By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
When you think of mushrooms, you might think of something you eat. Perhaps you think back to childhood, being told not to touch mushrooms growing outside, as they might be poisonous. You might even think of mushrooms as a drug. Mushrooms can be any and all of these things, but the most fulfilling role of a mushroom might just be the function that it serves as medicine!
History of Mycology
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries for their health-promoting properties. A 4,000-year-old mummy of a Neolithic man was found with Piptoporus betulinus in his medicine kit, a mushroom used for its antibiotic and antiparasitic properties! Both the Egyptians and the Aztecs declared mushrooms the sons of the gods and the flesh of the gods, a plant of immortality. Due to the global presence of mushrooms and their long history of usage, scientists in recent days have begun to study mushrooms in more detail, which has proven our ancestors correct!
Reishi has been extensively researched for its anti-cancer properties. Reishi, also known as, Ganoderma Lucidum, is the most popular mushroom among Chinese traditional medicinal herbs. The Chinese have been using Reishi for therapeutic treatments for over 2,000 years.
In Asia, people widely use reishi mushroom for cancer and immune-stimulating prescriptions. Reishi is actually one of the highest respected herbal medicines in Asia! Additionally, this mushroom has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-viral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. More benefits of Reishi include:
- Inhibits cancer cells from reproducing
- Reduces the side-effects of radio and chemotherapy.
- Stimulates appetite in cancer patients
- Lowers cholesterol and enhances metabolism
- Purifies blood, hence detoxifies the body resulting in revitalized cells
- Improves liver functions and removes free radicals
- Dissolves thrombosis: stroke and heart attack prevention
- Normalizes polysaccharide and triterpenoids immunity
- Enhances the elasticity of blood vessels
- Builds up immunity resulting in stronger antibodies
Benefits of Maitake:
Maitake, also known as Grifola frondosa, is another top-rated mushroom which possesses brilliant natural healing properties. Maitake is a giant mushroom which grows in clusters at the trunk of dead hardwood trees, especially oaks. It can be found growing in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, eastern Canada, Japan, China, and Europe. Though mushrooms are light in weight, some specimens of this mushroom can weigh over fifty pounds!
Maitake is a delicious mushroom which you can consume in multiple ways. It can be added to soups and stews, or drink as a relaxing tea. Maitake is amongst the best solutions for vibrant health and longevity, a true blessing from nature. Some top benefits of this medicinal mushroom include:
- Enhances the immune system
- Acts as a fantastic anti-tumor
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helpful in controlling diabetes and cholesterol
- Monitors the level of triglycerides
- Aids in weight loss
- Treats chronic fatigue syndrome
Turkey Tail, or Trametes Versicolor, is an incredibly common mushroom which is native to forests all around the world. This colorful species is generally found growing on logs and tree branches. Aptly named, turkey tail is a fan-like shape, with many layers and rings of striking and contrasting color ranging from tan to blue, cream, and even red, with an appearance similar to the tail of a wild turkey. In fact, the cloud-like image of this mushroom symbolizes longevity, health, and infinity.
Turkey tail is used all around the world for its many wonderful health benefits, which include:
- Boosts Immune System: Turkey tail acts as a marvelous ally in revitalizing weakened immune systems and assisting the body with fighting off foreign invaders, from HIV infections to the common cold.
- Protects Against Cancer
- Possesses Antioxidant Activity: Turkey tail is rich in antioxidants, which slow down the processes of cellular oxidation, making it a great natural supplement for anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Heals the Digestive Tract
- Possesses Astounding Detox Potential: Turkey tail boosts the liver and provides many detoxification benefits.
Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years all over the world. Mushrooms are a part of a very complex kingdom; they can be poisonous or delicious, intoxicating or healing. By learning more about these three superpower mushrooms, you can join the billions of people who have benefitted from these time-tested natural medicines.