natural therapies

Mushrooms for Natural Therapies: Mycotherapy by Nature

14 minutos

Naturopathic Medicine

While evidently effective, modern medicine still leaves some of the health aspects untouched and may have accompanying adverse events and inevitable complications that a standard pill alone cannot treat. This is where naturopathic medicine and natural therapies come in. Taking advantage of the best of both medical approaches from the modern western treatment approaches to the traditional holistic modalities. This also lessens the risk of the patients of the known adverse events and complications of the modern-day drugs. By adding medicinal mushrooms with bioactive substances that help improve the therapeutic outcomes. This emphasizes the great value of mycotherapy as part of integrative medicine. Utilizing the effectiveness of modern medicine and the long-lasting benefits of natural medicine.

Various Aspects of Natural Medicine

As natural therapies treat the entirety of the being, they employ multiple approaches to heal. This is one of the advantages of natural therapy, that it can work with conventional treatment modalities. Thus, giving the patients a much wider range of therapeutic options, and potentially improving their treatment outcomes.  

Among them are complementary therapies such as acupuncture and yoga. It targets musculoskeletal points that are physiologically connected to the rest of the body. Sports medicine is also another non-pharmacologic approach attested of its efficiency. Medical doctors also write exercise prescriptions for their usual patients, especially those with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Specialized diets take part in regulating what goes in the body system and not. With few chosen restrictions for specific cases, such as the kosher diet and the gluten-free diet. The future that we are looking at in utilizing integrative medicine includes multisystemic effects. From pain management as studied in military-trained subjects, adjuvant treatment to cancer patients, and overall promotion of behaviours for wellness.

To tie these all up together, the natural supplements deliver concentrated nutrients that may otherwise be needed in the body, especially since there are still minute micronutrients needed in addition to a balanced diet and any medication that is indicated for a specific disease. 

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Mycotherapy as a Therapeutic Approach

These supplements have been studied to do a more central role in natural medicine, besides maintaining adequate nutrition. The primary objective of studies on naturopathy is to search for bioactive substances. Substances from natural sources that have a therapeutic effect. Among the sources that are the richest in these potent biomolecules are mushrooms. As proven by their historical use from the earliest developments in medicine. Due to the nature of mushrooms being sessile organisms, they are planted on the ground and are dependent on it for survival, prompting them to utilize the rich nutrients from the earth, mainly nitrogenous and organic compounds, which are the substrates for the remarkable compounds that are sought after for their therapeutic value.

Numerous bioactive agents are being extracted from medicinal mushrooms and have been found to have mycotherapeutic effects, some of which can be used with the conventional treatments of today, without interfering with the physiologic activity of conventional medicine. 

mushrooms for natural therapies

Their mechanism of action ranges from their antibiotic potential, ranging organ protection, antidiabetic, and even anti-inflammatory.

Among the most studied medicinal mushrooms and are currently being used by health professionals are the following:

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Among the most common mechanisms of Reishi is its anti-inflammatory capacity that deals with conditions with unregulated cellular oxidation, which if remains uncontrolled may lead to the development of cancer and other chronic conditions with an inflammatory background. It also has been known to be effective on anxiety and sleep disorders.

Royal Sun Agaricus (Agaricus blazei)

One of the most remarkable features of Royal Sun Agaricus is its great activity on immunity. It has been known to improve our immune function against infections. It also controls the persistence of allergic reactions, and regulates overall immunity through immunomodulation.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Shiitake has long been used by Japanese people, who are known to have better cardiovascular health than most individuals around the world. This may be because Shiitake studies show to improve cholesterol control, which in turn reduces cardiovascular and even cerebrovascular events. It also has been studied for its lowering potential on uric acid. 

Turkey’s tail (Coriolus versicolor)

Turkey’s tail is best known for its antiviral activity because of its immunomodulatory properties, and thus can extend to other potential benefits, from anti-inflammatory to anticancer. 

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps have been studied for their energizing potential, dealing with tiredness and fatigue in overworked individuals. Because of similar properties, it has also been known for its invigorating effects, which help in the improvement of sexual function. In addition to these, Cordyceps also has been studied for its antiviral effects against infectious diseases.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

This mushroom mainly deals with gut and brain health. Lion’s Mane is currently being used for its capacity to improve memory and cognitive function and has recently been studied with positives results in Alzheimer disease. In addition to this, it also has prebiotic potential that helps improve digestive function.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Maitake focuses more on the regulation of metabolism that improves weight and alleviates hypertension.  It can be used for weight control, as it has been known to lower triglycerides, and thus have therapeutic potential against metabolic syndrome and hypertension.

Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)

Oyster mushrooms, besides being a common culinary ingredient, is also known for their prebiotic activity, ultimately helping with digestion. In the food industry, oyster mushrooms have been studied to improve the viability of probiotic bacteria and thus maximizing their effect in digestion.

Polyporus (Polyporus umbellatus)

Polyporus is beneficial for individuals who accumulate body fluids resulting in significant fluid retention. It has also been studied for its potential to improve respiratory health, against acute respiratory infection to lung cancer.  

Coprinus (Coprinus comatus)

This mushroom is mainly known for its glycaemic control and can improve the treatment success of antidiabetic medications in diabetic individuals. Based on studies, it has an effect on the glycosylated hemoglobin and the plasma insulin, which are both the basis of antidiabetic activity and parameters for glucose control in these patients.

Conclusion

Even with the continuously progressing developments in modern medicine, the value of natural medicine cannot be denied based on its therapeutic efficacies from the previous decades. With the benefit of the scientific advancements of today, these treatment potentials from medicinal mushrooms are progressively being proved by clinical, preclinical and cellular studies. This emphasizes the potential of mushrooms to play a central role in integrative treatments of diseases, in conjunction with common medical approaches to improve overall therapeutic outcomes.

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Martin Auerswald is a Biochemist, molecular Biotechnologist and Mycotherapist. He has also gained experience in clinical research (University Hospital Erlangen). Martin reaches hundreds of thousands of people every month by developing new content through Germany's largest online health congress (Immunabwehr-Kongress) and his work as editor-in-chief in various online magazines.

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