An Introduction to Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal Mushrooms are fungi which produce medically significant metabolites or can be induced to produce such metabolites using biotechnology.
The range of medically active compounds that have been identified include antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, cholesterol inhibitors, psychotropic drugs, immuno-suppressants and fungicides, to name a few.
Although initial discoveries centered on simple molds of the type that cause spoilage of food, later work identified useful compounds across a wide range of fungi.
Mushrooms have been used for their medicinal properties all of the world throughout history, and over recent years, medicinal mushrooms have been gaining popularity in the United States and deserve to be part of every vegan herbalist’s routine.
For their excellence in quality and use of vegan, non-GMO and organic ingredients, the products recommended in this article are made by Host Defense, a company founded by Paul Stamets, a leading expert in the field of mycology.
Reishi mushrooms have been found to boost the immune system; treat viral infections such as the flu (influenza), swine flu, and avian flu; lung conditions including asthma and bronchitis; heart disease and contributing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol; kidney disease; and liver disease.
Chaga mushrooms contain anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antibacterial properties; they are huge immune boosters and modulators (but it will also lower an overactive immune system as well); they improve skin repair and DNA protection; they are high in superoxide dismutase (SOD), an important enzyme that functions as a powerful antioxidant. All together Chaga gives your body seven different antioxidants; it is a free radical scavenger in your body; and more!
Turkey tail mushrooms target chronic illnesses. Studies have even shown that turkey tail can regenerate damaged bone marrow. Strongly antioxidant, turkey tail strengthens the immune system, increases energy, and delivers pain relief with no ill side effects. It also reduces phlegm, combats respiratory ailments, poor digestion, urinary infections, inflammation, liver ailments, and hepatitis B.
Lions mane mushrooms provide enhanced memory and brain function; beneficial effects on digestion; provide neuroprotective effects; repair myelin sheaths; act as a natural antidepressant; improve cognitive function; help treat peptic ulcers; enhance the immune system; and more.
The medicinal mushrooms field is immense and the research is just starting. We know of about 850 medicinal mushroom species, but just a small fraction have ever been tested. Even the total number of fungal species is unknown; it is estimated there are about 5 million. Most are still undiscovered.
Scientists estimate that by the current rate of research into the medicinal properties of mushrooms it might take us about 4,000 years until we arrive at a thorough understanding.
Many thanks to Charles Thomas Stanhope for this excellent guest post! For more information on medicinal mushrooms, visit Charles' website Medicinal Mushies for articles and products!