MYCO ClLINIC topicals with mushroom closeup images

4 Promising Functional Mushrooms for Musculoskeletal Pain and Inflammation

Functional mushrooms are increasingly recognized by researchers for their health benefits. Functional mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and modern research shows that they provide many exciting health benefits. These mushrooms have been demonstrated to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which make them a very potent ingredient with many potential applications. 

One of the most exciting applications is in the sphere of pain management. Chronic pain affects approximately 1 in every 5 Americans, and management options are limited. NSAIDs, steroids, and opioids are the main treatment options for chronic pain, and all of them carry risks, side-effects, and can be harmful if overused.  

Bioactivity of Functional Mushrooms for Managing Inflammation

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Inflammation is a natural process that is meant to be protective of the body. When functioning properly, the inflammatory process helps the immune response against pathogens and facilitates the healing process in the case of injury. There is often pain associated with this inflammation, but it tends to be self-limiting. Sometimes, however, inflammatory processes continue past the point of usefulness and begin to damage the body. Many chronic conditions,  and even some types of chronic neuropathic pain are mediated at least in part by inflammation.  

Functional mushrooms contain polysaccharide-rich compounds such as β-glucans, as well as proteoglycans, terpenoids, phenolic compounds, steroids, and lectins. These compounds have all been shown to reduce the production of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and free radicals. 

In reducing these inflammatory mediators, functional mushrooms help reduce inflammation and inflammatory pain. 

Individual mushrooms also contain specific properties to help balance inflammation as well as secondary properties that can help reduce symptoms associated with muscle and joint pain, including neuralgia. 

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) for Inflammatory Support

Reishi was one of the first mushrooms to be used extensively by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners. Traditionally nicknamed “the mushroom of immortality” or “the Divine mushroom,” Reishi’s benefits have been confirmed by modern scientific research. 

Reishi mushrooms possess significant anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for nerve and musculoskeletal health. They have also been shown to reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress in preclinical studies. Additionally, reishi mushrooms have been found to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF), which has a connection to neuropathic pain. 

Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) for Pain Relief and Exercise Enhancement

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The cordymin peptide has been demonstrated to contain antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a prime candidate for mushroom-based anti-inflammatory and analgesic preparations. 

Additionally, in 1993, the Chinese women’s Olympic running team credited their success to Cordyceps supplementation that was part of their nutritional support plan for training. Research shows that Cordyceps can enhance aerobic performance, in part by upregulating ATP generation pathway to muscle cells.

Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) for Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration

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Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) has caught the attention of researchers thanks to its capacity to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF). 

As noted previously, the stimulation of NGF may help alleviate or protect against neuropathic pain or facilitate nerve regeneration in the case of nerve injury. 

A 2011 study on the treatment of nerve damage published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that Lion’s Mane mushrooms expedited return of limb function after crush injuries. The findings suggest that Lion’s mane may promote the regeneration of crushed peroneal nerves in the early stages of recovery.  

Lion’s mane is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce synovial inflammation in osteoarthritis in animal studies through moderating inflammatory mediators. This was found to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis, which is a condition that accounts for a large burden of morbidity in the population.  

Both the neurotrophic and anti-inflammatory potential of Lion’s mane mushrooms make this an important candidate for future research. 

Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) for Healthy Inflammation and Bone Support

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes) are the most well-known of the functional mushrooms.    

Shiitake extracts have shown the ability to downregulate the gene expressions of proinflammatory mediators, which has been shown in preclinical studies to decrease swelling. 

In another preclinical study, shiitake extracts showed anti-inflammatory activity and inhibition of induced nociception, demonstrating their potential as a pain reliever. 

Lentinan, a polysaccharide extracted from shiitake mushrooms, has been demonstrated to possess significant anti-inflammatory effects, and shows promise in treating age-related inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis. 

MYCO ClLINIC topicals with mushroom closeup images

To recap, functional mushrooms have long since been proven to support the body. Now, they are recognized for their benefits topically. Their ample anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, emollient, and humectant properties, among many others, make them a premium ingredient in the next generation of topical formulas.

MYCO CLINIC’s pain relief topicals were formulated based on 20 years developing naturally sourced OTC products. We are the first on the market to offer naturally sourced pain relief topicals featuring functional mushrooms exclusively to healthcare providers.

If you are a licensed healthcare practitioner and you have not tried MYCO CLINIC yet, you’re invited to register for your free samples

1 thought on “4 Promising Functional Mushrooms for Musculoskeletal Pain and Inflammation”


    I am interested in a wholesale account. Can you please send me information on it.
    Thank you,
    Deborah Solano

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