A guide to medicinal mushrooms: lion’s mane, reishi and more

Lions Mane

Move over, magic mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms can help support your immune system and boost memory, among other superpowers.

Mushrooms have officially taken over the wellness space and that extends well beyond the magic kind, or even the ones you find on your plate. Health enthusiasts are putting mushrooms in everything from coffee to smoothies to medicine cabinets, and it’s looking like it’s just the start of the mushroom boom.

But not all mushrooms are created equal. Many of them have special (science-backed) properties that are seriously impressive. One of the most beneficial types of mushrooms are called functional mushrooms, which are pretty different from the button mushrooms you might add to a pasta dish (although those are good for you too). 

“Functional mushrooms are mushrooms that have benefits that extend past nutritional benefits found in traditional mushrooms we are familiar with from cooking,” says Alana Kessler, a registered dietician. “Functional mushrooms can be taken via capsules, powders, liquids (teas) and sprays,” says Kessler. 

With so many different types of mushrooms out there, how do you know which ones are best for you? And which ones are worth buying in a tincture or supplement versus just cooking and eating them? Keep reading for a complete overview of all of the healthiest mushrooms you can use — from the kind you can eat to those that have health benefits if you take them in a more concentrated supplemental form. 

Medicinal mushroom basics 

You’ll find medicinal mushrooms in many forms, but one of the most common ways to supplement is with a mushroom powder or extract (more on that later). While many mushrooms are taken in supplements, powders or other forms, some medicinal mushrooms are also eaten in their whole form. “Mushrooms in general offer up great nutrition and are low in calories. They provide selenium, B vitamins, vitamin D and potassium — necessary for energy and absorption of nutrients, as well as beta glucans which are important for lowering inflammation and providing fiber, especially shiitake and maitake,” says Kessler. 

An overview of edible medicinal mushrooms

Maitake: “Can be sautéed, cooked into dishes, or eaten cooked on its own (not typically raw),” says Kessler. Maitake mushroom is an adaptogen, which means it can help the body adapt to stress and stay in balance. It also has potential anti-cancer benefits, in addition to helping improve cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Shiitake: “[Can be] cooked into any types of dishes, can be eaten raw, but typically cooked,” says Kessler. Shiitake mushrooms may help fight cancer and inflammation, and they contain beta glucans, which may help lower cholesterol.  

Lion’s mane: “Not typically eaten raw, and can be substituted in recipes as crab meat. [Helps] support mood health and memory,” says Kessler.

Oyster mushrooms:  “Not typically eaten raw, can sauté, or use in stir fry,” says Kessler. Research has shown that oyster mushrooms contain antioxidants and may help decrease risk of certain diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Functional medicinal mushrooms

While not an exhaustive list, the below types of mushrooms are some of the most common kinds that are sold and marketed today in supplements, extracts, powders and other products. 

Lion’s mane 

Lion’s mane mushroom is best known for potential benefits for brain health. Some supplements and products that market lion’s mane claim that it can help boost focus and memory. Although there is not much human clinical research on lion’s mane, some animal studies have shown that it can help boost memory and may help prevent diseases that affect cognitive function like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Lion’s mane is high in antioxidants, which can help lower inflammation in the body.


Traditionally used in East Asian medicine, reishi is a type of mushroom that’s been used for many reasons and has a long list of potential health benefits. It’s currently being used to help cancer patients in China who need help strengthening their immune system after cancer treatments. 

According to Kessler, reishi contains several polysaccharides that stimulate parts of the immune system. “[Reishi] helps the body fight viruses and bacteria by stimulating production of T-cells,” says Kessler. Reishi may also have benefits for fighting cancer as “the polysaccharides cause a significant increase in ‘natural killer’ cells, which destroys cancer cells, shrinks tumors and slows the spread of existing cancers,” says Kessler.

Reishi may also help reduce stress, decrease depression symptoms and help improve sleep, thanks to naturally occurring compounds called triterpenes. 


