Hesper said:Laura said:So, are we all supposed to start eating lots of mushrooms?
Hopefully, some of ya'll can read these things and condense the salient points and we can collect together suggestions for various situations/conditions.
Or maybe supplement with mushroom broths? Hard to say that it could be anywhere near as effective as what you're doing, but could still be useful. Here's some info from Mercola:
Hanging with Fungi Increases Your Odds of Survival
We're more closely related to fungi than we are to any other kingdom. We share the same pathogens, meaning bacteria and viruses. As a defense against bacterial invasion, fungi have developed strong antibiotics, which also happen to be effective for us humans. Penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline all come from fungal extracts.
The predominant mushrooms displaying antiviral activities are the polypores, sometimes called bracket fungi or woody conks, tough and fibrous fungi characterized by many tiny holes on the underside of their caps. Polypores have been dubbed the "frontier" of new medicines and are thought to be the ancestors to most of the gilled mushrooms. Interestingly, there are no known poisonous polypores, whereas there are more than one hundred poisonous gilled mushrooms.
Paul Stamets recently discovered that a very rare polypore called Agaricon is effective against the poxviruses—including smallpox. This has the Department of Defense very interested, as smallpox is one of the most feared bioterrorism agents. Agaricon was also found to be effective against flu viruses.
History tells us that living in cooperation with fungi will increase our odds of survival. After major extinction events, it was the fungi that thrived because they didn't need light and lived on dead organic matter. Organisms pairing with fungi flourished, and those that didn't fared poorly.
Many of the mushrooms valued for strong medicinal properties grow on trees, as opposed to the ground dwellers you've likely seen.
These tree fungi concentrate the unique elements that the host tree has absorbed over its lifetime, which may be ten or twenty or even HUNDREDS of years. Many of these mushroom species are long-term residents of Old Growth Forests and play an essential role in nutrient recycling by decomposing old trees. The mushroom wraps itself around these special nutrients, capturing them in the fruiting body of the organism and turning it into a little medicinal powerhouse. Maybe it's time for us to embrace the mushroom and harness it's medicine the way the Asians have done for thousands of years.
Blends of Mushrooms are More Effective Than any One Mushroom Alone
It is therapeutically best to utilize a blend of several mushroom species, because "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." For one thing, it is easier for pathogens in your body to adapt and become resistant to one mushroom than to several. Secondly, each mushroom species has a unique arsenal of anti-infective and immunomodulating agents.
Now that you have the overview, let's take a look at a few of my favorite health-enhancing mushroom species. We'll start with a delicious little mushroom you have probably seen on your dinner plate or at your local market—the shiitake.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake is a popular culinary mushroom used in dishes around the world. It contains a number of health-stimulating agents, including lentinan, the polysaccharide for which it was named. Lentinan has been isolated and used to treat stomach and other cancers due to its antitumor properties, but has also been found to protect your liver, relieve other stomach ailments (hyperacidity, gallstones, ulcers), anemia, ascites, and pleural effusion.
One of the more remarkable scientific studies demonstrating shiitake's antitumor effect was a Japanese animal study, where mice suffering from sarcoma were given shiitake extract. Six of 10 mice had complete tumor regression, and with slightly higher concentrations, all ten mice showed complete tumor regression.
Shiitake mushrooms also demonstrate antiviral (including HIV, hepatitis, and the "common cold"), antibacterial, and antifungal effects; blood sugar stabilization; reduced platelet aggregation; and reduced atherosclerosis. Shiitake also contains eritadenine, which has strong cholesterol-lowering properties.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is known as Lingzhi in China, or "spirit plant." It's also been called "Mushroom of Immortality"—a nickname that kind of says it all. Reishi has been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years. One of its more useful compounds is ganoderic acid (a triterpenoid), which is being used to treat lung cancer, leukemia and other cancers. The list of Reishi's health benefits includes the following
Antibacterial, antiviral (Herpes, Epstein-Barr), antifungal (including Candida) properties
Antiinflammatory, useful for reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Immune system up-regulation
Normalization of blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure
Reduction of prostate-related urinary symptoms in men
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
Cordyceps, also called caterpillar fungus or Tochukasu, is a favorite of athletes because it increases ATP production, strength and endurance, and has anti-aging effects. This parasitic mushroom is unique because, in the wild, it grows out of an insect host instead of a plant host. Cordyceps has an enduring history in both traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine.
