Are you afraid of cancer? Who isn’t? While they say that cancer has little to no cure, there are now studies that suggest the effectivity of certain types of mushrooms in the fight against cancer. We will show you just what those miracle mushrooms are.
• Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma Lucidum)
On top of the list is “The Mushroom of Immortality.” That is what Reishi mushrooms are known for. Although this is a bit exaggerated, there is some truth to this claim. The bioactive molecules, as well as the polysaccharides of this mushroom, activate the natural killer (NK) cells of the body (lymphocytes) thereby slowing down the growth or spreading of cancer cells.
Reishi also triggers the programmed death of malignant cells. There have been studies conducted that propose the potential use of Reishi as part of the therapy for patients with lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Moreover, Reishi mushrooms also strengthen the immune system, helping improve strength, vitality, and stamina. For people who are undergoing chemotherapy, this could also alleviate the side effects of cancer medicines which include nausea and kidney damage.
Reishi mushrooms have a tough, woody texture and a bitter taste. If you want a continuous supply of this mushroom to enjoy its health benefits, why not grow them in your yard? Reishi mushrooms are quite easy to grow.(1) You would love integrating this mushroom in your soup or tea. You could also grill it and serve as a side dish.
• Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes Versicolor)
This fungus is perhaps one of the most well-researched mushrooms, proving its health benefits especially as a biological modifier and as an immune modulator. Studies have been done which show the potential of Turkey tail in improving the survival rates of cancer patients due to its antitumor and immune-stimulating properties.(2) The same studies have shown that this mushroom enhances the effects of chemotherapy treatment and reduces the side effects of radiation therapy.
The anti-viral properties of this mushroom target the oncovirus or tumor virus which is known to cause cervical cancer and liver cancer among others. Overall, this mushroom plays a vital role in increasing the NK activities that detect and eradicate cancer.
Currently, the Turkey Tail mushroom is the subject of a $5.4 million study conducted by Bastyr and the University of Washington.(3)
This mushroom doesn’t have many culinary uses but it is popularly made into a tea. One popular recipe is to add a half-cup of chopped turkey tail to 2 1/2 cup of boiling water. You could add a drop of lemon essential oil and honey for added aroma and taste.
• Maitake Mushroom (Grifola Frondosa)
The Maitake mushroom has similar effects as the Reishi mushrooms in terms of stimulating the NK cell activity among cancer patients. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website showed the effect of Maitake mushroom in blocking the growth and spread of tumors, especially in breast cancer among mice.(4) Other studies suggest that individuals with lung cancer may also benefit from Maitake.
This mushroom also has other benefits particularly in enhancing the body’s immune response in fighting against infections.
With the rich and savory taste of this mushroom known as the “umami flavor,” you would love adding this to your stew, soup, stir-fry, pizza and many other recipes. If all medicines taste like Maitake mushrooms, you might say that getting sick isn’t so bad after all.
• Murill Mushrooms (Agaricus Blazei)
The Murill mushroom is perhaps one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms in Japan. A joint study by the The National Cancer Center Laboratory, the Medical Department of Tokyo University, and the Tokyo College of Pharmacy focus on this mushroom. In the said study, they have seen a complete recovery in 90% of guinea pigs which have been injected with cancer cells (180 sarcomas).
As a medicinal mushroom, Murill activates the immune activity of the body which results in tumor shrinkage and reduction of cancer occurrences. It is also beneficial to those undergoing cancer treatment as it lessens the side effect of chemotherapy for individuals with cervical, endometrial or ovarian cancers.
If you ask how this mushroom tastes like, they say it has a taste of green nuts and smells like almond. It is also a versatile mushroom that you can add to soups, stir-fry and other dishes.
• Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula Edodes)
Shiitake mushrooms are known for their woody and meaty flavor with a soft and spongy texture. If you love eating mushrooms, you might have already tried experimenting with Shiitakes. They are commonly used in pasta, soup, stir-fry and in many Asian dishes.
Apart from its delicious taste, this tender mushroom also has medicinal uses. It is a rich source of AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound), a glucan which is known to have anti-cancer and immune-enhancing properties. This mushroom also contains a compound called lentinan which is being used as an intravenous anti-cancer drug. Some clinical studies associate this compound to a higher rate of survival among cancer patients. It also lowers the chances of cancer reoccurrence.
Shiitake mushrooms are widely cultivated fungi. Do you know you can grow them for less than $5? You could check this guide for more information.(5)
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world and is responsible for the deaths of 8.8 million people in 2015. That is, nearly 1 in 6 deaths are caused by cancer. It is normal to be afraid of the possibility. But with the miracle mushrooms, we have listed above, there is a high chance we can prevent or defend ourselves against cancer. ♥
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