Mushrooms for Health Immune System and Cancer

Edible mushrooms are the fleshy fruit bodies of several species of macro-fungi. They can appear either below ground or above ground where they may be picked by hand. Edibility may be defined by criteria that include absence of poisonous effects on humans and desirable taste and aroma. Mushrooms play extremely important roles in the ecosystem, and some are famously delicious. Some are also famously deadly. In recent years has focused on various immunological and anti-cancer properties of certain mushrooms, they also offer other potentially important health benefits, including antioxidants, anti-hypertensive and cholesterol-lowering properties, liver protection, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. These properties have attracted the interest of many pharmaceutical companies, which are viewing the medicinal mushroom as a rich source of innovative biomedical molecules. Some important and popular medicinal mushroom varieties: Coriolus versicolor (Turkey Tails), Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), Agaricus blazei (common name Himematsutake), Polyporus umbellatus (common name Zhu Ling), Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane). Medicinal mushrooms like maitake, shiitake, reishi, oyster and chaga mushrooms can boost health when cooked and eaten or taken as a supplement. We may not think of mushrooms as herbs, many of the world’s more than 38,000 species of mushrooms have medicinal uses. For their own protection, fungi have developed an arsenal of medicinal compounds with antibacterial and antiviral properties. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in the Penicillin rubens mold. Ganomycin, a powerful modern antibiotic, comes from Reishi mushrooms. Mushrooms contain disease-busting polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, triterpenoids, and immune-boosting chemicals. Agarikon mushrooms have antiviral properties against H1N1 swine flu and H5N1 bird flu. Trametes versicolor, a type of turkey tail mushroom containing the protein-bound polysaccharide extracts PSK and PSP, can increase natural killer cell activity and increase T helper lymphocytes useful in complementary treatment of cancer. They can also be used to bolster a declining immune system during aging.

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
  • Mitake (Grifola frondosa)
  • Agarikon (Laricifomes officinalis)
  • Coliolus (Trametes versicolor)
  • Cancer-fighting ingredients (polysaccharides, linoleic acid)
  • Selenium (an important antioxidant)
  • Protein
  • Shitake (Lentinula edodes)

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