What’s Next In Wellness: The Shroom Boom
Are mushrooms the missing link in wellness? We speak to Mother Made founders Jessica Clarke and Emily Blanchett to find out
There’s a ‘shroom boom going on in Aotearoa and there’s two people in particular we have to thank for it.
Emily Blanchett and Jessica Clarke are growing their business from the ground up (quite literally), with the launch of the country’s first mushroom-centric wellness offering, Mother Made.
The range of wellness powders and supplements pays homage to one of Mother Nature’s minutiae marvels — the mushroom.
All the fuss about this fungus isn’t new, ‘shrooms have been used in ancient medicine for centuries for their healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Not to be confused with their hallucinogenic cousins either, this form of non-toxic medicinal mushroom won’t send you on a spiritual awakening (or send you on a bad trip).
Medicinal mushrooms are also known as adaptogens, said to support the body’s ability to deal with everything from injury and inflammation, to pollution, pathogens and disease. According to the Mother Made website, ‘shrooms are also able to boost immunity, energy levels, physical performance and cognitive function.
“They help the body resist stressors of all kinds — physical, chemical and biological. They filter out all the bad stuff,” Emily says. “Turkey’s tail is also rich in prebiotics and shiitake is rich in antioxidants,” Jess adds. “They all have a plethora of benefits, including building a strong immune system.”
Mother Made’s harvesting process sees key nutrients like beta-glucan polysaccharides, terpenes, sterols and peptidoglycans extracted from the fruiting body of a medicinal mushroom (where all the goodness lives) as opposed to the root.
The unique dual-phase extraction process harnesses water and alcohol to ensure the biologically active compounds are left intact, before being blended with other ingredients and made into their desired powder or capsule form.
Every product is 100 per cent natural and organic, and contains no fillers or additives.
The medicinal magic of mushrooms is something the high-school friends and co-founders first discovered during their time abroad.
“I first tried medicinal mushrooms in New York,” says Emily. “My friends were talking about them and I ended up going down a bit of a rabbit hole of research. I ordered some online and have been taking them every day since.”
While Jessica, in Los Angeles at the time, found mushroom lattes were a staple at her favourite cafes. “My friend suggested them and I loved the way they made me feel,” she adds.
A timely conversation between the pair sparked the idea to make mushrooms available for all, Jessica says. She spent the last 10 years working as an international model in New York, but says the pandemic brought her home.
Emily’s passion for wellness took root when she co-owned a salad and smoothie bar (The Green House in Palmerston North) with her mother for six years. “From this I learnt the importance of what you put into your body to get the best out of life,” she explains.
And following its launch earlier this year, Mother Made’s ‘shrooms are certainly catching on. The Mother Made range quickly caught the eye of numerous stockists nationwide, including ever-popular fashion and lifestyle retailer Superette.
For now, the pair are on a mission to shift the stigma attached to mushrooms, and change the dialogue about just how “magic” they are.
“We’re hoping to break that by shining a light on their healing properties, and hope that everyone gives them a try and feels their benefits,” Emily says.
And to nay-sayers who comment that mushrooms are contributing to the onslaught on wellness guff, Emily says you can’t argue with the way in which our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years.
“You feel the effects of the mushrooms quickly. Take note of how you feel on the days you take them versus when you don’t,” she says. “My brain doesn’t feel switched on until I take lion’s mane in the morning, and my sleep is noticeably deeper when I take reishi at night.”
Incorporating ‘shrooms into your daily routine is easier than some may think, Emily recommends adding them into your favourite recipe or beverage to add flavour and a boost of nutrients.
She loves to add the PM Blend into her dinner. “It has a rich, umami flavour and with its formulation of reishi, shiitake and turkey’s tail, it helps me unwind after a long day,” she says.
For Jess, it’s her supercharged morning coffee that helps her get her ‘shroom fix. “I am not human before coffee in the morning, and I absolutely love to supercharge it with the AM Blend,” she says.
How do you start your day?
Emily: I start my day firstly with a big glass of water followed closely by a coffee with one teaspoon of the Mother Made AM Blend added. After showering I have the Mother Made Brain and Energy capsules then sit down at my laptop and write a to-do list for the day.
Jess: Coffee is the first thing on my mind. I've been having mine black with a heaped teaspoon of the Mother Made AM Blend and a dash of cinnamon on top for a perfect winter warmer!
Why is your skin so good?
Emily: I think good skin starts from what you put into your body — I drink a lot of water and make sure to always get my 5+ a day of fruit and veges. I'm also conscious of only using natural products made from mother earth on my skin.
Jess: The mushrooms! Also, I like to be minimal with my skin and use natural products and oil to remove makeup.
What's the best beauty advice you've ever been given?
Emily: Less is more. You don't need a million products, just find the one that works best for you and focus on eating right.
What are you currently...?
Emily: Old music always! Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Neil Young — it's nostalgic for me.
Jess: I'm a rock and roll girl but I've been loving New Zealand artists Teeks and Marlon Williams... Swoon.
Emily: Disney+ — I prefer movies to TV series, even though I fall asleep half way through every time.
Jess: Piri Weepu’s fishing show [Piri’s Tiki Tours], I've really gotten back to my Kiwi roots fast.
Emily: Just Kids by Patti Smith, such a good book, would recommend.
Jess: Five books, and I haven't finished one of them yet. No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugerman. Jerry Hopkins is epic! And a book about Jim Morrison.
Manifesting in 2021?
Emily: For the world to overcome Covid-19 and Mother Made to be a household name!