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The use of medicinal mushrooms for healing and health enhancement goes back millennia in eastern cultures but relatively little is known about their properties and benefits in the west. Until recently that is, as health scientists have taken a serious interest in their uses and beneficial properties. We’ve just taken on a range in the form of dried mushroom powders and, as we’re keen to recommend them where appropriate, have been doing our research. The Company’s called Om Organic Mushroom Nutrition and they’re based in California. Their remit is to organically grow and minimally process (low temperature drying and powdering) the most potent medicinal mushrooms on the planet. They sell them individually and in combinations. Here’s some information I found on the web on just three of them Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps.

Reishi

In China known as the “Mushroom of Immortality”, “The Great Protector” and “The Herb of Good Fortune” Modern Science is now validating these curious names given to what is truly an extraordinary substance. Reishi is one of the most researched herbal substances on the planet. Terry Willard’s book “Reishi: Mushroom of Spiritual Potency and Medical Marvel” sums up for us what numerous Modern Scientific Studies have revealed about Reishi. The following properties are all attributed to this amazing mushroom.

  • Reishi has an Immune Enhancing Response (this is due to its high content of Polysaccharides, complex sugars, essential food for the immune system, that have been shown to increase RNA and DNA in Bone Marrow where Immune Cells are Born). (Reishi in fact has a “double-direction” effect on the immune system, regulating anti-body production in the body.
  • Disrupts Viral Disease
  • Inhibits Bacteria
  • Reishi provides Liver Protection and Regeneration, Improving Liver Function
  • Reishi reduces Blood Fat Levelsreishi-mushroom-2
  • Reishi Lowers High Blood Pressure and Hypertension
  • Reishi Inhibits Platelet Aggregation
  • Reishi Oxygenates the Blood and Increases Absorption of Oxygen
  • Reishi helps Alleviate Allergies, Inhibiting Histamine Release
  • Reishi works as an Anti-Oxidant
  • Reishi is Anti-Arthritic
  • Reishi has an Adaptogenic (Stress Relieving) Effect
  • Reishi relieves Chronic-Fatigue Syndrome
  • Reishi Contributes to Pain Relief
  • Reishi has Anti-Inflammatory effects
  • Reishi relieves Insomnia, Stress Induced Tension and has a Calming Effect
  • Most important of all its qualities, and perhaps the cause of all the rest of its illustrious qualities, is Reishi’s ability to help us cope with stress! Stress is without a doubt is at the root cause of most illness and disease. Ron Teeguarden, Master Herbalist and founder of Dragon Herbs, a man with a most intimate relationship with Reishi and its lore and legends also reports a correspondence with ancient beliefs and modern science: that the “Taoists continuously claimed that Reishi promotes calmness, centeredness, balance, inner awareness and inner strength. They have used it to improve meditative practices and to protect the Body, Mind and Spirit so the adept could attain both a long and healthy life and Spiritual Immortality…” By protecting the whole human being from stress is how Reishi is able to grant longevity.

Chaga

According to David Wolfe’s Book “Chaga: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms” is :
  • Adaptogenic (Combats Stress)
  • A Blood Purifier,
  • The most potent Anti-Oxidant source ever discovered on the Face of the Planet, with a remarkable potential for scavenging free-radicals.
  • One of the most Alkalizing Substances known to Man
  • It is shown to be Immune Enhancing and Balancing, Anti-Cancer, Anti-chaga-mushroomsViral & Anti-Inflammatory! These are thanks once again to Polysaccharides. These essential nutrients for the immune-system enhance the body’s ability to produce NK (Natural Killer) cells and activate White Blood Cell (Macrophage) Activity.
  • Rich source of the Anti-Oxidant pigment Melanin, which is needed throughout the body. It is known to be geno-protective, protecting our DNA from damage due to oxidative-stress.
  • Rich Source of the yellow polyphenol pigments, which give Chaga its deep orange colour inside. These are known to be anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-diabetic and anti-dementia!
  • Rich source of Selenium, Iron, Zinc, Chromium, Manganese, Copper and Magnesium. (Zinc being essential to the production of the body’s own anti-oxidant, Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) as well as required for cell growth, differentiation and survival, not to mention male reproductive health!)

Cordyceps

This one is truly bizarre! Cordyceps is a fungus that grows on a caterpillar high in the plateaus of the Himalayan Mountains. Exposed to drastic changes in temperature and climate, this high-elevation medicine is one of the greatest of all of them for adaptation to stress! It is much sought after by athletic individuals for this reason, but it translates from physical stress also to mental and emotional. As Paul Stamets explains: “Cordyceps relaxes bronchial passages, enhancing respiration, increasing blood-flow which then benefits muscles pushed to their maximum and greatly add to their endurance.

Modern Medicine has so far discovered that Cordyceps:Cordyceps (a genus of ascomycete fungi)

  • Increases production of red blood cells
  • Stimulates peripheral blood flow
  • Increases sperm production dramatically (quantity and quality)
  • Increased respiration
  • Relieves fatigue and calms the nervous system “restores the deep energy depleted by excessive stress”
  • Adrenal Restorative
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Immune stimulant: anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-tumor
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces blood cholesterol

I hope this has given you some idea of the potential that medicinal mushrooms have to strengthen the body’s resistance to disease and to promote real wellbeing. They are yet another example from the amazing medicine chest that nature has placed at our disposal and I have no doubt that they’ll be used more and more widely as we gain a deeper understanding of their benefits.

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