“[Chaga] fungus grows in colder climates and is high in fiber. It is possible this is a reason that while it is beneficial for immune function and provides antioxidants, it is also used as a complementary treatment to heart disease and diabetes as it helps to lower blood sugar,” says Kessler. In addition to antioxidants and fiber, chaga also contains a variety of other nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, iron and calcium, among others. 

Turkey tail

Turkey tail is best known for its potential benefits for immune health and it’s been studied for treating cancer alongside other treatments.

“[Turkey tail] stimulates processes in the body which fights tumor growth and metastasis, including production of T-cells and ‘natural killer’ cells,” says Kessler. “Studies have shown that polysaccharide-K (PSK, a compound in turkey tail) improved the survival rates of patients with gastric and colorectal cancers and showed promise in fighting leukemia and some lung cancers,” says Kessler. 


Perhaps the most popular mushroom in the fitness crowd, Cordyceps is embraced by fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike for its ability to boost recovery and stamina. “Cordyceps boosts metabolism and stamina, and speeds recovery by increasing ATP, and improves how the body uses oxygen,” says Kessler.

What to look for when buying mushroom products 

Some mushroom supplements and products contain fillers and other ingredients you need to avoid in order to find the best quality product. “When purchasing a mushroom supplement, make sure starch is listed. Some supplements can be filled with ‘filler’ so make sure only 5% of the recipe includes starch,” says Kessler. Another tip from Kessler is to choose a concentrated extract over powder form. She says to look for “hot water extracted” on the label or company website.

“Avoid supplements that say mycelium — this means the supplements are void of the beta-glucan which gives it much of its medicinal quality. Look for labels that say triterpenoid compounds and active polysaccharides,” says Kessler.

Finally, keep in mind that taking medicinal mushrooms requires patience and you won’t see immediate benefits. “It takes at least two weeks to notice the effects of functional mushrooms, and it is recommended to take a week off every four to six months,” says Kessler.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

General Boss tips

Learn Their Patterns

While every boss can be daunting, they each have a pattern that they follow rigorously. The most important thing you can learn when fighting enemies is how they move and what behaviors they follow. This knowledge can be a bit tough to learn, especially when you have swords and magic spells being hurled at your face. But once you do, you’ll get a sense of how a boss’ attacks work and what you can do to overcome them.

Don’t Rely on Rolling Too Much

Rolling in Elden Ring is vital to every battle, but it’s easy to abuse it. The move gives players a small window of invincibility on any attack, so it appears that spamming it would be the right answer to whatever scenario. Do not do this. FromSoftware purposely makes enemies’ attacks reach a certain distance for when you roll. Bosses also have multiple quick and delayed attacks to throw off the timing of your rolls. Keep that in mind even in the heat of the battle.

If you need to roll, especially for boss battles, try rolling toward the boss. It sounds counterintuitive but the way FromSoftware designs boss attacks, going toward the boss helps you evade, as the expectation is for you to roll away. If there’s one attack constantly hitting you when you roll away, that’s when you need to roll forward.

Being Greedy is Dangerous

We know the feeling you can get when a particular foe gets caught in a vulnerable spot, and you want to keep attacking them. However, it’s important not to be greedy in those moments. Before you know it, a boss can quickly recover and send you flying with a powerful counterattack. Always be mindful of the time it takes to attack. It’s often better to go in for a couple of quick hits and back away to safety, even if there’s time for another set of blows.

Make Sure to Use Your Summons

As players progress through the game, they’ll receive more summons. These spirits can be somewhat weak and do minimal damage, but they distract the boss. These assists provide a small respite from the battle, allowing you to heal or set up a powerful charge or jumping attack. Calling on a summon should be the first thing players should do in a boss battle. 

For the boss fights of legacy dungeons, there is usually a summon right next to the golden fog gate. Keep an eye out for an orange symbol on the ground as these fighters are powerful and can help you tremendously in these hard battles. You might need to find these NPCs within the dungeon before they will help.  

