Medicinal Mushroom Soup

October 26, 2019 By Sarah White No Comments

Foraging is one of my favourite ways to connect with nature; not only is it a great excuse for a long meditative walk in the woods, it also has added culinary & medicinal benefits. In Ontario, fall is the best season to forage for wild mushrooms. Delicious varieties like my favourite chanterelles are plentiful, and the best way to get them is to search for them yourself. It’s a wonderful excuse for a mindful (mushroom hunting takes concentration) walk in the forest before winter settles in.

If you’re new to foraging for wild mushrooms going out with an expert is essential. While I learned extensively about the medicinal properties of mushrooms in Naturopathic medical school and read a ton of books on identification the most valuable lessons in foraging came from spending time in the woods with people who really knew their stuff. Nature is one tricky lady, and there are plenty of delicious edible mushrooms that actually have poisonous look a-likes. If you plan out heading into the woods to find your own mushroom feast this identification book is my go-to resource, but like I said … it’s best to learn how to forage firsthand from experienced mushroom hunters, people who know the area and have already done all the testing / experimenting for you. I also highly recommend joining your local mycological society. I’m personally a member of the Toronto Mycological Society and have found the meet-ups + meetings to be extremely useful for identifying both culinary mushrooms and poisonous lookalikes specific to my ‘hunting grounds’.

Now the real reason we’re all here .. the soup! This nourishing mushroom + bone-broth based soup is the ultimate fall comfort food. Not only is it warming, satisfying and delicious, it also has incredible immune stimulating and healing properties. Mushrooms, specifically the shiitakes found in this recipe, contain compounds called beta-glucans; naturally occurring polysaccharides found in the cell wall of certain fungi. These polysaccharides stimulate immune cells called macrophages, cytokines and natural killer cells to improve you body’s anti-body response and increase your natural immune surveillance. Beta-glucan containing mushrooms also increase Th1 immune system activity: this is the part of your immune system responsible for defending your body from pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) which are plentiful in our environment at this time of year.

Mushrooms must be cooked at high temperatures to break up the hard compound called chitin in a mushroom’s cell well in order to release these immune boosting-polysaccharides which is why soup is one of my favourite ways to prepare medicinal mushrooms. I use bone broth in this recipe to further boost the healing properties of this soup and to improve gut health. I bet you didn’t know that the majority of your immune cells are actually located in your digestive system. Mushrooms act as a pre-biotic to feed the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system while bone broth helps to maintain gut integrity and is high in the nutrient zinc which further supports immunity.

Medicinal Mushroom Soup

This nourishing mushroom + bone-broth based soup is the ultimate fall comfort food. Not only is it warming, satisfying and delicious, it also has incredible immune stimulating and healing properties.


Dr. Sarah White | Naturopathic Doctor

ABOUT SARAH WHITE

Dr. Sarah White is a Naturopathic Doctor, Integrative health expert and the founder + CEO of This Doctor’s Kitchen — your evidence-based resource for all things health and wellness. Dr. Sarah takes a food-first approach to health with a focus in fertility, longevity and natural beauty. She is recognized as an expert in women’s hormones, thyroid health and anti-aging. Dr. Sarah is a published health author with features in Elle Canada, Best Health, EcoParent & Whole Family magazine.