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Discover The Top Medicinal Mushrooms For Pain Relief
May 25, 23
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Discover The Top Medicinal Mushrooms For Pain Relief

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    A rising star in the holistic health field, Dr. Sony Sherpa has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Although she started writing on Nature’s Rise one year ago, her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine.

  • |
  • 9 min read
Discover The Top Medicinal Mushrooms For Pain Relief

It can be debilitating to have chronic pain. Finding a treatment that would reduce chronic joint pain to a manageable level can be difficult, and many pharmaceutical drugs have a high risk of unpleasant side effects. However, alternative therapies may simplify chronic pain, and functional mushrooms have shown promise.

Functional mushrooms provide a natural solution. They may support the immune system, reduce inflammation, help balance blood sugar, decrease pain, improve nerve growth factor (resulting in a healthier brain and neurological system), and increase energy, among other health benefits.

Let’s explore the best medicinal mushrooms for pain and how they work.

Understanding Pain And Its Impact

Understanding Pain And Its Impact

Pain is a bad sensory or emotional sensation linked to existing or potential tissue damage or expressed as such damage.  In terms of medicine, there are two types of pain:

  • Acute pain: This kind of pain is transient and disappears rapidly.
  • Chronic pain: This pain lasts for a long time.

Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate all rise in response to pain. Those who experience chronic pain may become anxious or depressed if these physiological reactions are prolonged.

Top Mushrooms for Pain Relief

Many mushrooms can aid in pain treatment,  but the best types of medicinal mushrooms to take for chronic pain are:

1. Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)

2. Cordyceps mushrooms (Cordyceps militaris)

3. Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus)

4. Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus)

Reishi For Pain Relief

Reishi For Pain Relief

Reishi(1) is one of the best mushroom for chronic pain. They appear to decrease pain brought on by Herpes zoster while reducing inflammation.The mushrooms may reduce pain in two different ways, by reducing inflammation and balancing the gut microbiome. 

Reishi mushrooms were the subject of a study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine(2) that looked at their impact on herpes zoster pain. After a few days of consumption, the edible mushroom's pain-relieving abilities became obvious. The individuals stopped feeling pain by day 10, and none acquired chronic post-herpetic neuralgia.

Helps Control Inflammation

Reishi is also one of the most incredible mushrooms for inflammation. A 2017 study(3) found that the polysaccharides in this mushroom seem to control the production of inflammatory cytokines.

Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Cordyceps

Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Cordyceps

Pain is primarily brought on by inflammation. Cordyceps may therefore aid in reducing chronic pain by offering anti-inflammatory effects.

Research(4) suggests that Cordyceps has anti-inflammatory properties that are preventative and remedial, which may be helpful for autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis that causes joint pain. Cordyceps may aid in inhibiting the development of inflammation and reducing current inflammation, both of which may aid in reducing pain.

In a 2020 study(5), the anti-inflammatory activities of Cordycepin, one of the bioactive compounds found in Cordyceps mycelia, were investigated. The results show that cordycepin-containing ethanol extracts inhibit the pathways that cause inflammation in chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Lion's Mane For Pain Management

Lion's Mane For Pain Management

Hericium erinaceus, often known as Lion's mane mushrooms, benefits brain health. These advantages include the prevention of memory loss and the improvement of cognitive performance. But did you know that it is one of the best mushroom for pain relief?

Chronic joint pain frequently has an inflammatory component, and studies show that reducing general inflammation tends to reduce pain and other symptoms. Additionally, some cases of chronic joint pain are not due to joint problems but rather neuropathic pain, which is pain brought on by problems with the nervous system. Lion's mane might decrease the effects of neuropathic pain since it encourages nerve growth factor.

Helps Alleviate Neuropathic Pain

It also seems that Lion's mane mushrooms are the top mushrooms for nerve pain. A 2019 study(6) investigated the effects of Hericium erinaceus on peripheral neuropathy brought on by the anti-cancer drug cisplatin.

Here Lion's mane extract and cisplatin were administered to equal numbers of animals, with the other half receiving only cisplatin. Treatment with Hericium erinaceus effectively decreased rats' cisplatin-induced weight loss and neuropathy.

While additional research is needed, especially on human subjects, to understand better how Lion's mane treats neuropathy, it can't hurt to incorporate this mushroom in your diet as a complementary therapy if you experience neuropathic pain.

