Our immune system is an intricate network of cells and proteins that protects the body against infections. Your immune system memorizes every microbe it had destroyed upon entering our body. Next time when a similar microbe invades the body, your immune system can recognize and kill it. That is why our immune system is called “the front line of defense against infections.”
It becomes crucial that your immune system stays in excellent shape to fight foreign substances and keep you healthy. One of many ways to keep your immune system intact is to intake immune stimulants. When it comes to immune-related functions – medicinal mushrooms can be an ideal natural remedy.
Medicinal mushrooms can be defined as macroscopic fungi used in extracts or supplements and have therapeutic value for human health. Traditionally magic mushrooms effects have been part of folk medicine since ancient times.
Chinese medicine texts, Greek and Roman philosophers, Ancient Egyptians, and Mesoamerican cultures all have recorded mushrooms’ health benefits.
In 1928 for the first time, beneficial properties of fungi were focused and isolated by Alexander Fleming, leading to Penicillin’s discovery. This discovery went on to save millions of lives.
- What are medicinal mushrooms?
Now scientists are advancing in isolating anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-protozoan properties of mushrooms. They are beginning to understand what traditional medicine has been telling us about these medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years.
There are over 20,000 mushrooms species worldwide, and only a handful of them are cultivated for human consumption. These mushrooms may be consumed as a dietary supplement or as functional foods.
- What are the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are an abundant source of:
- Vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D, and E
- Nutrients like fiber, protein, selenium, and potassium
- Bioactive compounds like alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenes, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds
- Beta-glucan is a vital polysaccharide found in mushrooms and has immune-modulating properties.
There are somewhat 130 therapeutic properties of medicinal mushrooms including but not limited to –
- Immune modulating
Popular medicinal mushroom supplements for immune support
Reishi is referred to as “Mushroom of Immortality.” They are famous for their immune-boosting properties. Research in cancer patients has shown that reishi can increase the activity of white blood cells, which can help fight infection and cancer.
Psilocybe, popularly known as magic mushrooms, are not regular medicinal mushrooms. They are infamous for their psychoactive properties. The psilocybin canada effects are such that they can alleviate severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The same effect can be seen in healthy individuals as well. Reishi can fight fatigue, depression, and can promote sleep.
- Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are “Nature’s Nutrients for Neurons” due to its profound ability to stimulate the reproduction of nerve growth factor (NGF). Whereas NGF relates to neurological functions, it also has significance with the immune system.
Your immune cells are receptive to NGF, which allows immune-regulation when your body has an NGF supply. Due to this neurological property lion’s mane helps to fight against dementia, anxiety, depression, and recovers nervous system injuries.
Chaga mushrooms are a nutrient-dense superfood. These mushrooms contain the highest amount of antioxidants, melanin, and zinc. Animal studies have shown that Chaga extract can reduce chronic inflammation and fight harmful bacteria and viruses, impacting immunity.
They promote the formation of specialized proteins known as cytokines that regulate the immune system. Chaga mushrooms can slow the aging process, lower blood sugar, and reduce cholesterol.
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most prized mushrooms worldwide and are an excellent choice for consumption when it comes to boosting the immune system. Shiitakes contain plenty of B-complex, Vitamin D, selenium, and 7 out of 8 essential amino acids.
Shiitake mushrooms have shown potent anti-cancer activity – instead of attacking cancer cells, they enhance immune function, which helps fight cancer. These mushrooms are well-known for maintaining good heart health.
- Turkey Tail
Turkey tail mushrooms are aces in anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. This mushroom contains a compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK) that spurs the immune system. The efficacy of PSK is so much that it is an approved anti-cancer prescription drug in Japan.
Turkey tail’s immune support has been shown to improve the survival rate of people with certain cancers. They also boost natural killer cells’ production, which helps to fight a various range of infections.
Cordyceps are rare caterpillar fungi. They have been part of traditional medicines for centuries to treat sickness, fatigue, kidney diseases, and anti-aging agents. They are well-known for boosting energy and athletic performance.
Cordyceps helps the body to use oxygen effectively and increase blood flow. They also promote muscle recovery and strengthen the immune system. Due to the rarity of cordyceps, synthetic supplements are available in markets.
Maitake mushrooms have shown better results in preventing and treating cancer (breast, melanoma, hepatoma cells in animal studies). The compound Proteoglucan present in maitake is immune-modulating in function.
Supplements, extracts, or powders isolated from these medicinal mushrooms may have a higher ability to deliver all the necessary nutrients. Adding medicinal mushroom supplements to your regular diet along with proper exercise, can boost your health. A dash of mushroom in tea, coffee, latte, or salad daily can also help your immune system.