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By Dr. Mercola Some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and science is just beginning to tap into this vast natural medicine warehouse. There are mushrooms that kill viruses, mushrooms that kill bacteria, and even mushrooms that kill yeast—which may surprise you, given they're both fungi. Some mushrooms destroy cancer cells, and others facilitate nerve regeneration.
Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms used or studied as possible treatments for disease. Research indicates mushrooms have potential antiviral, antimicrobial, anticancer, antihyperglycemic, cardioprotective, and anti-inflammatory activities. The mushroom isolate pleuromutilin was used to create the antibiotic retapamulin . The mushroom isolates lentinan , PSK , and PSP , are licensed pharmaceuticals in certain countries. Fungi that do not produce mushrooms, are currently being used to manufacture paclitaxel , and were the original source of the first beta-lactam antibiotics , statins , immunosuppressants like ciclosporin , and antifungals like griseofulvin .
The lingzhi mushroom or reishi mushroom ( traditional Chinese : 靈芝 ; pinyin : língzhī ; Japanese : reishi ; Vietnamese : linh chi ; literally: "supernatural mushroom") encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma , and most commonly refers to the closely related species, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma tsugae . G. lucidum enjoys special veneration in East Asia , where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years, [ 1 ] making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally. Lingzhi is listed in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium . [ edit ] Taxonomy and naming Names for the lingzhi fungus have a two thousand year history. The Chinese term lingzhi 靈芝 was first recorded in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 CE).
Phellinus linteus (Japanese "meshimakobu", Chinese "song gen", Korean "sanghwang") is a medicinal mushroom used in Japan , Korea and China for centuries to prevent ailments as diverse as gastroenteric dysfunction, diarrhea, haemorrhage and cancers. It is shaped like a hoof, has a bitter taste, and in the wild grows on mulberry trees. The stem's color ranges from dark brown to black. In Korean traditional medicine, the mushroom is consumed in the form of hot tea. Early research has suggested that Phellinus linteus has anti- breast cancer activity. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] A paper published by Harvard Medical School reported that Phellinus linteus is a promising anti-cancer agent, but that more research is required to understand the mechanisms behind its anti-cancer activity. [ 3 ]
The Shiitake ( Lentinula edodes ) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia , which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries. It is a feature of many Asian cuisines. It is also considered a medicinal mushroom in some forms of traditional medicine. [ 1 ] [ edit ] Taxonomy and naming The name shiitake originates from its Japanese name, shiitake .
Agaricus subrufescens ( syn. Agaricus blazei , Agaricus brasiliensis or Agaricus rufotegulis ) is a species of mushroom , commonly known as almond mushroom, mushroom of the sun, God's mushroom, mushroom of life, royal sun agaricus, jisongrong or himematsutake (Japanese: 姫松茸, "princess matsutake ") and by a number of other names. Agaricus subrufescens is a choice edible , with a somewhat sweet taste and fragrance of almonds . The fungus is also well known as a medicinal mushroom , for its purported medicinal properties, due to research which indicates it may stimulate the immune system . [ edit ] Taxonomy
Ophiocordyceps sinensis is a fungus that parasitizes larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body valued as an herbal remedy . The fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, and then the stalk-like fruiting body emerges from the corpse. It is known in English colloquially as caterpillar fungus , or by its more prominent foreign names ( see below ): yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu ( Tibetan ), or Dōng chóng xià cǎo ( Chinese : 冬虫夏草 ; literally "winter worm, summer grass"). The moths in which O. sinensis grows are ambiguously referred to as "ghost moth", which identifies either a single species or the genus Thitarodes , and the species parasitized by O. sinensis may be one of several Thitarodes that live on the Tibetan Plateau (Tibet, Qinghai, West-Sichuan, SW-Gansu & NW Yunnan), and the Himalayas ( India , Nepal , Bhutan ).
Hericium erinaceus (also called Lion's Mane Mushroom , Bearded Tooth Mushroom , Hedgehog Mushroom , Satyr's Beard , Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom , pom pom mushroom , or Bearded Tooth Fungus ) is an edible mushroom and medicinal mushroom in the tooth fungus group. Native to North America , it can be identified by its tendency to grow all the spines out from one group (rather than branches), long spines (greater than 1 cm length) and its appearance on hardwoods. Hericium erinaceus can be mistaken for three other species of Hericium which also grow in North America, all of which are popular edibles. In the wild, these mushrooms are common during late summer and fall on hardwoods, particularly American Beech .
Pleurotus is a genus of gilled mushrooms which includes one of the most widely eaten mushrooms, P. ostreatus . Species of Pleurotus may be called oyster , abalone , or tree mushrooms , and are some of the most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. [ 1 ] Pleurotus fungi have been used in mycoremediation of pollutants such as petroleum and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons . [ 2 ] [ 3 ] Pleurotus means "side ear", from Greek πλευρή ( pleurē ), "side" [ 4 ] + ὠτός ( ōtos ), genitive of οὖς ( ous ), "ear". [ 5 ] [ edit ] Description The caps may be laterally attached (with no stem). If there is a stem, it is normally eccentric and the gills are decurrent along it.
Laricifomes officinalis is a wood-decay fungus in the order Polyporales . It causes brown heart rot on conifers , and is found in Europe , Asia , and North America , as well as Morocco . [ 1 ] It is commonly known as agarikon , as well as the quinine conk due to its extremely bitter taste. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] DNA analysis supports L. officinalis as being distinct from the genus Fomitopsis . [ 4 ] "The decay is common only in a few old-growth stands. The conks were once collected extensively for production of medicinal quinine.
Inonotus obliquus , commonly known as chaga mushroom (a Latinisation of the Russian term ' чага' ), is a fungus in Hymenochaetaceae family. It is parasitic on birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal. It is not the fruiting body of the fungus, but a mass of mycelium , mostly black due to the presence of massive amounts of melanin . The fertile fruiting body can be found very rarely as a resupinate (crustose) fungus on or near the clinker, usually appearing after the host tree is dead.
Grifola frondosa is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks . The mushroom is commonly known among English speakers as hen-of-the-woods , ram's head and sheep's head . In the United States' supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores , the mushroom is known by its Japanese name maitake (舞茸), which means "dancing mushroom". Throughout Italian American communities in the northeastern United States, it is commonly known as the signorina mushroom. G. frondosa should not be confused with Laetiporus sulphureus , another edible bracket fungus that is commonly called chicken of the woods or "sulphur shelf".
Trametes versicolor — also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor — is a common polypore mushroom found throughout the world. Meaning 'of several colours', versicolor reliably describes this mushroom found in different colors. By example, due to its resembling multiple colors in the tail of wild turkey , T. versicolor is commonly called turkey tail .