Vital mushrooms

What are vital mushrooms?

Health-relevant properties of certain fungal species have been known for several thousand years, especially in Far Eastern cultures. In writing, their use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is mainly handed down. In Europe, knowledge of the properties and effects of fungi has been imported and further developed mainly by monasteries from the Far East. The most popular fungal species in question comprise mainly 10 species, which are synonymous as vital, healing or medicinal fungi. The term mycotherapy has been used for their health-related use since the late 1990s. In addition to rich micronutrients such as minerals, amino acids, vitamins and enzymes, the vital fungi contain different active ingredients with health-relevant properties depending on the species. They are often specific polysaccharides with immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The consumption of the mushrooms or mushroom extracts is almost side-effect-free.

Some vital mushrooms are also in high demand as excellent and high-quality edible mushrooms. They are therefore drawn to cultures on a large technical scale in countries of the EU, among others. A selection of the most important vital mushrooms:

  • Cordyceps sinensis (caterpillar fungus)
  • Reishi (glossy ganoderma, lingzhi)
  • Hericium erinaceus (bearded tooth)
  • Agaricus blazei murrill (almond mushroom, sun mushroom)
  • Auricularia (Jew's ear, Mu-Err)
  • Coriolus versicolor (turkey tail, wood decay, rainbow bracket)
  • Polyporus umbellatus (umbrella polypore, lumpy bracket)
  • Maitake (ram's head, sheep's head)
  • Pleurotus (oyster mushroom)
  • Chaga (inonotus obliquus)

Are vital mushrooms used as a medicine or as a dietary supplement?

Vital mushrooms, which are sought after as edible mushrooms because of their excellent taste and because of their health-relevant properties, are offered as fresh produce or in dried form. The species, which are less suitable for the kitchen, are usually to be had as dietary supplements without promises of action and healing, because such promises are only allowed for approved medicines whose efficacy as well as their safety has been proven. However, various ingredients of vital fungi are also extracted in isolation and processed into medicines.

Which properties of vital mushrooms are particularly appreciated?

Vital fungi are said to be neutral (anti-inflammatory), cytostatic and antioxidant properties. Essentially, the immune system should be offered help to help themselves. Anti-inflammatory properties, for example, are said to help curb exuberant allergic and autoimmune immune  reactions of the immune system. Cytostatic abilities of certain ingredients of vital fungi are important for accompanying therapy in certain cancers because they help to reduce the rapid rate of division of cancer cells. Antioxidant properties are almost always in demand in the metabolism in order to render so-called free radicals harmless and to relieve oxidative stress. A study at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, confirmed in 2017 that vital fungi actually have such positive properties. In particular, the anti-end-of-inflammatory properties were demonstrated (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29146352). The authors conclude that the mushrooms are in fact a "superfood." They suggest incorporating vital mushrooms into the daily diet as a valuable ingredient. Not all properties accorded to vital fungi from the experience of thousands of years are scientifically proven or fully understood. Here are the characteristics of the most important 10 fungal species:

Cordyceps sinensis - caterpillar fungus

The natural range of the caterpillar mushroom is the steppes of the Tibetan highlands. It is a hose fungus that affects the caterpillars of butterflies belonging to the root drills family. In TCM, the fungus Cordyceps sinensis is recognized with a strengthening effect and is also estimated as an aphrodisiac. The fungus is also used against lung and liver diseases as well as against kidney and cardiovascular ailments. In a 2015 in a vitro study, a Japanese research group led by K. Nakamura demonstrated that certain ingredients of a water extract from Cordyceps sinensis have anti-cancer properties that mainly suppress metastasis (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25704018). The effect is attributed, among other things, to a stimulation of certain receptors such as the adenosine A3 receptor. The authors conclude from their findings that the ingredient cordycepin could play a role in the future for cancer treatment and to suppress metastasis. The dosage recommendation is 2 to 9 grams of dried mushroom material per day against a variety of ailments. Some therapists recommend a much higher daily dose of 30 to 50 grams. Side effects are hardly to be feared.

