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The Many Wonders of Medicinal Mushrooms

Have You Considered Medicinal Mushrooms?

When I mention mushrooms to many people I sometimes get a look of confusion. As if they are thinking ‘Why would this person be talking to me about tak ing a mushroom supplement? Aren’t mushrooms just good on a pizza or with a steak?’ Yes, as a food, the mushrooms you find at the supermarket are wonderful and offer loads of nutritional value. However, the mushrooms I speak of are considered Medicinal Mushrooms and boast some of the most powerful health benefits of any natural supplement on the market and have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. So let’s talk a little about some of these.

First let me touch base on the very versatile, in regards to benefits, Reishi. In China, Reishi is known as Ling Zhi and is in China’s highest class of medicines. When taken on a daily basis, Reishi has been shown to help restore homeostasis to the body, meaning it helps restore normal function throughout. It helps regulate and enhance our immune system and studies show it has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective and glycemic regulatory effects…to name a few.

Let’s move on to Shiitake. More may be familiar with Shiitake as it is one mushroom that is commonly used in cooking. But the extract of the Shiitake is where all the power is held. Dr. Christopher Hobbs, in his book “Medicinal Mushrooms” describes Shiitake as being “…used medically for any and all diseases involving depressed immune function, including cancer, AIDS, environmental allergies, candida infections, and frequent flu and colds.’’ The most noted benefit of Shiitake is immune support. Numerous studies have shown this mushroom has the ability to help prevent the over activity of the immune system while at the same time helping to enhance an under active immune system.

A very unique mushroom with unique health properties is Lion’s Mane. Named Lion’s Mane because of it’s long dangling teeth like spines, this mushroom’s main health benefit affects the brain. Many studies have been published on Lion Mane’s neuroregenerative properties and more specifically with memory and mood. Studies have shown a reduction in beta amyloid plaque in the brain and an increase in cognitive function. A special extract of Lion’s Mane called Amyloban 3399 has shown promise in helping those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Now I want to touch base on my favorite medicinal mushroom, which is Grifola frondosa, or better known as Miatake. I’m not sure there is anything with as great of immune stimulating ability as Miatake and it has been studied extensively in the medical community for this purpose. Numerous studies have shown the ability of Miatake to stimulate the Natural Killer cells of our immune system. Those cells that seek and destroy foreign and harmful organisms and abnormal cells. Research has shown that a certain component of Miatake, called D-fraction, can induce apoptosis (cell death) of various types of cancer cells as well as possess anti-metastatic properties. And if that is not good enough it has also been shown to be beneficial for the management of diabetes, reducing blood pressure and for it’s anti- viral properties.

There are many more medicinal mushrooms available in supplement form such as Chaga, Turkey Tail and Cordyceps, that along with the above, have excellent health benefits. So whether you're looking for deep health benefits or more preventive support, consider the power of medicinal mushrooms.

Yours in Health,

Brenda Valen, B.S., CNC, CNHP