In North America we are just now discovering what other cultures have known for years – mushrooms are a valuable health food. They are low in calories, high in vegetable proteins, iron, zinc, chitin, fiber, vitamins and minerals. And, although their use as food is obvious their contribution as medicine is perhaps even more important. Mushrooms have a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact, it is estimated that in China more than 200 species of mushrooms are believed to have medicinal properties with 25 percent of them are thought to have anti-tumor capability.
All mushrooms have cleansing properties. They are one of the few rich organic sources of germanium, which increases oxygen efficiency, counteracts the effects of pollutants and increases resistance to disease. They help neutralize toxic residues in the body. Mushrooms contain compounds called polysaccharides – giving them both anti-tumor and immune-stimulating properties. They are generally rich in amino acids, specifically lysine and tryptophan, as well as nicotinic acid, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and Vitamins B, C and K. In addition, medicinal mushrooms also contain compounds called terpenes and steroids, some of which also may promote anti-tumor activity. Mushrooms’ legendary effects on promoting good health and increasing the body’s adaptive abilities have been supported by a number of recent studies. Many studies have revealed they are beneficial to the immunity system. In fact, it has been said that with mushroom supplements we have a “24 hour Nautilus for our immune system.”
Reishi has become one of the most prized Chinese herbs. It is full of medicinal compounds and is said to promote a healthy heart and prostate. It is used in Chinese medicine for its immunogenic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It demonstrates its anti-tumor and immunomodulating activity by increasing bodily resistance against the growth of tumors. It can act also as a metabolic regulator. Reishi is currently gaining the attention of Western medical practitioners because it has been shown that it may help treat coronary heart disease, hypertension, arthritis and muscular dystrophy.