Power Shrooms: Medicinal Mushroom Review


 

 

Power Shrooms

Medicinal mushrooms, used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years to stimulate the immune system, they are now coming into their own in the West with the aid of scientific research. Conventional scientific databases contain hundreds of references to mushrooms. In China, cancer research and treatment are showing they can help counteract the toxic effects of chemotherapy and radiation while increasing outcomes against control groups not using herbs.

Reishi relaxes the central nervous system helping sleep and anxiety. It deeply nourishes the immune system, boosting the life span of white blood cells; its polysaccharides are anti-tumor, anti-viral and boost T-cell function. It is as anti-inflammatory as prednisone for arthritis and inhibits histamine response of allergies.

Maitake targets breast and colorectal cancers, is anti-diabetic and anti-viral. It is very effective for helping the immune system rebound from chemotherapy.

Shiitake^s Polysaccharide compounds have exhibited strong anti tumor activities.

TCM energetics describe the affinity mushrooms have in nature for ^dispersing,^ ^breaking down^ and ^transforming dead matter^, ^transforming the accumulation of toxins^, ^moving stagnation^ and balancing excess environments. As in nature, mushrooms stimulate balance and rejuvenation. A number of researchers have come to the conclusion that, to maximize a host-mediated response to awaken the immune system, a panoply of mushroom polysaccharides is best.

 

Why Organically Grown Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are great sources of medicines but they can also concentrate heavy metals, especially if they are grow close to an industrialized area. Pollutants from air and water can be taken up from the soil and passed directly into the mycelial network. Our mushrooms are grown at our certified organic farm situated at the base of the pristine Olympic Peninsula

 

 
Why blend Three Medicinal Mushrooms into ^Power Mushrooms^

A number of researchers have come to the conclusion that, to maximize a host-mediated response�that is, to ^awaken^ the immune system�an impressive array of polysaccharides is best. These polysaccharides appear to increase the number and activity of killer T and NK (natural killer) lymphocytes. Combining medicinal mushroom species sends the immune system multiple stimuli, awakening the body^s natural defenses.

Not only are there medicinal polysaccharides in mushrooms, but a wide variety of other constituents may help improve human and animal health. Diabetics may benefit from better glucose metabolism, as may be produced by Maitake and Reishi. Many species of mushrooms have direct tumor-growth-inhibiting effects with no or little cytotoxicity to healthy cells, an extraordinary characteristic of any cancer therapy. The LD-50, the dose lethal to 50% of a population of organisms, is typically extraordinarily high in these medicinal mushrooms, meaning they have very low toxicity, several orders of magnitude lower than most antibiotics or other immunostimulants.

 

Reishi, (Ganoderma Lucidum)

Anti-Cancer, Anti Tumor, Improves Circulation, Anti-histamines, Anti-Inflammatory, Immune-Tonic. Spirit Calming.

This mushroom was held in such high esteem by the Daoists of ancient China as the Supreme Tonicever since the first Chinese Emperor (221-210 B.C.) is said to have sent envoys on a search throughout the Eastern Seas, to search for the herb of immortality, and they returned from Japan with Reishi mushroom.

In studies on mice, reishi mushrooms have shown very strong results against cancerous tumors. Other substances, called triterpenes, have been found in Reishi mushrooms that have demonstrated to lower blood pressure and improve circulation, that may account for its success for age related intellectual decline in dementia and pre-Alzheimers conditions and the increased circulation need to resist Altitude sickness. (I have used Reishi, Siberian Ginseng and Ginkgo for remarkable success for altitude sickness and jet lag.) Reishi mushrooms contain sterols, which may influence the hormonal system, and natural anti-histamines, which reduce allergic reactions and inflammation in the body. Some studies have shown to increase white blood cell count, reduce allergic reactions, and have a calming effect on the central nervous system.

Because of its neutral classification by TCM its considered safe for everyone to use as an immune tonic, this is especially important to consider when using a tonic for someone with auto-immune disorder, immune stimulation herbs such as echinacea are not well tolerated by this group. Reishi helps build-up the immunity with-out revving-up immune responses, that would only be further aggravating to already overactive auto-immune responses.

Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website states "Reishi mushroom is used as an immune stimulant by patients with HIV or cancer. Extracts of Reishi can stimulate macrophages and alter the levels of TNF and interleukins (8) (10) (11) (12). In clinical studies, Reishi increased plasma antioxidant capacity (14) (15) and enhanced immune responses in advance-stage cancer patients (13). Reishi was also shown to inhibit platelet aggregation (2) (4) (9). Studies done in rats have shown that reishi extract may alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea (17). Adverse events reported include dry nose and throat, nausea, vomiting and other GI symptoms. Theoretically, Reishi can interfere with the actions of immunosuppressants, anticoagulants, and certain chemotherapeutic agents"
check out their studies at...  http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69353.cfm

 

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Anti-Cancer, Anti Tumor, Improves Circulation, Anti-histamines, Anti-Inflammatory, Immune-Tonic. Spirit Calming.

Scientists today are finding that shiitake can help the body combat heart disease, cancer, and viruses.

Dr. Goro Chihara, of the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo, isolated and purified polysaccharide compounds from shiitake that exhibited strong antitumor activities. The most active of these compounds he called lentinan. Lentinan is an extract of Shiitake which is the name given a highly purified polysaccharide fraction extracted from Shiitake mushrooms, it is an approved drug in Japan. It is generally administered by injection and has been used as an agent to prolong survival of patients in conventional cancer therapy as well as in AIDS research. LEM is another extract from Shiitake. This protien-bound sugar is solubule in water and has been the subject of intense research. In Japan, mushroom extracts like LEM and Lenitan have become the leading prescription treatment for cancer

Research conducted in Japan identified a specific amino acid in shiitake that helps speed up the processing of cholesterol in the liver The active principle is an amino acid named eritadenine, lowers all lipid components of serum lipoproteins in both animals and man. Shiitake has also shown the capacity to lower high blood pressure in laboratory.

