Most often we only think of mushrooms as a delectable vegetable to add to our diet in order to make meal times a delight without sparing a thought that a variety of medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries as popular remedies to prevent or treat different diseases.
Fungi live in a hostile environment in the midst of the decay and to survive their encounters with disease-causing pathogens, they develop anti-pathogenic properties and these mechanisms are precisely what make them valuable to the human immune system
What mushrooms typically do is to stimulate the immune response, giving a powerful boost to the functions of the body that are already in place for preventing and fighting disease.The medicinal power of mushroom can also be traced to the grounding effect they possess from growing close to the earth and the many nutrients they contain.
The most popular medicinal mushrooms are the Ganoderma lucidium (Reishi), lentinus edodes (Shiitake), Grifola frondosa (Maitake) Hericium erinaceum (Yamabushitake) as well as Inonotus obliquus (chaga).
Like most mushrooms, they are rich in vitamins, fiber, and amino acid and are low in fat, cholesterol and calories but most importantly they contain a large selection of biologically active polysaccharides with immuno stimulatory properties which have positive benefits and play a large role in our battle for health.
The Ganoderoma luidium or Reishi
Ganoderma stimulates the maturation of immune cells which help digest infectious bacteria. It is effective in treating chronic bronchitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It improves heat and liver functions, enhances anti-allergy, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
Shiitake mushroom contains immune stimulating properties. It has good properties in preventing high blood pressure as well as heart disease, controlling cholesterol levels and boosting the immune system and useful in fighting cancers.
Nutritionally, maitake supports the body by increasing the absorption of micro nutrients especially copper and zinc in the intestine. There is a cancer fighting compound found in maitake mushrooms which has shown promise in breast, stomach, liver, lung, colo-rectal cancer and leukemia. It is important to note that the key to driving home this concept of using natural remmedies and promoting mushrooms as a means of healing the body and preventing disease is having a balanced view of how conventional medicine works along with medicinal mushrooms.