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July 09, 2021 3 min read

If you have never heard of mycelium, don’t fret! It sounds complicated, but simply put, it is actually just the root system of a mushroom. The fruiting body refers to the mushroom itself, the mycelium is a dense mass of fine fibers that support the life system of the mushroom. They do this by extending into the soil to grab nutrients and water from materials around them (think: plant matter, soil, wood, etc.) The mycelium also acts as a mushroom defense system. It develops unique compounds to protect the whole mushroom against competitors (for nutrients,) like pathogens.    It stands to reason then, that this root system, while nourishing the fruiting body, would also be the home of the most nutritionally dense and functional parts of the mushroom itself.

Mushroom mycelium health benefits

While the fruiting body of the mushroom is important and can provide benefits of its own, the mushroom mycelium health benefits typically focus on the immune system. Mycelium is best known for helping to maintain healthy immune function by supporting immune cells for protection, immune strength and a balanced immune response.  

Do all mushrooms have mycelium?

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is that not all mycelium is created equal. As you will likely infer from reading above, mycelium that grows in nature seems like it would provide the most benefits, because commercially farmed mushrooms often grow inside and don’t have the same access to all of the nutrients found in nature.

That said, emerging evidence like this research published by Fungi Perfecti, LLC and third-party immunology experts at Natural Immune Systems, Inc. suggest that mushroom mycelium grown for use in supplements on grains such as brown rice, have a unique value for supporting healthy immune function. 

Mushroom mycelium will actually digest the rice, which reduces the presence of the grain itself and help the mycelium grow. This is important to note because one of the arguments against commercially farmed mycelium is that products containing this form of mycelium are inactive or primarily composed of filler, stripping the user of the benefits of naturally derived mycelium.

When mycelium are grown on gluten-free whole oats or brown rice (like Rritual’s organic mushroom mycelium,) the mycelium will become enmeshed with the grain substrate and become inseparable, meaning that some of the fermented substrate is likely included with the pure mycelium.  The metabolites produced during this process yield compounds that give mushrooms nutritive and energetic properties which are not found in the plant kingdom. 

Rritual’s elixirs, like ReishiChaga and Lion’s Mane, all include this mycelium to provide all of the beneficial bioactive compounds and metabolites only mushrooms contain.  Time-tested adaptogenic herbs and other botanicals are included to enhance the benefits of each mushroom and create a balanced Rritual elixir to nourish the body, mind, and spirit.  

Reishi mushroom mycelium

As one would expect, the benefits of mushroom mycelium can vary based on the type of mushroom. Reishi, known as the “mushroom of immortality” in Eastern cultures, has traditionally been consumed to support longevity, cultivate spiritual energy, and bring calmness to the body and mind.  Reishi mushroom mycelium supports this sense of calm and helps to release tension.  You can read more about the benefits of reishi here.

Chaga mushroom mycelium

Chaga is a mushroom long revered in Eastern cultures for its ability to maintain and optimize immune health.  It has been traditionally consumed for centuries as a food for maintaining overall vitality and health.  Chaga mushroom mycelium maintains the body’s healthy defenses and supports healthy immune and stress response.  Check out this article on all chaga has to offer.

Lion's mane mushroom mycelium

For centuries, Eastern cultures have consumed Lion’s Mane mushrooms as a delicacy for the enlightening effects it may have on cognitive health.  Today, it has gained popularity for helping to bring focus and mental clarity to a restless or foggy mind without the use of stimulants.  Lion’s Mane mycelium provides additional whole body support.  Learn about all of the health benefits of Lion’s Mane mushrooms here.

The power of the ‘shroom

There you have it: the mushroom mycelium health benefits, while still an emerging field of study, are compelling enough to suggest that healthy immune functioning can be supported by the mushroom mycelium.  If mushrooms weren’t feeling so magical to you before, we hope you will now consider leveraging the power of the ‘shroom to support and nourish your body, mind, and spirit!

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