From the Whole foods Website
" Recent studies have traced shiitakes^ legendary benefits to an active compound contained in these mushrooms called lentinan. Among lentinan^s healing benefits is its ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease. Against influenza and other viruses, lentinan has been shown to be even more effective than prescription drugs; it even improves the immune status of individuals infected with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS.

Lentinan, which is technically classified as a polysaccharide and referred to as a branched beta-glucan, has also been shown to have anti-cancer activity. When lentinan was given for human gastric cancer, reticular fibers developed in tumor sites. Reticular cells, which are spread throughout the body in various tissues, are immune cells that have the ability to ingest (phagocytose) bacteria, particulate matter, and worn out or cancerous cells. When lentinan was administered, not only was there a proliferation of reticular cells in gastric tumor sites, but many T lymphocytes (another type of immune defender) were drawn to these cancer sites with the result that the cancer cell nests were fragmented and destroyed.

A large number of animal studies conducted over the last ten years have shown that another active component in shiitake mushrooms called eritadenine lowers cholesterol levels-and this amazing compound lowers cholesterol no matter what types of dietary fats the lab animals are given. Even when lab animals are given dietary protein rich in methionine (an amino acid researchers have found causes an increase in cholesterol formation), eritadenine still lowers plasma cholesterol levels in a dose-dependent manner. In other words, the more eritadenine given, the more cholesterol levels drop.

L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, has been discovered in mushrooms, thanks to a new analytical method capable of identifying this antioxidant in plant material. In research presented at the 2005 American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., an American research team revealed that mushrooms contain higher concentrations L-ergothioneine than either of the two dietary sources previously believed to contain the most: chicken liver and wheat germ.

Refferences at..  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=122

Anti tumor activities of O-sulfonated derivatives of (1-->3)-alpha-D-glucan from different Lentinus edodes.

 

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) means �dancing mushroom� in Japanese. Supposedly named in ancient Japan, because those who found it knew they would be paid the mushrooms weight in silver, and then they would celebrate by dancing! Many doctors in Japan also must be dancing because of maitake use to lower blood pressure and blood lipids, key risk factors in cardiovascular disease, without having to resort to powerful pharmaceuticals. Yet maitake may best be known for its cancer-fighting properties. One study in post operative bladder cancer patients showed reduced rates of recurrence after surgery 65% down to33%. Researchers have also discovered that Maitake when taken with mitomycin a chemotherapy inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, even after the tumors are well formed, preventing the spread of cancer to the liver. These anti cancer compounds are believed to be Maitake D-fraction. Used for Stomach, colorectal, liver, lung cancers or leukemia by Chinese doctors.

Some studies also show Maitake�s liver protective qualities for Hepatitis B even clearing antigens in 40% of those in one study. It is used in Japan to protect the liver from drug-induced Hepatitis. It contains grifolan, an important bet-glucan polysaccharide (molecule composed of many sugar molecules linked together). Grifolan has been shown to activate macrophages, a type of cell consider the " heavy artillery": of the immune system, explains Larry A. Walker, Ph.D., R.D., author of "Natural products update," published in Drug Topics, June 1997. D-fraction, one of the polysaccharides in maitake, also energized the cellular immune system.

Stimulation of the natural immune system in normal mice by polysaccharide from maitake mushroom

 

Mushroom Research

References from http://www.fungi.com/search/index.html

Recent, Current & Planned Clinical Studies Using Mushrooms & Mushroom Derivatives for the Treatment of Diseases

Dr. Stefan Glueck, MD, Ph.D., Medical Oncologist
The Ontario Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation Ontario, Canada
Comments: Shiitake, Lentinula edodes & Cancer therapies. Studies on-going.

Dr. M. Ghoneum
Drew University of Medicine & Science
Los Angeles, CA
Comments: Shiitake, Lentinula edodes and other unnamed mushrooms (^basidiomycetous fungi^) used in a clinical study of 11 cancer patients. Study completed. Ghoneum et al. 1995. "Immunomodulatory and anticancer effects of active hemicellulose compound (AHCC)" International Journal of Immunotherapy XI (1) 23-28

Dr. Harry Preuss
Georgetown University
Washington DC
Comments: A factor in Maitake mushrooms, Grifola frondosa, reportedly has anti-diabetic properties and helps the body control blood glucose levels by reducing insulin resistance and enhancing insulin sensitivity. Initial studies show that Maitake fractions are free from the side effects associated with conventional drug treatments.

Online Articles and Research Papers on Medicinal Mushrooms

"Medicinal Mushrooms and Cancer", from the Cancer Research UK Web Site
We also highly recommend The International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms.
 

 


About the Author

Geoff D'Arcy D.O.M. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) Lic. Ac. Acupuncturist and Herbalist Dr. D'Arcy brings the wealth of Eastern philosophy and training to the healing arts of acupuncture and herbal medicine. He began his training in Japan in the mid-1970s, and returned to England to gain his licentiate in traditional Chinese acupuncture. Geoff went on to study Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in hospitals and colleges in China, and received a doctorate in Oriental Medicine in the United States. He has co-founded two large integrative medical centers in Massachusetts and is now Director of the D’Arcy Wellness Clinic. He is president of D’Arcy Naturals, Inc., a company that produces all natural herbal formulas for humans and pets. Geoff has been in practice for over 23 years.