Finish The Fight, Later

FromSoftware always finds ways to catch you off guard. An example is the Tree Sentinel, a big brute of a boss, in the game’s first area. It’s a powerful foe that can kill you in two hits. This encounter may give you the impression that you have to beat him at this moment, but trust us when we say that is not the case. You’ll inevitably come across some foes that will knock you out in a quick fashion. While you can certainly try and figure a way to beat them, you’re often better off just taking the hint and doing something better with your time. You can always come back later once you’re stronger and get some revenge — and those moments are always satisfying.

Now let’s take a look at some specific bosses…

Margit, The Fell Omen


Margit, the Fell Omen can be a daunting foe to face in your first hours with the game.

From Software / Namco Bandai Games

This encounter is likely the first major boss you’ll face in Elden Ring and they will certainly put you through your paces. The battle against Margit is, above all, a test of your dodging, attack skills and patience during a fight. Despite its size, Margit is highly mobile and can easily close the distance to land some hits on you if you aren’t careful. The boss primarily uses their staff as a close-range weapon, striking with three-hit combo attacks and a harder two-handed blow that can drop your stamina fast if you try to block it. Margit will throw magic daggers at a distance at a range, and it’s best to avoid them by dodging.

The best way to strike Margit is to hit them once they’ve finished performing their

attacks. By looking at their attack patterns, you can have a window of opportunity to hit them with quick strikes. It’s always better to stick and move rather than lay into them with a series of long combos. Go for brief 2-3 hits and then move away to avoid their follow-up attacks. And unless you have decent strength and endurance for your character, it’s always better to roll out of the way of its attacks. Though if you have a shield with parry sub-ability — and you’re willing to take a risk — you can stun Margit with a well-timed parry. However, if you miss the timing, you leave yourself open to a devastating attack.

Once you clear half its health, Margit enters a second phase where they’ll pull out a massive hammer. While their patterns are still similar, Margit’s extra aggression makes for a more tense fight. The best thing to do is stay composed and look at their patterns to find an opening. And always stick with dodging as opposed to blocking. If you try to block their hammer, you will lose your stamina and open yourself up for attack. Remember to stick and move, and keep your attacks brief when fighting Margit, and you will eventually defeat them.

If you’re still struggling, another option to make the fight slightly easier: Visit the Murkerwater Cave dungeon, north of the Dragon Burnt Ruins. Inside the case, you’ll encounter a boss named Patches, a recurring character from previous FromSoftware games. If you spare his life after he yields in combat, he will open up his inventory for purchase. One item he sells is Margit’s Shackle, which will stun the boss during its first phase only, allowing you to go in for a series of strikes. This is a great way to overcome Margit if you need extra help with the fight

Godrick The Grafted


The battle against Godrick will be a real test of patience and resolve. It’d be best to bring in some back up for him.

FromSoftware / Namco Bandai Games

If you make it through Stormveil Castle, then you’ve already picked up skills and tactics when it comes to overcoming foes. However, the battle with Godrick is, by far, the biggest hurdle you’ll need to overcome. As the first demi-god you’ll fight, this fallen ruler of Stormveil Castle will pull out all the stops to take you out. Much like Margit, Godrick is speedy despite his size. But unlike Margit, Godrick has a larger arsenal of weapons and skills to use.

Before this fight, one thing you can do to make it easier is to summon an AI character. Nepheli, a traveling warrior, is someone you’ll first meet in the Roundtable Hold, and you can find her again in Stormveil Castle near Godrick’s location. If you speak with her, she will help you during the battle. Just outside the door to Godrick, you can see her summon sign. It’s recommended you call in an assist in this fight, as having a backup will be a big help.

Like the previous fight, you’ll need to watch Godrick’s patterns to avoid their strikes. One attack to watch out for is a 360-degree wind attack that will encompass the immediate area of Godrick, damaging you and other allies if you stay close. It’s important to watch for his tells and avoid his attacks once he gets them ready. It would be best to try to be more aggressive in this battle. Godrick has a lot of health, so playing it safe too long can exhaust you and resources, leading to a sudden defeat. Still, don’t be greedy with your attacks.

