It’s about time more people are turning on to wisdom gleamed thousands of years ago about the miraculous fungi Kingdom. In addition to psilocybin-containing species playing key roles in catalyzing consciousness change, other non-psychoactive fungi are among some of the most powerful medicinal tools known to humanity.
Via The Guardian:
Behold the mighty mushroom. Neither plant nor animal, the mysterious fungus is a class, or kingdom, of its own, and has fascinated cultures around the world for centuries. But while they do make a tasty omelette filling, does the real magic of mushrooms lie not in their flavour, but in their potential to combat one of our biggest killers – cancer?
The ancient Egyptians believed eating mushrooms brought long life. While their scientific method was perhaps not entirely sound, modern scientists investigating the medicinal properties of the organism are beginning to produce some fascinating results. There are thousands of species of mushroom growing in the wild, but most studies have focused on three main varieties – reishi, maitake and shiitake.
Reishi, otherwise known as ganoderma, has been used in Chinese medicine for 2,000 years and numerous studies have investigated its much-vaunted anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties. In a paper published last year in the US’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, a team of scientists linked its use to cancer-cell death. The team, from the Taiwanese research centre Academia Sinica, found that F3 polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate molecule found in reishi mushrooms, can induce antibodies to recognise and kill antigens associated with tumours or cancer cells.
Maitake mushrooms are believed to have similar qualities. In a human trial, conducted by Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Centre in 2009, maitake was shown to stimulate the immune systems of breast cancer patients. Laboratory in vitro research by Sensuke Konno, associate professor of urology at New York Medical College, found that non-toxic concentrations of the GD or PL “fractions” found in maitake mushrooms, when combined with vitamin C, not only reduced growth of bladder cancer cells by 90% in 72 hours, but were also highly effective in killing them.
But perhaps the best known of all the medicinal mushrooms is the shiitake. Not only is it a delicious ingredient, but it is also famed for its compoundlentinan. Several papers have found the polysaccharide could help increase the survival rate of cancer patients, including research carried out by a team of scientists at Harbin University, China, in 2008, which found that lentinan was “beneficial in terms of increasing mean survival duration, tumour necrosis and reducing the recurrence rate”.