Medicinal Mushrooms have been used to cure, heal or treat diseases for centuries
in Asia. More recently, Medicinal Mushrooms have been taken more seriously in the
West. Many traditional Medicinal Mushrooms have been shown to have medicinal value
as they have been put through the rigor of western laboratory and scientific tests.
Some Medicinal Mushrooms have even been shown to have tumor inhibitors qualities.
As an import from China opportunity, one of the most lucrative industries is the
Types of Medicinal Mushrooms
There are about 500 different kinds of known Medicinal Mushrooms around the world.
About a dozen or so of the Medicinal Mushrooms are distributed across the globe
for their healing power. Some of the Medicinal Mushrooms are taken by healthy individuals
to maintain good health.
The most important of the Medicinal Mushrooms are polyspores
which are a group of fungi that grows on living or dead trees. Such polyspores of
Medicinal Mushrooms include the shitake mushrooms and the Chinese caterpillar fungus.
Mushroom derivatives have been developed into drugs. Reishi and Shitake extracts
for example, have been used in cancer treatment. In fact, the pharmaceuticals made
from Medicinal Mushrooms are a thriving multi-billion dollar industry.
Effect of Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal Mushrooms have been known to contain phytochemicals. These are chemicals
that are naturally found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes and may have a positive
impact on your health. Some of the best known phytochemicals are carotenoids, such
as beta carotene, lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin.
Medicinal Mushrooms have been called nutraceuticals which are foods or food products
that reportedly provide health and medical benefits, including the prevention and
treatment of diseases. Medicinal Mushrooms belong to class of nutraceuticals called
adaptogens. These are metabolic regulators which help restore homeostasis (maintain
stability) during stress. The attributes of adaptogens are:
They do not cause damage or additional stress to the body.
They are responsible for helping the body to adapt to environmental and biological
They are nonspecific in that they support all organ and regulatory systems in the
Chemical Basis for Medicinal Mushrooms
Some chemicals called polysaccharides, lectins and terpenoids with adaptogenic and
immune-potentiating effects have been found in Medicinal Mushrooms. Some of the
more familiar medicinal mushrooms are: Shitake , Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake.
Shitake Mushrooms are the second most popular mushrooms sold in the market place
with 90% of the production occurring in China.
Reishu is the Japanese name for bracket fungus. It has been used in Asia to treat
anything from constipation to cancer for thousands of years. This Medicinal Mushroom
is also known as ling zhi in China.
Cordyceps have been known in China for over 1,000 years as an anti-aging mushroom.
Maitake is an edible large mushroom from Japan. The maitake mushroom is eaten as
a food, and maitake-D fraction is marketed as a dietary supplement in the United
States and Japan.
All mushrooms are good for you but the grocery variety is considered weak in comparison
to Medicinal Mushrooms for their health benefits. An active polysaccharide called
beta-1,3-glucan from the yeast, Saccharomyces species is available as an immune enhancement
supplement. Here are the benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms and beta-glucans:
The polysaccharides in medical mushroom have been known to have antitumor activity.
Medicinal Mushrooms stabilize levels of blood lipids, blood pressure and blood sugar.
The Maitake Medicinal Mushrooms have beta-glucans which causes apoptosis (cell death)
in prostate cancer cells.
Extracts from the Medicinal Mushrooms of Shitake have shown to reduce cholesterol
and antiviral effects.
Medicinal Mushrooms are high in fiber and function as prebiotics (stimulate the growth
and/or activity of good bacteria in the digestive system), antioxidant (inhibiting
the oxidation of other molecules), and antibiotics (prevents growth of other microorganisms).
Medicinal Mushrooms Products & Manufacturing
The majority of the Medicinal Mushroom products are manufactured from the fruiting
bodies that are farmed commercially or picked from the wild. A minority of the Medicinal
Mushroom products are produced from the extracts.
Produced and sold mainly in China and Japan, Medicinal Mushroom products have a long
history in the Far East. It has arrived in the west as pharmaceutical grade products
to treat diseases such as cancer. Given such a growing popularity and importance,
Medicinal Mushrooms and their associated Medicinal Mushroom products can be a lucrative
import from China opportunity.