January 20, 2009

Medicinal effective mushrooms are known as some of the most potent immune boosters and disease fighters. They act by increasing immune activity and immune cell numbers in the defense of viral infection and cancer.  They have also shown cardiovascular protective effects, helping heart patients to avoid a recurrence or worsening of their disease.  With their content of vitamins and minerals, they have additional effects on diabetes type II, and show anti inflammatory properties.

In the mountain region of Ideate near Sao Paulo, Brazil, a regular part of the local inhabitants` diet was a mushroom known as "Cogmelo de Deus" or "Mushroom of God". Researchers noted that the local inhabitants were extraordinarily healthy, which they attributed to t the consumption of this mushroom. The scientific name of the mushroom is Agaricus Blazei Murrill, more commonly called the ABM mushroom. So potent is this mushroom, that one well-known rain forest herbal manufacturer uses it as the main ingredient in herbal supplements that have been credited with success against cancer and other diseases around the world.

Another potent mushroom is Coriolus Versicolor. This mushroom is effective for acute leukemia along with stomach, esophagus, colorectal, and lung cancers.

Shiitake mushrooms lower cholesterol and improve immune system function, and are beneficial in   preventing high blood pressure and heart disease, controlling cholesterol level, building resistance against viruses, and fighting diseases such as AIDS/HIV and cancers. Shiitake mushrooms are often available fresh and are very flavorful when used in cooking. If you cannot find them fresh, they are also available as a supplement. 

Maiitake mushrooms are high in the polysaccharide compound beta-1.6-glucan, which naturally stimulates the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Maiitake is beneficial for obesity and diabetic patients, and may be best known for its cancer fighting abilities.

The Reishi mushroom can increase the production of peptides, called interleukins, which have direct effects on the inhibition of tumor growth. Reishi can have a number of other positive effects on the body such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral and cardiotonic.

Cordyceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi and some of its members including Cordyceps mycelium are commonly used in herbal medicine. The popular species in commercial products is Cordyceps sinensis, and Cordyceps Militaris, which is a traditional  herbal ingredient frequently used for tonic and medicinal purposes in eastern Asia. Cordyceps sinensis (dong chong xia cao; 冬蟲夏草) has been suggested to possess anti-tumor, immunostimulant and antioxidant activities.

Cordyceps promotes liver health, and has anti diabetic effects. Researchers from University of Macau, China, isolated a polysaccharide of molecular weight approximately 210kDa from cultured Cordyceps. This isolated polysaccharides, CSP-1, has a strong antioxidant activity and a hypoglycemic effect. Korean researchers reported cytotoxic effects on leukemia cells. Hong Kong researchers demonstrated that an ethanol extract of cultivated mycelium of a Cordyceps sinensis fungal mycelium has strong anti-tumor activity on breast cancer. Cordyceps help the body defend against infections and inflammation and modulate immunity. Researchers from Taiwan noticed the stimulating effects of Cordyceps sinensis extracts on the secretion of testosterone; this effect is dose- and time-dependent. Extracts of the fruiting bodies of cultured Cordyceps sinensis have been shown to exert beneficial effects on the formation of the atherosclerotic lesion induced by oxidative stress with few side effects.

All mushrooms are available as supplements, as the amount necessary for consumption for health benefits would exceed the intestinal capacity. No major mushroom side effects have been mentioned in medical literature. The internationally accepted dosage of the mushrooms as a supplement is recommended between 400- 600 mg/day.

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