All Women's Talk

7 Medicinal Mushrooms That You Need to Know about ...

By Chelsie

Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, has been using medicinal mushrooms to improve health for thousands of years. According to TCM, medicinal mushrooms promote longevity, improve health, and prevent cancer. If you can believe it, there are actually more than 200 species of mushrooms that have medicinal uses! Since many of these species are more difficult to obtain, there are several species that are more commonly used in supplements. While all of the medicinal mushrooms are great for your health, each one has specific healing properties that make it more adept at healing specific diseases.

1 Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi MushroomsIn Chinese, reishi mushrooms are called Lingzhi, which means “herb of spiritual potency”. These spiritual medicinal mushrooms have been used in East Asia for over 2,000 years. Reishi mushrooms have many therapeutic uses including lowering blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, fighting viruses, healing chronic fatigue syndrome, and decreasing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. If all that isn’t enough to make you want to run out to get a reishi mushroom supplement, perhaps knowing this mushroom’s amazing cancer fighting powers will. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to inhibit cancer cells’ ability to multiply. In lab tests, these mushrooms have also demonstrated an ability to fight ovarian cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer. The cancer fighting properties of reishi mushrooms isn’t unique to these mushrooms, but their ability to fight ovarian cancer does seem to be unique to them.

2 Cordyceps

CordycepsCordyceps have been used in China, Tibet, and Nepal for many years, especially for their strong antiviral properties. Cordyceps are powerful antiviral mushrooms that can kill pneumococcal viruses, as well as staph infections and herpes viruses. Purportedly, cordyceps also help heal Hepatitis B. In addition to fighting infections, these mushrooms also help control blood sugar levels. They have been shown to be very helpful for people who have hypoglycemia by keeping the blood sugar from falling too low. Like many medicinal mushrooms, cordyceps can inhibit tumor growth. Aside from inhibiting tumor growth, cordyceps can also be used in cancer treatment to help patients on chemotherapy have more energy. Part of what makes cordyceps so useful for all of these ailments are the many vitamins, minerals, and enzymes they contain that are wonderful for promoting health.

3 Chaga Mushrooms

Chaga MushroomsIn 1998, a study conducted on chaga mushrooms discovered that the type that specifically grow on birch trees inhibit tumor growth. They are especially useful for fighting gastric, breast, uterine, and liver cancer. Unfortunately, these mushrooms are different from the chaga mushrooms that are commercially grown. However, chaga mushrooms that are grown for supplements do have their own specific uses. Psoriasis is a skin condition that is greatly helped by chaga mushroom supplements. In one small study, researchers were surprised to find that chaga mushrooms healed the psoriasis in all of the patients who were being studied! Although it was a small study, the results are obviously very promising.

4 Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake MushroomsShiitake mushrooms are often used in culinary dishes, but their use extends far beyond the kitchen. These mushrooms have a complex carbohydrate called lentinan, which shows great promise at preventing lung cancer. Perhaps this special carbohydrate is the reason behind shiitake mushrooms being used for many years in Japan as a natural cancer treatment. While cancer prevention and treatment is one reason to use shiitake mushrooms medicinally, their strong antiviral and antifungal properties is another. Shiitake mushrooms are currently being researched as a cure for candida, tuberculosis, and HIV.

5 Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake MushroomsIn the 1980s, scientific researchers in Japan began focusing on maitake mushrooms. Their research and subsequent research in other countries has found that maitake mushrooms increase the production of interleukins and lymphokines, which slows cancer growth. These mushrooms also stimulate the immune system wit their unique polysaccharides and antioxidants. Additionally, these powerful mushrooms lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol, making them very heart healthy.

6 Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane MushroomsThe lion’s mane mushroom is another mushroom that is useful for controlling blood sugar. The palmitic acid, threitol, and D-arabinitol in these mushrooms help decrease blood sugar and regulate lipid levels. One of the more unique aspects of these mushrooms is their ability to help dementia by stimulating nerve cells and enhancing cognitive abilities. Lion’s mane mushrooms have also been used to treat inflammation that causes pancreatitis, heal ulcers, and improve bone density.

7 Enokitake Mushrooms

Enokitake MushroomsEnokitake mushrooms are another species of mushrooms that help fight the cognitive problems that come with aging, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. These mushrooms are also great for fighting infections. They boost the immune system and have antiviral and antibacterial properties that assist the body in fighting infections. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that enokitake mushrooms have such powerful anti-cancer properties that researchers are using an antioxidant isolated from these mushrooms to try and develop an anti-cancer vaccine!

As you can see mushrooms have many medicinal uses, many of which are associated with fighting cancer. If you are interested in using mushrooms for medicinal purposes, make sure you buy your supplements from a reputable source such as Host Defense. As wonderful as mushrooms can be for your health, there are poisonous mushrooms, and you want to be sure to stay far away from those. Have you ever used medicinal mushrooms?

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