The variety of mushrooms that brands typically combine with tea-like Chaga, lion’s mane, and Reishi — are chosen for a reason; they’re considered adaptogens, notes the Chicago Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Adaptogens are herbs or foods that help your body adapt to stress, so there’s a lot of buzz around adaptogens and nutrition right now,” says Brissette. A November 2018 review in Chinese Medicine notes that adaptogens work by calming the central nervous system and moderating its response to cortisol, the stress hormone. They are especially helpful for external, environmental, and emotional types of stress.

Chop or crush mushrooms.

Use 1 cup of water per person and/or 1 cup of water per 5 grams.

Heat water to boiling, pour hot water over mushrooms.

Wait 5-10 minutes, strain water into a drinking cup.

Pour the second amount of water over strained mushrooms.

Drink the first infusion.

Strain the second infusion into a drinking cup and drink.

Green tea has been shown to have anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties and is beneficial in cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and obesity, and neurologic and oral health.

Black tea: Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.

White tea: One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.

Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight-loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.

Pu-erh tea: Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

Here are some of the specific benefits of various types of functional mushrooms that are commonly used to make tea:

Reishi: This extremely popular mushroom has adaptogenic properties that help your body manage occasional stress. It’s also said to help control blood pressure and boost immunity. Reishi is a great option for someone new to functional mushrooms. 

Chaga: Chaga contains many antioxidants and is said to support a healthy immune system

Cordyceps: Sometimes recommended to athletes to help with endurance and improve performance, cordyceps is said to increase energy and strengthen the immune system.

Lion’s Mane: Said to benefit the brain, this functional mushroom may assist with focus, creativity, and productivity

Maitake: Often referred to as “Hen of the Woods,” Maitake mushrooms may support immune health and also regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. 

Shitake: One of the most well-known varieties of functional mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms may boost the immune system and support heart health. 

Turkey Tail: Turkey tail is said to have many health benefits, including being full of antioxidants, regulating the body’s immune response, improving gut health, and reducing inflammation.

Tremella: Tremella is really great for skin health. It supports hydration from the inside-out to support glowing skin.

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