Mushroom Coffee: It’s Boon and Bane According to Experts

You might have seen Instagram influencers sipping on a warm, coffee-like beverage. Upon probing, you realize it is the mushroom coffee everyone is praising. 

It is one of the latest coffee trends, and people are raving about it because it seems to be a healthy substitute for coffee. But is it?

Several online sources mention that mushroom coffee was famous in Finland during World War 2 as they were short on coffee beans. Moreover, according to J. BUON (2016), the mushroom was used as traditional Chinese medicine.

Healthline also clarifies this hype, but let’s see what experts have to say!

What Is Mushroom Coffee?

If you think you will find mushrooms floating in the cup, that is not the case. Mushroom coffee is called nootropic or smart coffee. 

It is a concoction of coffee beans and ground mushrooms. They are brewed together for a nutty, smooth, and dark coffee. 

Furthermore, mushroom coffee uses medicinal mushrooms instead of culinary mushrooms such as portobello and shiitake. 

These medicinal mushrooms undergo a drying and extraction process to extract the beneficial compounds. It is then blended with regular coffee. That is why it tastes like regular coffee.  

A few medicinal mushrooms include:

  • Cordyceps
  • Reishi
  • Lion’s mane
  • Turkey’s tail
  • Chaga 

How Do Manufacturers Create Mushroom Coffee?

They create it by extracting the mushroom and turning it into organic powder. After the extraction process, mushrooms are dehydrated, and they are ground to turn into fine powder. The resulting powder is free from additives, carriers, and fillers.

This fine powder is then mixed with ground coffee beans in a ratio of one to one. You can buy mushroom coffee in the form of:

  • Coffee pods
  • Ground coffee blends
  • Instant coffee packets 

You can prepare mushroom coffee the same way as you prepare your regular coffee. You can make delicious black coffee beverages, mochas, or lattes. 

Is Caffeine Lower in Mushroom Coffee?

Mushroom coffee is marketed as having lower caffeine than the regular coffees available. Caffeine is a mind-altering or psychoactive drug that affects how we feel and think. 

It is found in several foods like tea leaves, cocoa beans, and coffee beans. Moreover, its synthetic form is also added to various foods and beverages. 

A review cited in Front Psychiatry (2017) stated that women who are lactating or pregnant, children, or individuals having heart issues could experience the side effects of caffeine consumption. 

Consuming caffeine around 400mg does not cause any adverse effects; however, it may be different for caffeine-sensitive people. A person having caffeine sensitivity may experience an upset stomach, an increase in heartbeats, anxiety, etc. 

Since the mushroom powder is mixed with ground coffee, it cuts the amount of caffeine present in the final product. This might not be true for all the mushroom powder brands available. Often, these powder packages do not mention caffeine content.

In short, mushroom coffee has half the caffeine than the regular coffee cup, but it is considerably more than decaffeinated coffee. 

How Healthy is Mushroom Coffee?

A review published in Molecules (2017) mentioned that adaptogens are compounds isolated from medicinal mushrooms, and they are known for improving the body’s stress response.

Medicinal mushrooms hold the interest of several researchers because of their several health claims. The studies conducted in the past are usually done on animal models, and very few clinical trials are based on humans. 

Therefore, it does not mean that it will be hundred percent beneficial for humans undergoing certain diseases.

However, the combination of coffee and medicinal mushroom do have established benefits and health claims. Some of the health benefits, according to scientific evidence, are as follows:

Improves Immunity

According to BMC Complement Altern. Med (2019), the fermented substrates of Turkey’s Tail have proven to have immune-boosting characteristics.

Heart Disease

A study cited in Int J Med Mushrooms (2018) showed that Reishi extracts could reduce blood cholesterol levels; thus, minimizing the cardiovascular diseases risk.  

Averts Allergic Reactions

A study published in Int Immunopharmacol (2020) stated that Chaga mushroom could suppress those immune cell activity that triggers allergic reactions. 

Therapy for Cancer Symptoms

The PDQ cancer information summary mentions that Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s mane, and Turkey’s tail work as a therapy for cancer patients and help fight against vomiting and nausea.

Prevent Ulcers

A study in Int J Med Mushrooms (2019) stated that when researchers gave Chaga mushrooms to rats with gastric mucosal ulceration, it worked as an antiulcer.  

There is some promising evidence available, but more research is still required to verify its health effects on humans. 

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What Are Some Negative Pointers?

Lack of human studies is the main drawback. Several studies are conducted on animals or are test tube tested. 

Moreover, there is no information related to safe dosage and whether the medicinal mushroom will interact with medications or not.

Not to mention, mushroom coffee is expensive. It cost more than regular coffee. 

Ending Note

Despite the numerous claims of mushroom coffee, a few of them are not verified. Plus, more research is required that revolves around humans. 

Mushroom coffee might be safe for several individuals. Still, if you wish to try it out and take medications for your existing health condition, it is best to ask the healthcare professional.

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