Medicinal mushrooms have been used for thousands of years. They do not have any negative side effects unless the user is allergic to the consumption of mushrooms. They contain some of the most potent antioxidants know to man such as L-Ergothioneine (ERGO). Mushrooms contain high quantities of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, joint and muscle pains, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, the flu and much more. Mushrooms contain a large amount of protein and hold all of the essential amino acids needed in our diet. Edible medicinal mushrooms have minimal to no toxicity to the human body and they are a wholefood and can be consumed by anyone who is not allergic to mushrooms.
The benefits of wholefoods over extracted elements and bioactive ingredients have been well documented. Mushrooms have a high content of dietary fiber that is essential to a healthy digestive system ND they are low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). When in powder form, the user can achieve the maximum benefit by consuming small amounts of powder because mushrooms consist of 90% water.
Cordyceps - Endurance Properties
In April of 1993, eight Chinese women runners broke 2:27 in the Tianjin (China) Marathon, by far the greatest one-nation showing ever for 26.2 miles. In August, Chinese women won every track distance event in the Stuttgart World Championships. They easily took first in the 1500, 1-2-3 in the 3000 and 1-2 in the 10,000. In September, Chinese women ran their most astonishing race yet, demolishing the world records for 1500, 3000 and 10,000 meters in their National Games in Beijing. Almost overnight, they became by far the greatest female distance runners the world has every seen.
How did these Chinese runners achieve these incredible records—new and improved training techniques, dedication, etc? Certainly these were important factors, but there was one other vital factor: Cordyceps sinensis. The winning Chinese distance runners trained on a diet that included Cordyceps.
Cordyceps is a mushroom found on the high plateaus of western China. Cordyceps’ Mandarin name, dong chong xia cao, literally means “winter bug, summer herb. This accurately describes the fact that the worm dies in the summer, and a mushroom grows on it. It was discovered 1,500 years ago when Tibetan herdsman found that their yaks were much livelier after eating this worm-mushroom from mountain pastures. Eventually, Cordyceps found its way into the hands of the Emperor’s physicians who considered it to have ginseng-like properties.
Agaricus Blazei Background
Agaricus blazei (“Kawariharatake” in Japan, “Cogmelo de Deus” in Brazil) was first discovered in Florida, USA, in 1944. Its main natural habitat is the mountainous district of Piedade in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was found that the rate of occurrence of adult diseases in the Piedade region is extremely low since people took A. blazei as a part of their regular diet. The mushroom was brought to Japan in 1965. An artificial cultivation process was established in 1978, and since then this mushroom has been well evaluated in terms of biochemical and medicinal properties.
Many animal studies and clinical experience have demonstrated that A. blazei shows antitumor activity, immunological enhancement, and also the fungus is effective for treatment of AIDS, diabetes, hypotension, and hepatitis.
Back to top of page
Grifola frondosa - Background
Grifola frondosa, commonly known as maitake, is a mushroom which is famous for its taste and health benefits. It is also known as the “dancing mushroom”; since legend holds that those who found it began dancing with joy.
In any case maitake has been used historically as a tonic and adaptogen; that is a substance that invigorates/strengthens the system and helps it adapt to stress. Along with other “medicinal” mushrooms, such as shiitake and reishi, maitake is used as a food to help promote wellness and vitality. An immunomodulator Maitake contains complex polysaccharides which act as immunomodulators, helping to support immune system function. The polysaccharides present in maitake have a unique structure and are among the most powerful studied in test tubes to date. The primary polysaccharide, beta-D-glucan, is well absorbed when taken orally and is being studied as a potential tool for prevention and treatment of cancer and as an adjunctive treatment for HIV infection.
Serum Lipids - Animal studies suggest maitake may also lower serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Japanese scientists undertook an in vitro experiment to see what effect maitake had on the C3H10T1/2B2C1 cell. This cell is normal in most aspects, but it has the potential to balloon and turn into an adipocyte, a fat cell. The results of the experiment showed that maitake inhibits the conversion of normal C3H10T1/2B2C1 cells into adipocytes. The question, of course, is will this inhibition process actually translate into beneficial results in overweight individuals. In a least one human study, this does seem to have been the case.