Let’s look at the present research going on about medicinal mushrooms and let’s ask the questions that will tell us what science has discovered as the connection between mushrooms and medicine.
Has there been any other time in history where mushrooms have been used as medicine?
Several mushrooms including the Shiitake, Reishi, Mannentake and Maitake have been recorded in Asian history as having medicinal properties. It has been found that humans could have possibly utilized the medicinal properties of mushrooms as early as 3300 B.C. It is not a surprise then that continued study and research shows just how effective these mushrooms and their extracts are on the cardiovascular system and against cancers, viruses, bacteria, parasites, inflammation and diabetes. Other applications for mushroom extracts, although limited to Korea, China and Japan, are also being integrated with chemotherapy treatments.
How exactly do medicinal mushrooms help me? Is it just like when I take antibiotics?
The way that mushrooms help us does not in any way resemble or mimic the pharmacologic action of antibiotics. In facts, mushrooms help us in a somewhat different but more effective manner. The studies that have been made show that mushrooms are actually pro-biotic. This means that mushrooms help our bodies strengthen themselves to ward off sickness, further, mushrooms promote physiological homeostasis or these mushrooms restore the balance in our internal and external bodily functions and this helps us raise our natural resistance to illness and disease. So mushrooms help us in quite a different way than antibiotics do, since antibiotics affect bacteria in a way so as to directly destroy or alter its cell wall or the things inside of it.
What’s in the mushrooms that they’re very effective at helping my body?
Researchers charge the health sustaining and rejuvenation properties of mushrooms to a group of long chained polysaccharides called Beta-glucans. Beta-glucans have the property of being immune-potentiating or immune enhancing. Beta-glucans exist in the bran and grains of cereal, the cell walls of baker’s yeast, in some bacteria and of course, these immune system assistants, these Beta-glucans are found in mushrooms as well.
What is the medicinal mushroom with the highest count of these Beta-glucans?
The mushroom that has the highest count of Beta-glucans comes with it an appropriate name for its rank as number one. It’s called the “Mushroom of God”. Found in a region of Sao Paolo, Brazil where the locals who regularly consume this mushroom hardly get sick, this mushroom has been extensively studied and one Dr. Shoji Shibata, a professor at Tokyo University compared this mushroom with other mushrooms also containing Beta-glucans. What he found was that these other mushrooms such as Shiitake and Reishi were not very effective. He further found that when human subjects were given the “Mushroom of God” as part of their diet, there was a 3000% increase of NK or Natural Killer cells within 2 to 4 days. These NK cells are what we would call smart missiles against tumor cells. This “Mushroom of God” is truly deserving of its name and its rank.
Is there something more about this special mushroom you can tell me?
The Mushroom of God has a veritable concoction of health enhancing agents. Derivatives found in it are amino acids, niacin, iron, B vitamins, proteoglycans and other types of polysaccharides, all of which are excellent for the immune system, plus there are also additional anti-tumor agents such as ergosterol. There is also double stranded RNA which has been known to have anti-viral applications. This mushroom has been reported to have been successfully used against late stage cancers and entire treatment regiments have been planned around this mushroom. It is amazing how complete cancer remissions have been recorded worldwide with the use of this mushroom.
Is this the only medicinal mushroom?
It’s a great one but certainly not the only one. We have a plethora of mushrooms capable of treating a wide range of health problems. We’ve named a few but let’s continue with the some others and the health issues each one deals with.
Asian “Turkey Tail” mushroom
This mushroom contains polysaccharides that are effective against leukemia and other cancers such as stomach, esophagus, colorectal and lung cancer. Intensive research is ongoing on better applications of this mushroom and its extracts. Read more about Reishi mushrooms.
Cordyceps Oglossoides mushroom
With its complex sugars and other nutrient components, this mushroom effectively activates the different parts of the immune system. Aside from cancer treatment, this species can be effectively used against chronic fatigue. The cardiovascular and nervous systems also benefit from this mushroom as anti-aging effects have been recorded.
Phellinus Linteus mushroom
Consisting primarily of polysaccharides, this kind of mushroom is potent again breast cancer, general cancer cell growth and it further starts cell death or apoptosis in cancer cells.
The natural world is infinitely amazing. It is full of natural remedies for the many diseases that humans are continually plagued with, but the lesson we get from the humble mushroom is that solutions can be found in the darkest of places, we just need to look more carefully. Researchers are doing just this. They continuously unfold a world of healing that is available to mankind. With added study, let’s us hope that a time will come when this hope is fully realized and a range of potent drugs against cancers and tumors is fully developed and ready for our use.