Reishi - glossy ganoderma, lingzhi

Reishi, also known as lingzhi, is a saprobiont that mainly affects weakened hardwoods. He is one of the most respected vital mushrooms. His Japanese name reishi means "divine mushroom." He is too hard and too bitter to serve as a edible mushroom. Usually reishi is ground into powder in a dried state and then serves as a tea infusion. The powder is also used to make dietary supplements or it is incorporated into natural cosmetics. As a natural remedy, the fungus has well over 100 different ingredients with health-related properties. Highlights include triterpenes, which include steroid hormones and ergosterol, as well as precursors to vitamin D. In naturopathy, the fungus is used for a variety of different ailments. Dietary supplements based on the paint porling are available in various dosage forms such as powders, tablets or capsules. It is advisable to follow the recommendations for the prescription for each product. In most cases, one to three tablets or capsules are recommended as a daily dose. It is important to maintain the dosage for a longer period of time, because the metabolism can only adjust optimally within a few weeks.

Hericium erinaceus - bearded tooth

The vital fungus Hericium erinaceus is called the bearded tooth depending on the country and region and a monkey head fungus in China. Occasionally, the mushroom with the characteristic bartzotts can also be found in our native forests. Hericium is considered a valuable vital fungus of a wide range of important ingredients. In addition to special polysaccharides and minerals, it scores with a high content of potassium. In naturopathy, the nitlobe beard is attributed to particularly positive effects on the intestinal mucosa in inflammatory bowel diseases and in inflammatory diseases of the skin such as neurodermatitis. Overall, the hedgehod stemks strengthen the immune system and have a mood-enhancing effect. In a 2016 Chinese study on the potential of certain ingredients in the study on Alzheimer's in mice, the authors concluded that the ingredients of the fungus included in the study would become an effective drug for Alzheimer's disease in the future. Should be developed. The recommended daily intake as a dietary supplement is 0.5 to 3 grams in powder form.

Agaricus blazei murrill - almond mushroom

The origin of the agaricus blazei murrill, which belongs to the mushroom family of mushrooms, lies in the rainforests of Brazil. The fungus is also known as almond or sun mushroom or simply by the abbreviation ABM. His career as a vital and medicinal fungus in the industrialized nations is still relatively young. It was not until the late 1970s that Japanese scientists became aware of the fungus because in the regions where the population consumed the fungus as a regular component of their food, life expectancy above average and cancers in They were hardly aware. Agaricus is now grown in large quantities and is even approved as an official cancer agent in some countries, such as Brazil, the US and Japan. The vital fungus is attributed to properties that stimulate the immune system's defense system. Above all, certain ingredients stimulate the formation of lymphocytes and scavenger cells (macrophages), which can, among other things, render invaded germs and degenerate cells harmless. Therefore, the fungus is often used for accompanying cancer therapy and to mitigate the effects of chemotherapy. For chronic ailments, including autoimmune diseases, taking one capsule or tablet 3 times a day is recommended for an extended period of time.

Auricularia polytricha - Jew's ear, Mu-Err

In TCM, the vital fungus auricularia, also known as Jew's ear, Mu-Err has had a firm place for over 1,500 years. In addition, Auricularia is a popular edible mushroom and almost an integral part of Chinese cuisine. The fungus is awarded properties such as improving blood flow and cholesterol balance, as well as anti-inflammatory effects on mucous membranes, skin and eyes. The improvement of blood circulation, often referred to as blood thinning, has a preventative effect to prevent blood clots and thus a preventative effect against strokes or heart attack. Above all, the vital fungus Auricularia is attributed to immunomodulating properties, which, among other things, increases the antitumoral effect of the immune system. Juda's ear is used in a number of ailments. Various ingredients such as adenosine have vasodilating properties and tend to have a lowering of blood pressure.

Coriolus versicolor - turkey tail, wood decay, rainbow bracket

The turkey tail or rainbow bracket with the Latin name coriolus versicolor is a porling native to almost every region of the world and often found. The vital fungus prefers dead or severely weakened deciduous trees. It is not to be used as a edible mushroom, but as a vital or medicinal fungus. Coriolus has a firm place in TCM and naturopathy. The fungus is granted immune-boosting properties, which are used, among other things, for accompanying cancer therapies in certain cancers. In addition to the immunomodulating effect, Coriolus also exhibits antiviral and antibacterial properties and is used in naturopathy in viral, bacterial and mycotic infections. In addition, ingredients of the fungus have a strongly stimulating effect on the body's antioxidant superoxide dismutase system. The dosage of the mushroom powder in the form of capsules or tablets should follow the recommendation of the leaflet. As with all vital mushrooms, taking the fungal supplement should take place over a longer period of several months. Side effects are not known.

