Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mushroom As Medicinal Remedy

You may have noticed an increase in the amount of exposure that has been given to the benefits of medicinal mushrooms in recent years; whereas a few years ago there was little information available at all. Much like the use of ginseng in the Orient, the medicinal mushroom varieties that have been used for many years in China are becoming popular in America too, as more info about their medicinal properties becomes known.
According to mushroom history, some of the oldest recorded uses were as remedies against intestinal parasites, as well as being used to stop bleeding and cauterizing wounds. The mushrooms used were polypores, named because they have pores rather than gills underneath the heads. No known species of the polypore fungi are poisonous and they are normally found to grow on trees, both alive and dead.
Other that a few notable exceptions as being used as a medicine in tea, poultices and other extracts, the polypores are considered inedible due to being very woody and fibrous, thus are not ranked as a medicinal mushroom variety.
Native American traditions tell about using the different kinds of fungi to combat diseases such as smallpox and others that appeared along with the arrival of Europeans. These include species like the reishi, turkey tail and chaga mushroom varieties, as well as the now very rare and endangered agarikon. The Agarikon is the oldest of the organic mushrooms used as medicine in historic European literature. As far back as 65 B.C., a Greek physician by the name of Dioscorides recorded the species in the Materia Medica as a natural remedy used to fight tuberculosis. More recently, K. Grzywnowics wrote an article claiming that according to Polish medicine, agarikon tea had been traditionally used for such things as a long life elixir, for lung conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and to help stop open bleeding and to clean wounds.
Although mushrooms have started to become more utilized in the West, it is nothing compared to the almost adored status they enjoy in the East. There are at least three main species of medicinal mushrooms from Asia that certainly need to be included in any articles about the subject. The first one is the reishi, which has been used extensively in China and Japan as an immortality mushroom for over two millennia. The second medicinal mushroom is the cordyceps variety, which has not only been used to improve physical prowess, but as an aphrodisiac as well. Finally, there are the shiitake mushrooms, which have been cultivated as a gourmet product, even in the West for about a thousand years. This variety it is also one of the most widely researched of the mushrooms and has been used as an antibiotic.
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Tags: active mushrooms, all natural mushrooms, dried mushrooms, mushrooms, wild mushroom

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