When finding yourself stocking up on tissues, over the counter medications and lozenges, then you know its cold and flu season. The average adult comes down with 1-5 colds per year and can take any able body out of commission for 10-14 days. Easing the discomfort of a cold or flu is possible, but the best way to handle the ailments may be to prevent them in the first place. While there are several medications and alternative therapies to prevent colds and flu bugs, medicinal mushrooms may outshine all when it comes to strengthening the immune system.
Over 30 species of mushrooms are currently available for use in supplements, according to the web site, mushroomharvest.com. Usually, a quality mushroom supplement will blend at least 6 potent varieties of medicinal mushrooms. The most common fungi found in the therapies are turkey tail, reishi, cordyceps and maitake. The mushrooms all are recognized for their ability to strengthen the immune system by promoting natural killer cell function. Taking a mushroom complex daily is beneficial, due to the synergy effect of mushrooms. Mushrooms absorb from each other as well as from the soil they are grown in. It is crucial to purchase an organic supplement since polluting soil toxins are soaked up into the mushroom.
Turkey Tail is a potent mushroom prized for its beta glucan polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are “essential sugars” in the body that aid in activating immunity in the body. Clinical trials suggest that bacterial infections can be reduced using polysaccharides.The polysaccharides have strong communication with all T cells that are part of the white blood cells fighting off infection. The turkey tail mushroom can be found on logs and tree stumps all over North America.
Reishi mushrooms have been used in China, Japan and other parts of the world for centuries.The reishi mushroom is the oldest mushroom known to man and a cure all for many ailments. The list goes on and on to what this potent veggie can do and that is why it is named the “medicine of kings.” It is helpful with many diseases including chronic bronchitis. According to the Natural News website, it cures pathogenic factors in the chest. It is an anti-bacterial against streptococci, staphylcocci as well as an anti-viral and an antioxidant. It is an expectorant and provides anti- tumor effects. There are several types of the reishi mushroom, the red reishi being the most potent. Its bitter flavor diverts one to take a capsule that’s synergized with other mushroom species.
The maitake mushroom has immune stimulating as well as anti-tumor properties. It helps with digestion, regulates blood sugar and stabiizes cholesterol. The mushroom holds the beta glucan polysaccharide, a large molecule that is formed from multiple sugar molecules. The beta glucan activates certain cells, such as natural killer cells or T-cells to attack viruses and even cancer cells. Maitake mushrooms have been used in Japan for years in soups and stews. It received its name, meaning “dancing mushroom” from long ago when discovering the fungi was such a blessing that foragers “danced with joy”. No adverse reactions have been studied with the mushroom, but it critical to discuss the supplement with your health care doctor, especially if taking medications. The maitake will lower blood pressure, so it is important for the doctor to know.
The cordycep mushroom has been used as a tonic in China for over 1000 years. The cordyceps sinensis mushroom helps with fatigue and increases energy. It also aids in treating bronchial issues and will also increase stamina. The mushroom also protects the liver from toxins.
While mushrooms have been used as a cure all in the far east for centuries, they are just beginning to grab interest in the west. A mushroom supplement is a terrific way to stay strong during cold and flu season.
- Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.; “Healthy Aging”; New York;
- 2005 “Mushroom Harvest: Medicinal Mushrooms” www.mushroomharvest.com
Michael Murray, N.D.;
- “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods” ; New York;
- 2005 http://www.naturalnews.com/021498.html