Polyporus umbellatus - umbrella polypore, lumpy bracket

The vital fungus polyporus umbellatus, which in German parlance is referred to as a umbrella polypore, has also found its way into the kitchen as a edible mushroom, but is not considered particularly tasty. Polyporus, which is also native to European forests, has gained greater importance as a vital and medicinal fungus. It is characterized by a very sophisticated cocktail of minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc and more. The fungus contains a wide range of bioactive substances and polysaccharides with specific effects. Overall, immune-stabilizing properties are granted to the fungus, and it activates the lymphatic system and counteracts lymphatic congestion. In addition, its diuretic properties are well known. The difference with most other diuretic agents is that little potassium is washed out in urinary formation, which is important for many nerve functions and for a stable heart rhythm. However, possible interactions with other diuretics should be considered. Chinese scientists found in 2016 that ingredients of the fungus have the potential to suppress breast cancer and recommend further development (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27447121).

Maitake - ram's head, sheep's head

Maitake, also ram's head or sheep's head, is a special vital fungus because it is also sought after as an excellent edible mushroom. The mushroom is commonly found at the foot of old oaks, beech trees and chestnuts. The ingredients are associated with, among other things, blood pressure lowering and blood sugar-lowering properties. Eating the fungus stimulates the secretion of the digestive juices and thus promotes digestion. Maitake has a positive influence on the course of diabetes, type 2 and is often recommended to support weight control. With a body weight of over 65kg, the daily dose should be about 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of fungal powder or, alternatively, about 1,800 milligrams of fungal extract.

Pleurotus - oyster mushroom

The vital fungus pleurotus is also known as oyster mushroom or seitling as a very tasty and popular edible mushroom. It is not without reason that gourmets occasionally refer to it as a veal fungus. Its original range is likely to be found in Southeast Asia. The fungus is an outspoken winter mushroom, it loves temperatures below 11 degrees, and severe frost it easily endures. Pleurotus is cultivated on straw in many regions of the world and is commercially available as a fresh mushroom or in dried form. As a vital or medicinal fungus, the seitling is granted special probiotic properties due to its ingredients. For example, it promotes a rapid restoration of the intestinal flora after treatment with antibiotics. Pleurotus contains important B vitamins and, among other things, the polysaccharide pleuran with highly antioxidant properties. The oyster fungus also has an effect against the hard-to-fight bacterial strain Staphylococcus aureus. In addition to freshly offered oyster mushrooms, dietary supplements in the form of mushroom powder or tablets and capsules with concentrated extracts are also available. In the case of chronic ailments or aftercare, a daily dose should correspond to about one to a maximum of five grams of fungal powder.

Chaga - inonotus obliquus

The chaga, which is known to us as inonotus obliquus, has been used in Siberia for centuries as a healing and vital fungus. The fungus, with the Latin name Inonotus obliquus, is considered the king of medicinal mushrooms throughout Scandinavia, Russia and some Asian countries. It grows as a parasite on birch trees and develops a nearly black bark reminiscent of charred bark. The fungus must develop for at least 10 to 15 years until it is harvested to benefit from the rich abundance of rare trace elements, vitamins, enzymes and a wide variety of polysaccharides, triterpenes and many other bioactive substances. The fungus is almost considered a silver bullet against a variety of cancers, so to speak, in cooperation with the immune system. In a larger scientific South Korean and Indian study on mice, the authors concluded that ergosterol extracted from the shillerporling can effectively suppress the development of degenerate colon cells (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26210065). The fungus embodies one of the strongest natural antioxidants found in food. It is recommended to consume chaga exclusively in the form of freshly prepared tea for healing purposes and for prevention. For this purpose, a piece of chaga mushroom weighing about 10 grams is brewed with about 400 millimeters of water and boiled for about 10 minutes before the finished tea is strung off through a sieve. At will, https://www.viterna.at/Mushroomssome lemon juice can be added.

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