Feb 23

Best Medicinial 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.

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Feb 16

Best Medicinal Mushrooms 101: Agaricus blazei

Now we need to discuss the top medicinal mushrooms to use for various ailments.

Agaricus blazei is the first of seven we’ll go over.

Agaricus blazei originated in Brazil but is now grown in several different countries, including Japan and China. The mushroom has long been thought to have longevity properties, so modern day researchers took a close look.

The shape of the Agaricus blazei mushroom’s beta-glucans seem to be what activate the immune system’s various elements, including the white blood cells.

In animals, Agaricus blazei has been found to have anticancer and anti-tumor properties. Studies have also shown the mushroom assisted the immune system in the self destruction of malignant cells.

The belief of some in the research community is that Agaricus blazei contains the highest levels of beta-glucans of the medicinal mushrooms.

Pet Ailments Addressed by Agaricus blazei

Immune modulation (treatments that bolster the immune system), especially regarding cancer.

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Feb 10

Understanding Mushrooms 101: Labels

We first went over what makes mushrooms beneficial to humans and pets. We then took a look at different manufacturing methods and saw which provides the most potent medicinal mushrooms.

This week, we have one more topic to cover in depth, and then you will be able to decipher which products are most helpful in treating health issues in your dog or cat on your own.

Let’s look at the information you’ll typically find on the labels of medicinal mushroom supplements.

The Two Forms Supplements Come In

Two overarching formats of medicinal mushrooms exist: unextracted mushroom supplements and extracted mushroom supplements.

These categories have to do with the manufacturing process and have several preparation methods under each (We touched on ground powder and alcohol tinctures briefly last week.).

First, unextracted mushroom supplements (None of these are recommended):

  1. Mycelium biomass: As a reminder, “mycelium” is interconnected hyphae. Mycelium biomass is mycelium grown on cereal grain that is dried, powdered, and encapsulated. Levels of active compounds aren’t listed, and the material is typically 50% undigested grain.
  2. Mycelium powder: Mycelium powder is mycelium grown in liquid or on sterlized rice and is dried, powdered, and encapsulated. Levels of active compounds aren’t listed.
  3. Fruit body or mushroom powder: Fruit body powder or mushroom powder is the mature mushroom dried, ground up, and encapsulated. Levels of active compounds aren’t listed.

Secondly, extracted mushroom supplements (One method is recommended):

  1. Hydro-alcohol extracts: Hydro-alcohol extracts are made from mycelium grown on grain (mycelium biomass) or the fruit body. Known as tinctures, these liquid “extracts” are preserved in grain or grape alcohol. Levels of actuve ingredients aren’t listed, and many require a vast number of drops to equal the daily grams of medicinal mushrooms research recommends.
  2. Hot water extracts (the only method of mushroom preparation we recommend based on TCM and medical research.): Hot water extracts can be made from the mycelium or the fruit body. The mushroom decoction is dehydrated into a powder and encapsulated. The levels of active compounds ARE listed on the label as a percentage of total weight.

So, when you need the most potent and powerful supplements, look for products that state they were hot water extracted and list the active ingredients.

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Feb 03

Understanding Mushrooms 101: Potency

Last week, we examined the basic structure of a mushroom and learned why they have been used for thousands of years to treat cancer and many other conditions.

Now, we need to look at the manufacturing process of medicinal mushrooms so you can be correctly informed in which ones are the most potent, and therefore, the ones you will see the best results with.

Next week, we will tell you what to look for on the labels of medicinal mushrooms you see offered online and in health stores.

Manufacturing Medicinal Mushrooms

Beyond a doubt, one of the most important factors in medicinal mushroom potency is the manufacturing process of the mushroom.

And just one method has been proven repeatedly in both traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and modern medicinal research: hot water extraction.

What is hot water extraction? It’s relatively simple: Hot water extraction is using heat and water to make a decoction (to “decoct” means to “concentrate by boiling”). Decoctions simmer or boil the mushroom from 20 to 120 minutes.

