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Home / Articles / Columnists / Healthy Living /  The Medicinal Powers of Mushrooms
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Monday, March 2,2020

The Medicinal Powers of Mushrooms

By Karen Ellis-Ritter  
Mushrooms have been used for their potent medicinal properties across the globe for millennia, but have recently had a resurgence in popularity. They are used for their immune-boosting and antimicrobial properties, inflammation reduction, cognition enhancement, adaptogenic (stress-regulating) properties, and even for fighting cancer. Each mushroom variety offers a unique set of nutritional and healing qualities; so when used together, they can be powerfully targeted in their applications, or just used as overall health fortifiers. In this second half of my two-part natural healing series, I will outline the most common medicinal applications for the seven most popularly used mushroom varieties. These statements have not been verified by the FDA, so use at your discretion.

Immune-Enhancement and Anti-Carcinogenic Uses.

Several mushrooms have potent anti-carcinogenic qualities that can help treat cancer and various immunosuppressing illnesses. These mushrooms may even fortify immune cells so they can better respond to future infections and attacks. Chaga is an anticancer, antioxidant powerhouse found to neutralize free radicals and slow the growth of tumors. Reishi is another mushroom that has super immune, cancer-fighting qualities. It helps counter the side effects of radiation, can reduce tumor growth, is anti-inflammatory, and supports the gut biome. Turkey Tail also purportedly has potent antitumor and antioxidant effects, and can be used to help improve the immune systems of people receiving chemotherapy, or in recovery. Shiitake, one of the most widely studied and popular mushrooms contains a polysaccharide called Lentinan, known for its incredible immunestimulating and life-extending qualities. Maitake has shown potent anticancer activity in studies on breast cancer, melanoma and hepatoma cells.

Allergy, Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral Uses. Maitake and Cordyceps have been shown to have potent antibacterial and antiviral qualities. Chaga assists in enriching healthy gut microbiota (also important for those who struggle with fungal or IBS issues), which is an essential pairing to fighting off harmful bacteria, viruses and yeast infections. Lion’s Mane is also known for its immune-enhancing and antimicrobial qualities. Reishi can also help those who struggle with environmental allergies and inflammation to reduce their symptoms.

Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Lipid Regulation.

Cordyceps helps to support healthy blood sugar levels. Lion’s Mane can be used for treating diabetes, hypertensive conditions and lowering lipid levels. Chaga has been known to assist with lowering LDL (the harmful cholesterol). Shiitake makes it to the list again for its ability to help lower LDL cholesterol, improving overall cardiovascular health and circulation, as well as regulating blood pressure levels.

I have been successfully treating colds and infections using organic medicinal mushrooms for decades. Mushrooms can be consumed whole, in flash-dried powders, as a tea or in tinctures. I would love to answer questions or hear your experiences with using mushrooms for medicinal purposes. Email me at Karen@VeganTransitionCoach.com

 

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