Medicinal mushrooms have been used traditionally for over a thousand years in Asian folk medicine. They have been used independently in Japan, China and India for medicines such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), or Ayurveda. From this knowledge and centuries of practice, Mycotherapy (mushroom medicine) was developed, transferring ancient knowledge about mushrooms to the present day and using medicinally effective mushrooms for various ailments and diseases.
What is Mycotherapy?
Although fungi do not belong to the family of plants, mycotherapy is part of phytotherapy, in this herbal medicine, one of the oldest forms of medical therapy, the use of medicinal plants that are capable of exerting a pharmacological effect is investigated over the body.
The goal of mycotherapy is to improve or restore the overall health and balance of the body through the use of medicinal mushrooms. In the East, this discipline has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the oldest folk medicine healing methods in the world. While conventional medicine focuses on treating the symptoms, TCM focuses on the deeper causes, because once the causes have been identified and eliminated, the symptoms also disappear. It also focuses on patient-centered treatments rather than general solutions.
Medicinal mushrooms, what are they for and what should be considered?
Mushrooms are known for their remarkable nutrient density. Among the most important ingredients are several vitamins, minerals and so-called polysaccharides, in fact a single species can have more than 100 bioactive substances.
Medicinal mushrooms also have adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are natural substances found in certain fungi and plants that have a balancing and regulating effect on the human body.
In addition, they contain certain ingredients that act as chelating agents, which are capable of adhering to heavy metals and other substances present in the body to help eliminate them.
What are they used for?
Vital fungi are mainly used for the following purposes:
- Strengthen the immune system and naturally support the body’s own defenses.
- Chelation therapy: ligation and subsequent elimination of toxic substances such as heavy metals.
- For organ detoxification
- As supportive therapy for cancer diseases
As they are not approved as official medicines in many countries, vital mushrooms are marketed as food supplements. However, when these medicinal mushrooms are used therapeutically in capsule form, care must be taken that only the best quality products are used; If the mushrooms come from areas with high exposure to toxins, pesticides and other substances, their quality and ability to act decrease, the analysis of the raw material and the certificates can be a good way of verification. Also, it is advisable to use products that contain mushroom extracts instead of powder, as the ingredients are much more concentrated in the extracts.
The largest organism on the planet is an Armillaria Ostoyae fungus, which is located in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, United States. This fungus known as “The Oregon Monster” has a size of 880 hectares, which is equivalent to 1665 football fields and has been alive for more than 2400 years. Amazing, right?
Each one has its own function, which are the most used?
Among the most used medicinal mushrooms in mycotherapy are, among others:
- Auricularia (Auricularia auricularia judae)
This mushroom, also known as “Judas ear”, contains a polysaccharide that has an inhibitory effect on blood coagulation. In this way, it protects the cardiovascular system, increases blood flow and prevents vascular obstructions. It is also used as an edible fungus in Asian cuisine.
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
Cordyceps militaris is one of the most powerful antioxidants present in nature, thanks to the presence of cordycepin, a natural substance, it has an effect comparable to that of antibiotics, which has been shown in multiple studies. It is also known that the Cordyceps fungus has a positive effect on fatigue and exhaustion, it can also help against impotence in men and infertility in women, for this reason it is also called “The Himalayan Viagra”
- Hericium (Hericium erinaceus)
The hericium or lion’s mane has anti-inflammatory and digestive properties and helps the regeneration of the intestinal mucosa, protects the stomach and promotes its healing. It also has immunostimulatory properties, promotes the formation and repair of nerve cells, stimulating memory and cognitive functions.
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
It is one of the oldest and most frequently used vital mushrooms in TCM. Reishi mushroom is also known as the “mushroom of eternal youth” as it protects the skin from aging, strengthens the immune system and supports memory function. It can also have a positive effect on insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness. It is used for so-called altitude or mountain sickness, in which symptoms such as headaches and nausea occur due to the drop in atmospheric pressure at high altitudes. It can also help reduce pressure in cases of hypertension, and has antiplatelet and vasodilator effects that can help improve blood circulation, lowering cholesterol, making it a great ally for cardiovascular health.
- Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
This fungus known worldwide for also being an edible fungus, is useful in the fight against intestinal inflammation and in the protection of teeth and gums. Strengthens the immune system thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral effects. It has all the essential amino acids, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamins B, E and provitamin D among other nutrients. In addition, various studies have proven that they have properties that help reduce blood cholesterol, making it useful for improving cardiovascular health.
Many of these mushrooms can be found in supermarkets to add to your meals, but others must be purchased from herbalists or in the form of food supplements. By purchasing them in capsules you can ensure that they will have a higher concentration and therefore greater benefits, but you should always make sure that they are laboratory tested and come from a reliable and high quality source.
Our Organic Vital Mushroom Blend
Our Bio Vitalpilz capsules provide a unique combination of the five vital mushrooms mentioned. For our product we exclusively use high-dose extracts from controlled organic farming. To ensure optimal quality, we test our vital mushroom extracts for microbial contamination, mycotoxins, pesticides, and heavy metal residues.