Although many people across the world do not consider mushrooms to be herbs, it should be noted that there are more than 38,000 species of mushrooms that have medicinal uses. These species have been studied for years to clearly know their medicinal uses.
Most of them are cultivated today in different parts of the globe and thus making them readily available for the people. In this article, we will talk about medicinal mushrooms benefits and how to use them.
There are varieties which are easy to grow at home such as oyster mushrooms while others such as turkey tails grow in the wild and thus can be easily harvested by people living in those areas.
However, due to the numerous varieties, one should be very careful when collecting any mushroom in the wild since not all species are edible.
Having most mushroom species being used in Asian healing practices, most medicinal mushrooms have today been prescribed for countless ailments.
Due to the fact that modern medicine has also included these species, research shows that they are powerful functional foods in preventing cancer in an individual’s body.
Medicinal mushrooms and cancer
There are some mechanisms that medicinal mushrooms undertake during the cancer stages or even in simple prevention. First of all, they have the ability to enhance body defense against cancer by simply boosting the immune system.
Whenever the immune system has failed or is weak, the cancer mechanism gets a better chance to manifest. Also, there are some anti-cancer mushroom species which exhibit direct antiviral and some tumor shrinking abilities. Below are some medicinal mushrooms and how to use:
1. Reishi mushrooms
This is a well-known species in Asian healing arts. The reishi mushroom species has some polysaccharides and bioactive molecules that have been shown to be able to activate natural killer cells decreasing cancer metastasis. The natural killer cells are lymphocytes which perform immuno-surveillance in the body.
Reishi has also been shown to help in slowing the growth of tumors. Currently, research has shown that there are potential uses of reishi ranging from adjunct therapy for lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
It is useful for many ailments. The species has immunostimulant properties, used as a general tonic and also calms anxiety. It is also antiviral and anti-allergenic and can be used for heart arrhymiath and hepatitis. It is also suitable for calming anxiety, nervousness, and sleeplessness.
How to take it
Reishi is available powered, dried, and also in extracts, capsules, tinctures, syrup, and tea.
2. Maitake mushrooms
This species also contains bio-active molecules. Most studies have shown that maitake yields similar results as reishi mushrooms since they stimulate natural killer cells activity in cancer patients.
They also block tumor growth and activate malignant cell death via its specific immune enhancing techniques. Mitake prevents breast cancer, myelodysplastic syndromes, and lung cancer.
It inhibits tumor growth according to various studies. It is also helpful in reducing blood pressure and raising HDL which is the good cholesterol.
How to take it
It can be taken either as powder, capsule, in tea or even in cooking such as in soups.
3. Turkey tail mushrooms
This species has been studied in Japan and recognized as a cancer drug. Its properties offer a unique chance to target tumor virus such as hepatitis C which leads to liver cancers, human papillomavirus which and leads to cervical cancer.
The species also increases the NK activity towards the detection and eradication of tumor. They are widely spread in the wild which makes it easier for one to get them.
The turkey tail species has the effect of lowering cholesterol, immune enhancing activity and also antioxidant activity.
How to take it
This species is mostly taken in capsule and as a tea. One can also consume it when fresh although it is very chewy. The last option is making it into a mild tasting soup stock.
4. Shiitake mushrooms
This variety is majorly found on fallen broad-leaf trees like beech, oak, chinquanpin, chestnut and walnut. It is very rear to find shiitake mushrooms in some parts of the world such as the US although they are widely cultivated and also easy to grow at home. One can also find fresh shiitake in grocery stores when in need of a certain health benefit within the body.
The shiitake mushroom variety is helpful in many ways including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, has anti-tumor as well as antiviral properties, preventing diseases such as cancer, AIDS, candida infections, environmental allergies, and frequent colds and flu.
How to use
The variety has got a delicious taste and texture, thus, it is good to use fresh or dried in cooking. Extracts are also available.
5. Oyster mushroom
This variety grows in layered clusters majorly on deciduous trees mostly in Asia, North America and some parts of Europe. It is also an easy to grow at home mushroom variety.
It inhibits tumors, lowers serum and also cholesterol in a period of two months after administration according to a study done. In China, the oyster mushroom is used for joint and muscle relaxation.
How to take it
It is available fresh, dried, and in capsules.
6. Chaga mushroom
This variety majorly grows on birch tress especially in Europe, Eastern United States, Alaska as well as other parts of the northern hemisphere. The Chaga mushroom looks as if it is burnt and grows to a length of 4 to 5 feet.
Chaga mushroom has both anti-tumor and anticancer activity. In Russia, the variety has been used as a pain reliever, tonic and also a blood purifier.
How to take it
They are available as a decoction, tea, extract or syrup.
In conclusion, there are numerous mushroom species that are highly poisonous to human beings. However, it is advised that people not gather wild mushrooms for consumption without doing some research on their edibility.
It is better to leave the mushroom supplementation to those who have the knowledge and qualified in using strict techniques of extraction and preparation. There are other varieties known to hyper-accumulate heavy metals from the environment.
It is therefore important to choose mushrooms for consumption purposes from the cultures grown in a controlled condition so that you can be safe from eating things which can bring other diseases to the body. We hope you have learned a lot about benefits of medicinal mushrooms and how to use them for better health.
Author Bio: This guest post is written by Ella Wilson, the founder of TinyPlantation.com. She has great interest in plants and gardens and she is fascinated with fruits and vegetables.
She wish to share her passion with you through this website. Feel free to read her articles and guides and share them with others who might benefit from them. You can reach out to her anytime if you have questions.