Mushrooms grow from the mycelium, or vegetative portion, of fungi. These magical fungi regenerate growth, decompose malignancies, and have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor properties. Keep reading to learn about the many health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. This article will highlight 5 types of mushrooms.
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Medicinal mushrooms can be taken by anyone who wants to enhance immunity, strengthen the body, and prevent disease. These magical fungi are also being used environmentally to stimulate plant growth, and in water filtration systems to decrease bacterial contamination.
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Health Benefits Of Medicinal Mushrooms
Here are just a few of the health benefits of mushrooms:
- Regenerate tissue growth
- Decompose viruses, bacteria, and other toxins
- Produce enzymes
- Stimulate the immune system
- Detoxify cells and tissues
- Heal damaged tissues
- Stimulate apoptosis
- Accelerate healing
- Block cell replication
Here’s a list of some varieties of mushrooms that are used medicinally:
Referred to as “The Dancing Mushroom,” Maitake is a broad spectrum tonic that supports immune function, and increases the activity Th1 immune cells, including natural killer cells, T cells, macrophages, and interleukin-1. Maitake promotes vibrant health, vitality, and longevity, and is particularly useful for bladder cancer.
When combined with standard chemotherapy drugs, Maitake inhibits breast cancer cell growth, even if it’s metastasized, which is pretty incredible, while alleviating the negative side effects of chemotherapy. Maitake is liver protective, helps in the recovery of hepatitis B, and protects against a broad range of environmental toxicity.
Maitake supports the body nutritionally by helping the large intestine absorb vitamins and minerals, while stabilizing and balancing blood sugar levels. This type of mushroom is beneficial for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and infertility, and has long been used in China and Japan to treat diabetes and hypertension.
The alpha-glucans within Maitake have an anti-diabetic effect by increasing insulin sensitivity. An adaptogen, the Maitake mushroom helps the body achieve homeostasis or balance, and is good for both mental and physical distress.
Chaga mushrooms have been widely researched, and have been found to have antioxidant properties, promote healthy immunity, and fight certain types of cancer. Chaga is anti-viral and is commonly consumed as a tea to prevent and treat colds and flus.
Extracts of Chaga have been observed to reduce cancer growth in cultured cells, decrease tumor growth in live animal models, and down regulate Bcl-2, which is an anti-apoptotic gene.
Apoptosis is important for cancer prevention as it programs unhealthy cells to die. Chaga also increases natural killer cell activity. A potent anti-inflammatory, Chaga aids digestion, stabilizes blood sugar, reduces oxidative damage, and enhances exercise performance because of its ability to fight free radicals. Chaga may even prevent wrinkles and boasts an impressive ORAC value of 52,000.
Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme abundant in the Chaga mushroom. In fact, it’s up to 50 times more abundant than vitamin C and CoQ10. Chaga has an impressive nutritional profile, containing saponins, beta glucans, amino acids, and a host of minerals, while also balancing the central nervous system.
Reishi is one of my favorite mushrooms, and the one I’ve used the most. This amazing mushroom is revered in Asia to promote radiant health, slow aging, and increase life span. It’s even been used to enhance spirituality, wisdom, intelligence, and enlightenment.
Called the “Elixir of Immortality,” Reishi induces awareness, and balance, and is very calming and centering. It also has sedative properties. This is why it’s popularly used in meditation practices.
Reishi is a powerful immune modulator, strengthening the body, allowing it to resist disease, while detoxifying the cells and tissues. Polysaccharides, active components of Reishi, attack cancer cells, bacteria, viruses, and yeast. Reishi is also used to lower blood pressure.
Chemicals, known as ganoderic acids, have antioxidant properties, and combat autoimmunity by inhibiting the release of histamine. These acids improve oxygen utilization and help the liver function optimally. Reishi stabilizes blood sugar and fights infections.
