Humans are more closely related to fungi than
any other kingdom. In fact, we share the same pathogens. It is because of this that our
best antibiotics come from fungi. For thousands of years, fungi have been known to be both
nutritious and immune building. Now, modern research is beginning to validate traditional
herbal beliefs about mushrooms. There are over 140,000 species of mushroom forming fungi,
of which, about one-hundred are being studied for their health promoting benefits. I’m Dr.
Jeremy Wolf, and in this episode of Ask The ND, we’re gonna spend some time talking about
some of the most commonly used medicinal mushrooms and their health supporting benefits. Mushrooms
are a unique group of organisms called fungi. Fungal colonies are composed of mycelium – a
thread-like network that grows underground or in wood. This network allows fungi to absorb
nutrients from their environment. Essentially, mushrooms are nature’s recycling agents. Without
them, plants would not have the nutrients to grow. Fungi are also able to absorb nutrients
from plants, and the result of this process is the production of mushrooms. Mushrooms
are packed with polysaccharides, beta-glucans, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and are low
in fat and cholesterol. According to Hippocrates, the father of medicine, mushrooms can stimulate
certain healing processes. Traditional Chinese medicine also mentions mushrooms belonging
to the highest class of medicines or tonics, and they can impart strength, vigor, and longevity.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly used mushrooms and their health benefits.
Here’s the rundown. Ganoderma lucidum, more commonly known as Reishi, is a mushroom that
has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. It’s also known as the “plant of
immortality.” Its long list of possible benefits include a nervous system tonic for anxiety,
nervousness and insomnia. It may also help age-related degenerative diseases such as
Alzheimer’s, Coronary Heart Disease, and cancer. In fact, the Japanese government has officially
listed Reishi as an adjunct herb for cancer treatment. Lastly, it may also be beneficial
for high blood pressure, liver diseases such as hepatitis b, and as an anti-inflammatory.
Cordyceps sinensis, more commonly known as the Caterpillar Fungus, has many traditional
benefits. Recent studies have found it to have promising effects on liver and kidney
disease. It is also believed to be a very strong adaptogen used to fight fatigue, enhance
endurance, and improve performance, while also improving sexual potency and desire.
Lastly, Cordyceps may have strong anti-hyperglycemic activity, making it possibly beneficial for
diabetes. Lentinula edodes, also known as Shiitake, is a well-known mushroom because
of its use in the culinary world. There are two types of Shiitake preparations that have
been studied: Lentinan, and an extract of the mycelium called LEM, or “L. E. M.” These
mushrooms may be beneficial in almost any condition where the immune system requires
a boost, such as allergies, infection, cancer due to its antitumor properties, and HIV.
They may even help to reduce inflammation that the immune system produces. Lastly, Shiitake
mushrooms may also contain cholesterol-lowering abilities. when it comes to choosing a mushroom
product they are sold individually, or as a preparation that contains a blend of different
mushrooms. These supplements also come as liquid extracts or capsules. Neither is necessarily
better than the other. Fungi absorb food and nutrients, as well as potentially harmful
substances such as pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals from their surrounding environment.
It’s important to make sure your supplements are from organically grown sources. Lastly,
as always, make sure to consult your health care provider before starting any supplements.
Thank you for watching another edition of Ask The ND. Make sure to subscribe to our
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of us here at LuckyVitamin, spread the wellness.