Cordyceps has hypoglycemic and possible antidepressant effects, protects your liver and kidneys, increases blood flow, helps normalize your cholesterol levels, and has been used to treat Hepatitis B. It has antitumor properties as well.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Turkey Tail is also known as Coriolis, or "cloud mushroom." Science is showing that Turkey Tail mushroom holds an arsenal of cancer-blasting compounds. Two polysaccharide complexes in Turkey Tail are getting a great deal of scientific attention, PSK (or "Kreskin") and PSP, making it the most extensively researched of all medicinal mushrooms with large scale clinical trials.
A seven-year, $2 million NIH-funded clinical study in 2011 found that Turkey Tail mycelium improves immune function when dosed daily to women with stage I–III breast cancer. Immune response was dose-dependent, with no adverse effects.
In addition to breast cancer, Turkey Tail has been found to hold promise for other cancers, including stomach, colorectal, lung, esophageal, nasopharyngeal, cervical, and uterine. PSP has been shown to significantly enhance immune status in 70 to 97 percent of cancer patients. Turkey tail is also being used to treat many different infections, including aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, E. coli, HIV, Herpes, and streptococcus pneumonia, and is hepatoprotective. It may also be useful for CFIDS.
Himematsutake (Agaricus blazei)
The last mushroom I'd like to mention is the newcomer on the block: Himematsutake, also called Royal Sun Agaricus, a relative of the common button mushroom. Himematsutake was not cultivated in the East until fairly recently but is now a very popular natural medicine, used by almost a half million Japanese.
Himematsutake mushroom is attracting many scientists worldwide due to its remarkable anticancer properties related to six special polysaccharides. Like many other medicinal mushrooms, this fungus can also protect you from the damaging effects of radiation and chemotherapy. But its benefits don't stop there—Himematsutake can also decrease insulin resistance in diabetics, normalize your cholesterol, improve your hair and skin, and even treat polio.
There are many more mushrooms deserving mention—far too many to include here. But at least you can begin to appreciate the scope of benefits mushrooms have to offer, based on the handful of examples above.
A carefully designed blend of medicinal fungi can deliver a powerful therapeutic punch, whether you just wish to help protect yourself from seasonal colds or flu, or you have a more serious condition such as cancer. Either way, these special mushrooms can be an excellent adjunct to a healthful diet and lifestyle to improve your immune health. If you are interested in more information about medicinal mushrooms, you might consider visiting the following sites:
Healing-Mushrooms.net is an encyclopedia of medicinal mushrooms with a searchable database, abundant resources and fungi photos
MedicalMushrooms.net is another encyclopedic database with information about many of the medicinal mushrooms
MushroomExpert.com can help you with mushroom identification
Paul Stamets' YouTube video channel has about 30 videos of wild mushroom hunts and all sorts of informational videos, including mushroom identification and cultivation
And there's this about mushroom broths:
Boosts Immune System: Not all mushrooms are the same, similarly not all mushroom broths are the same. The mushroom broths prepared from shitake mushrooms are found to have a very positive effect on immune system; they demonstrated high anti-cancerous activity and helped body to fight against infections.
And here's a pretty interesting book on mushrooms. It's on Google Books so if you click on the link it will take you to the section that lists the different antibacterials isolated from different mushrooms:
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
MAÏTAKE (Grifolia frondosa)
"Leading researchers and scientists have studied maitake and found that it contains many valuable nutrients, including vitamins C, D, B2, and niacin, as well as minerals (especially magnesium and potassium), fiber, and amino acids. In addition, research has confirmed that it is high in a polysaccharide compound called "Beta 1.6 Glucan." This polysaccharide, unique to maitake, is well-known as a cellular immune system-strengthener. Their immunostimulant and anti-tumor activity is well researched in Japan."
"Professor Nanba obtained a polysaccharide (called "D-fraction") from the fruiting body of mushrooms. When administered orally to mice, this extract exhibited anti-tumor activity. Results of another study by Professor Nanba on activity of orally administered mushroom extract, confirmed its tumor neutralizing ability. Dr. Nanba believes it works against tumors because it activated the body's T cells and macrophages (our PacMen[TM])."
"Another Japanese researcher, Kyoko Adachi, studied the anti-tumor activity of beta glucan (obtained from the mushroom) in mice. Professor Adachi and his associates have found this polysaccharide had an anti-tumor effect. It not only directly activates their immune "policemen" (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T cells, etc.) to attack the tumor cells, but also makes the activities of various fighters (including lymphokines, interleukin-1 and interleukin-2) possible. This stimulates cellular functions and, at the same time, prevents a decrease in the immune" system's ability to fight tumors."
"Grifolan, the extract of the fruit body of Grifola Frondosa is particularly interesting because maitake has immunostimulatory and anti-tumor activity when administered orally to both rodents and man."
The T cells