Reishi Tea Recipe
I like making Reishi tea. It’s affordable and is super easy to make. I buy my mushrooms at my local Chinese market. Look for Ganoderma lucidum, instead of Reishi, as that’s what the Chinese call it. Fill a crockpot with filtered water, submerge one mushroom, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 24 hours.
Strain and bottle the liquid, refill the crockpot with water, and repeat the same procedure for another 24 hours. The tea will keep in the fridge for about a week. Sip throughout the day on an empty stomach, and sweeten with ginger, honey, or a little stevia. Keep in mind, Reishi tea is an acquired taste.
There are many ways to make mushroom tea. Find the one that works best for you. The tea is contraindicated for those on blood-thinning medications. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own tea, you can purchase a high-quality brand here.
Cordyceps is exceptional for strengthening and detoxifying the kidneys. This variety of mushroom boosts brain function and decreases inflammation by reducing Th17 activity. It’s a great mushroom to use for metastatic bone cancer as it strengthens the skeleton, and increases structural integrity. Cordycep mushrooms prevent infections, improve appetite, and accelerate healing.
Used for lung cancer and asthma, Cordyceps strengthens respiratory power, decreasing coughs and shortness of breath. It is an effective tonic to use when recovering from illness or after surgery. Cordyceps has anti-aging properties, enhances athletic performance, and fights free radicals and stress.
A powerful superfood, Cordyceps is used for its medicinal properties, ability to fight disease, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent mutations. It is used in holistic cancer treatment protocols to prevent the growth of cancer cells and tumors. Cordyceps is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes.
This mushroom shows great promise in inhibiting the growth of many different types of cancer cells, including colon, skin, liver, and lung cancer cells. It’s also been shown to have anti-tumor effects on melanoma and lymphoma.
Shiitake mushrooms protect the body against viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, and are particularly beneficial for treating cancer due to their unique chemical makeup. Shiitake mushrooms are effective at healing chromosomal damage as a result of conventional cancer treatment, and preventing DNA damage from oxidative stress.
Containing all eight essential amino acids, along with fatty acids and enzymes, Shiitake builds muscle, fights obesity, and decrease food sensitivities. It is used in natural cancer protocols because of its ability to destroy cancer cells, support immune function, and reduce inflammation.
Interestingly, Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D, which is essential for preventing diabetes, autoimmunity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Vitamin D is vital for healthy immune and brain function. Shiitake also contains B vitamins that are necessary for the methylation cycle to operate efficiently, for optimal energy production, and to help the body deal with stress.
An edible mushroom used in traditional herbal medicine for centuries, Shiitake mushrooms are used in soups, stir fries, baked dishes, and salads. Shiitake is available in most grocery stores, and if bought fresh, will keep in the fridge for about a week.
Medicinal Mushroom Supplements
Keep in mind, mushrooms work synergistically with other nutrients, including elderberry, magnolia bark, red clover, mistletoe, and moringa oliefera. You can find many different formulations of medicinal mushrooms online or in your local health food store.
Mushrooms are nature’s regenerators and detoxifiers. They’ve been used for centuries in Asia, and have recently become popular in the United States in the last 20 years or so. Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes, each with its unique nutritional profile and therapeutic properties. If you or someone you love has a chronic health condition, consider using mushrooms as part of your holistic protocol. The health benefits of medicinal mushrooms are truly astounding…
What is your experience with mushrooms? If you haven’t used them before, would you like to? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) NCBI: Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice
(2) NCBI: Anti-cancer effect of Cordyceps militaris in human colorectal carcinoma RKO cells via cell cycle arrest and mitochondrial apoptosis
(3) Cancer Research UK: Mushrooms in cancer treatment
(4) PubMed: Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment
(5) NCBI: Anti-tumor and anti-metastatic roles of cordycepin, one bioactive compound of Cordyceps militaris
(6) The ASCO Post: Maitake Mushroom
(7) healthline: Why Shiitake Mushrooms Are Good For You
(8) National Cancer Institute: Medicinal Mushrooms
Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice.