In the Eastern part of the world, mushrooms have been treated like natural medicines for many centuries. Many scientific studies show the ability of mushrooms to support immune function, cardiovascular health, blood sugar stabilization, provide energy and increase sexual function. Mushrooms have also been shown to provide antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-allergenic support.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, liver distress is believed to cause many symptoms like hypertension, irritability, headaches to name a few. The liver is responsible for clearing out chemicals, alcohol, drugs, and other toxins released by bacterial infections. If the liver is overtaxed it will be unable to cleanse itself completely.
The Reishi Mushroom is one of the most effective liver tonics. Reishi Mushroom has been used to fortify the liver as well as protect liver functions. In animal studies the Reishi extract in combination with the Maitake extract has been shown to protect the liver against injury when toxic chemicals were introduced in lab settings. Additionally the Reishi extract was shown to restore liver enzymes back to normal in hepatitis patients with elevated liver enzymes.
Reishi Mushroom has also been utilized to change the body’s inflammatory response. It appears that the Reishi Mushroom contains an anti-inflammatory compound similar to a steroid and stops inflammation as well as histamine release. In one clinical study Reishi extracts were compared with Prednisone, a prescription steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. The Reishi extract compared favorably with the Prednisone and had only limited side effects, while the Prednisone had many very serious side effects. In another clinical study done in China, over 2000 participants with chronic bronchitis were treated with Reishi Mushroom. After 2 weeks, 60-90% of the participants showed significant improvement.
A common property of medicinal mushrooms in general is their ability to support and strengthen the immune system. They are considered to by adaptogenic, which means medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and Shiitake Mushrooms aide the body so it is able to adapt to the many types of stresses that it encounters and then helps change the body conditions back to a more normal state. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes Reishi as having a double direction of activity in other words it is considered an immune modulator improving the functioning of the immune system whether it is excessive or deficient, rather than an immune stimulator.
The Shiitake Mushroom contains a very potent antifungal protein called Lentinan. A published study showed that taken orally this Lentinan protein aided in slowing the development of small tumors and leukemia cells. Shitake Mushroom is also known to stop the progression of the HIV virus (Human Immunodeficiency virus). Other studies have found the Shiitake Mushroom contains nutrients that might have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties. Risks of cancer for patients with chronic hepatitis were lowered with Shiitake Mushroom supplementation.
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