Chronic pain can be debilitating. Luckily, mushrooms offer a natural solution.
Let’s explore the best mushrooms for chronic pain relief and how they work.
Is There a Mushroom that Helps with Pain?
Many mushrooms appear to alleviate pain, with adaptogenic mushrooms being particularly beneficial. Adaptogenic mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, and research suggests that many of them can help you treat chronic pain.
Best Mushrooms for Chronic Pain
Many mushrooms can aid in pain treatment, even popular, readily-available types, such as shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes) and white button mushroom (Agaricus blazei). The best types of mushrooms to take for chronic pain are:
- Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus)
- Cordyceps mushrooms (Cordyceps militaris)
- Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus)
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have positive effects on brain health, with its benefits including memory loss prevention and cognitive function enhancement. But, did you know the many benefits of lion’s mane include chronic pain relief?
Not only does this amazing functional mushroom promote nerve growth and recovery, it also appears to ease nerve pain. To learn more about this and other benefits of Hericium erinaceus, check out our guide to lion’s mane mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane: Best Mushroom for Nerve Damage
Lion's mane is one of the best mushrooms for nerve damage thanks to its ability to aid in nerve growth. Hericium erinaceus seems to promote nerve growth by stimulating the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) proteins.
An in vitro study suggests that one of the lion's mane mushroom's qualities is its capacity to induce neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. Active compounds extracted from Hericium erinaceus fruit bodies raised the presence of NGF proteins in these cells substantially.
A study published by the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms examined the ability of lion’s mane to regenerate damaged nerves. In this study, mice that were given a lion’s mane extract recovered significantly faster after peripheral nerve injury than their counterparts.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Pain Management
Lion's mane mushrooms appear to be useful in treating neuropathic pain. A 2019 study looked into Hericium erinaceus's impact on cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy.
Cisplatin is a highly effective anticancer medication that is often used to treat solid tumors. Those who take it in high doses, however, frequently experience nerve pain. This limits the dosage that cancer patients can take, as well as the drug's efficacy.
In this study, half of the animals received both cisplatin and a lion's mane hot aqueous extract, whereas the other half received only cisplatin. Hericium erinaceus treatment significantly reduced neuropathy and cisplatin-induced weight loss in rats.
The neuropathy-relieving properties of lion's mane warrant additional research, particularly on human subjects. If you suffer from neuropathic pain, it can't hurt to include this mushroom in your diet as an alternative treatment.
Cordyceps mushrooms seem to aid in cancer treatment through cancer cell apoptosis and provide increased energy levels, among many other potential benefits.
Though there is no research on the effects of this mushroom on chronic pain, anecdotal research and its proven benefits for inflammation prevention and treatment are promising. The root cause of pain is inflammation. Thus, by providing anti-inflammatory properties, cordyceps may help reduce chronic pain.
Cordycepin, one of the bioactive compounds found in cordyceps mycelia, was studied for its anti-inflammatory properties in a 2020 study. The findings reveal that cordycepin-containing ethanol extracts block mechanisms that induce inflammation in chronic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is among the healthiest mushrooms you can consume. They appear to reduce inflammation, as well as aid in pain relief associated with Herpes zoster.
Reishi Mushroom for Pain Relief
A study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine examined the effects of reishi mushrooms on pain caused by Herpes zoster. The pain-relieving properties of this edible mushroom became apparent after a few days of intake. By day 10, participants no longer experienced pain, and none of the participants developed chronic post-herpetic neuralgia.
Reishi Mushroom for Inflammation
Reishi is one of the best mushrooms to take for inflammation. Polysaccharides present in this mushroom species appear to modulate inflammatory cytokine production, at least in mice, according to a 2017 study.
This fungus also seems to influence the composition of the gut microbiota, which could benefit in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and other auto-immune digestive disorders.
Chaga mushrooms benefit your skin, hair, and overall health by helping you manage oxidative stress. These mushrooms also have amazing anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties.
A 2005 study looked at the effects of chaga on pain and inflammation in vivo and in vitro. The Inonotus obliquus extract relieved inflammation, swelling, and pain in mice and rats by blocking NF-kB proteins, which are responsible for pain and inflammation related to injury or infection.
Do You Want to Take Medicinal Mushrooms for Chronic Pain?
If you want to try medicinal mushrooms for chronic pain, combining the benefits of several fungi is your best bet.
