Medicinal Mushrooms


Medicinal Mushrooms


BY: Georges M. Halpern, MD, PhD, and Andrew H. Miller


A.  The Nature of Mushrooms

  1. As Funguses, act as Recyclers, breaking down dead organic matter in the process of feeding itself.
  2. 100,000 species, 700 of which are eaten as food.
  3. Is a cleanser, transforming dead matter into nutrients useful to plants and animals.
  4. Molecular dissemblers, vs. plants which are assemblers
  5. Theory – Fungi ability to breakdown organic matter linked to antidisease properties.  They encounter disease causing pathogens more frequently than other life forms.  Must have a very proactive, healthy immune system.

B.  Strengthening the Immune System with Mushrooms

  1. Act as immunoregulators – stimulating immune system when underactive, moderating if overactive.
  2. Immune system must distinguish between cells produced in the body, and those from outside the body.
  3. Antigens – bacterium, viruses, parasites, or toxins – that provoke a response from the immune system.
  4. Primary components of the Immune System
    • T-Cells – identify and destroy cells infected by viruses or cancer.
    • Cytokines – alert the immune system about invaders.
    • Natural Killer Cells – in bloodstream, kill foreign bodies.
    • B Cells – secrete antibodies which destroy antigens.
    • Phagocytes – large, white blood cells that engulf and destroy invader cells.  Found in blood and tissue. 
    • Macrophages (giant white blood cells) – A particularly effective member of the phagocyte group, that is stimulated by mushrooms.  Also secretes Cytokines to alert the immune system when invaders present.
    • Antibodies – secreted by B Cells, neutralize selected antigens, stores information about previously encountered antigens.
  5. The average person gets 6 cancerous tumors a year, which are delt with by the immune system before they become a significant problem (based on study)..
  6. Polysacchrides – ingredients in medicinal mushrooms that stimulate immune system to identify cancer cells and destroy them.

      7. Molecular structure:

  • Carbon chain different from most plants. 
  • Beta-Glucans are the type of Polysacchride found in most mushrooms.  Contain glucose molecules, which consist of rings of 6 carbon molecules, chained with the 1st carbon atom connected to the 3rd atom of the succeeding molecule.  In most plants, it is the 1st to the 4th.
  • Molecular weight of 1.5 to 2 million vs. 50,000 for plants.
  • Resemble molecules found in bacteria cell walls.  Tricks immune  system into thinking the body is being attacked.

       8.  Stimulates production of cytokines, which aid macrophages.

       9.  Each type of mushroom stimulates immune system in a slightly different way.

       10.  Anti-inflamatory – Controls level of inflammation as body fights infection.

       11.  Lowers cholesterol and reduces asthma symptoms.

       12.  Act as Probiotics – Help good microbes in digestive system, and kill bad ones.  Produces B vitamins and helps body absorb minerals.

       13.  Antioxident – Moderates free radicals, which have the function of killing bacteria, viruses, etc.

       14.  Liver – Has a protective and restorative affect on the Liver.

       15.  Reduces the need for using antibiotics.  Overuse of antibiotics can reduce their future effectiveness.

       16.  Mushroom supplements (pills) are made from mycelium, or root structure, of mushroom, vs. the fruit body, which is used in culinary mushrooms.  The mycelium has a greater concentration of the desirable substances.

        17.  Benefits of specific types of mushrooms (based on studies):

  • Reishi – Rx: Chronic fatigue, Diabetes, detoxifies Liver, lowers Cholesterol, Antihistamine, Stress, prevents tumor growth, prevents blood clots.
  • Agaricus Blazei – Rx: Cancer preventative, antioxidant.
  • Cordyceps Sinensis – Rx: Anti aging properties,  Athersosclerosis, Diabetes, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Liver problems, Fatigue.
  • Maitake – Rx: Diabetes (helps control blood glucose and promotes insulin production), Cholesterol, Cancer, Obesity, High Blood Pres.
  • Phellinus Linteus, Shiitake & Trametes Versicolor – Rx: Cancer.
  • Hericium Erinaceus – Rx: Alzheimers’s, Cancer.

        18.  Nikken’s Immunity (Mushroom) Supplement –

  • Combines 14 different mushrooms, including all noted above.
  • Mushrooms grown under very exacting organic standards.
  • Multiple mushroom formulas have the best curative effects.
  • The authors call Nikken’s Immunity formula “The most sophisticated and advanced mushroom formula of which the authors are  aware.”