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9. How to Take Mushroom Supplements

Stengler ND, Mark Basic Health Publications ePub

9

How to Take Mushroom Supplements

The first step in successfully using mushroom supplements is to understand how to read the label. In general this is best done by reviewing the Supplement Facts on the product label. The bottle should clearly state:

1. Mushroom name.

2. Type of extract (look for products that are formulated to the potencies given in the previous mushroom descriptions). This should include the guaranteed percentage and polysaccharide description, unless it is a well-researched isolate, such as MaitakeGold 404.

3. Check with the manufacturer to confirm extraction techniques (hot-water or hot-water/alcohol extracts) as well as quality assurance.

Hot-water extracted mushroom supplements are usually dehydrated and sold as capsules (except maitake fractions). Hot-water extracts also list the levels of active compounds on the label, making it easy to distinguish them from the other less potent forms of mushroom supplements. Take the recommended dosage between meals for optimal results. If you notice minor digestive upset when taking mushroom extracts on an empty stomach try taking the supplement with food.

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7. Shiitake

Stengler ND, Mark Basic Health Publications ePub

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Shiitake

Shiitake (Lentinula Edodes) is regarded as a gourmet food in the West, while in Japan and China shiitake is known to be a valuable food and medicinal agent. Its name comes from the Japanese chestnut tree, shiia, and the Japanese word for mushroom, take. It is also referred to as the “fragrant mushroom” or the “forest mushroom.”

This mushroom is indigenous to Japan, China, and other areas of Asia. It is not found in the wild in America but is cultivated for commercial use. Shiitake is the second most common edible mushroom in the world. The fungi is found on dead and injured hardwood trees, including the chestnut tree, hence the prefix shiia. Shiitake has a medicinal history of more than 1,000 years and was revered by Japanese emperors. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, flu, and cardiovascular disease.

Shiitake is used medicinally in two forms in Asia and around the world. This includes lentinan, a purified polysaccharide extracted from the cell wall of the Shiitake fruiting body. The second extract is known as Lentinula edodes mycelium extract, better known as LEM. Both extracts have been shown to enhance immune activity. Both forms have been shown to have a beneficial effect orally but the majority of published data on lentinan has been with the injectable or intravenous forms.

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6. Reishi

Stengler ND, Mark Basic Health Publications ePub

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Reishi

The reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the most revered herbs in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, with a documented history of over 2,000 years. Known as Ling Zhi in China, there are references to its use in that country as far back as 100 B.C. where it was referred to as the “Herb of Spiritual Potency” and the “Ten-Thousand-Year Mushroom.”

Reishi is one of the most highly regarded medicinal mushrooms and is probably the best choice when looking for a general health tonic to improve overall health and increase longevity. It is considered an adaptogen.

Modern clinical research also supports many of the uses for this mushroom as described in traditional medicine. It benefits immune health, cardiovascular health, and liver function. Reishi is also frequently used by mountain climbers to combat altitude sickness and is contained in many of the performance-enhancing herbal formulas used by Chinese athletes.

The fruiting bodies of reishi range from a reddish-orange to an almost black color. The fruiting body also has a shiny look to it (lucidum translates to “shiny”). Reishi is extremely difficult to find in the wild but is successfully cultivated for commercial purposes.

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4. Coriolus versicolor

Stengler ND, Mark Basic Health Publications ePub

4

Coriolus versicolor

(Trametes versicolor)

The most well-studied mushroom extract in the world is without a doubt Coriolus versicolor. One of the world’s leading anticancer drugs was derived from this mushroom.

More than 400 studies have been published that demonstrate the significant immuno-modulating properties of C. versicolor in both healthy people and those affected by chronic conditions. C. versicolor is very well known in East Asian medicine, especially in the countries of Japan and China. It has an extensive history of use in both traditional and modern conventional practice.

C. versicolor is found in the United States and throughout the temperate forests of the world. It readily grows on logs or on the injured wood of most kinds of trees. It has woody, fruiting bodies that overlap each other and are found on the sides of stumps and tree trunks. Coriolus has a unique, plush, velvety surface that is colored in varying shades of brown or gray, with a distinctive pattern of alternating bands of dark and light color. In the West Coriolus is referred to as “turkey tail,” due to its fan shaped, multicolored cap. C. versicolor is also known as Trametes versicolor. The Latin translation of Trametes is: “one who is thin” and versicolor means “variously colored.” In Japan it is called Kawaratake, “the mushroom by the river bank,” and in China it is referred to as Yun Zhi, meaning “cloud mushroom.” In Japan Coriolus has been a folk remedy for cancer and in traditional Chinese medicine it is used to dispel phlegm, and to treat pulmonary infections, hepatitis, and cancer.

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1. The Nature of Mushrooms

Stengler ND, Mark Basic Health Publications ePub

1

The Nature of Mushrooms

Fungi are an essential part of a sustainable world. They are involved in the decaying and recycling of matter into the nutrients that animals and plants feed on. Medicinal mushrooms in particular help to purify the environment by decomposing dead trees and plants. For humans, there are approximately 700 species that can be eaten as a nutritious food. And, of course, medicinal mushrooms provide a wide variety of health benefits that can contribute to the prevention and treatment of disease.

What is commonly referred to as a “mushroom” is also called the fruit body. This is the part of the fungus that grows above ground, with the sole purpose of releasing spores (seeds) as part of the reproduction cycle. Some fungi do not produce mushrooms and release their spores without a fruiting body.

The spores of fungi are transported by wind and water to a favorable environment where the spores can germinate and generate a new colony. The new colony begins with the thread-like filaments called “hyphae” that emerge from the germinated spores. The original hyphae continue to grow, seeking another compatible hyphae to mate with. After mating, the hyphae branch out in all directions, colonizing the surrounding soil or decaying tree. This weblike collection of interconnected hyphae is then referred to as the “mycelium.”

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