During his 2nd phase, he’ll take a more desperate tactic and graft the head of a dragon onto his arm and use it to attack you. This upgrade for him not only adds a new melee attack to his arsenal, but he can also use his new arm for breathing fire on you, which does considerable damage if you get hit. During this phase, the best thing to do is to keep a medium distance away from him, avoid his area of effect attacks, and then run to his blind spots when he pulls out the dragon head to breathe fire. The flames will only go in front of him, so running up to his side or behind him will protect you while also leaving him vulnerable for extended periods.

One of the important lessons this fight will impact is the importance of placement and position in a fight. Along with being a narrow bridge, the area also has a set of stairs on both sides. The elevation change can prove to be an advantage, as some of Godrick’s attacks can miss you entirely if you get the high ground above him or below him. If you can be mindful of his attacks while also keeping your positional advantage, then you will be able to overcome Godrick with patience and a steady rhythm of attacks.

Red Wolf of Radagon


The battle with Red Wolf can be tough, due to how aggressive it is with close-range attacks and its set of long-range magic attacks. Like other major bosses, the Red Wolf is highly mobile, and uses that to its advantage with its attacks. Its deadliest attacks, by far, are the magic missiles, which are homing attacks that will tear right through your defenses and health. The Red Wolf also has a regular habit of priming up its magic spells and then using melee attacks to close the distance, adding further pressure on you. It can be tough to manage, and you’ll likely face a quick death during your first attempts.

Thankfully, the Red Wolf doesn’t have a second phase, so you’ll see most of its patterns and tricks during the first couple minutes of the fight. The important thing to figure out is that the Red Wolf is very aggressive. Yet, that aggression can be used against it. Once it finishes attacking, it will leave itself vulnerable to counterattacks. Given the frequency of its attacks, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to go in for quick hits — provided you dodge its attacks without fail. Don’t bother chasing after it; keep your distance and let it come to you. Once it has finished its attacks, strike it and back away. Keep this up for the remainder of the battle, and you will eventually come out on top.

Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon


Rennala is an incredibly powerful magic user, and can easily vaporize your character with her spells.

FromSoftware / Namco Bandai Games

The two-phased fight against magic-wielding Rennala is a bizarre one, but it’s still a challenging fight. Unlike other bosses, Rennala likes to keep her distance, use spells, and summon monsters to tear through you. She’ll start off with having her academy students fight for her, but once the battle continues, she’ll take matters into her own hands — and that’s where things can quickly go south.

The first phase taking place in the library is a strange one. As you can see in the center of the room, Rennala is suspended in the air and it’s impossible to reach her. The only way to bring her down is to find three different glowing gold students. They’re hidden in the library, so you’ll have to run through the area to search for them. Once you destroy three students, Rennala will fall to the ground in the center of the room, opening her up for attack. She won’t stay down for long, though. Once enough damage has been done, she’ll come back up, forcing you to repeat the previous steps. The biggest dangers in this phase of the fight is the magic that sends furniture hurling towards you, along with some devastating spells that will turn Renalla’s students into missiles. The best thing to do is dodge through these attacks while searching for glowing students. After you deal enough damage, Renalla will then get serious.

This second phase is where the fight gets more dangerous. Rennala is an adept mage, and she’ll keep her distance away from you while she sends out devastating magic attacks. Many of her spells are homing, which means you’ll need to be extra careful when dodging and running towards to close the distance. Also, she’ll call in help from her plethora of summoned monsters, many of which are common foes you’ve fought through the game thus far. These additional enemies are ultimately a distraction. If you focus too much on them, Renalla will snipe at you with her spells, spelling a quick defeat. If you die during this phase, you’ll have to repeat the first one again.

The best way to defeat Renalla is to take note from previous bosses and be aggressive. While Renalla has some spells that push you away, she is very weak at close range and easily staggered with attacks. If you are a spellcaster, the best thing to do is to dodge her spells and then cast your own in quick succession. The key to winning this fight is to not hesitate and land your attacks when you see a window of opportunity. If you can keep it up, then you’ll defeat Renalla in no time.

Godfrey, First Elden Lord


Roll forwards, not backwards!

