Apr 14

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Hericium erinaceus

This is our last post in our series of the seven most potent medicinal mushrooms.

Hericium erinaceus is the most recent mushroom to excite natural-health enthusiasts. Other names it may be called by is Lion’s Mane, Monkey’s Head, White Beard and more, because of its white, shaggy appearance. The mushroom can be found throughout North America, East Asia and Europe.


This medicinal mushroom has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for treating digestive tract issues. It has also bee used topically on cuts to stop bleeding.

Immune Properties

Recent studies involving the immune system have demonstrated Hericium erinaceus’ polysaccharides have immune-enhancing properties and early research has shown anticancer effects.

Neurological Properties

Hericium erinaceus may stimulate the production of NGF: Nerve Growth Facor. This protein is necessary for the growth of sensory neurons. H. erinceus promotes myelin sheath growth on brain cells, so it makes the mushroom potentially helpful against Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative, neurological conditions, but at this point, further studies are needed to be absolutely certain the mushroom possesses this benefit.

Ailments Addressed by Hericium erinaceus (humans and pets)

Digestive tract ailments, including ulcers and stomach cancer. It also is believed to address cognitive functions.

Posted in Feature Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Mar 30

20% Off Mushroom Supplements & More

We saw K9 Critical Care is having a spring sale on supplements. If you ever wanted to try out some of the best in medicinal mushrooms, mobility products, and other supplements for your dog, there’s not a better time than now!

Details on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/k9criticalcare?fref=nf.

Posted in Feature Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Mar 28

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Shiitake

Today’s mushroom we examine in depth is another well-known name: the shiitake, the world’s second-most common edible mushroom.

Shiitake mushrooms are indigenous to Japan, China, and other areas of Asia. It’s not found in the wild in the U.S., but it is cultivated for commercial use.

Shiitakes are used medicinally in two forms:

  1. Lentinan, a purified polysaccharide extracted from the cell wall of the shiitake fruiting body (the above-ground portion of a mushroom)
  2. Lentinula edodes mycelium extract (LEM)

Both have been shown to benefit patients when taken orally, but the first one, lentinan, has most of its published data from injectable/IV forms.

Adjuvant Cancer Therapy

Shiitakes have demonstrated their benefit when taken prior to or after cancer treatment. The mushroom improves specific immune markers – including natural killer cells, tumor necrosis factor, T-helper cells, and a variety of interleukins – and patient outcomes.


As extracts, shiitakes have shown a wide variety of activity against various microbes, including bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Shiitakes have seemed to show good possibility in lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Research is ongoing in this area.

Ailments Addressed by Shiitake (humans and pets)

Immune-suppressive diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, colds, flu, high cholesterol, and hepatitis.

Posted in Feature Articles, Treatment & Prevention | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Mar 18

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Reishi

Four (1, 2, 3, 4) of the top seven medicinal mushrooms down; three to go!

Reishi mushrooms have a documented history dating back 2,000 years, even to 100 B.C. It is one of the most highly regarded medicinal mushrooms and probably the best choice for a general health tonic to improved overall health and increase longevity. It’s also considered an adaptogen, a unique group of herbal ingredients used to improve the health of the adrenal system, which is in charge of managing the body’s hormonal response to stress.

The polysaccarides in the reishi mushrooms have shown immune-enhancing properties.

Cardiovascular Benefits

In some studies, reishi inhibited platelet aggregation and reduced blood pressure. It also appears to reduce cholesterol.

Immune Benefits

Researchers have found marked immune-modulating effects from reishi extracts taken by patients with advanced tumors. Reduced side effects due to chemo, radiation, or operation recovery were also reported.

Anti-Inflammartory Effects

Hot-water extracts of reishi mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effects, and comparable effects to hydrocortisone.

Liver Benefits

The liver can be protected with reishi mushrooms. After three months of reishi supplementation, all values of hepatitis B patients were within normal range.

Ailments Addressed by Reishi (humans and pets)

Daily tonic to improve and maintain good health, long-term immune support, hepatitis C, hypercholesterolemia, altitude sickness, and diabetes.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Mar 11

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Maitake

We’ve now gone over the specific benefits of three of the top seven medicinal mushrooms. Today we will discuss a fourth and one of the most studied: the maitake mushroom.

Maitake mushrooms were intensively studied in the 1980s by Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, a professor of microbiology and an expert mycologist at Kobe Pharmaceutical University. His research found maitakes have a unique molecular structure that makes them exhibit great antitumor activity. Specialized components, called maitake fractions, have the ability to both directly enhance the damaging activity of the immune system’s natural killer (NK) cells against cancer cells and to change NK precursor cells into activated NK cells.

Immune Support and Adjunct Treatment

In 1998, University of Massachusetts at Amherst researchers found a maitake extract had significant inhibitory activity against human cervical cancer and T4 leukemic cells.

