Get sleepy with this nighttime tonic that will allow you to unwind and relax. My go-to Reishi Mushroom Sleep Tonic recipe is the perfect addition to any nighttime routine. Whether you're a mushroom powder pro or just getting your feet wet, this delicious nightcap will soothe your nervous system signaling that you're ready to drift off to sleep!
I was inspired to share this recipe as an ode to the mushroom that has greatly impacted my nervous system, reishi. If adding mushroom supplements, herbs, and spices to warm milk isn't your thing, don't knock it til you've tried it! Or you can check out my crowd-pleasing (in fact, the most popular recipe on my site in 2022), Vegan Lion's Mane Recipe.
And if you want to enhance your morning routine with a special drink, check out my Ceremonial Cacao Recipe. I share what my morning practice looks like with cacao and how it benefits my day.
In a few easy steps, you'll have a warming, sweet drink to assist you in winding down from the day. These ingredients are all accessible at a health food store or purchased online.
🍄Dairy-free milk - I prefer soy or cashew milk for warm drink recipes
🍄Organic reishi mushroom powder (Ganoderma lucidum) - in the next section, I discuss what you need to know when choosing a quality mushroom powder.
🍄Ashwagandha root powder - helps reduce inflammation and lowers cortisol, a stress hormone.
🍄Cinnamon - a warming spice that flavors this drink perfectly along with a sweetener.
🍄Salt - balances the sweetness slightly and provides mineral support.
🍄Maple syrup - might you think this drink will have a familiar mushroom flavor? Nope! Because it's blended with cinnamon and maple syrup, the earthiness of reishi is almost non-existent.
See the recipe card for quantities with full instructions.
Are you being duped?
If you pay close attention, adaptogenic mushrooms have been dropping their spores into everything, and you’ve likely seen functional mushrooms in some popular kitchen ingredients. The incredible research being uncovered (or, more correctly put, re-discovered) makes it hard not to reach for it.
I’ve spotted them at the grocery store in coffee, salad dressings, chocolate, and even ice cream. The labels all boast that this trendy addition makes their product ‘healthier,’ but when we look at the quality standards of mushroom ingredients, are they?
Heck! I’m all about supplementing meals with added nutrition. It’s undoubtedly my top health hack. For instance, my morning smoothie is more of a multivitamin than an icy treat, and I add lion’s mane to my coffee to offset caffeine jitters, disrupted digestion, and boost my focus. And because, thankfully, I question everything regarding food, I stumbled into a messy corner of the mushroom world…
Understanding mushrooms: 101
As mentioned above, the main ingredient in this recipe requires some understanding before you buy just any 'ole brand. So let's quickly go through mushroom basics.
Fungi — a kingdom of spore-producing organisms (separate from plants and animals) that live by decomposing and absorbing organic material. Which includes mushrooms, yeast, or mold.
“Fruiting body” — (the mushroom head) it’s what you cook with, what grows above ground, and what you would ingest when consuming psychedelic mushrooms.
Mycelium — the underground network, a.k.a. the roots of the fungi. Mycelium is everywhere you step on this planet, even under the pavement in NYC. It’s how fungi transfer information and nutrients. It’s expansive and way larger than the fruiting bodies that pop above; we simply don’t see it.
A USP (United States Pharmacopeia) research study from 2017 tested a variety of reishi mushroom powders and found that 74% of the reishi powders sold in the U.S. do not include any reishi mushroom. WHAT!?
How could that be? Capitalization on our society's mushroom illiteracy. We’ve collectively lost the fungi knowledge over generations, and most don’t understand what to look out for. But since mushrooms are on trend (& you’re reading this post), I don’t doubt that will change!
So, this is where things get messy… health companies have noticed mushrooms trending and started capitalizing on our country’s ineffective evaluation system for dietary supplements. Many companies label their reishi mushroom powder as “reishi powder.” After a further look at the ingredients, you might find that the true ingredient label is “reishi mycelium powder,” which might not contain any reishi.
