Medicinal mushrooms have long been used in Asia as an energy tonic to help promote longevity and overall health. Amongst the many types of medicinal mushrooms, including Maitake, Cordyceps, and Shiitake, Reishi is one of the most versatile medicinal mushrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms have been shown to improve specific immune markers and contribute significantly to healing processes by stimulating the body’s immune system. They contain high concentration of fiber and act as prebiotic, antioxidant, and antibiotics. They hold anti-hyperlipidemic, hypotensive, and hypoglycemic ability in addition to helping many health conditions such as asthma, ulcers, and kidney inflammation.
Furthermore, medicinal mushrooms are potent antagonists that helps diminish the formation of cancerous cells and compounds.
Beating cancer with the help of medicinal mushrooms
Many of the medicinal mushrooms, including Chaga mushroom, Maitake mushroom, Ganoderma mushroom, and Cordyceps mushroom, contain cancer-preventive and cancer-fighting actions. Research has focused on the polysaccharides with beta 1,3 glucan linkages.
Indole-3-carbinol is a nutrient found in large quantities in cruciferous vegetables. It is a potent antagonist of breast cancer, reducing formation of cancerous compounds from hormones and participating in blockage of cancer cell progression. - The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments by Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., A.H.G., D.Ay.
like many other medicinal mushrooms has been traditionally cooked into soups in Asia for its nutritive and tonic properties. Like other medicinal mushrooms CS is rich in polysaccharides, the primary immune modulators as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals. Cordyceps is best taken as either a water extract (tea or soup) or a high quality powder can be mixed into juice or water, or even into yoghurt or applesauce.
It is important to get high quality, properly prepared and processed Cordyceps product to ensure that you will get the most benefit from this healing mushroom. As with any other product of this nature, seek the guidance of a health care professional.
The constituents in medicinal mushrooms, such as CS, have few drug interactions and can often be used safely along with conventional therapies. Always discuss the use of herbal medicines with your doctor.
Potential benefits of Cordyceps sinensis
Studies show the following actions and effects of the water extract of Cordyceps sinensis: (CS):
- The polysaccharides in CS have been shown to have immune stimulating and anti tumor activity.
- CS had been shown to inhibit the growth of several cancer cell lines.
- CS has also been shown to protect the liver and kidneys from toxic side effects of chemotherapy.
- CS has been shown to potentiate and enhance the activity of some chemotherapy drugs.
- CS has been shown to promote Cell Death (induce apoptosis). Normal cells will self destruct (undergo apoptosis) when the cell is damaged. Cancer cells fail to do so. CS has been shown to induce apoptosis or normal cell death in cancer cells in many studies and suggests that CS might be a valuable adjunct therapy for cancer patients.
- CS is a potent antioxidant, thus protecting cells from free radical damage. Free radical damage is thought to be a primary factor in the aging process. Additionally when DNA (genetic material) in the cells is damaged, risk of cancer increases. CS has been shown to enhance the production of Glutathione and SOD, protective, natural antioxidants produced in our cells to protect against free radical damage and oxidation.
- CS demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a factor common to many diseases, including cancer.
- CS has been shown to increase the production of Natural Killer (NK) cells. NK cells are primary protective cell in our natural innate immune response is active against both tumor cells and viral cells.
- CS has also been shown to possibly inhibit metastasis and the spread of some cancers. Inhibiting metastasis therefore could prolong life for cancer patients.
- Some studies have shown that CS prevents metastasis by inhibiting angiogenesis, the process by which tumor cells make new blood vessels, allowing tumors to grow in size.
- CS has also demonstrated anti-viral and antibacterial properties.
Maitake and Turkey Tail
Other mushroom extracts that have been shown to have clinical effectiveness against human cancers are D-fraction extracted from the Maitake mushroom, and extracts from the Split Gill, Turkey Tail and Reishi mushrooms. In 1998, Maitake Products received FDA approval for an Investigational New Drug Phase II pilot study of Maitake mushroom extract in the treatment of advanced breast and prostate cancer.
There is also some evidence that the consumption of mushrooms in the diet may ward off cancer. - You Don't Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi
As with many of the medicinal mushrooms, Shiitake has been shown to be of benefit as an adjuvant cancer therapy. It has been shown to improve specific immune markers (including natural killer cells, tumor necrosis factor, T-helper cells, and a variety of interleukins), and patient outcomes.
..is one of the most versatile medicinal mushrooms. It has long been used in Asia as an energy tonic to promote longevity and overall health.
Studies indicate that Reishi is an antioxidant and contains polysaccharides and other compounds that may boost the immune system. Reishi is taken to counter bacteria and viruses and has shown promise as an agent to help prevent or treat cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other conditions. Russian researchers at the Cancer Research Center in Moscow have had positive results using Reishi extracts to boost the immunity of cancer patients. - The Health Benefits Of Medicinal Mushrooms by Mark Stengler
There have been 150 species of medicinal mushrooms found to inhibit the growth of different types of tumors, especially cancers of the stomach, esophagus, and lungs, but Chaga seems to stand out from the rest. I learned about this mushroom from herbalist David Winston, who told me it has been used traditionally to treat different forms of cancer in Siberia, Canada, Scandinavia, the United States, and Russia. Chaga is a fungal parasite that draws its nutrients out of living trees, rather than from the ground. - The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments by Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., A.H.G., D.Ay.
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Enjoy mushrooms in salads, soups and stir-frys. Powdered mushrooms in pill form are also very effective.
As a special note, in order to be effective, it seems that mushroom extracts must be aqueous—i.e., extracted with hot water. Those that are extracted using rice or alcohol tinctures are not effective biologically. But a generally reliable source of aqueous extracts of medicinal mushrooms is JNS Natural Products, Inc. (www.jhsnp.com).