As much as we all love a good matcha latte or buttery coffee, there are certain high-stress situations (read: the holiday season) in which a mug of adrenaline-spiking caffeine is probably the last thing we should be sipping.
Enter the mushroom tonic: as ritualistic and comforting as its buzz-inducing counterparts, but loaded with adaptogens—AKA superherbs and roots—that help your body regulate hormones and keep stress in check. (Get the full low-down on the power of fungi here.)
Naturally, as the hype surrounding these super-charged potions hits fever pitch, they’re becoming staples on many beverage menus, particularly in Los Angeles. According to Tero Isokauppila, co-founder of Four Sigma Foods—an LA-based brand specializing in medicinal mushroom-infused beverages—there are several types of ‘shrooms to look out for, all of which have different effects (and, he notes, mushrooms are some of the most-studied foods in the world).
“Reishi is grounding, balancing, and stress-reducing—it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and cortisol,” he says. “Cordyceps is known to increase oxygen intake, and is good for the adrenals. Chaga is a great source of antioxidants, zinc, and melanin, which are all [excellent] for skin and inflammation. And then there’s Lion’s Mane, which is one of the few things to help repair nerve growth factors, essentially how your brain communicates with your body.”
Even if you’re not quite ready to swear off your morning espresso shot, here’s where you can score five of the most potent—and tasty—mushroom tonics in town, from spicy (turmeric-and-ginger mushroom latte, anyone?) to sweet (a fungified take on your post-workout protein shake does exist). —Erin Magner
(Photo: Make Out)
Café Gratitude’s Immortal and Restored Tonics
This pair of potions is primed for ultimate stress relief. Soothing reishi is the star in the immune-boosting Immortal (along with nervous system-enhancing shilajit resin and mucuna bean extract), while cordyceps is combined with adaptogenic herbs ashwaganda and gynostemma to create the Restored adrenal tonic. Both are served with steamed almond milk, cinnamon, and raw honey for a rich, creamy, earthy-yet-sweet end result.
Café Gratitude, multiple locations; cafegratitude.com
(Photo: Cafe Gratitude)
This beloved natural grocer’s tonic bar has dozens (!) of mushroom teas and tonics on its menu, but the Golden Tonic Latte is a fan favorite. Reishi and chaga are the key ‘shrooms in the mix; they’re blended with anti-inflammatory turmeric and gynostemma, shilajit, and spices (think ginger, allspice, cardamom, and cumin). Topped off with honey, ghee, and coconut oil, this elixir is spicy and warming with just the right amount of richness.
Erewhon Market, multiple locations, erewhonmarket.com
(Photo: Erin Magner)
At this one-stop superfood shop, you can DIY your own mushroom smoothie by adding chaga, reishi, cordyceps, or the brand’s proprietary Vanilla Mushroom Protein powder to any of their 17 stellar vegan milks. Our preferred combo is a scoop of Vanilla Mushroom Protein in the new, metabolism-boosting Blue Moon nut milk (its color comes from E3Live’s anti-inflammatory Blue Majik marine extract)—delicately flavored and creamy, it’s the perfect post-yoga class pick-me-up.
Moon Juice, multiple locations, moonjuiceshop.com
(Photo: Moon Juice)
Warm up after your next deep freeze at this cryotherapy spa (which also houses a juice bar) with a hot tea latte boosted with one of Pure Potions’ new Herbal Elixirs. The Longevity matcha blend incorporates chaga and reishi, plus detoxifying burdock root and anti-aging herbs astragalus and ho shou wu. Throw some hemp seeds, coconut manna, and dates into the mix, and you’ve got a seriously indulgent healer in your hands.
Cold & Thirsty, 12460 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066, 310-280-8483, coldandthirsty.com
(Photo: Cold & Thirsty)
Not willing to kick your coffee habit in favor of fungi? Here, you don’t have to. Order your cold brew (or chai, or gynostemma tea) with coconut oil, your sweetener of choice, and a hit of mushrooms. The brain-boosting “Geek Out” and soothing “Chill Out” both include reishi, the energy-enhancing “Work Out” incorporates oxygenating cordyceps, and the “Shroom Out” boasts reishi, cordyceps, and chaga in one shot.
Make Out, 9426 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA, 90232, 310-280-9355, makeouteveryday.com
Now the question is: How long until these mushroom tonics become the topic of conversation on ‘That’s So Retrograde‘?
(Photo: Make Out)