Medicinal mushrooms are truly incredible and are a wonderful food that can be used to improve and maintain health in a person. In fact, we share more in common DNA-wise with mushrooms than we do with plants, according to the University of California Berkeley. Since we share much of the same DNA, mushrooms and humans share common infections from the same microbial pathogens. However, mushrooms are much more evolved at creating compounds to fight these pathogens. In essence, that means that mushrooms contain compounds that can help the human body heal and recover from something as simple as everyday stress, to more severe illnesses like diseases and cancers.
The most notable medicinal mushroom for memory is Hericium erinaceus, or more commonly known as Lion’s Mane mushroom. Lion’s Mane is able to stimulate nerve growth factor, because of two compounds found in the mushroom known as hericenones and erinacines. These compounds are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate new neuronal growth within the brain itself. Lion’s mane has also been shown to reduce beta-amyloid plaques, which are proteins that form in the fatty membranes that surround nerve cells, interfering with neurotransmission. These plaques play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gerig’s and all nervous system issues.
Thus, Lion’s mane helps with any neurological issue and can actually repair and grow entirely new neurons in the brain, something scientists believed that wasn’t possible not too long ago. It can also help with every day stress and anxiety. There are also multiple studies that have shown Lion’s Mane mushroom to be beneficial in cancer prevention and killing cancer cells.
The medicinal mushroom I use for Lion’s Mane comes from Host Defense, which can be seen here in capsule form and here in liquid extract form. Mycologist Dr. Paul Stamets has been long known as the leading expert on mushrooms for decades and many people have reported incredible health recoveries using his medicinal mushrooms. As someone who works in the health supplement industry, I believe this brand is the highest quality. There are other brands out there, but discernment should be used when deciding what is best for you.
Two of the best mushrooms for the entire immune system are Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) and Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail mushroom). Reishi has long been used in the Eastern hemisphere of our world and is known as the “mushroom of immortality,” which is for good reason. Reishi has been proven to help every aspect of our immune system by helping with blood pressure, inflammation, infections, digestive system issues, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, auto immune disorders, the common flu, HIV/AIDS and according to these studies, Reishi has also been shown to cause apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells in those with lymphoma and leukemia. Reishi is good for many other health issues and is excellent for someone with any kind of disease or cancer. Additionally, for anything heart/cardiovascular related, Reishi is the medicinal mushroom to use. Reishi is also classified as an adaptogen, so it is wonderful for everyday or long-term stress relief.
Turkey Tail mushroom has also been proven to be extremely helpful for those with prostate cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, gastric cancer and lung cancer. It can also be used as a general supplement to maintain good health and as a preventative.
Another two incredible mushrooms for stress relief and overall health, is the Chaga mushroom and the Cordyceps mushroom. Chaga contains a very large amount of a compound known as superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD neutralizes damage done by free radicals, which makes it effective at dealing with everyday physical stress, diseases and cancers. In fact, Chaga contains 50 times the amount of SOD than fruit juices, seaweeds and leafy greens. Chaga is great for the respiratory system, digestion, skin and liver detoxification and many other areas in helping a person.
Cordyceps is also another adaptogen and has great stress-relieving, free-radical neutralizing power. It is also used by athletes around the world to increase endurance. This is done in part due to the anti-oxidant capacity as well as the fact that it helps to boost the supply of ATP in the body, which is one of the primary sources of energy for the body. Cordyceps contains adenosine, which is a nucleic acid needed to create ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). Like Chaga, Cordyceps is also excellent for the respiratory system and liver detoxification.
While there are many other amazing medicinal mushrooms, these are a few of the best for their actions on memory and the nervous system, stress relief, the immune system and cancer. What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever used medicinal mushrooms before? Do you know someone who might benefit from using them?
Lance Schuttler graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Health Science-Health Coaching and offers health coaching services through his website Orgonlight Health. You can follow the Orgonlight Health Facebook page or visit the website for more information on how to receive health coaching for yourself, your friend or family member as well as view other inspiring articles. He also offers blog coaching services at Personable Media.