more than a fad.
The potential of mushrooms — the immune support powerhouse
- As well as being rich in antioxidants, mushrooms can really help boost the immune system.
- They support heart health and are a powerful agent in improving gut health.
- Maitake is the type of mushroom that helps restore hormonal balance and balance blood sugar levels — and personally, my PMT is now practically non-existent since I’ve been taking Lion’s Mane every day for over a year.
- Medicinal mushrooms are said to have a powerful impact on stress management.
Exploring the mood-boosting effects of mushrooms — helping emotional healing
Mushrooms have also been known to expand minds… further than the magic ‘shrooms buzzes of the 60s! Psychedelic mushrooms, when used responsibly under professional guidance in what’s called ‘psilocybin-assisted therapy’, can help…
- People coping with grief or loss
- People seeking emotional solace
- People experiencing depression
So they might be worth exploring if any of those apply to you.
How mushrooms help brain function
I take Lion’s Mane tea to help my ‘woman of a certain age’ brain to focus and it just works — but I also gave it to my Harry. He took it for five months before his exams (and remarkably, having a teenage son on mushrooms did actually pay dividends when we got the results!). We both tried it because it’s said to help:
- Enhance your focus and cognitive function
- Improve memory
- Boost concentration and mental clarity
'Fantastic Fungi' on Netflix — if you haven’t watched this documentary, do!
This is where my passion really took off. Forget the physical healing properties or even the emotional ones for a moment. Fantastic Fungi is an absolute eye-opener in terms of explaining what mushrooms actually are.
5 facts that will blow your mushroom mind
- Fungi networks are what’s called ‘the internet of the forest’, sharing the same structure as the internet, so trees can communicate using the mycelium (the network of threads) as pathways.
- Human beings share 50% of our DNA with mushrooms (they even breathe like us apparently).
- Every breath we take, we inhale mushroom spores (who knew?!).
- Without fungi, there would be no antibiotics as they are used as the basis.
- There’s a mushroom in Oregon that’s 2,000 acres, weighing 35,000 tons and is 8,000 years old — making it the largest living organism in the world².
Do mushroom supplements really work?
As a woman in her 40s, I swear by my Dirtea. I’ve genuinely noticed the difference in my health, PMT symptoms and concentration as a result of taking it for the last year, but everyone is different, and different mushrooms have different benefits. The most important thing, they say, is to get professional help and guidance to take it responsibly. I also just love to surround myself by mushroom shaped inspiration. I find it reminds me of positive, life affirming attributes and the power of dear Mother Nature. Is it time for you to embrace the physical, mental and emotional benefits of the mighty mushroom? For me, it’s been a game changer.