Hen of the woods mushrooms are a delicious wild edible food that can be found throughout North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. But not only is this mushroom tasty, it’s also exceptionally good for you. So, what are the benefits of hen of the woods mushrooms? What are they used for, and are there any side effects of eating them? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more!
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What are Hen of the Woods Mushrooms Used For?
Hen of the woods mushrooms are mostly used for eating; they are delicious when cooked fresh after harvesting, and they can also be preserved by freezing, drying, pickling, and canning. They can be eaten raw, though they are best if cooked first.
Hen of the woods mushrooms add an earthy, peppery flavor to a number of recipes. They are also sometimes good on their own, especially if they’ve been pickled.
These mushrooms are also used for a number of medical issues and for improving overall health.
If you know much about natural remedies, especially medicinal mushrooms, then you may have heard of maitake mushroom supplements and extracts; maitake is another name for hen of the woods mushrooms.
According to Om Mushrooms, hen of the woods mushrooms are extremely good for you; they boast high levels of vitamin D, some of the B vitamins, beta-glucans, potassium, and phosphorus. All of these components have a wide range of health benefits, and there is some evidence to suggest that eating hen of the woods mushrooms will allow you to enjoy some of these same benefits.
Benefits and Side Effects of Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
So, what kind of health benefits are we talking about? Hen of the woods mushrooms appear to have some rather impressive benefits, including:
- Immune function: These mushrooms are rich in vitamin D and other antioxidants, which are known for boosting immunity. Hen of the woods supplements are sometimes used to treat immune issues such as HIV as well as to support a healthy overall immune system.
- Blood sugar levels: Hen of the woods mushrooms can regulate blood sugar levels by positively affecting the body’s insulin absorption. This makes hen of the woods an excellent dietary addition for anyone suffering from diabetes.
- Cholesterol: These mushrooms can lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing heart health and offering long-term protection against cardiac issues.
- Bone health: The vitamin D and phosphorus in hen of the woods mushrooms helps to strengthen bones and support overall cell function in the body.
- Cancer: There is some evidence to suggest that this mushroom’s immune-boosting and protective qualities can help to fight several different types of cancer.
With so many great health benefits, you may be wondering, what’s the catch? Are there any side effects you can expect from eating hen of the woods or taking maitake supplements?
Hen of the woods mushrooms are not known to cause any side effects. That said, there are some risks involved with eating wild hen of the woods which you should be aware of:
- Contamination: Mushrooms in general are highly absorbent, so any grown in high-pollution areas may be too contaminated to eat. Be aware of what kind of contaminants and pollution your wild-foraged mushrooms may have been exposed to while they were growing.
- Lower nutrition: Wild mushrooms are only as nutritious as the environment they are growing in. Homegrown hen of the woods mushrooms may be better for you because you control what nutrients they are growing in.
- Identification: Hen of the woods mushrooms have no toxic look-alikes, but they do have some edible ones. If you’re gathering wild mushrooms for medicinal purposes, make sure you are completely sure of their identity; otherwise you may not get the health benefits you were expecting.
Fresh, wild-foraged mushrooms are great for eating and adding to different recipes. But, when you want to use them medicinally, it may be best to purchase prepared supplements such as capsules, powders, or extracts.
Check out this video to learn more about the health benefits of hen of the woods mushrooms.
When Should You Eat Hen of the Woods Mushrooms?
You can eat hen of the woods mushrooms anytime of the year. They are in season during the fall, but as noted above, you can preserve them by freezing, drying, canning, or pickling to enjoy anytime you want.
You can also grow hen of the woods mushrooms indoors year-round. It may take some time and patience to get them to produce decent-sized crops, but the rewards are well worth the efforts.
If you are experiencing trouble with blood sugar, cholesterol, immune function, or bone health, you may want to start taking hen of the woods supplements. Alternatively, you could add hen of the woods mushrooms as a regular part of your diet for improved overall health.
It may also be a good idea to take supplements or add these mushrooms to your diet if you are battling cancer. When combined with other treatments and supplements, hen of the woods mushrooms can provide a number of supportive benefits.
Talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your routine.
Hen of the woods mushrooms have a range of impressive health benefits. These benefits include boosting immune function, regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, supporting bone health, and even fighting cancer.
If you’re looking to experience some of these health benefits, you can eat hen of the woods mushrooms fresh or cooked in recipes, or you can take them in the form of supplemental pills, powders, or extracts.