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Medicinal Mushrooms: Weapons against Deadly Diseases

By Mack Shepperson Subscribe to RSS | April 19th 2012 | Views:

Mushrooms are members of the fungus kingdom, and are a set of living organisms that thrive in either inquilinism or commensalism with other organisms. Mushrooms usually thrive on other living plants, as well as dead plants and animals. Like some animals and plants, some mushrooms are considered dangerous or poisonous, whereas some have powerful health benefits. There is ongoing research in the medical community about the long-term benefits of medicinal mushrooms. It is hoped that mushrooms may someday provide the breakthrough in fighting deadly diseases like cancers or AIDS.

Various cancers and the AIDS virus have plagued mankind in the last thirty years or so. It seems strange that AIDS and cancers linger throughout the world, particularly in Africa, even with continuing development in pharmaceutics and medical technology. While it seems the world has a long way to go before there is a definite cure for various cancers and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, the medical community has discovered that some medicinal mushrooms have powerful chemical properties that can improve longevity.

The button mushroom or Agaricus bisporus is the most popular mushroom in the world. However, it is more than just a delicious pizza topping. Like other medicinal mushrooms, the button mushroom contains vitamin D, which is a good bone builder for those who may be lactose intolerant. A recent study on the cancer-fighting properties of Agaricus bisporus has shown that women who ingest this mushroom are 64% less susceptible to developing breast cancer.

Unlike the button mushroom, the chaga mushroom or Inonotus obliquus is inedible, but mushroom medicinal extracts contain the exact substances that can fight cancer cells. The Inonotus obliquus contains beta-glucan (β-glucan) polysaccharides that can significantly improve the immune system and natural killer (NK) cells that actively destroy cancer cells by inducing cell death in the infection. Extracts of the Inonotus obliquus also contain betulin and betulinic acid that is now being carefully researched as a possible alternative for chemotherapy.

Like the button mushroom, edible Lentinula edodes or shiitake (シイタケ) contains Vitamin D to strengthen bones of those who either cannot consume dairy products or those who do not receive enough sunlight every day. The shiitake has mushroom medicinal benefits and contains active hexose correlated compounds or AHCC that enhances the power of killer T-cells or cytotoxic T-cells. AHCC has been known to boost resistance against influenza and bacterial infection.

The Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor is another mushroom that contains cancer fighting compounds. It contains polysaccharide-K which is already an acceptable adjuvant to cancer therapy in Japan. It has been known to fight several cancers by suppressing tumor growth. If you need more information on mushrooms medicinal extracts, you may visit

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