Medicinal Mushrooms Really Do Work
Medicinal mushrooms have long been a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine, and have been used for everything from immune system support and lowering blood pressure to infertility and cancer treatments. While natural healers have known about certain mushrooms' healing traits for centuries, science is still playing catch up to definitively prove they are effective.
A new review study published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies, however, shows that while the evidence is limited, there is scientific reason to believe that medicinal mushrooms help heal our bodies. The strongest evidence for mushrooms' healing powers comes in studies looking at the fungi's effects on slowing down cancer and in bolstering the immune system. That might not be all that surprising, considering medicinal mushrooms are rich in bioactive compounds, including disease-fighting antioxidants.
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For instance, reishi and oyster mushrooms showed signs of stopping the proliferation of breast cancer cells in lab tests. White button and shiitake mushrooms have also been shown to be beneficial in beating back cancer.
Specific supplements have been tested in clinical trials to offer more evidence of effectiveness, although the author of this latest review study says more research is needed to build on this evidence. For instance, MycoPhyto Complex, a blend of mushroom compounds from EcoNugenics, helped stop the spread of invasive breast cancer cells in the lab. PostaCaid, another multi-medicinal-mushroom blend from EcoNugenics, has been shown to suppress the growth of human prostate cancer cells in lab studies.
Active hexose correlated compound, or AHCC, is made of fermented shiitake mushrooms and has been shown to reduce the unpleasant side effects associated with chemotherapy in colon cancer cases. Other studies have found AHCC can help protect against flu and West Nile Virus complications.
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Regardless, integrative physicians are calling for more studies to help pinpoint which extracts or combinations work best to help keep heal.
For more information on how to use medicinal mushrooms, read Think Mushrooms Now for Winter Flu Prevention.