Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Have you eaten your mushrooms ?

There are abundant mushrooms on Earth. There are more than 1.5 million species and counting. Most are edible and some are healing mushrooms. And some are even poisonous. Mushrooms are quite nice to eat although a bit pricy. Edible Mushrooms are found in almost every cusine, foods and recipies. However healing mushrooms have been used as medicines since ancient times, particularly in China, Japan and Korea.

Healing mushrooms have known properties that cure chronic dieseases including cancer. Scientific papers and clinical trials are coming out rapidly with successful trials ans statistics. More are known about mushrooms in the advent of modern medicine and nutritional sciences. Mushrooms are now confirmed and recognised as powerful antioxidants, as anti inflamatory and fights viruses and fungus. They are now effective treatments for today's ailments and illness. Mushrooms have many biologically active polysaccharides and terpenoids. Mushrooms produce Lentinan which is the third most prescribed anti cancer drug in the world. Reiishi in particular inhibits angiogenesis in prostrate cancer. Reiishi is part of the potent PC-SPES formula used in suppressing prostrate cancer. Mushrooms are also known to work well alongside chemo treatments in inhibiting tumors.

Mushrooms are fungi. Intelligent fungi if you will. They grow in decaying environments, feeding on toxic outputs from decaying hosts. That is why some mushrooms remains toxic and are poisonuous. Mushrooms are actually the body fruits of a fungus. Mushrooms help plants to grow by breaking down organic matters in the ground. The natural ability to break down organic matters is the key to be medicine for healings. Mushrooms encounter diesease causing pathogens far more than any other life forms. Hence mushrooms have developed natural survival mechanism in order to survive in their environment that they grow in. These survival mechanisms gives value to the human immune system when consumed.

Healing mushrooms include the Maitake, Shiitake, Reiishi and Cordeyceps species among the more potent healing mushrooms. Reiishi mushrooms are known as Linzhi in China. Cordyceps are the most intrigue mushrooms, as they are known to be worms in winter and plants in the summer. How can that be? Two differentiated living forms?

In truth Cordyceps are fungus and live in caterpillars. The mycelium of the Cordyceps is encased in the mummified body of the caterpillar, from which they germinate, kills its hosts and emerge as spores. Hence winter worms and summer plants. But I have always thought that Cordeceps are caterpillar worms from the highlands in Tibet. Now I know better. Legends aside, mushrooms should be taken as serious medicines and health supplements.
But alas on the downside of mushrooms, there are indeed many poor quality and fake mushroom products in the market. This is due to the current rapid demand for mushrooms as health supplements. so 'caveat emptor' applies. Let buyers beware. Buy your mushrooms from reputable brands.

I love all mushrooms served in chinese and european dishes and enjoy eating them.

For more details and information, you should read Healing Mushrooms - A guide to understanding and using the healing properties of medicinal mushrooms. An authoritative book by Dr Georges M. Halpern MD PHD.

I take Reiishi for my cancer.

Take care.

Allen Lai

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