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Perhaps you’ve heard of reishi , cordyceps , or chaga medicinal mushrooms already? Well, whether yes or no, you will want to read on for all the details!
There is no denying the rise in popularity of plant-based medicine over recent years. Not only that, but plant-based medicine has gained a lot of attention from medical doctors as well. Medicinal mushrooms sit at the top of this list with some amazing health benefits!
Health Benefits and Side Effects of Mushrooms
For centuries, Chinese herbalists have used mushrooms in medicine with great effect. Over 200 various species have been used for therapeutic purposes.
In fact, modern Western medicine has already acknowledged the remarkable power of mushrooms; one such example would be of the great scientific breakthrough, penicillin, from fungus .
Given the fact that mushrooms have immense health benefits, a lot of research is taking place on their effectiveness against different disorders such as cancer, autoimmune issues, digestive conditions, liver conditions and many others.
Types of Medicinal Mushrooms
Essentially, mushrooms have been used in food and medicines for thousands of years. Such is the effectiveness of mushrooms that they are still widely used in Asia.
Western medicine now realizes the potential of mushrooms and that is why they are already being used in about 40% of western medicines .
Even though there are various types of mushrooms that are beneficial, one would need expert advice before taking them and especially before harvesting. As you likely know, many mushroom species are poisonous.
As far as Medicinal Mushrooms go, the following three types are deemed exceptional: Chaga, Reishi , and Corcyceps
Chaga mushroom’s binomial name is Inonotus obliquus and is from Hymenochaetaceae family. However, it is most commonly known as “King of mushroom”. In Siberia, the native cultures have been using this mushroom for centuries.
Interestingly enough, our research tells us that a Russian Tsar, who ruled Russia in the 12th century, was believed cured of his lip cancer with the use of Chaga. In the 20th century, it replaced coffee due to its rich taste and energy boosting effects.
Usually, it is found growing on birch and other trees in the Eastern U.S and Canada. Also, it appears much more clearly once the tree is dead.
For instance, this mushroom has a blackened, hardened and crusty appearance that is easily recognized by an expert.
Hundreds of scientific studies have suggested the benefits of using the medicinal mushroom, chaga, in curing stomach issues and even cancer.
Medicinal Benefits of Chaga
- Demonstrates anti-cancer activity
- Also an Anti-inflammatory
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps in easing the arthritic pain
- Controls blood pressure
- Reduces the pain in the body
- Acts as an effective antiviral
- Provides instant energy to the body
- Enhances digestion
- Finally, it strengthens the heart
Side Effects of Chaga
Given the fact that medical research on chaga started late, not many side effects of this amazing medicinal mushroom have been found. However, there are some that one needs to know:
- If used with aspirin or warfarin, there are chances of bleeding
- Can lower the blood sugar levels in the body
- Reduces blood clotting in the body and is not suitable to use before a surgery (stop using chaga at least 2 weeks before your scheduled surgery)
Reishi mushroom’s formal name is Ganoderma lucidum. Additionally, it was commonly called a “spirit plant” in ancient Chinese medicine.
It is one of the oldest mushrooms to be used for medicinal purposes.
As a matter of fact, it is known for its ability to enhance the body, mind, and spirit of a person. Triterpene is one of the most active polysaccharide compounds present in Reishi mushrooms (associated with the death of cancer cells in the body).
Reishi has anti-tumorigenic, anti-inflammatory, and antihyperlipidemic properties. Likewise, the Ganoderic acid in the mushroom is an important triterpene compound and has shown resistance against cancer.
By the same token, one study on a threatening type of breast cancer showed that the medicinal mushroom, Reishi, reduced cancer cells’ invasion. Not only that, but it also decreased the cells ability to survive in the body .
Conveniently, it can be consumed in various forms. For example, one can take as a soup, tea, herbal medicine, tincture, extract, or powder.
Medicinal Benefits of Reishi
- Provides pain relief
- Acts as an effective anti-inflammatory
- Essentially, is a great immune booster
- Helps against fatigue
- Helps in defending cancer and tumor growth in the body
- Enhances the function of the liver and helps in detoxification
- Balances the blood pressure by strengthening the heart
- Acts as antiviral
- Helpful for patients with asthma and allergy
- Provides a soothing effect that helps in sleeping
- Enhances oxygenation of cells in the body
- Helps in reducing depression
- Also used for anti-aging effects
Side effects of Reishi
- You can expect mild reactions, if any
- Slight dizziness
- Skin irritation
- Even though studies have found that using Reishi as directed does not lead to toxicity, large dosages could.
For hundreds of years, Chinese practitioners have used this ‘fuel of body cells’ for many medicinal purposes. In the past, only people who could afford this expensive mushroom were able to use it.
One can find Cordyceps in the wild, on the mesmerizing Tibetan mountains. It grows on moth larvae in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Interestingly enough, this high-value mushroom is known for its medicinal effects. This includes treatment of cancer, diabetes, allergies, erectile dysfunction, asthma, and also as a health booster for elderly people.
One of the main benefits of Cordyceps is that it increases energy by delivering oxygen at the cellular level to the body. Athletes even use it for its ability to enhance the efficiency of metabolism.
Benefits of the Medicinal Mushrooms called Cordyceps
- Provides necessary hydration to the body
- Provides oxygen at the cellular level to the body
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps in treatment of respiratory disorders, chronic bronchitis, and kidney disorders
- Manages blood and sugar levels in the body
- Enhances heart condition and protects the kidneys
- Fights against fatigue
- Enhances sexual performance
- Provides energy to combat weakness and dizziness
- Improves functionality of the liver
- Acts as anti-viral
Side Effects of Cordyceps
We don’t want to consume cordyceps in large amounts, even though there are not many reported side effects.
- Dry mouth
- Skin irritation
- Mild stomach upset
All in all, it is fair to say that medicinal mushrooms have helped humans for thousands of years. It won’t be a big surprise if western medicine starts paying more attention to these mushrooms in the near future.
The history confirms that they have huge benefits and it is about time that we start showing more faith in plant-based medicines to complement our synthetic drugs.
[Western Medicines, 2]: http://drjessechappus.com/chaga-reishi-cordyceps-medicinal-mushrooms/#
[Breast cancer treatment, 3].