People have been turning to medicinal mushrooms for physical ailments for centuries, even before they could pinpoint their specific actions on the body.
As far back as the ancient Kemetic people of the Nile Valley, to the Greeks (roughly 400 bce) to the vast span of Asian cultures, medicinal mushrooms have always had a place in our medical history.
In fact, it has been said that those ancient ancestors of ours that knew how to work with mushrooms to fight disease were the ones who secured their survival.
Fast forward to today and we find a plethora of research on how and why these magical, "pop up after the rain", fungus friends help our bodies heal. China and Japan have actually approved medicinal mushrooms as a supplemental lung cancer treatment for over 30 years following promising research.
Now many people worldwide are considering consuming medicinal mushrooms for their broad spectrum of magical health benefits.
How Do Medicinal Mushrooms Work?
Medicinal mushrooms contain a multitude of active compounds, many of which we have yet to isolate to uncover their therapeutic actions.
What has been heavily studied is a collection of polysaccharides, including beta glucans. These incredible compounds work as anticancer agents, presumably by building up the immune system in profound ways.
It has been found that beta glucans activate adaptive immune response processes leading to improved immune function and a reduction of the development of tumor cells. They have also been shown to "mobilize murine progenitor cells from bone marrow and enhance murine hematopoietic recovery following bone marrow injury." (source)
More and more research is being conducted and as it surfaces, we'll cover it here. Stay tuned!
What Benefits do Medicinal Mushrooms Offer?
Different types of mushrooms provide their own unique benefits that make them stand out from the rest.
However, most medicinal mushrooms are believed to supply the following benefits:
- Boost the immune system
- Oxygenate your cells
- Improve cognitive function
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels
And those are just to name a few!
Most Popular Medicinal Mushroom Varieties
While there are numerous species of this magic fungi, there are four that set themselves apart from the rest. Not only are they readily available in supplement form, but are purported to produce the best overall health benefits.
This mushroom offers powerful antioxidants that combat oxidative stress, improve your immune system, and lower cholesterol levels. They regulate the production of cytokines and help fight inflammation.
Also known as the “herb of spiritual potency”, this mushroom is believed to help reduce inflammation, lower and stabilize blood sugar levels, decrease tumors, and improve the immune system. This powerhouse of a mushroom is also believed to aid in treating cancer as well as alleviating chemotherapy induced nausea.
This fungus has a unique appearance that resembles the tail feathers of a turkey. It is used to treat respiratory conditions, help with treating cancer, stimulate the nervous system, and increase the healthy bacteria in your gut. It is a good source of fiber and helps improve digestion.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are used to improve nerve development, help protect your stomach lining, and aid in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is also believed to help with depression and anxiety. This mushroom can be eaten as a whole food or easily taken as a supplement capsule.
Whatever your ailment, there is a medicinal mushroom for you.
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