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Medicinal Mushrooms for Women's Health and Hormone Balance

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

I love incorporating medicinal mushrooms into my practice as a Medical herbalist specialsing in women's health. I find the synergy between fungi, medicinal herbs and their effect on hormone balance very powerful natural medicine.


Historically and in many cultures, there has been a deep connection between mushroom foraging and women, and information has been passed down through generations; collecting mushrooms both as a source of food and also as potent natural medicines.


Many of my Eastern European and Slavic friends tell me this knowledge is still held strongly where they are from and has not been lost. They were taught by their grandmothers during weekend foraging outings, how to identify, collect and use many of these mushrooms.



I became intrigued by mushrooms many years ago whilst foraging but it was not until 2020 when I enrolled in a postgraduate course for practitioners in Mycotherapy (the study of medicinal mushrooms) with Fred Gillam from The Wild side of Life (one of the countries top experts in Mycotherapy) that I began to really appreciate just what amazing medicine mushrooms can be.


Since then I have increasingly been using medicinal mushrooms combined with herbs in my work with hormonal conditions and women's health. I must say I am finding the synergy between mushrooms and herbs quite amazing and therapeutically powerful.




Of course, as with herbs, there are 100s of medicinal mushrooms out there! But these are the main ones I currently use with a focus on women's health.


Lions Mane for Perimenopausal Brain fog and Hot Sweats

Hericium erinaceus



Known as the smart mushroom from a class of natural medicines called nootropics, this mushroom’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties increase blood flow to the brain, leading to improved cognitive performance and a reduction of brain fog. Hericenones, a constituent can help our brains produce more of a protein called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which regenerates neurons in our brains!


In my clinical practice, I find this helps support women with symptoms of brain fog, low mood, low energy and hot sweats: a perfect natural tonic for the perimenopausal transition. Lion's mane also supports gut health as an anti-inflammatory and pre-biotic food for our good bacteria and is packed full of anti oxidants.



Maitake for Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome




The Maitake mushroom can be used to regulate blood sugars, blood lipids, and blood pressure. These properties make it super useful in the metabolic condition Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.


In fact, I have used it with great success to help initiate ovulation and regular cycles in women with the condition and/or experiencing erratic cycles. It has also really helped blood sugar regulation in combination with a lower carbohydrate nutrition plan.


Reishi for Seasonal Affective Disorder, Low Moods and PMT

Ganoderma lucidum


Reishi is a wonderful adaptogenic mushroom for improving mood and reducing anxiety. It was once reserved for Emperors and was a symbol of good luck and health. It helps reduce stress and improves energy. It is particularly useful during times of low mood, seasonal affective disorder and also the luteal period and build-up to your period. It also helps support liver health and detoxification.



Cordyceps for Menopausal Low Libido

Cordyceps sinensis and Cordycpes militaris




Cordyceps mushroom can boost libido, and increase stamina and exercise recovery as it contains compounds that increase cellular energy. Many women find their libido drops as oestrogen levels reduce during menopause. Cordyceps is a great libido enhancer.


Chaga for PMT and Period Pains

Inonotus obliquus




Chaga is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet, it is extremely nutritive as well as anti-inflammatory and it is great to have in the luteal phase of your period (so just before it starts) and during your bleed, as it reduces pain and discomfort as well as combining amazingly with raw cacao to make the most delicious moon-time medicine.


Where to get high-quality Mushrooms?


I highly recommend Myco Nutri their quality is fantastic and Martin Powell is super knowledgeable and helpful. I use these mushrooms in my formulas.



Want to combine herbal medicines and medicinal mushrooms in your treatment and use these amazing medicines therapeutically? Then get in touch. I can create a bespoke program combining these natural medicines to treat your symptoms.


Book a free intro call with me here.



Research


Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. doi: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231. PMID: 20834180.


Chen J, Tominaga K, Sato Y, et al. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) extract induces ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a possible monotherapy and a combination therapy after failure with first-line clomiphene citrate. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2010;12(12):1295-1299


Pazzi, F.; Adsuar, J.C.; Domínguez-Muñoz, F.J.; García-Gordillo, M.A.; Gusi, N.; Collado-Mateo, D. Ganoderma lucidum Effects on Mood and Health-Related Quality of Life in Women with Fibromyalgia. Healthcare 2020, 8, 520. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040520


Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634. PMID: 18844328.


Samberkar S, Gandhi S, Naidu M, Wong KH, Raman J, Sabaratnam V. Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(11):1047-54. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i11.40. PMID: 26853959.


NB always consult a professional practitioner if unsure about using medicinal mushrooms. they can be powerful medicines and may interact with some medicines.

Never consume or use mushrooms of any form unless you are 100 per cent sure of their correct identity.


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