The mushroom has also been found to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, including hair loss, pain, nausea, as well as lessen the pain that comes with terminal stage cancer. It also appears to make chemo more effective. On its own, the maitake beta-glucan inhibits tumor growth more effectively (80 percent) than then chemo drug MMC alone (45 percent). But combined, the two had 98 percent inhibition.


In a study of cancer patients in stages II, III, and IV, patients taking maitake saw cancer regression or significant symptom improvement (11 of 16 breast cancer patients, 7 of 12 liver cancer patients, and 5 of 8 lung cancer patients). The mushroom appear to most effective against breast, prostate, and liver cancers.

Ailments Addressed by Maitake (humans and pets)

Adjunctive cancer treatment, fatigue, high blood pressure, liver disease, HIV, and an antioxidant.

Posted in Feature Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
Mar 02

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Coriolus versicolor

We’ve now gone over the specific benefits of the Agaricus blazei and Cordyceps sinensis. Today we will discuss the Coriolus versicolor mushroom.

The Coriolus is a highly studied mushroom, with more than 400 studies published on its significant immuno-modulating properties in both healthy and afflicted people.


The mushroom is found in temperate forests in the U.S. and across the world, growing on logs or the injured wood of trees. Coriolus is also known as “turkey tail” in the West because of its multicolored fan-shaped cap. In China, it is called the “cloud mushroom.”


Uses of the mushroom in Japan include it as a folk remedy for cancer, and in TCM, Coriolus is used to treat pulmonary infections, hepatitis, cancer, and to dispel phlegm.

The mushroom began being brought to light in the West in the 60s, when a chemical engineer learned his neighbor with late-stage stomach cancer was treating himself with it. The engineer’s coworkers started studying the mushroom and developed an extract, PSK, the abbreviation for polysaccharide-K. The K stands for the first letter of Kureha Chemical, the company that developed the top-selling cancer drug Krestin.

Chinese researchers followed suit; they named theirs PSP, polysaccharide-peptide, a slightly different extract. PSK have protein linked by beta-glucans; PSP has peptides linked by beta-glucans.

The beta-glucans act as biological response modifiers, in that they activate many components of the immune system. Beta-glucans pass through the gut wall unchanged and into the bloodstream. Remember the “lock and key” format of beta-glucans? Receptors for them are found on neutrophils, monocytes/macrophages, natural killer cells, and also T and B lymphocytes. These polysaccharides have also been shown to act as potent inducers of proliferation, tumor cytotoxicity and lymphokine production.


The mushroom, combined with radiotherapy, has significantly improved the five-year survival-rate statistics of patients with stages I-III of epidermoid carcinoma of the lung. Also, patients 70 or older who received PSK and radiation had a significantly higher survival rate than those who received radiation alone.

In a 10-year double-blind trial in colorectal cancer patients, those in remission or disease free was more than double in the Coriolus group compared to the placebo group, with the white blood cells showing “remarkable enhancement in their activities.”

Ailments Addressed by Coriolus versicolor (humans and pets)

Ancillary treatment for esophageal, lung, stomach, breast and colon cancer. Used to prevent side effects and immune suppression from chemo and radiation treatments. Used for infections of the respiratory, urinary and digestive tracts, hepatitis B and other liver ailments, HIV, general immune weakness, and ringworm.

Posted in Feature Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
Feb 23

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Cordyceps sinensis

Last week we discussed the benefits of the Agaricus blazei mushroom.

Cordyceps sinensis is the second of seven we’ll go over.

Cordyceps sinensis comes from the mountains of China, Nepal, and Tibet. It got international attention beginning in 1993 when Chinese runners who took it broke nine world records.

The mushroom helps increase stamina, energy levels, and endurance. It also is thought to benefit lungs and kidneys.

Studies have shown it also:

  • Improves fatigue: Research on elderly people showed they improved in the areas of fatigue, cold intolerance, dizziness and amnesia.
  • Respiratory support: The mushroom has given improvements for those suffering from asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases.
  • Kidney health: Cordyceps helps in the treatment of chronic kidney diseases. In addition to increased kidney function, increases where seen in hemoglobin and red blood cell counts.
  • Cardiovascular health: Positive effects have been seen in arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease, and chronic heart failure. Studies in animals and humans have also shown the mushroom to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and more. Animal studies also have shown Cordyceps to increase blood flow to the heart and brain
  • Immune support: In combination with chemo and radiation for lung cancer, patients showed improved tolerance of treatment.

Pet Ailments Addressed by Cordyceps sinensis (humans and pets)

Adrenal fatigue, asthma, athlete’s foot, cancer, chronic bronchitis, chronic fatigue, chronic renal failure, diabetes, emphysema, heart disease, hepatitis B, hypercholesterolemia, tinnitus.

Posted in Feature Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments