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Mushrooms as Natural Anti-inflammatory Supplements

| Leestijd 8 Minuten

Did you know that medicinal mushrooms serve as natural anti-inflammatory supplements? Inflammation, whether it’s on your skin, in your knee, or in your colon, can be quite exhausting. Yet, common pain relievers like paracetamol or aspirin may come with unwanted side effects. If you’re inclined towards a natural approach, keep reading.

What is an inflammation?

man looking for natural anti-inflammatory supplements for his back pain

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to damage, infection, or irritation. For example, when you cut your finger, your body produces certain substances, such as prostaglandins, cytokines, histamine, leukotrienes and chemokines. This causes your wound to become red, swollen, painful, or itchy.

This is not a bad thing! It’s just part of your natural healing process. If the inflammation lasts too long or comes back every time, something is wrong and you should see a doctor.

Acute versus chronic inflammation

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.

  • Acute inflammation occurs in response to direct tissue damage, such as an injury, infection, or irritation. The aim is to remove the harmful stimulus and start the healing process. There is vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels), migration of white blood cells to the wound, and the release of inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins, cytokines, and histamine.
  • Chronic inflammation is an inflammatory response that can persist for weeks, months, or even years. This may be due to persistent infections, autoimmune diseases, prolonged exposure to irritants, or a poor immune system response.

Chronic inflammation can lead to serious tissue damage and is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, and depression.

Sometimes you don’t even realise you have chronic inflammation. You may then have ‘low-grade’ inflammation, with no obvious symptoms. This too can lead to various physical and mental health problems.

Risks of normal painkillers and anti-inflammatories

Normal painkillers and anti-inflammatories, such as paracetamol and aspirin (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), are useful but can carry unpleasant risks.

Especially with long-term use or in people with a history of certain health problems, they can lead to:

  • Stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding and other intestinal problems
  • Heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver problems
  • Allergic reactions, ranging from skin rashes to severe anaphylaxis
  • Bleeding
  • Tinnitus

Natural anti-inflammatory supplements are a good alternative. Additionally, instead of merely suppressing symptoms, it can be helpful to address the problem and prevent it from recurring. Functional mushrooms can assist you in achieving this goal.

Medicinal mushrooms as natural anti-inflammatory supplements

turkey tail mushrooms as natural anti-inflammatory foods

Functional mushrooms are well known in traditional medicine for their many health benefits, including their ability to reduce inflammation.

They contain bioactive components such as beta-glucans, triterpenes, and other substances with anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Chaga, Turkey Tail and Cordyceps are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Polysaccharides. These are complex carbohydrates found in large quantities in medicinal mushrooms. Polysaccharides can regulate the activity of immune cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • Triterpenes. Triterpenes can help protect tissues from damage caused by inflammatory reactions. They can maintain the integrity of cell membranes and reduce scar tissue formation. They can also regulate the activity of immune cells, such as macrophages and T cells, which are involved in inflammatory processes.
  • Antioxidants. Medicinal mushrooms contain antioxidants, such as polyphenols and melanin, which can reduce inflammation by neutralising free radicals and reducing oxidative stress.
  • Adenosine. Adenosine can dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow. This can help supply inflamed tissues with sufficient oxygen and nutrients, which promotes the healing process and reduces inflammation.

1. Lion’s Mane to fight inflammation in the brain

Inflammation in the brain can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A 2019 study found that extracts of Lion’s Mane showed strong neuroprotective activity, and the results suggested an anti-inflammatory effect (1).

Inflammation in the brain can also lead to depression, according to some studies. Another 2015 study found that mice given an extract of Lion’s Mane showed fewer signs of depressive behaviour (2). According to the researchers, this could be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of Lion’s Mane.

2. Turkey Tail for a strong immune system

Turkey Tail contains two types of polysaccharopeptides: krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). These substances promote the immune response by activating and inhibiting specific types of immune cells, and by suppressing inflammation.

For example, research has shown that PSP in Turkey Tail increases monocytes (3). This is a type of white blood cell that fights infections and boosts immunity.

3. Reishi to fight asthma and allergies

Research showed that an extract of Reishi helped fight asthma (4). According to the researchers, Reishi can be used as an immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory supplement in the treatment of asthma.

Besides fighting asthma, using Reishi mushrooms as natural anti-inflammatories can also help with other allergies.

4. Chaga mushrooms as natural anti-inflammatory supplements for acute inflammation

A study found that oral administration of Chaga improved acute inflammation in mice with colitis (5). Moreover, Chaga reduced tissue swelling and mucosal damage, and lowered levels of inflammatory markers.

5. Cordyceps to fight arthritis

A 2019 study showed that the compound cordycepin in Cordyceps reduced joint problems, inflammation and pain in rats with rheumatoid arthritis (6). In another study with humans, cordycepin was shown to reduce inflammatory markers associated with arthritis.

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Supplements should not be used to replace a varied diet, a healthy lifestyle or to treat any disease. Keep this product out of the reach of children. In case of illness, pregnancy or ambiguity, always consult your doctor. The information on this website is for general information purposes only and cannot be considered medical advice. Although traditional Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years and has been tested on countless people, MushPeak makes no claims that indicate proven medicinal properties of herbs or mushrooms. This is in relation to current EU legislation. Detailed information on mushrooms is available from public sources on the Internet. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


  1. Kushairi, N., Phan, C. W., Sabaratnam, V., David, P., & Naidu, M. (2019). Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia. Antioxidants, 8(8), 261.
  2. Yao W., Zhang J. C., Dong C., Zhuang C., Hirota S., Inanaga K., & Hashimoto K. (2015). Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 136, 7–12.
  3. Saleh, M. H., Rashedi, I., & Keating, A. (2017). Immunomodulatory Properties of Coriolus versicolor: The Role of Polysaccharopeptide. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 1087.
  4. Li Y., Li M., Wang R., Wang B., Athari S.S., & Wang J. (2022). Ganoderma modulates allergic asthma pathologic features via anti-inflammatory effects. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 299.
  5. Mishra, S. K., Kang, J. H., Kim, D. K., Oh, S. H., & Kim, M. K. (2012). Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 143(2), 524–532.
  6. Ashraf S., Radhi M., Gowler P., Burston J.J., Gandhi R.D., et al. (2019). The polyadenylation inhibitor cordycepin reduces pain, inflammation and joint pathology in rodent models of osteoarthritis. Scientific reports, 9(1), 4696.

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