From Software

Godfrey is the first required boss in Leyndell. He’s a big golden brute with a giant axe. Luckily, his attacks, while powerful, are somewhat typical for a boss. 

A good way to start off the fight is with a summon. If you haven’t yet, visit the Fringefolk Hero’s Grave, which is at the very start of the game behind a fog wall. Complete the dungeon and you’ll receive Banished Knight Oleg who is a more powerful summon that can take quite a few hits from bosses. 

As for strategy, the key to his Godfrey fight is to roll forwards, not backwards. Godfrey makes use of his giant axe to reach you as you roll back. If you see him winding up, it’s like he’s getting ready for a long-reaching attack which is when you want to roll forward. He’ll also use this attack when you’re backpedaling while trying to heal. 

If there’s an attack you want to be aware of it’s his stomp. It comes out quickly and will stun just enough to combo into an axe swing if you don’t move. If you see a stomp coming, try to use a shield to block the attack instead of rolling away since it can still catch you. 

You’ll want to attack when you roll forward into those long axe attacks and when you roll away from his jumping pound attack. In both cases, he takes an extra couple of seconds to reset himself leaving him open to attacks. 

Morgott, The Omen King

If Margit gave you nightmares, Morgott is going to haunt you while you’re awake. The Omen King is going to be the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far unless you have gained a substantial number of levels. Even then, this is far from an easy fight. 

The good news is that you have an orange summon available right outside the golden fog: Melina. If you don’t see her symbol, use a Furlcalling Finger Remedy to reveal it. She’s going to be vital for the fight as she can heal you while also dealing and taking damage. You’ll also be able to use one of your own ash summons, but it’s best to save that for the second phase.  

What’s important in this battle is speed. Do not attempt long combos against Morgott. Their attacks are so quick, can do multiple hits and will be delayed in order to throw your timing off. What you want is to get in, do a quick jumping attack and run away. This is where having Melina helps because as soon as she becomes targeted, you can get a few more hits in as well as a jumping attack. 

In this fight, rolling back is more ideal as Morgott doesn’t have long reaching attacks. If you’re far away, they can throw some daggers or a lance that can be easily blocked or dodge. If you see swords floating above, that’s a big area-of-effect attack and you want to roll back and avoid any areas where they land. 

Phase 2 starts when Morgott’s health gets about halfway. They’ll lean over and start coughing. This is your sign to run away because a big blast is about to happen. If you’re clear, it’s time to for an ash summon in order to get another target for Morgott. 

In the second phase, Morgott does the same attacks, but whenever an attack is missed, a puddle of liquid will be left that will erupt a few seconds after so make sure to avoid them. Aside from that, keep the same strategy of jumping in for quick attacks and then getting out of range. Keep this up and Morgott will go down.

Starscourge Radahn


The battle with Radahn is one of Elden Ring’s most bizarre and epic boss fights. Come in prepared.

FromSoftware / Bandai Namco Games

While not required to complete the main story, this battle against Starscoruge Radahn is one of Elden Ring’s most epic boss encounters, and it’s one you’ll likely find yourself walking into unintentionally. Located just off from Redmane Castle in the Caelid region, the battle with Radahn will see you face off against a towering foe who wields a ludicrous amount of power. Along with that, you’ll call in many support characters to help you in battle. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind fight, but it’s also quite unforgiving. One wrong move against Radahn can result in a quick and brutal defeat.

What makes this battle so difficult is that is Radahn’s attack power and range are so high that he can easily kill you within seconds of the fight beginning. He wields a magic-infused bow and twin great swords that can tear through your defenses. Right at the beginning, you’ll need to close the distance on Radahn while also taking the time to summon allies to the fight. During this part of the fight, he’ll try to pick you off with his arrows, and they deal considerable damage. You’ll need to stick with cover, using the piles of old weapons as a shield, and close the distance to Radahn. You’ll need to jump on Torrent and begin your attack from here.

This battle has two phases, and you’ll need to pick your moments to attack Radahn and make a quick exit to avoid his strikes. For more of a detailed breakdown of the battle against Radahn, check out deeper guide that details the fight and the best strategies you’ll need to beat him.