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Getty Images / Trametes versicolor mushrooms, commonly called turkey tail.

Often touted as immune system boosters, stress relievers and cognitive enhancers, mushrooms have been used for ages in Eastern countries such as China and Japan but have only recently gained popularity for their wellness benefits in the West. Mushrooms are considered superfoods, chock-full of nutrients — and tasty, too. But more and more, we're seeing a focus on function as mushrooms leave the plate and appear on store shelves in powder or supplement form.

Here is a quick primer on some of the popular varieties you'll find around town.

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Getty Images / Reishi mushroom

Reishi

Used to fight free radicals and fatigue, enhance immunity, relieve stress and improve sleep

Try it: Om Reishi Organic Mushroom Powder

Also called the "mushroom of immortality," this reishi powder is designed to help balance stress and support immune health. Add one teaspoon daily to your coffee, tea or food. For optimal support, turn it into a twice-daily ritual.

Available at Whole Foods Market.

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Getty Images / Cordyceps mushrooms

Cordyceps

Used for energy and to improve athletic performance and recovery

Try it: Host Defense Mushrooms Cordyceps Extract

Traditionally used in Asia for high-altitude activities, cordyceps may help increase oxygen uptake. Take this tonic as a dietary supplement — about 1 milliliter (or 45 drops) twice a day.

Available at Nutrition World.

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Getty Images / Lion's mane mushrooms

Lion's mane

Used for brain-boosting powers like focus, mental clarity and memory

Try it: Om Lion's Mane Organic Mushroom Powder

An increasingly popular ingredient in trendy restaurants, lion's mane is named for its appearance, which resembles the flowing mane of a lion. To take advantage of its medicinal benefits, add one teaspoon daily to your food or drink.

Available at Whole Foods Market.

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Getty Images / Turkey tail mushroom

Turkey tail

Supports immune and digestive system

Try it: Host Defense Turkey Tail capsules, marketed as a "prebiotic for the microbiome"

Polysaccharide K, the active compound in turkey tail mushrooms, is approved to treat cancer in Japan, according to the National Cancer Institute. To use it as part of your daily wellness routine, take two capsules once per day.

Available at Nutrition World.

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Getty Images / Chaga mushroom

Chaga

Used for immune support

Try it: Solaray Fermented Chaga capsules

Chaga may look like burnt charcoal, but its purported health claims help it appear more appetizing. Chock-full of antioxidants, two of these 500-milligram capsules can be taken each day.

Available at Nutrition World.

What to know:

> Limited clinical studies have been conducted on humans.

> Supplements are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration, so their contents may vary by brand or batch.

> Mushrooms can have adverse side effects, including liver and kidney toxicity, according to a review of research on medicinal mushrooms.

> Always consult your doctor first.

Sources: National Cancer Institute, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

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