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July 17, 2021 3 min read

What is the role of mycelium?

Mycelium is getting increasing recognition for its revolutionary role in both the environment and in human nutrition.

In nature, the mycelium is critical. Essentially, it recycles nutrients and spreads them around for other organisms to consume, ultimately playing a key role in sustaining plant life. The compounds in the mycelium are different than in the mushroom itself because it also produces antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal compounds to filter out waste.

Not only that, but emerging science suggests that myceliummay evenbe able to reduce the use of plastics because its fibers grow at a rapid rate and can produce natural substances that can be used in manufacturing materials like, packaging, clothes and construction materials. It can also offer a plant-based alternative to meat, which can lower the greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising cattle.

Mycelium can also be used to provide additional nutritional benefits for human consumption. The most commonly studied benefit of mycelium is how it can be used to support healthy immune function – we’ll get deeper into that below.

 Is mycelium safe to eat?

Mycelium can appear off-putting as it can present as white fuzz that looks like mold. While we would never recommend eating anything moldy or eating mushrooms without knowing that they are safe for human consumption, most mycelium is safe to eat and totally edible.

In fact, mycelium can also be grown in controlled environments outside of nature specifically for human consumption. In these instances, brown rice or oats are most commonly used to grow the mycelium. Mushroom mycelium will actually digest the rice, which reduces the presence of the grain itself and can 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.

 Benefits of eating mycelium

Not only is mycelium safe to eat, it can actually have a number of benefits for human health. Whether grown in nature or in a controlled environment, mycelium is best known for helping to maintain healthy immune function by supporting immune cells for protection, immune strength and a balanced immune response.

Recent research supports this claim. A study 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.

Mycelium mushroom types

Just like the mushroom (or fruiting body) itself, different types of mycelium have different benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the most common varieties (and we’re not gonna lie, also the ones that we happen to think are the most important!)

Reishi mushroom mycelium

As one would expect, the benefits of mushroom mycelium can vary based on the type of mushroom. Reishi mushroom, 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. 

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 other health benefits. Chaga mushroom mycelium maintains the body’s healthy defenses and supports healthy immune and stress response. 

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. 

If you’re interested in exploring all of the benefits of these mycelium types, mycelium is safe to eat and 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.  Give them a go and let us know what you think!



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