Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (2024)

My obsession with all things adaptogenic began where so many other of my new-age, borderlinesuperfluous health obsessions have originated: Goop. Couple this with a fewMindBodyGreen podcasts—my favorite being withTero Isokauppila, the founder of powdered super-mushroom brand Four Sigmatic—and I decided that adaptogenic mushrooms were a vital wellness practice my life was missing. Around this time, I was alsotraveling through NYC, where adaptogens are available in abundance. I stopped byCap Beauty in the West Village and proceeded to spend hundreds of dollars on reishi mushrooms and lion's mane like the apocalypse was imminent.

I pored over my haul back at the hotel, convinced mynew supps were going to make me a more powerful, productive, and calmer person. Spoiler alert: They kinda have! But first, I'll fill you in on exactly what these adaptogens and adaptogenic mushrooms are, and what they do.

Keep scrolling for more on adaptogenic mushrooms and learn how I've incorporated them into my routine.

What Are Adaptogens and Adaptogenic Mushrooms?

According to Will Cole, DNM,a functional medicine doctor and MindBodyGreen practitioner, the term adaptogen encompasses "a wide variety of different natural medicinesfrom all corners of the globe that have a few things in common: They are safe and they have a balancing effect on something called the hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine axis. This is the delicate dance between your brain and hormone system."

There are also adaptogenic mushrooms. And, yes, they're different from the hallucinogenic variety sold on the street in parts of Asia. "Simply put, adaptogens support your body’s natural resistance to adverse influences," explains Lily Holmberg, education manager at Gaia Herbs. "These influences could include anything that taxes your body from working out, an illness, or even extra stress from trying to homeschool your kids."

Common adaptogens include reishi mushroom, which reduces stress, anxiety, and promotes restful sleep; cordyceps (which helps with increasing energy and stamina), and ashwagandha (which balances cortisol levels, reduces stress, and boosts thyroid function). "To be an adaptogen, herbs must be non-toxic to the body’s physiological functions, offer widespread support, and help keep the body at equilibrium," says Holmberg.

The Benefits of Adaptogens

Reduces stress and anxiety

• Helps with adrenal fatigue

• Balances cortisol levels

• Increases sex drive

• Protects brain tissue

There are different benefits, according to which adaptogen or adaptogenic mushroom you integrate into your routine, but the overarching theme is that they reduce stress. "Adaptogens are essentially herbs that help our bodies stay healthy and fight off environmental stressors," says Lauren Smith, a registered dietitian and the founder of The Sorority Nutritionist.

"When our bodies get stressed, our bodies release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands," she says. "The problem is, in our chaotic and stressful lives, sometimes it's hard for our bodies to 'calm down' and return to normal... enter adaptogens and why they are potentially so impactful to our health and help with common conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression."

How to Use Adaptogens and Adaptogenic Mushrooms

There are several different types of adaptogenic products, and navigating the supplement aisle at the health food market isn't always easy. "Most people use powdered adaptogens such as ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, and medicinalmushrooms, to name a few," explains Smith. "As a new area of research that has gotten a lot of interest lately, they are becoming more available to consumers and on grocery shelves in commercial food products, making trying them easier than ever."

As Holmberg explains, there's not just one way to incorporate them into your diet—it's best to experiment and determine what product works best for you. "You can take them on the go in a convenient capsule or liquid extract format, blend them into your morning smoothie, use them to make an energy-boosting, caffeine-free snack, or drink them in a nourishing nighttime tea," says Holmberg. "There’s no 'right' wayto consume them and it really comes down to personal preference." Different adaptogens have different functions, so it's important todo the research to find out which ones are suited to your needs.

What To Expect From Taking Adaptogens

So, as far as my own use, I've been taking SuperfeastReishi powder at night (in warm almond milk with The Beauty ChefSleep Inner Beauty Powder, $60), and Sun PotionAshwagandhawith SuperfeastMason's Mushrooms andNeural Nectar($58) in the morning as part of what I now dub my "mushroom coffee." I essentially take plant-based milk (unsweetened) and warm it before adding my adaptogenic powders (roughly a quarter-teaspoon each), a heaping teaspoon of cacao, a tiny sprinkle of stevia, a splash of boiling water, and then I froth the mix using a hand-held milk frother I picked up at Kmart. The result is pretty delicious and gives me the buzz of a coffee without the anxious jitters or digestive troubles (sorry, TMI?). I also love the ritual of a warm drink and just feel generally off if I skip it. I've also found Ifall asleep more easilysince adding the reishi into my nightly routine. For anyone trying to cut back on coffee, this is actually one of the best methods I've found.

If the above sounds like a lot, you can also try pre-made blends like Sweet Reason's delicious herbal beverages, which are not only packed with adaptogens, but also broad spectrum hemp extract.

Side Effects

It's difficult to fully grasp what the side effects of adaptogenic mushrooms might be—mostly because they are largely unregulated. "Just like any supplement, unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate these products," notes Smith. "It is very important to speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian before trying adaptogens to avoid medication interactions or negative health effects, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding."

While Holmberg says that there is little research that shows any negative side effects associated with adaptogens, she adds that it is "important to note that there are multiple herbs classified as adaptogens, and the energetics and actions of these herbs are very different from one another." While some adaptogens—such as rhodiola and maca—may stimulate the body, others, like holy basil, ashwagandha, and reishi, help calm and relax the body and mind.

