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The Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms

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guide to medical mushrooms

Recently, medicinal mushrooms have been popping up on the radar. Upscale groceries, coffee shops, supermarkets, and dispensaries have begun stocking them in significant quantities.

It is almost as if the world just rediscovered these shrooms.

Medicinal Mushrooms have been available for more than a millennium and they have always been used.

So, you might wonder what the new craze about these shrooms is.  

The first mushroom was found by accident by Dr. Alexander Flemming in 1928. It is now commonly referred to as penicillin. Its discovery changed the course of human medicine. Penicillin has saved millions of lives and also reduced the risk of contracting infectious diseases all over the world.

Since then, other antibiotics have been discovered and exploited for medicinal use. These were widely used during WWII.  

Scientists are more interested in the traditional use of these mushrooms now and what made them unique back then. Recent studies have proved that mushrooms are safer with minimal side effects than other modern medicines.

 

They are microscopic fungi that are used in form of extracts for therapeutic reasons. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in cultural settings for curing multiple diseases.

In China, they’re referred to as the ‘cornerstone figures’ in traditional medicine.

They’re commonly termed mystical herbs, there are even fables written about how a type of medicinal mushroom was used to cure cancer-ridden monkeys in Japan.

Now, they’re extracted by pharmaceutical companies. These extracts are either in liquid or powder form and they are taken as supplements in balanced diets. In the West, they are valued for their therapeutic properties and used as health aids.

It is not uncommon to find teas that have been brewed with mushrooms. Mushrooms can also be eaten alone.

It has taken almost a century for scientists to grasp the healing properties of these fungi, and they’re nowhere close to discovering everything that needs to be known about these shrooms.

 

Medicinal mushrooms have a lot of healing attributes. But first, what makes up a mushroom?

Components of Medicinal Mushrooms include:

Vitamins

Mineral

Fiber

Antioxidants

Polysaccharides

Beta Glucan

Aromatic terpenes

Other compounds.

All these components work together to make medicinal mushrooms highly beneficial to you and me.

 

Mushrooms and humans have about 50% of their genetic makeup in common.  Both are impacted by the same diseases. Hence, scientists have taken advantage of the immune and adaptive methods used by mushrooms.

 

Some of the health benefits include:

Fighting Cancer: Mushrooms and cancer cells are natural enemies. Adding medicinal mushrooms to a cancer patient’s diet does a lot of good when it comes to killing or slowing down the growth of the cancer cells.

 

In healthy people, mushrooms prevent DNA mutation and damage. It is also effective for treating nausea and hair loss in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

 

Enhancing The Immune System: The Antiviral, Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Mushrooms

gives medicinal mushrooms its immune-enhancing properties.

These properties are used by mushrooms to outcompete other organisms that want to eat them or take their food.

 

Fortunately for humans, these properties do not harm us, rather it behaves like natural antibiotics when it has been introduced into the body. It is very valuable in treating the flu. It can also be used for viral infections like HIV. Their polysaccharide components and antioxidants also regulate the production of antibodies and destroy harmful unbound radicals in the body.

 

Improves Cardiovascular Health: They help to reduce the cholesterol content in the blood. They get rid of the bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, as well as prevent the hardening of the arteries. 

Just by eating mushrooms, you can prevent various heart problems like stroke, heart attack, etc.

 

Enhance cognitive function: Scientists say they act as ‘nootropics’.

That is they are nutritious compounds that heighten the mental functions of a person. This is why they are mostly prescribed to patients with brain injuries or other incurable diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.

Constant consumption of medicinal mushrooms could restore the cognitive function of a person and also improve it.

 

Reduces Fatigue: A person’s physical fitness can be greatly improved by medicinal mushrooms. Their presence in the body improves the metabolic activity of a person. And toxins are systematically removed.

Sportsmen and athletes take a lot of medicinal mushroom extracts in their diet because it helps them perform better.

 

No, they are not.

There are poisonous mushrooms that have adverse effects when ingested into the human body.

Medicinal mushroom species are over 700 in number. These species contain bioactive compounds that have distinct therapeutic benefits.

 

Here is a list of the best common mushrooms that can be found in stores around.

#1—Shiitake

These mushrooms are found in most supermarkets. In Asia, it is a part of their cuisine and it is commonly used in soups.

They are adaptable and easy to grow at home.

Traditionally, they are used to cure a cold. Recent studies have shown that they might be useful in fighting increased cholesterol in the blood. It is also good prevention from tumors.

#2—Chaga

This mushroom appears more like charcoal due to its dark coloration. It is used for treating wounds, it is also an anti-tumor compound and it effectively lowers heightened blood sugar levels.

#3—Reishi

This mushroom species had one of the highest medicinal attributes in history. It grows in different colors, but the most potent and effective reishi is red.

Reishi is used to treat chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. It has very high immune-enhancing properties.

However, it can’t be consumed in its raw form. It has to be processed into extracts.

 

Other common medicinal mushrooms include:

Turkey tail

Maitake

Lion’s mane

Cordyceps

Psilocybe

Medicinal mushrooms are abundant and can be found in all parts of the world. There’s no reason why they should not be included in everyone’s diets. They’re nutritionally rich compounds with amazing medicinal benefits.

There is still so much more you need to know about medicinal mushrooms. Fortunately, a lot of researches are still underway to determine just how beneficial these compounds are.

Purchase your medicinal mushrooms from reputable supermarkets and dispensaries to be certain that they’re fit for consumption. Enjoy!

 

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