That’s like buying dried tomato powder but only getting powdered tomato root, not the fruit, and certainly not the same nutritional value. In fact, in the case of reishi powder, it’s ten times less effective.
Fast & cheap
Some mushrooms take a few months to years to grow. Mycelium, however, grows in about two weeks.
This process leaves the consumer with just 1–2% efficacy of the product while paying the same price as brands that use 100% reishi mushroom. Someone looking to improve a symptom might think these supplements don’t work.
Worse, commercial mushroom farms use grain substrate (the supportive substance fungi uses to grow), and many people have a gut sensitivity to grains. Once the substrate intertwines with mycelium, it cannot be separated. If 74% of U.S. reishi mushroom products include mycelium, which is probably grown in grain, the mycobiome is highly likely to have a negative reaction.
How to buy quality mushroom powders & avoid the junk
- Look for 100% Pure Mushroom Extract — avoid unwanted fillers and nearly no efficacy by avoiding mushroom products with mycelium in the ingredients. Read the label and research the brand’s website to see its process. If the company is up and up, they will share details of how they source their products. For example, it should say “Reishi mushroom” or “Reishi mushroom extract” and not “Reishi mushroom mycelium.”
- Medicinal compounds must be stated on the label — compounds make the supplement potent. Triterpenoid and active polysaccharide compounds should be listed and quantified. The higher the number, the better.
- Qualities listed on the label — third-party tested & verified, USDA-organic, non-GMO, and (gluten-free/vegan if that’s important to you).
- Insufficient Return Policy — a company should have trust in their brand and offer a 100% money-back guarantee with a minimum 90-day return policy, no questions asked. Beware of brands that place confusing limitations on returns.
- Beware of Amazon Reviews — since paid reviews have taken over Amazon, advanced discernment is required.
Brands I've used & love
I have no affiliation with these brands and share them only to give examples of companies that meet my standards (listed above).
If you're on the fence about adding mushroom powders to food & drink, but the potential benefits intrigue you, capsules are available and use the same standards for buying.
So now that you've got a handle on what to look for when buying adaptogenic mushroom powders, the easiest part is putting the drink together.
First, you'll warm milk on the stove until hot. Next, blend all ingredients in a blender or add the ingredients to the milk pan and whisk with a frother.
A blender or frother is needed to mix these ingredients together smoothly.
We don't know what we don't know. When buying an ingredient that's new to you, ask questions. Google usually has answers 😂. Navigating this incredibly intricate world of food can be tricky. If reishi mushroom powder is new to you, scroll through the sections of this post that discuss my tips on buying quality mushroom powders. Or you can read my article, How to Buy Quality Medicinal Mushroom Powders & Avoid the Junk, on Medium.
How do you feel after drinking this organic mushroom tonic?
It's a warming drink; therefore, you can feel calm and relaxed. Reishi does not work like melatonin, making you feel sleepy. The compounds in Reishi will affect your nervous system by balancing stress hormones. Essentially, preparing you for sleep by allowing your nervous system to relax.
When is the best time to make this tonic?
In the evening, after dinner. Once you are in the mindset of calming down and preparing for bed.
Are there any risks to consuming medicinal mushrooms?
For most people, medicinal mushrooms are safe. If you have concerns, it's best to consult your physician or healthcare provider before consuming.
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more recipes to check out
Reishi Mushroom Sleep Tonic
- blender or frother
- 1 cup plant milk (I like to use organic soy or cashew milk)
- 1 teaspoon Reishi mushroom powder (see above for multiple brand recommendations)
- 1 teaspoon Ashwagandha root and leaf extract powder (I use Mountain Rose Herbs)
- ½ teaspoon ceylon cinnamon
- 1 pinch of salt
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
- Warm milk on the stove in a small pan, stirring often.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Or place all ingredients into milk pan and use a frother to blend until smooth and slightly foamy.