Reishi, boletus, cordyceps and lion’s mane may sound like something you would take to clear up a patch of eczema – but now the fungi are appearing in snacks

My barista hands over a cup filled with grey-tinged milk and a few tiny pieces of fungus bobbing around in it. “Enjoy,” he says with a beaming smile. Enjoy might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but it might be time to get onboard as, over the past year or so, adding a handful of mushrooms to your hot drink, chocolate or energy bar has become an increasingly normal thing for people to do.

Reishi, boletus, cordyceps and lion’s mane sound less like mushrooms and more like things you reluctantly take as a last ditch attempt to clear up a patch of eczema – and, indeed, high claims have been made for their supposed health benefits. Most sellers talk up their products’ antibacterial, antiviral and immune-enhancing properties, but don’t go so big on the fact that, say, cordyceps are parasitic fungi that grow on insects (mmmm, is that my stomach rumbling?).

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