Medicinal Mushrooms Health Benefits
Mushrooms, in general, are rich in B vitamins and other vital nutrients, however it is widely reported that medicinal mushrooms are powerful immunity boosters and great at fighting off infections and many other diseases. Some of these healing fungi have been the subject of hundreds of studies that showed their immune-strengthening power.
Acclaimed and used in Japan and Chinese medicine for centuries, these fungi are claimed to be beneficial to ward off many ailments from cold and flu to cancer. But they’re not the common variety you get in your omelette at your favorite coffee shop, they are a little more exotic. Although there are many species of medicinal mushrooms, the following are some of the most well studied and beneficial:
Coriolus Versicolor. This mushroom is also known as trametes versicolor and is the subject of hundreds of published studies that establish its immunity boosting properties. Used in Japan as a natural remedy for cancer and in Chinese medicine as treatment for various ailments such as cancer and hepatitis, coriolus is the most well studied mushroom extract of all. One of the most popular anti-cancer drugs called Krestin was developed from this mushroom extract. However, as you may know, the synthetic forms of remedies (drug medications) produce more harmful side effects than the natural extracts.
Maitake.Twenty seven years ago Dr.Hiroaki Nanba, a microbiologist professor and expert in the study of fungi (mycologist), discovered after intense research, that the maitake mushroom has unique healing elements called fractions. These fractions were later isolated to generate beta glucans, which are complex sugars that enhance the immune system and prevent infectious disease such as flu, colds, allergies, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. They are also used in cancer treatments to reduce chemotherapy side effects. According to some studies, maitake beta glucans can also fight certain types of cancers such as liver, prostate and breast. It is interesting to note that Dr.Namba later patented the supplement extract known as Maitake Gold 404. Maitake is an edible mushroom and very flavorful, so you can eat it as a side dish or include it in your stir fry.
Shiitake mushrooms like maitake, are also good at boosting immunity to protect against cancer and viral or bacterial infections. They are very tasty and are often used in Chinese cuisine. They contain a compound called lentinan, which is responsible for their anti-viral, immune-enhancing and anti-tumor properties. This is all according to a report published in the Lawrence Review of Natural Products, a well regarded newsletter. Lentinan injections are routinely used in Japan as a complementary therapy in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The Reishi mushroom is used by Chinese medicine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis since it is a safe and natural anti-inflammatory according to oriental medicine doctor and license acupuncturist Janet Zand from Austin, Texas. Because Reishi has a bitter taste, it is not edible. The extract is available as capsules, tablets and liquid tonic food supplements at health food shops.
While the crimini, portabello and button mushrooms are all regarded as super foods because they’re low-calorie and packed with beta glucan and other valuable nutrients, the ones listed above are some of the best medicinal mushrooms. They are available as extracts or whole food supplements, however some experts believe eating them raw or in the form of powder or powdered pills provides the best health benefits.
Filed under: Natural Healing Remedies
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