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Medicinal Mushrooms:
Immune Health and More

The benefits that mushrooms offer may be among the most effective options that exist for certain conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

by John Seleen

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In Asia, medicinal mushrooms have played a prominent role in good health for over 2,000 years.  The Reishi mushroom was revered as the premier wellness tonic in ancient China, and the extract of the Coriolus mushroom is now the top selling cancer treatment in modern day Japan. Although people think of mushrooms as immune stimulators, they do far more than just optimize immune health. The benefits that mushrooms offer may be among the most effective options that exist for certain conditions. First a few general rules:  mushroom supplements should always be taken twice a day, morning and evening, on an empty stomach. For the purposes of supplements and herbs, an empty stomach is considered to be a half hour before meals or two hours after. 

Mushroom supplements that list the potency of the primary actives on the label are always preferable to those that do not.  For mushrooms, the words beta glucan and polysaccharide both refer to the same active compounds. Always look for the beta glucans or polysaccharides to be listed as a percentage in the Supplement Facts Panel of the label.  If a supplement label is missing this potency information it creates a problem for therapeutic use, as there is no way to know if you are following the dosing instructions recommended in the clinical research. To follow are several key medicinal mushrooms and their health benefits.
Cordyceps for Asthma 
Cordyceps extract is very useful for people suffering from asthma.  Instead of reacting to the symptoms with inhalers, Cordyceps actually reduces the number of incidences where an inhaler is required. It is important to take 2,000 mg per day of a Cordyceps supplement that lists the potency at 15–16% polysaccharide/beta glucan on the label.  Although it takes 5–6 weeks to feel the effects, most people experience a substantial reduction in the number of times an inhaler is needed.  (Always carry your inhaler just in case.) Cordyceps at this dose also increases energy levels, dramatically improves endurance and stamina, and is frequently used by world class athletes for this purpose.  It is safe to take daily on a long term basis, and needs to be taken daily to maintain the benefit for asthma sufferers.

Reishi for Healthy Cholesterol
We have all heard the news reports on the new cholesterol drugs, but the real news is the amazing mushroom called the Red Reishi.  Doctors have found that using just 1,600 mg per day of a guaranteed potency extract can dramatically improve liver health and lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol by 30-40%.  This daily immune tonic that helps the liver is just as effective as cholesterol drugs, minus the negative side effects to the liver. It is important to find a Reishi supplement that lists the potency as 10% polysaccharide/beta glucan, along with 4-6% on the triterpenes.  Although it takes 3-4 months for the full effect to be seen in the cholesterol numbers, all of the side effects are good:  less colds, less flus, better circulation and improved liver function.

Coriolus and Cancer
The Japanese Ministry of Health has approved an extract of Coriolus versicolor as an immune support for cancer patients, and the results have been spectacular.  Placebo controlled clinical trials, conducted as part of the approval process, have shown that adding Coriolus to the protocol doubled and even tripled survival rates for people with colon, lung, breast, and stomach cancers.  If you have cancer, you should be looking for a potency of 25-36% polysaccharide or beta glucan, and you should be taking 2,000-3,000 mg per day of this supplement.

Maitake for Immune Support
This mushroom is used primarily as an immune tonic. The label should list polysaccharide levels of 20-30%.  As an immune tonic take 600-800 mg per day; for anti-tumor purposes take 2,000 mg per day.

Agaricus blazei
This medicinal mushroom comes from Brazil.  The label should list polysaccharide/beta glucan levels of 35-45%.  Take 800 mg per day as an immune tonic; take 2,000-3,000 mg per day for anti-tumor purposes.


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