Amongst the most carefully selected, well researched and prescribed medicinal mushrooms alongside herbal medicines, the most reputed is the Red variety of Reishi (Linn. Ganoderma lucidum), which has been highly valued throughout the ages, since the time of ancient Chinese Emperors, who regarded the species as the remedy of immortality to be sold for its weight in gold. Other coloured varietis of Ganoderma lucidum may be suitable for modulating stress and endocrine hormone levels, for calming the mind, whilst contributing to liver and kidney function and improving blood flow throughout the body, including to the digestive system. Once combined with other selected mushrooms and herbal extracts, Reishi can contribute to managing anxiety and to improving the duration of deep sleep in the non REM phase. It is also traditionally particularly indicated for children’s development, overcoming allergies and attention alleviating attention deficit disorder. This is one of three medicinal mushrooms with the largest body of scientific studies and is indicated for co-adjuvant treatment in Oncology: Jin X, Ruiz Beguerie J, Sze DMY, Chan GCF. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD007731. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007731.pub3.)
Following a careful general detoxification of the whole body to start your herbal treatment plan, synergistic therapeutic synergies with medicinal mushrooms may be gradually integrated to nourish and modulate the innate immune system. Myco-therapy may, in fact, begin with supporting and improving digestion, the intestinal microflora (the microbiome), so as to ensure that any form of subclinical or clinical yeast or other fungal imbalance, such as for example, forms of candidiasis or mold disease, is managed, in order to prepare the whole body for healing from chronic illness.
Myco-therapy is generally valuable whenever the immune system needs nourishing and strengthening, so that it complements almost any personalised treatment plan, provided that it is prescribed according to specific outcome criteria and priorities.
Myco-therapy might be unsuitable in very rare cases of specific allergic reaction. With regard to safety, there is an important study by Fundacion Medina (Centro de Excelencia en Investigación de Medicamentos Innovadores en Andalucía), which demonstrates that there is virtually no interaction of any medicinal mushroom compounds with the half-life of any other medications within all major liver pathways (the actual research papers are available ton request).
The Medical Herbalist relies on medicinal mushrooms grown exclusively from ecologically controlled zones. Organic agriculture is especially important for mushrooms, as they have the power to chelate heavy metals as well as toxins from the soil, whereas it is desirable that their chelating power should be dedicated to chelating toxins from the human body.
Many modern scientific studies have proven the efficacy of the traditional use of medicinal mushrooms, particularly in Japanese and Chinese clinical research, particularly in the fields of autoimmune disease, immuno-nutrition and oncology. Western medicine benefits from the characteristics of certain type of fungal substances, which are used as antibiotics such as penicillin. Currently, the anticancer benefits of a fungal drug called spirolaxine is being investigated for its ability to inhibit angiogenesis
Mushrooms for Bio-remediation
Mushrooms are microbial organisms within five biological categories, the first three of which are constituted by unicellular organisms or those with partially differentiated hyphae, which are classified as fungal chytrids (from water environments), zygomycetes, (moulds growing on rotting matter or parasites) or glomeromycetes (living in symbiosis with plants, thus increasing their ability to extract nourishment from soil). The last two categories are ascomycetes, which include saccaromycetes and yeasts, for example, the Aspergillus and Penicillium species, and the basidiomycetes, which account for 30,000 species, including edible mushrooms and organisms such as rusts. Due to their structural characteristics with a rather distinct chemistry from that of plants, mushrooms lend themselves to industrial and pharmacological applications in original ways, such that they are currently used in innovative ways for environmental bioremediation.
Mushrooms exude enzymes into their surrounding environments, since, for millions of years, they have developed ways of decomposing any substances, including inorganic ones, and transforming them into organic substances. To this end, it is necessary to select the right strain for the decomposition of industrial chemicals, which can be used for very specific purposes.
Bioengineers are studying the genes of fungi by isolating them from the rest of their DNA and making them function within laboratory-cultured yeasts, for example, in order to discover the genetic sequences that can be employed for industrial uses or in pharmacy. For example, Ascorcoryne sarcoides is a fungus, which is being studied by the US energy department to make car fuel. Even bioethanol is being produced from yeasts, which are used for certain types of engines. Ascorcoryne sarcoides is effective in digesting cellulose, the by-products of which are hydrocarbons.
Another ecological use of fungi in bioremdiation is carried out for polluted land and ground waters.
Mushrooms can degrade lignin in vegetable cells, thus generating simple chemical by-products. Because lignin resembles harmful substances such as polycrobyphenils (PCB), some symbiotic fungi have been employed to rehabilitate polluted land in Japan and in the USA as well as in Italy, whereby the Endine lake (near Bergamo) has been reoxygenated, which in just a few years has become suitable for swimming and fishing again. In the textile industry, some mushrooms are used, in order to control pollution, particularly in the leather tanning sector.
The spores of Metarhizium anisopliae are used to create a bioinsecticide, which kills giant grasshoppers, which destroy many crops in Africa. Once the spores of this fungal species are sprayed on the grasshoppers, this mushroom grows within their bodies, feeds from them and kills them in a short time. This genus of mushrooms belongs to the mycorrhazal fungi, which live in symbiosis with the roots of plants, thus strengthening and protecting them from external agents.
Scientific research about bioremediation has been discussed and elaborated by Paul Stamets, Mycologist, who has been listing six ways, in which fungal mycelium can literally help save the work, rehabilitate polluted soil and supply the raw material for wholly natural pesticides, besides treating disease such as smallpox and influenza.
The mycotherapy products that I prescribe are from exclusive EU Organic agriculture, which is subjected to rigorous and frequent in-person checks. The purity of medicinal mushroom is of paramount importance, since mushrooms have the power to chelate heavy metals and all sorts of toxins from any polluted soil. The very high level of purity of Organic mycotherapy supplements is what guarantees their power to chelate every kind of poison, which is harmful to human health.