The Best Adaptogenic Products

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (1)



A superfood powder meant to promote deep, restful sleep, Superfeast's product contains reishi, an adaptogenic mushroom that calms both the body and mind.

Sun PotionAshwagandha$47.00


Ashwagandha, which forms the base of this Sun Potion powder, is a powerful adaptogen, meant to help strengthen the immune system and reduce stress.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (3)

SuperfeastMason's Mushrooms$64.00


This premium blend of eight adaptogenic mushrooms boosts vitality, supporting hormonal function and digestion.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (4)

Moon JuicePower Dust$38.00


Power Dust is an appropriate name for this adaptogenic powder, which boosts energy with a blend of adaptogens including cordyceps, ginseng, ashwagandha, and schisandra.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (5)



With adaptogenic betulinic acid and a healthy serving of antioxidants, this powder is an anti-aging powerhouse (which also helps to protect the skin against free radicals).

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (6)

Four SigmaticMushroom Coffee Mix Think$12.00


This Gwyneth Paltrow-endorsed beverage contains adaptogenic mushrooms like lion’s mane and chaga to keep you going long after you drink the final drop.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: What You Need to Know About Adding Them to Your Diet (2024)


How do you add adaptogens to your diet? ›

If you make most of your own meals, you can add adaptogens in their raw forms or as powders to your favorite recipes. You can also find adaptogens in the form of teas, tinctures and supplements.

Do mushroom adaptogens really work? ›

There are many herbs and mushrooms that qualify as adaptogens, and what experts know about most of them is still limited. But growing research shows that adaptogens help the body regulate in many ways, including improving mood, balancing hormones, fighting fatigue and boosting the immune system.

Can you take too many adaptogen mushrooms? ›

A person can safely use more than one adaptogenic herb or mushroom at the same time. However, some adaptogenic herbs may cause side effects and interact with common medications. For example, Astragalus membranaceus can interact with certain medications, including blood-thinning and blood-pressure-lowering drugs.

What are the negatives of adaptogens? ›

Adaptogens are well tolerated by adults, but some noted common side effects include: Nausea. Diarrhea. Dry mouth.

Do adaptogens give you a buzz? ›

Yes, some adaptogens can give you a buzz. These include green tea, holy basil, ginseng, cordyceps mushrooms, Schisandra berries and maca root. Medicinal mushrooms and maca root are well known for giving you an energy buzz without the anxiety or accelerated heart rate that caffeine often entails.

What is the king of the adaptogens? ›

Eleuthero, often dubbed the 'King of Adaptogens,' is a powerful herb with a rich history in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

What is the most powerful mushroom supplement? ›

Nootrum tops our list. Renowned for its blend of five potent mushrooms, this supplement effectively combats fatigue. It harnesses the power of Lion's Mane, Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake. Each offers unique health benefits, creating an unbeatable energy-enhancing formula.

What happens when you stop taking adaptogens? ›

What types of supplement withdrawal side effects are possible when you quit taking things like vitamins, minerals, adaptogens or pre-workout formulas? Depending on how you stop using them, how long you've been taking them, and your individual reaction, side effects may include: Low energy, fatigue and lethargy.

Should you take adaptogens every day? ›

To reap the benefits of an adaptogen, you need to take it every day for a few weeks. And generally, liquid versions are going to be better than a powder.

How long does it take for adaptogens to work? ›

It's often referred to as an adaptogen, which means it may help your body cope with stress and support overall well-being. While the effects of the herb can vary from person to person, you may notice short-term improvements in stress and fatigue within a week or two of consistent use.

Can you overdo adaptogens? ›

Is it dangerous to take too many adaptogens? You can breathe a sigh of relief: Siff assures me that taking the wrong adaptogen—or the wrong dose—is not dangerous. "You'll have functional disturbances, but not things that are illness-provoking," he says.

Should you take a break from adaptogens? ›

While adaptogens may seem a cure-all, they shouldn't be taken on a long-term basis, finishes naturopathic nutritionist Vanessa Rohmig. “Take a break from your adaptogen after taking it for six months as the body can build up resistance,” she explains.

Is it OK to take mushroom supplements everyday? ›

Any supplement may have side effects in any given individual. That being said, health- promoting mushrooms have an extensive history of safe and effective daily use.

What is the best way to take adaptogens? ›

The most common ways that adaptogens are consumed is through adaptogen-filled foods and health supplements that come in the form of powders, pills, or tinctures. These methods are the easiest way to ensure that you're getting a healthy dose of adaptogens, as well as other vitamins and minerals at the same time.

What foods are high in adaptogen? ›

Here are some of the more common adaptogens and their potential benefits:
  • Ginseng. A popular herb among tea drinkers, ginseng comes in two forms as an adaptogen: Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). ...
  • Eleuthero. ...
  • Schisandra. ...
  • Ashwagandha. ...
  • Rhodiola. ...
  • Tulsi (Holy basil) ...
  • Astragalus. ...
  • Cordyceps.
Aug 26, 2021

What is the best time of day to take adaptogens? ›

While some adaptogens are more stimulating and most appropriate to take in the morning or early afternoon, others have a more calming effect and are best taken later in the day or evening when you want to wind down.


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