Unlocking the Benefits of Mushrooms

Unlocking the Benefits of Mushrooms

     You might say “I eat  mushrooms at the salad bar, do I need them in my tea too?” The answer depends on what you are seeking from mushrooms in your diet. Mushrooms are enjoying a real moment in the spotlight right now and in our opinion, it's about time! There are so many benefits to the human body tied in with our fungal friends and we are excited to share their medicinal properties[1]. When consuming mushrooms to unlock medicinal benefits, there is one very important word to keep in mind: CHITIN. The cell walls of mushrooms are made of chitin, which is a very hard substance also found in mollusk shells, and can be difficult for the human body to break down. For many people, eating raw mushrooms leads to discomfort. 

Dried mushrooms: Chaga, Reishi, Maitake, and lion's mane all gathered together on a counter
Can you eat raw mushrooms?

The answer is yes. You certainly can eat raw mushrooms, but there are a few things to keep an eye on:

challenges of eating raw mushrooms:

  • The taste is not always desirable
  • tough raw mushrooms like Shiitake or Reishi can be difficult  to chew
  • some consumers feel bloated or gassy after eating raw mushrooms
  • the benefits of functional mushrooms may not be noticeable when eaten raw

At the Farmers Market perhaps you are offered a sample of a fresh oyster mushroom. Maybe you are at the salad bar and add a few sliced button mushrooms to your salad. The curiosity is overwhelming and you can’t resist a quick nibble on a piece of Lion’s Mane. You may enjoy these and you may not feel any of the aforementioned discomfort. If this is something that brings you joy, go ahead and do it! Raw mushrooms are generally safe to consume once they have been reliably identified as edible.

Should you eat raw mushrooms?

There are a number of benefits to eating cooked vs raw mushrooms. When it comes to consuming mushrooms to unlock their incredible superpowers, consider preparing your mushrooms in a way that breaks down the chitin in the cell walls. Breaking down this tough substance will free the powerfully healthy components within [2]. Some ways to do this are: 

  • heat (cooking)
  • fermentation
  • alcohol extraction
  • hot water extraction. 

If your goal is to gain the benefits of functional mushrooms you should not consume them raw. You want to break down that chitin wall and release the magic

Desirable properties released during hot water extraction: [3]
  • Antioxidants
  • Polysaccharides (such as beta-glucans)
  • Vitamins, especially B vitamins
  • Nutrients such as fiber and potassium

When it comes to the question of “which mushrooms are good?”, there are as many answers as there are mushrooms, so it’s up to your personal goals and your personal tastes where to begin. 

This is where Tamim Tea comes in!

A lineup of Tamim Tea mushroom tea flavors arranged on a granite countertop

Lo and behold, making tea with mushrooms is quite simply a hot water extraction! Steeping the mushrooms in hot water breaks down chitin and makes medicinal properties accessible to the human body. Blending herbs and additional flavor elements is like wrapping those medicinal properties in the proverbial "spoonful of sugar" to warm you up from the inside and put a smile on your face while enjoying the herbal aromas. We're not saying you won't enjoy a warm cup of chaga. But you will most likely enjoy a warm cup of herbal chai with chaga more.

One special feature of Tamim Teas is that each blend is made from fruiting bodies, locally and organically grown. In functional mushrooms, the fruiting bodies are where the most magic happens! The other option is extraction from mycelium, but there is significantly more of what we seek in the fruiting bodies[4]. A typical hot water extraction might be done with chunks of chaga or slices of Reishi where the mushrooms are simmered for hours.  At Tamim Teas, these functional mushrooms are finely ground which means the extraction can be done quicker. Mid-week, when your schedule is crazy, you may not want to sit and simmer a shroom tea for hours and that’s ok. You can prepare Tamim Teas like a regular tea, but without fear that your blend will become bitter if you steep it too long. With these functional mushrooms, the longer they are steeped, the more benefits are unlocked. Try simmering for at least 10-15 min for more flavor and more properties.

Mushroom tea is just one of many ways to incorporate mushrooms into your diet and we are delighted to share this part of the journey with you. Explore our guideline of types of mushroom tea for a brief overview and then order a few sample sizes to see what you like and what feels best. 

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of why to prepare your mushrooms, let’s learn How to Make Mushroom Tea. Consider picking up our Tumbler with Tea Infuser, stainless steel mug infuser, or paper filter bags to enhance your tea making experience.



 [1] These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

[2] Hobbs, Christopher. Medicinal Mushrooms, Book Pub., Summertown, TN, 2003, p. 83.

[3] Plaza, M., & Turner, C. (2015). Pressurized hot water extraction of bioactives. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 71, 39-54.

[4] McCleary & Draga: Journal of AOAC International VOL 99, No2, 2016