Erica Huss and Zoë Sakoutis, the millennial proprietors of New York City-based functional mushroom-forward wellness brand Earth & Star have been serving the real-deal mushrooms via their ready-to-drink lattes, coffee, and organic chocolates since 2020. Serial entrepreneurs and the original creators of iconic mid-2000s wellness staple BluePrint Cleanse, Zoë and Erica set their sights on pioneering a way of using adaptogenic mushrooms for the better. or those who have noticed nearly every shelf donned with mushroom-driven foods with promises of corresponding superpowers, we sat down with these two veterans of the wellness industry to better understand how the future is truly fungi.
What are the most powerful mushrooms out there? Are they edible by consumers?
Yes! First and foremost, Earth & Star uses medicinal mushrooms in all products. We have developed a synergistic mushroom blend that includes Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps to benefit immune support, stress relief, inflammation, energy, and recovery, to name a few key attributes. Moreover, each of Earth & Star’s mushrooms is packed with different beta-glucans, which are medicinal sugars that help restore balance within the immune system in their own unique ways.
I noticed your blend is derived from the fruiting body (the part of the mushroom that’s actually above ground); why is this better than the root or mycelium of the mushroom? Should we know anything else about the mushroom anatomy + corresponding benefits?
We’re so glad you noticed! We use the fruiting body — the part of the mushroom that’s above-ground — versus the more commonly used mycelium or “root,” as the latter tends to lack nutrients. The fruiting body is where the highest concentration of beta-glucans lies, which is the source of the wellness benefits. Mycelium has amazing uses on its own — it’s being used for regenerative packaging, vegan leather, and plant-based meat substitutes, but to gain the true health benefits of the mushroom, you want to look for the fruiting body.
How can you describe the different kinds of mushrooms; some go on pizza, some are in your lattes, and some make you hallucinate; what gives?
Let’s start with what functional mushrooms are; Mushrooms are nature’s original and most studied superfood. About 40% of Western medicines today, including penicillin, are derived from mushrooms!
Functional mushrooms are adaptogens, which help the body adapt to stress and provide support where it’s lacking, acting like a thermostat; calming you down, or boosting you up, depending on what your body needs. All functional mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which provide powerful immune support among other benefits. Mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane, Chaga and Reishi, which we use in our synergistic blend, have been used by physicians for millennia for their ability to support immunity, cognitive function, restore hormonal balance, tame inflammation, and much more. With Earth & Star, it is our goal to bring these amazing mushrooms to the masses, by simply incorporating them into one’s daily routine. For example, many habitually reach for an afternoon latte, so why not supercharge it with superfood mushrooms?
Are certain mushrooms better catered for physical, emotional, spiritual use, etc.? For example, is there a specific type of mushroom that is known to lower inflammation in the body?
All functional mushrooms are great for addressing inflammation, as they contain high levels of antioxidants, but Chaga is the ultimate powerhouse here, with an ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) more than triple that of all other antioxidant sources like acai and other berries.