For millennia, people have harvested medicinal mushrooms and prepared delicious teas and tinctures that promote well-being. Medicinal mushrooms offer three major advantages that have made both traditional civilizations and contemporary natural health professionals tremendous fans:
- They don't hurt, have any negative effects, or put the body under more strain.
- They support the body's adaptation to a range of biological and environmental stressors.
- They have a general effect on the body, helping to maintain regulatory processes as well as some or all of the main systems, such as the immunological, hormonal, and neurological systems.
Though mostly unexplored, therapeutic mushrooms have immense potential. It has the potential to flourish into a prosperous biotechnology sector for the good of humanity. Pharmaceuticals (i.e., medications derived from mushroom ingredients), nutriceuticals (therapeutic food products), and cosmeceuticals (skin-care or self-care items with therapeutic advantages) can all be produced using these mushrooms.
The most popular species of medicinal mushrooms will be discussed in this article, along with information on their origins, use, procurement, and effective administration.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
For thousands of years, reishi mushrooms have been revered in Asia, and this belief has extended to contemporary medicine. Natural reishi health care products are already the basis of multimillion dollar companies in Taiwan, China, Korea, and Japan.
Though one kind thrives in North America and prefers maple trees, reishi is typically found in tropical regions. These days, we usually receive cultivated varieties of it, growing on logs or woodchip beds, as it is rare in the wild.
Reishi: Supporting the Immune System
Reishi mushrooms are prized for their capacity to alter the immune system, prevent the spread of cancer, and inhibit viral activity. They include more than 80 advantageous, physiologically active compounds, such as sterols and triterpene acids, which have a variety of therapeutic uses. Another word for reishi that is frequently used is "adaptogenic." This implies that it facilitates the body's ability to withstand the impacts of stress and swiftly recover from medical issues.
Reishi mushrooms bolstered mice's immune systems, enabling them to naturally halt the growth of tumor cells, according to a 2003 study. Anti-Epstein-Barr virus and anti-skin tumor action has been documented in several research.
Additionally, it can aid in the fight against Candida yeast overgrowth and shields cellular DNA from harm. Reishi has been used by users to relieve arthritic and prostate-related urine symptoms, as well as to normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Other benefits that have been found:
- Increased bone marrow cell proliferation
- Better bronchial cell regeneration in the treatment of bronchitis
- Effective in the management of coughs
- Anti-allergic properties
How to Buy and Use Reishi Mushrooms
When opposed to the red variety, black reishi has less bitterness and can be added to soups. The majority of Chinese herbal stores carry it. It is not, however, as potent as red reishi.
Purchasing red reishi is usually best done through an extract. It will have been retrieved after a few hours of boiling in hot water. As a result, the product is more effective than only crushed, dried, or capsule-based mushrooms.
Instead of reishi cultivated in wood pulp or on a wooden box, look for reishi grown on logs. These are the best mushrooms available, well worth the investment.
Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis)
One of the less appetizing methods of originating is by cordyceps. They arise from the body after germinating inside moth larvae (caterpillars), killing and mummifying them. The cordyceps resemble a twig emerging from the head of a deceased caterpillar. The Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas are home to alpine grasslands and shrublands where these caterpillars are typically found.
Doctors of traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine have been using cordyceps for at least two millennia, despite the somewhat unsettling nature of their growing methods. Conventional medical professionals may utilize cordyceps to treat anything from cancer to exhaustion and as an aphrodisiac.
Cordyceps: For Energy and Endurance
Numerous pharmacologically active compounds are produced by the cordyceps fungus, according to studies. According to recent studies, cordyceps improves lung function and capacity, heals the body after exercise, and may lengthen physical endurance by raising cellular energy levels. Additionally, it supports the adrenal cortex's function, which aids in our ability to cope with stress.
It has been shown that cordyceps extracts are potent antioxidants that can prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing (oxidized LDL is the most dangerous form of the cholesterol). It was discovered that the action in both the natural and cultivated forms was equally potent.
Research has also linked cordyceps to a number of anti-cancer properties, such as a 40–50% reduction in tumor development. According to a different study, cordyceps extract stimulated human blood cells had the combined effect of 78–83 percent growth inhibition in human leukemia cells.
How to Buy and Use Cordyceps
These days, practically all cordyceps that are sold are produced from mycelia that have been cultivated in laboratories on grains or liquids. The lengthy, branching, typically subterranean mycelia are similar to the "roots" of the mushroom. No one has been able to infect cultured caterpillars and grow the full fungal body.
Fortunately, research has indicated that cultured mycelia are less toxic and have comparable clinical efficacy. Nonetheless, scientists have also discovered that certain cordyceps strains might affect people's bodies in different ways. While some can down-regulate the immune system, the majority boost it, which is preferable to support fending off an infection. immune system, which is advantageous to support the body's ability to fend off disease, but some people have the ability to suppress it.
It is best to look for a product where the name of the particular strain of cordyceps that was utilized is mentioned on the container. Numerous investigations have shown that the CS-4 strain possesses immune-stimulating properties.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Another name for chaga is the "King of Mushrooms," or cinder conk. Since the 1500s, it has been utilized as a traditional medicine in Siberia and Russia. It also works well as tinder for rudimentary fire-starting methods.
Where it comes from
Chaga typically inhabits chilly environments. It is typically gathered in Northern Europe, North America's colder regions, Korea, and Russia. It grows parasitically on trees, primarily birch trees. Since chaga grows slowly, it cannot be successfully grown under "captivity." Its bioactive compounds are produced at a "markedly different and reduced rate" as a result.
Chava vs. HIV and Cancer
Numerous research have revealed that chaga is rich in bioactive substances, such as lignin, which has been demonstrated to block the protease enzyme, which is important in the pathophysiology of type-1 HIV.
Additionally, the chemicals in chaga have been shown to have antimutagenic and antioxidative properties, which shield cells from potentially harmful mutations and damage from free radicals. This is noteworthy since mutagenesis activity and oxidative stress are key factors in the development of cancer.
A 2010 study examined the effects of chaga mushroom components on human lung, stomach, breast, and cervical cancer cells in vitro. The results were published in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice. Sarcoma cell-treated mice were also examined. The chaga was observed to reduce tumor volume by 24 to 34 percent in both study strands.
Another study conducted in 2008 discovered comparable levels of activity on hepatoma (common liver cancer) cells. These findings hold great promise for both cancer treatment and prevention.
How to Buy and Use Chaga
Make sure the chaga you purchase comes from a sustainable source, gathered by knowledgeable and conscientious individuals from the wild. Online retailers sell dried chaga chunks in jars or bags. Just put four cups of water with a plum-sized piece of chaga in it, then cook it for twenty to thirty minutes.
The tea needs to be either black or dark brown. The chunks can be used repeatedly, allowing them to completely dry in between applications until the water no longer has any color from them.
It's possible that the chaga tea you bought was taken from a dead tree if it tastes too bitter to drink. Given that chaga and the tree coexist harmoniously, harvesting the chaga would have rendered it unhealthy. A taste of chaga tea should be slightly sweet and earthy.
Chagaga tea tastes a lot like the fresh, runny sap that is collected from maple trees during the tapping season. Drinking this pleasant and light tea at any time will help maintain your health in a preventative manner.
If you get the opportunity to locate and gather your own chaga, make sure to harvest no more than 20% of the plant and allow it to continue growing.
Experience the numerous advantages of adding these tried-and-true medicinal mushrooms to your preventative health regimen!