Aids Nerve Growth

The potential of Lion's mane to promote nerve growth makes it one of the best mushrooms for nerve injury. By increasing the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) proteins, Hericium erinaceus appears to encourage nerve growth.

According to an in vitro study(7), Lion's mane's ability to stimulate neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells is one of its beneficial properties. In addition, the active substances from the Hericium erinaceus fruit bodies markedly increased the NGF protein level in these cells.

The ability of Lion's mane to repair injured nerves was investigated in a study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms(8). In this study, mice with peripheral nerve damage recovered considerably more quickly than control mice given Lion's mane extract.

Chaga To Inhibit Inflammatory Pathways

Chaga To Inhibit Inflammatory Pathways

Chaga mushrooms help you control oxidative stress, which benefits your skin, hair, and general wellness. In addition, exceptional anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities are also present in these mushrooms.

Chaga's in vivo and in vitro effects on pain and inflammation were examined in a study(9). By inhibiting NF-kB proteins, which are in charge of pain and inflammation brought on by injury or infection, the Inonotus obliquus extracts reduced edema, discomfort, and inflammation in mice and rats.

Methods Of Mushrooms Incorporation For Pain

Methods Of Mushrooms Incorporation For Pain

Reishi mushrooms are typically put into a tea or tincture but can be consumed as a supplement. However, their thick, woody texture usually prevents them from being eaten.

Cordyceps can be used in numerous ways. It can be consumed naturally, as a powder in food, or even as a tea, tincture, or supplement. Many people find its umami flavor and sweet, nutty overtones pleasant, making it a good choice for cooking or simply adding flavor and nutrition to cereals and smoothies.

Due to its tasty flavor, Lion's mane is frequently consumed as food, but it can also be consumed as a tincture, capsule, powder, or brewed into tea.

Chaga, like Reishi, has a bitter flavor and a fibrous, woody texture that makes it unpleasant in food. Instead, it can be added to coffee or tea in powder form without significantly altering the flavor. Additionally, it can be consumed as a tincture or supplement.

The Best Results Come from Mixing Your Mushrooms

The Best Results Come from Mixing Your Mushrooms

Chronic joint pain frequently has inflammatory origins, making effective treatment more challenging. According to recent studies, functional mushrooms appear to have many advantages for reducing inflammation. However, if you need help deciding which is better, you shouldn't panic because nothing stops you from combining them and reaping the benefits of each one separately.

Always get medical advice if you are unsure which supplements to take or what amounts. This is particularly true if you're taking conventional medications, as it's essential to ensure no harmful interactions and that the therapies work in concert rather than competing for decreasing efficacy.

FAQs About Mushrooms For Pain

What Mushrooms Are Good For Joint Pain?

Since mushrooms are believed to be anti-inflammatory, they can reduce discomfort and pain.  The mushrooms Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga, and Cordyceps are particularly useful in this situation.

Can Mushrooms Completely Eliminate Pain?

It's challenging to get rid of chronic discomfort entirely. Functional mushrooms, however, might reduce persistent joint discomfort.

Can I Use Mushrooms As A Standalone Treatment For Pain?

Functional mushrooms are a complementary treatment option for chronic pain. Any mushroom extract is not suggested as a standalone treatment in any research.

Key Takeaway

Numerous mushrooms, particularly adaptogenic ones, seem effective at reducing pain.

Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s mane, and Cordyceps are the best mushrooms for pain that help fight inflammation and promote nerve growth. The best course of action for treating chronic pain with medicinal mushrooms is combining the advantages of several fungi.

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  1. Mushrooms: A Potential Natural Source of Anti-Inflammatory Compounds for Medical Applications, (1) 
  2. Effect of an herbal formula containing Ganoderma lucidum on reduction of herpes zoster pain: a pilot clinical trial, (2) 
  3. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides improve insulin sensitivity by regulating inflammatory cytokines and gut microbiota composition in mice, (3) 
  4. A direct protein kinase B-targeted anti-inflammatory activity of cordycepin from artificially cultured fruit body of Cordyceps militaris, (4) 
  5. Anti-inflammatory effects of cordycepin: A review, (5) 
  6. Healing effect of Hericium erinaceus in experimental peripheral neuropathy model., (6) 
  7. Chemical constituents from Hericium erinaceus and their ability to stimulate NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth on PC12 cells, (7) 
  8. Neuroregenerative potential of lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review), (8) 
  9. In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of the methanol extract of Inonotus obliquus, (9)

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