Our functional mushroom granola contains lion’s mane, one of the best mushrooms for chronic pain, making it a great place to start your pain relief journey.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, delicious, and packed with nutrients. What more could you want from your morning bowl of cereal?
FAQ on Mushrooms for Chronic Pain
How much lion’s mane is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses high-quality lion's mane mushroom extracts made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down the indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion's mane extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular lion’s mane mushroom supplement. Therefore, you get as much potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
What is the best mushroom for osteoarthritis?
Hericium erinaceus is the best mushroom for osteoarthritis. In 2022, an animal study examined the effects of lion's mane on osteoarthritis in Sprague-Dawley rats. This study concluded that lion's mane can significantly reduce osteoarthritic pain, at least in animals.
How do people cope with constant pain?
People use various strategies to manage their chronic pain, such as taking pain medication, pain-relieving adaptogens, engaging in physical therapy for pain management, and seeking emotional support from friends and family. Some people may also benefit from alternative therapy for pain, like acupuncture or massage.
Conditions like frozen shoulder and similar ailments, which can cause persistent pain and stiffness, may require a combination of treatments to help manage the symptoms and restore mobility.
What is the best mushroom for depression?
Lion’s mane is, by far, the best mushroom for depression. This mushroom appears to stabilize the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter directly related to depression and other mood disorders. To learn more about the benefits of this mushroom for depression, check out our article on the relationship between Hericium erinaceus, depression, and dopamine.
Which mushroom is best for joint health?
Many mushrooms can help you maintain and improve joint health. For example, turkey tail mushrooms, king trumpet mushrooms, lion’s mane mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms all aid in bone and joint health maintenance. Therefore, it’s best to combine multiple types of adaptogenic mushrooms for optimal joint health.
What is the best mushroom for arthritis and inflammation?
Many mushrooms contain antiinflammatory properties which are beneficial for arthritis. However, there are two standout fungi when it comes to treating inflammatory processes related to arthritis—Hericium erinaceus and Antrodia camphorata.
An animal study examined the effects of the stout camphor fungus (Antrodia camphorata) on pain and inflammation in mice. Results show that this mushroom aids in pain and inflammation relief and could be a potent agent in the treatment of arthritis.
Lion’s mane research shows that this mushroom is also highly beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, as it seems to inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines that exacerbate arthritic pain and inflammation. To learn more about this benefit, read our detailed article on lion’s mane and arthritis.
What is the best mushroom for autoimmune disease?
When it comes to fighting autoimmune disease, lion’s mane is the best mushroom you can take.
The lion’s mane mushroom appears to preserve memory and brain function in people with Alzheimers, as well as aid in the treatment of diabetes, the most common autoimmune disease.
Lion’s mane is among the best alternative treatments for diabetes, as it can lower blood sugar levels and alleviate diabetic neuropathy, a common symptom of this chronic illness.
What is the best mushroom for gut health?
Every adaptogenic mushroom has benefits for digestive health, thanks to their high fiber content. However, lion’s mane seems to be particularly beneficial for gut health.
In a 2017 study, researchers looked at the effects of Hericium erinaceus on inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) in rats. Researchers discovered a significant improvement in clinical symptoms and histology results in rats with IBS after two weeks of treatment.
To learn more about the effects of Hericium erinaceus on digestive health, read our detailed article on lion’s mane and digestion.
Should I take psychedelic mushrooms for pain relief?
Recent clinical studies show promising results when it comes to microdosing psilocybin mushrooms for pain relief.
This type of mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, are psychedelic drugs that cause a high when taken in high doses, and appear to aid in the relief of many physical and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depressive disorder, when taken in micro doses.
A study review examined the effects of psychedelic mushrooms on chronic pain. This review concluded that magic mushrooms aided in reducing symptoms of cluster headaches, as well as relieved phantom limb pain in patients with missing limbs.
While taking magic mushrooms for pain seems promising. However, psychedelic mushrooms are not federally legal in the US, and microdosing mushrooms can cause side effects, so be cautious if you choose to implement psychedelic fungi in your chronic pain treatment.
- Zhang, C. C. (2015). Chemical constituents from Hericium erinaceus and their ability to stimulate NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth on PC12 cells. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 25(22), 5078–5082. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2015.10.016
- Wong, K. H. (2012). Neuroregenerative Potential of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Higher Basidiomycetes), in the Treatment of Peripheral Nerve Injury (Review). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 14(5), 427–446. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v14.i5.10
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This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).