The Magic of Mushrooms


The Magic of Mushrooms

Mycotherapy is the term used to describe the treating or healing of the body with mushrooms.   Staples of traditional medicine, exciting new studies are also considering the way these mushrooms can be used to treat cancers.

Whilst it is not something that I tend to work with in clinic, I love the idea that foods can be medicinal and want to share with you this very interesting article I read recently from a fellow Nutritionist Jenny Tschiescha.   I knew mushrooms were supposed to be good for you, but I, like many I suspect, don’t really venture much beyond the standard offerings of the supermarkets.

This coming weekend I am off on a Foraging Expedition where I very much hope to be able to find and learn how to correctly identify some of earth natural treasures locally.


Shiitake is one of the medicinal mushrooms you may be able to find in your supermarket.  It is very popular in dishes from many part of the work.

The shiitake mushroom has several health boosting properties, not least is a lentinan which is a polysaccharide.  The plant name for shiitake is in fact Lentinus Edopdes.  Lentinan has already been used to treat stomach and other cancers because of its antitumor properties.

Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to demonstrate immune boosting properties by increasing the body’s natural production of secretary IgA which is our first line of immune defence as it is secreted across the mucosal lining.

Furthermore these mushrooms demonstrate both anti-fungal and anti-viral properties and have been shown to inhibit both leukaemia cell proliferation and reduce the activity of the HIV virus.

Finally, Shiitake also contain a substance called eritadenine, which is linked to lowering overall cholesterol levels.


Reishi has been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years.  It shares a common property with Shiitake in that it is also found to have anti-tumour effects.

It is found to be an effective anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.  One of the extremely useful properties of reishi is in breaking down the normally impermeable biofilms of candida species.  These are notoriously very difficult to break through making recovery from some types of candida very difficult without using mycotherapy.

Typically consumed as a tea, Reishi can also help with symptoms of anxiety, sleeplessness can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and ward off the symptoms of dementia.


Cordyceps are used commonly by athletes because they’re known to increase the production of ATP and therefore provide advantages including stamina, endurance and increased lung capacity.  They can boost energy too, making it a great tea to consume in the morning.

Studies show that cordycepin, one of the active medicinal compounds found in cordyceps, has anti-tumour properties. They’re also known to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Turkey Tail

Turkey tail is perhaps less well-known but no less important when it comes to biological and medicinal value.  It’s benefits including anti tumour properties, immune boosting properties, elimination of prostate cancer cells and helping to control the intestinal microbiome.  This last benefit is further enhanced by its role as a prebiotic – ie the fuel for the probiotic bacteria naturally present in the gut.  As our understanding of the critical role the microbiome plays in multiple aspects of health this mushroom is well worth investing in and completing your medicinal mushroom cabinet.

How else can medicinal mushrooms be of use?


Mushrooms are especially efficient at breaking down toxins.  They are capable of transforming them to a form that our body can eliminate.  One of their unique features is that they contain the enzymes required for phases I and II detoxification.  In phase I, toxins are decomposed which releases numerous free radicals. Being able to break down the free radicals using their anti oxidant properties in Phase II makes mushrooms very suited to detoxification during periods of stress or illness.

How to include medicinal mushrooms in your diet

  • – Sprinkle over a salad
  • – Add to your omelette
  • – Add to soups
  • – Add to hummus
  • – Sprinkle over pasta sauce
  • – Add to savoury porridge
  • – Make into a mushroom tea

This article has been taken from Indigo Herbs who supply the finest quality mushroom powders tinctures and capsules.


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