Before you get too excited about magic mushrooms and reminiscing about your chequered past….I am referring to medicinal mushrooms and not the hallucinogenic version!
Two of the most recognised pharmaceutical drugs today originate from the mushroom kingdom: penicillin and statins.
In Japan, polysaccharides, extracted from Trametes/Coriolus versicolor have been approved for use in the public healthcare system since 1984, as part of integrative therapy for digestive cancers. Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated the rich content of active immune modulatory compounds in mushrooms and up to 40% of Western medicines have some mycological source.
Mushrooms contain more than 150 active compounds with the following being common to all: beta-glucans, antimicrobial compounds, triterpenes and sterols. How do they affect our health? With 70-80% of our immune system located in our gut the beta-glucans found in mushrooms have a modulatory effect on it and also have certain anti-cancer functions. Triterpenes are also anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and have sedative actions.
The sterols in mushrooms are ergosterol which is a pre-cursor to Vitamin D.
Which particular mushrooms are good for our health?
Cordyceps – Cordyceps sinensis is an energiser helping to deliver oxygen to the cells and is great for liver and kidney support. It is a precious ingredient in traditional Chinese medicines. (It stimulates the immune system and is therefore advised against in autoimmune conditions)
Lion’s Mane – Hericium Erinaceus has strong anti-bacterial properties, it helps the lining of the gut wall to heal and is a prebiotic, promoting the growth of Lactobacillus spp. It has also been shown to improve menopausal symptoms: hot flushes, anxiety, mood swings and sleep issues.
Reishi – Ganoderma Lucidum (also known as the mushroom of immortality) is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, a potent anti-inflammatory and helps with stress. It is revered as an exceptionally beneficial and rare herb and has been used in Asia for over 2,000 years.
Royal Sun Agaricus – Agaricus blazei is a powerful immune-modulator and provides excellent liver support.
Turkey Tail – Coriolus versicolor has been found to be useful with HPV infections and IBD and has been used in Asian herbal remedies for many years. PSK, a compound found in Turkey Tail, has been shown to help the recovery rate in between chemotherapy treatments.
Maitake – Grifola fondosa is native to North America and the North East of Japan. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to enhance the immune system. Research shows that Maitake mushrooms activate our natural killer cells (part of our immune system).
Shiitake – an edible fungus native to Asia and grown in forests. Extracts of the mushroom are used in herbal remedies. Animal studies show that the active compounds are anti-tumour, cholesterol lowering and virus inhibiting.
NB. Although the majority of these mushrooms in supplement form have no known interactions with drug medications it is wise to seek the advice of a health professional before taking them. Always inform your GP of any supplements that you are taking as they can affect the absorption of your medication.
For any advice regarding your health or to book a personal food shopping experience with me, don’t hesitate to get in touch! tel: 07961 990087