Decoctions should not be confused with infusions – Infusions are a pouring of water over the herb, without the simmering, boiling action, and should be used only for soft plant materials (leaves, flowers, etc.). The cell wall structure of a mushroom is way too hard to get any benefits from the fruit body without boiling.

Cell Wall Makeup of a Mushroom, and How to Get Past It

Mushrooms have a cell wall made of chitin – the same hard fiber found in the shell of a lobster.

Chitin contains powerful immune-stimulating compounds (polysaccarides), but since it can’t be digested by humans, no benefit can be gotten from it in the original state. Hot water extraction breaks down the chitineous walls and releases the polysaccarides undamaged (Remember: polysaccarides are what fungi use to break down toxins and pathogens).

Many of the medicinal mushroom supplements online and in health food stores are not that strong:

  • Commonly, companies will sell medicinal mushrooms that have been ground whole to make a powder. We can’t recommend this method as a potent mushroom form, because published medical studies have found that the immune-boosting power of beta-glucans (a specific polysaccaride) comes from its specific “long-chain” molecular shape. By grinding mushrooms, not only is the indigestible chitin included in the powder but also the shape of the beta-glucan is destroyed – taking with it the potency of mushroom.
  • Another frequently used method companies use is a liquid alcohol tincture. Companies like it because it is easy: They simply soak the mushrooms in grain alcohol for several weeks to months. However, the polysaccarides in the chitin are not alcohol soluble.

Again, only hot water extraction “melts away” the indigestible chitin surrounding the beta-glucans. Neither ground mushrooms or mushrooms prepared with liquid alcohol tinctures are harmful, but they certainly are not potent. Hot water extracted mushrooms can be 30 times more potent than ground mushrooms, making them a clear choice for treating cancer in pets.

 

 

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Jan 29

Understanding Mushrooms 101: A Mushroom’s Structure

For the next few posts, we will examine the basics of mushrooms (what makes them powerful in treating cancer, hepatitis, immune-deficiency conditions and more) and the manufacturing process (which ones are the most potent, and therefore, the ones you will see the best results with).

Then, we will tell you what to look for on the labels of medicinal mushrooms you see offered online and in health stores.

Mushrooms: What Are They, and How They Are Formed.

Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are organisms that break down and recycle organic matter (living or dead plant or animal material) into the nutrients people and animals feed on.

What people normally refer to as a mushroom is the part they see that grows above the ground. This is also called a fruit body.

The fruit body’s only purpose is to release spores as part of the reproduction cycle.

After the spores are released, they germinate. Germinated spores grow threadlike filaments (hyphae). The hyphae begin forming a new mushroom colony under the surface of the ground (or tree) by interconnecting. Interconnected hyphae are called mycelium.

Spores and Hyphae

Mycelium work to get food by breaking down organic material. Tightly packed mycelium also form the fruit body (the above-ground portion).

Like humans, fungi have immune systems. The immune system protects them against pathogens (anything that causes a disease).

How do mushrooms protect themselves against disease? Fungi break down food by excreting digestive enzymes. Before the digested food can be absorbed, fungi deactivate pathogens and toxins with polysaccharides (a chain of carbohydrates) and other disease-fighting chemicals inside the cell walls, as the food passes through.

This process of deactivating pathogens with polysaccharides provides the invaluable nutrients humans and animals need to bolster their immune systems as they take medicinal mushrooms.

Next week, we will go over the manufacturing process for preserving these nutrients in medicinal mushroom supplements.

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Nov 23

10 Commonly Asked Canine Cancer Questions

If you have just gotten bad news at the vet and are searching for some answers, or you are worried about something that has appeared on your pet, take a look at these 10 commonly asked questions.

Do take the answers with a grain of salt, and know there are still many more options to be looked into, especially holistic treatments in conjunction with typical Western methods.

Have a question on how best to treat your dog holistically using medicinal mushrooms? Give our friends at K9Critical Care a call (800-364-6299). They are happy to talk about holistic options that may help your dog.

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