What’s the fuss about Functional Mushrooms?


Prized for their health support in the East for over 2000 years, Functional Mushrooms are fast becoming well-known and loved here in Aotearoa.

Naturopath and medical herbalist Rebecca Baylis at HealthPost, New Zealand’s online wellness retailer, shares everything you need to know about Functional Mushrooms, eight superfood shrooms to elevate your every day, and delicious recipes developed by holistic nutritionist Lena Fischer to feel your best.

The wonder of fungi 

Most Functional Mushrooms are fungi.

Fungi are unique in that they digest their food outside of their bodies before eating it, they make special compounds to do this – which in part, gives them unique health-supporting qualities for us humans. 

HealthPost’s top 8 superfood shrooms 

Lion’s Mane: Support for mental focus

Known as the brain mushroom, Lion’s Mane supports healthy brain ageing, mental clarity and a good mood.  

Try sprinkling the powder form of Lion’s Mane over your favourite dessert, when baking, or mix with water for a refreshing mushroom tonic. 

Turkey Tail: for optimal cellular support and immune balance  

For healthy cell growth and support against ills and chills, Turkey Tail’s special compound Polysaccharide-K (PSK) can offer immune support. 

Its antioxidant properties also help protect from free radicals which lead to skin ageing. 

Shiitake: support for strong immune response 

Shown to support healthy T-cells, Shiitake is great to support your body with seasonal ills and chills. Studies tell us that it’s also a good choice for supporting healthy cell growth.  

Thanks to its ‘meaty’ texture, Shiitake works great in salted dishes like miso soup and mushroom broth.  

Cordyceps:  support for healthy energy 

Since the 15th century, Cordyceps has been used to support healthy energy, kidney health and sexual health, and to support a healthy immune response.  

Look to add the powder over baked or roasted vegetables for an extra nutty, mild taste.

Reishi: for relaxation and rest 

Reishi can support a restful mind and healthy sleep which are both important for our overall wellness.

Studies show a special compound found in Reishi, Lucidone D (LUC), has health supporting potential – particularly for our liver cells, healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Its bitter flavour works best in capsule form, or when mixed into a hot cacao drink.

Maitake: for all-round wellness 

When it comes to our health, Maitake has the potential to support the body’s natural response to free radical damage, healthy blood sugar levels, and our immune system. 

Try Maitake in soups or stir-fry for an earthy, slightly peppery flavour.

Tremella: for skin support 

Tremella uses its rich antioxidant properties to protect against oxidation.

It also supports moisture levels in skin – similar to hyaluronic acid

Like other Functional Mushrooms, it supports overall health and immune function too.  

When it comes to taste, Tremella has a natural sweetness and works well in hot or cold drinks, broths or stirred through your favourite meals. 

Chaga: for good gut health 

Taking care of our gut health is one of the best ways to support our wellbeing. Research tells us that Chaga has the potential to support pancreas health and the body’s natural immune defenses. 

A healthy serving of Chaga complements your daily brew – especially coffee and cacao. 

Want to learn more? Watch HealthPost’s short clip; Naturopath Explains: Functional Mushrooms, where Naturopath Liz McNamara shares the superb benefits of shrooms. 

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