Uncovering The Magic Of Medicinal Mushrooms

Author
Dr. Quinten D Fourie
Published:
May 14, 2020

Mushrooms are a large group of fungi. There are approximately 38,000 known species of mushrooms, which at least 270 of them are known to possess therapeutic or medicinal properties. The use of medicinal mushrooms has been a tradition in the treatment of human illness dates back thousands of years and has been used for a long time in Chinese medicine.

In the last years disciplines like foresters, pharmacologists, ecologists, and researchers have dedicated various clinical research to the effectiveness of medicinal mushrooms. It was found that they have numerous immunological, antioxidant, anti-metastatic and oncological, cardioprotective and metabolic syndrome management properties. 

It has been found that most medicinal mushrooms contain copper and germanium as minerals and Biotin and Vitamin D. 

Canthaxanthin is a keto-carotenoid pigment widely distributed in nature. Carotenoids belong to a larger class of phytochemicals which allows a plant to thrive. There are multiple types of mushrooms we use in integrative medicine. The Your Well Being range includes the following:  Medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps and Lions mane mushroom extracts.

Medicinal mushrooms

Your Wellbing Medicinal Mushrroms
Your Wellbeing | Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms have various uses which the support of immune function is most important. Specific biochemical molecules are included in this combination which are mostly beta-glucans and include Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake.  They may be used in the treatment of various diseases including cancer, prevent and treat allergies and may inhibit some viruses.

Maitake glucan stimulates macrophages, increase NK cells against the cancer cells and advances the maturation of Natural Killer (T-cells) cells. It nay decreases the side effects and increase the efficacy of chemotherapy.

Cancers it is mostly affective is breast, prostate and liver. Maitake glucan is further used in liver disease, anti-AIDS treatment, fatigue, diabetes and hypertension.

Shiitake also has anti-tumour effect and increases immune markers including the Natural Killer cells / Tumour Necrosis Factor as well as the T-helper cells. It can also be used in colds and flu, cardiovascular disease (as it is ante-cholesterol and ante-hypertensive) and has ante-bacterial and antifungal properties. It can also be used in hepatitis. 

Reishi which is also known to be an adaptogen of which the red fungus is the most potent.  It also has immune modulating effect and increases certain interleukins (signalling factors). Conditions it can be used in is hypertension, allergy, dyslipidaemias, clotting tendency and inflammatory conditions.

Reishi has liver protective properties and anti-bacterial properties especially the Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species. It is also used in altitude sickness. 


Cordyceps 

Cordyceps is from the Caterpillar fungus an edible parasitic fungus. Cordyceps is a stimulant of the caterpillar’s fungus. It enhances macrophages ability to act as phagocytes and inhibit growth of some cancers.

It prevents atherosclerosis, by inhibition of oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Cordyceps might improve immunity by stimulating cells and specific chemicals in the immune system and therefore, supports immune function significantly. 

In Colorectal cancer it inhibits the cell cycle and arrest it and cause causing apoptosis. In other cancers through the induction of apoptosis, and these include bladder, renal, colorectal, breast, B-cell lymphoma, non-small cell lung, uterine, cervical, leukaemia’s, oral, Murine Leydig testicular cancers. 

Lion’s mane

Is a large shaggy mushroom that looks like a lion’s mane. It is also known as Yamabu-shiitake (Japanese) or Hou to go (Chinese). It contains inactive B12 and precursor Vitamin D. Its extracts consist of active beta-glucans, alpha-glucans and other glucan complexes.

It is known to help mainly with brain health, cognition and nerve health. It protects against dementia and may help with mild symptoms of depression and anxiety. Most importantly is that it hastens the recovery from central nervous system injuries.

It can also reduce heart disease risk, maintain prevention of diabetes symptoms as well as help fight cancer. It is a good antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and may boost immune system significantly. 

In conclusion we see that various medicinal mushrooms supports immune function significantly, they have cardiovascular protection, there is hastened central nervous system repair, it has ante-cancer properties, antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties.


Dr. Quinten D Fourie
About The Author

Dr. Quinten D Fourie

MBBCh (Wits) – General Practitioner | Aesthetic Medicine | Integrative Medicine | Regenerative medicine

Dr. Quinten D Fourie obtained his medical degree at University of Witwatersrand in 2005. He has worked in private, aesthetic and integrative practices since 2008.