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Cordyceps mushrooms have proven to reduce radiation and chemotherapy side effects. Now research indicates this Chinese herb can prevent some types of cancer cell growth.
Dong Chong Xia Cao, or Cordyceps sinensis, is a Traditional Chinese medicinal herb used in patients with kidney and lung diseases, as well as to ameliorate the effects of radiation and chemotherapy. A recently published study has shown that an extract of the cordyceps mushroom interferes with the growth of some types of tumor cells. Clinical trials are still needed to determine how best to use this herb in cancer treatment.
The Use of Cordyceps Sinensis in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Dong Chong Xia Cao, as Cordyceps sinensis is known in TCM, is primarily a kidney yang tonic, warming the body and having anti-aging effects. It is also a lung yin tonic used for respiratory disorders such as coughing, wheezing and bronchitis if the Traditional Chinese Medicine pattern indicates it to be appropriate. Because it is both a yin and yang tonic, it is considered to be one of the safer Chinese herbs, not causing imbalance in the patient. In Western terms, this Chinese herb can be considered an immune stimulant and adaptogen.
The Wondrous Maitake Mushroom
Maitake Mushrooms have been shown to help treat viruses, bacterial infections, cancers, and a plethora of issues. The Japanese call it Maitake, but it goes by a variety of other names such as Hen of the Woods, Sheep’s Head, and Ram’s Head. The proper name is Grifola frondosa. These mushrooms can be found growing in clusters at the bottom of trees. It is native to both North American and Japan, but is mostly known throughout Japanese herbology as a way to take body systems that are out of balance and put them into balance. Many find this mushroom to be quite appetizing, although some individuals may experience an allergic reaction, but this is very rare.
It is actually the underground tubers that the mushroom grows out of that is used in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine. They are used to enhance the immune system. Research has also suggested that taking in whole Maitake has the capability of regulating glucose levels, blood pressure, and insulin. It may also be useful for weight loss because of the regulation of cholesterol, liver lipids, phospholipids, and triglycerides.
What makes Maitake Mushrooms so unique is the fact that they are rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium and they contain vitamins such as D2, Niacin, and B2. There are also certain fibers and amino acids that are essential for proper body function. Fortunately, just like many other mushrooms that are known to boost the immune system, Maitake contains polysaccharides, or complex sugars, that are needed to fight disease.
Something that is particularly interesting about Maitake Mushrooms is that they are literally eaten as a food. It is their extract that is marketed in both Japan and the United States as a supplement. This is because of the beta-glucan that is included within it that is essential to sustain the immune system. This is a long chain sugar, which is called a complex sugar. It is a polysaccharide.
Tests have been conducted on lab animals that show the incredible immune boosting effects. Amongst these immune boosting effects is an impact against cancer. There has not been any thorough evidence that suggests that Maitake has a significant effect on cancer in humans, but there is human research underway. It is believed that there should not be any reason in which Maitake wouldn’t have a positive influence on someone battling cancer. It contains a plethora of other benefits that involve the introduction of vitamins and the immune boosting sugars.
It has also been suggested that the reversal of tumor growth is a possibility. There have been some cases in which this effect has been evaluated. Also, a person undergoing chemotherapy may experience less nausea, reduce pain, reduce hair loss, and feel relief from some of the other side effects of chemo. There have not been tests on humans to support these claims, but studies have been started.
Nevertheless, it is not dangerous to take in Maitake Mushrooms because there are no significant side effects except for allergic reaction in very few individuals. This is not something that is experienced by many and there may be other factors involved such as the use of certain medications while taking Maitake. There is also the fact that individuals should consult with a doctor regarding the ingestion of anything that is considered herbal to help health conditions.
As for research that has been conducted, it began in the 1980s in Japan and involved the D-fraction extract that is believed to have the biggest influence on cancer. This research has just spread to the United States. The evidence states that D-fraction contains that beta-glucan, which has already been mentioned as being a complex sugar with a lot of influence on the immune system. The beta-glucan is believed to stimulate the immune system so that it can fight off cancer and influence the growth of T-cells.
The Immunity Factor
Not only does Maitake Mushrooms possibly fight cancer, but the immune system effects are believed to fight off other diseases as well. Being that there are essential vitamins that occur naturally within the mushrooms, a person can receive some of their necessary nutrition. The immunity boost that is received can fight off many bacterial infections and anything that can interfere with the integrity of the immune system. By strengthening T-cells, the cells responsible for fighting off disease, Maitake is a great way to live a healthier lifestyle.
So if you’re looking for a way to feel better all around, improve body functions, have a positive influence on your heart, and increase your immune system, Maitake mushrooms is a great way to do that. They are readily available in both the United States and Japan. Although there is not scientific research yet available that etches the effects on cancer in stone, the nutritional benefits are worth making Maitake a part of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
The Power Within the Mushroom
By Omid Jaffari
The small brown Shiitake mushroom is indigenous to Asia, but has made its way into America’s kitchens and medicine cabinets. The earthy, smoky flavor of the fungi adds depth to stir fries, soups, pastas and vegetarian dishes, and is not only tasty but beneficial to your health. Ask your doctor before using large quantities of shiitake mushrooms or supplements to be sure they are safe for your medical condition.
Boosts Immune Function.
The nutrients in shiitake mushrooms can boost your immune function, decreasing risk of infection and even improving symptoms of some illnesses, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The World’s Healthiest Foods, an information resource associated with the George Mateljan Foundation, reports that shiitake mushrooms are high in several essential nutrients, including protein, iron and antioxidant vitamin C. These nutrients, as well as a compound called lentinan, can keep your immune system strong and resistant to infection in some cases. The active ingredients in shiitake mushrooms may also lower cholesterol levels, when eaten as part of a healthy, varied diet.
Protects Against Cancer
Lentinan, a compound in shiitake mushrooms, plays a role in protecting your body against cancer, as well as treating cancerous tumors, according to the American Cancer Society. Used primarily in traditional Asian medicine, shiitake mushrooms, either eaten as the vegetable or taken in the form of supplements, may slow or even reverse the progression of tumor growth, and can keep your body from replicating viruses that cause other serious illness, such as hepatitis.
Improves Appearance of Skin
Applying shiitake mushroom extract to your skin may improve its appearance, according to Skincare-News.com. Beauty products aimed at lightening your skin may contain mushroom extract because of its concentration of kojic acid, a natural alternative to hydroquinone, a chemical that bleaches your skin to fade scars and age spots. The antioxidant effects of shiitake are not limited to protecting your internal organs–skin creams and lotions that list mushroom extract as an ingredient may be able to minimize inflammation of the skin.