Therapeutic Properties of Medicinal Mushrooms


ushrooms have recently gained popularity in culinary circles, but their far-reaching therapeutic properties should

get your attention for a longer and health- ier life

Although mushrooms have been part of the healer's toolbox since ancient times, the medicinal power of mushrooms is gaining momentum in evidence-based journals.

Medicinal mushrooms come in a wide

variety and shapes such as white button, reishi, maitake, shiitake, oyster, cordyceps, cauliflower, tiger tail and lion's mane, and most have health benefits that range from fighting cancer and boosting your immu- nity and memory to preventing diseases like diabetes and arthritis.

Five Therapeutic Properties of Mushrooms

1. Anticancer Reishi (in Japanese) or lingzhi (in Chinese) mushrooms are well known in Asia for their anticancer properties. In a meta-analysis by scientists of 23 trials in-

volving 4,246 cancer patients, reishi mushrooms enhanced longevity and qual- ity of life in cancer patients. Therapy with white button mush-

rooms impacted prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and inhibited prostate cancer by decreasing immunosuppressive factors. Polysaccharides from Cordyceps ci- cadae mushrooms inhibited the growth of cancer cells and induced cancer cell deaths showing its effectiveness as a low cost and safe treatment

inhibited cell viability and mobility of lung cancer cells in vitro. In a cell study of rei- shi mushroom extract, the treatment of- fered high antitumor and liver protection with low toxicity on human liver cancer cells.

2. Immunomodulatory for cervical

cancer.A peptide from the shiitake mush- room showed promising results in growth arrest, cell death and cleaning out dam- aged cells in a breast cancer in vitro study. In both in vitro and in vivo studies, results showed that mice with induced testicular cancer treated with the Cordyceps sinensis mushroom had significantly smaller and fewer tumors than the control group. Cordyceps cicadae mushroom treat-

ment prevented testicular damage and tumors caused by the chemotherapy drug cisplatin via inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammation in rats. In a lung cancer-induced study of mice, treatment with reishi mushrooms

In a meta-analysis of 20 animal dis- ease studies, grifola frondosa, or maitake mushroom, polysaccharide showed strong immune function by enhancing T cells, natural killer cells and macrophages in mice and increasing the secretion of two important immune factors, TNF-α and INF-y. In a clinical study of 105 cancer pa-

tients undergoing chemotherapy or radia- tion treatments, a combination of reishi mushroom extract and geraniums im- proved immunity and fought the cancer and secondary infections that could have compromised treatment and health. In a study of 18 patients diagnosed

with low and intermediate myelodysplas- tic syndrome, which can lead to leukemia if not managed well, maitake mushroom extract treatment of three milligrams (mg)

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