Mushrooms as medicine

Mushrooms as medicine

Many edible mushrooms and not only play a major role in the healing process of some of the worst diseases you can imagine. Some of these mushrooms are called functional foods, because they are both, edible and healing. Some other ones are not edible but posses great healing properties. Probably you’re familiar with Hippocrates’s famous quote ‘Let food be thy medicine and your medicine be thy food’  -this is valid for all functional foods including mushrooms.

Some of the medicinal mushrooms in various forms have been used to treat various diseases for centuries, today via scientific proof they are discussed in hundreds or thousands of peer reviewed publications. Most studies were performed on mice and  there’s some clinical evidence derived from human trials especially for the commonly known medicinal mushrooms like Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) or Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). There’s still much to be done in this field but we’re on the right path to try, explore, and discover new mushroom medicine.

When used by themselves  medicinal mushrooms are able to play a major role as key factors or catalysts in the treatment process of any disease known to man via direct or indirect action on the human body’s systems. But, when they are prescribed in the form of extracts together with a proper diet, herbs, exercise, water, fresh air, and some changes in lifestyle, and state of mind they can do miracles. Life it’s energy and we may feel it: when we wake up in the morning we feel charged with energy; when we drink coffee we feel energized and then depleated; when we age that energy gradually decreases -there are simply lots of examples to admit that our life is governed by energy. According to hinduism and buddhism there are 7 energy channels along the spine called chakras and any inbalance at the body/mind level may cause poor energy flow though these energetic chanells. For example, when you eat bad food or let’s say when you drink diet coke -affects your g.i. tract, and its organs, so your body gets intoxicated -this requires part of your energy to be consumed for toxic waste removal and healing. When some more such imbalances occur in your body you’ll feel energy depleated which is actually positively corellated to a decrease in your immune system. Mushrooms have the ability to increase your energy and boost your immune system and because everything is connected in your body this positively affects several organs and their systems. Below you may see some of the most important medicinal mushrooms and their therapeutic effects.

Note: antioxidant = A; antitumor = B; immunomodulating = C; antiinflamatory = D; antiviral = E; antibacterial = F; antidiabetic = G; cardiovascular disorders = H; blood preasure regulator = I; cholesterol reducer = J; hepatoprotective = K; kidney tonic = L; nerve tonic = M; sexual potentiator = N; respiratory system disorders = O; antifungal = P; antistress = Q.

As you may easily notice the king of medicinal mushrooms is Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) which together with Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus), and Maitake (Grifola frondosa) are among the top 10 medicinal mushrooms displayed in this list. Today, they are grown or wildly collected and sold by themselves or as part of random formula blends, in capsules, powders, also in shamppos, soaps, tooth pastes, creams or beverages. Depending on the form administered, treatment period, extract concentration and so forth they are effective agains various illneses. Also they are used by active people to mantain good health and increase their energy level.

The ear mushroom (A. auricula and A. poytricha) is one of the functional foods very famous in Asian countries, especially China where it is grown, then dried and sold. One little cube of dried mushroom will be enough for about four people when served with rice, veggies and soy sauce. When soaked in water or boiled this mushroom rehydrates itself and gains it’s previous consistency, shape and size. Enoki (Flammulina velutipes), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Shimenji (Hypsizygus marmoreus), Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), and Shiitake are also functional foods and they all may be grown. These are very popular and you may find them at the local food market (except L. sulphureus which is somewhat tricky to grow).

The rest of the medicinal mushrooms present in the list above are conks belonging to the polypore family, they are hard as your shoes or tough and they represent valuable medicine. Mostly they are collected in the wild or even grown (especially those belonging to the Ganoderma family).

I personally witnessed several people that had success in treating some health issues by using the medicinal mushrooms displayed in the above list.

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