Most people, when they think about magic mushrooms, think of college parties, with beer pong, and kegs, or if your Canadian, your mind might wander to campfires, cottages and long weekends eh?
Mushrooms with their psilocybin properties are not only gaining notoriety in credible medical journals these days, but also celebrity journalists like Michael Pollen are publishing about the profound effects these fungus have on everything from our mental and physical health to environmental benefits. One of my favourite recent discoveries is a fungal community that has been observed to consume plastic! Can you imagine what exciting possibilities there are, considering our current environmental crisis?
Mushrooms have been used for centuries by other cultures. Our western world is just now beginning to scratch the surface, exploring the multitude of applications mushrooms have to offer. Not the very least is the ability mushrooms have on preserving youthful skin and reversing signs of aging. Helllooo!! Did you hear that?
OK..ok! Hear me out. I know some people are reading this and I know eyes are rolling..but I beg you to consider this….If a person can eat a mushroom and their brain chemistry is altered in such a way that they have a psychedelic experience…then is it so outrageous that those polysaccharides and photo-chemicals contained in other varieties of mushrooms, will not at least on some level, have an effect on our skin cells? All I am asking is to keep and open mind..and keep reading.
Lets start with one that you may have heard before.
Enoki: Extremely high in antioxidants, particularly antioxidant ergothioneine. It is a stabilize free radical chemical ripping through the body, preventing damage to cells and tissues. This antioxidant can activate anti-cancer pathways as well, but if that wasn’t enough, enoki are especially powerful in reducing photo-damage on the skin. Hence, it is often an ingredient used in anti-aging skin products.
How would I use these?
Shiitake: Shiitake is great for the liver, and when the liver is functioning well your skin will look great. I talk about this all the time, the connection between this detoxifying organ and clear skin. They are very much connected.
Chaga: Might just call it super mushroom. Chaga is commonly known for high anti inflammatory and immunomodulating powers. It contains a triterpene called betulin. Betulin has anticancer and antitumour properties. With its antioxidant SOD (superoxide dismutase), zinc, and melanin content higher then any other single natural source, Chaga is a must! When it comes to skin care the high antioxidant content will reduce oxidative stress. The melanin (for the pigmentation of the skin) is also integral for overall skin health. Fun fact – Chaga can be used internally and externally as a non toxic defence to combat sun damage and exposure.
Tremella: In traditional Chinese medicine, tremella is valued as an anti aging ingredient. Thanks to one of it’s polysaccharides, tremella has remarkable water retention abilities and therefore, it can hold up to five hundreds times its own weight in water. This far exceeds the ability of contemporary skin care creme additives, hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Not only does tremella restore the youthful appearance of the skin, but because of its kojic acid content, it can also fade freckles and lighten age spots.