The Magic of Mushrooms

Since ancient times, mushrooms have been recognized as valuable sources of nutritive and pharmacologically active compounds. The number of mushroom species on earth is estimated at 140,000, yet maybe only 10% (approximately 14,000 named species) are known.

Mushrooms are part of the fungi kingdom, they contain disease-fighting properties, antioxidants, and a wide range of essential nutrients, copper being one of them, this a mineral that is vital to our survival that we cannot produce on our own.

What are the health benefits of mushrooms?

Mushrooms are low in calories and glucose and high in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most notably, mushrooms are said to contain anti-tumor, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties, while providing powerful immunological benefits that protect against illnesses and diseases like cancer.

Mushrooms are a good source of fiber, vitamins B and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and zinc, as well as the master antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. 

Ergothioneine is noted to have a very specific role in protecting DNA from oxidative damage, while glutathione is important for detoxification of heavy metals and other contaminants. Both ergothioneine and glutathione are considered important antiaging compounds that may offer protection against age-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

6 MUSHROOMS FOR HEALTH

NAME + ORIGIN
SHIITAKE / 
Lentinula edodes Originated in China but their name comes from Japan where 'shii' means 'oak', and 'take' means 'mushroom', so the literal translation is 'oak mushroom'. They have been cultivated for over 1000 years; the first written record of shiitake cultivation can be traced to Wu Sang Kwuang, born during the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1127). However, some documents record the uncultivated mushroom being eaten as early as AD 199. During the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368–1644), physician Wu Juei wrote that the mushroom could be used not only as a food but was taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost qi, or life energy. It was also believed to prevent premature aging.
BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS 
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the few known natural sources of vitamin D2. A single 100g serving of Shiitakes contains 96IU or 24% of your required daily intake of Vitamin D.
Eritadenine - Significantly Lowers Cholesterol.
Lentinan - Anti-Tumor Properties.
Lenthionine -Inhibits Platelet Aggregation shows promising treatment for
Thrombosis.
L-ergothioneine - Antioxidant Properties. 

    NAME + ORIGIN
    REISHI / 
    Ganoderma lingzhi has been rated the top medicinal herb in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years, with ginseng in second place, and is so highly treasured that it was traded for its own weight in gold and was available only to emperors. It is still the most important herb in the Orient and the most thoroughly researched. 
    BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS 
    Polysaccharides - have anticancer effects based on their ability to prevent abnormal blood vessel formation and to boost immune system function.
    Triterpenes - Protect the liver, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent platelet clumping that leads to heart attack and stroke, fight allergic responses triggered by histamine, and also possess anticancer activity.
    Ganoderma lucidum peptide - Is a unique protein that has remarkably potent antioxidant characteristics that are still being unraveled. 

    NAME + ORIGIN
    OYSTER / 
    Pleurotus ostreatus means"sideways oyster", referring to the oyster-like shape of the mushroom. It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure, as the food was scarce during World War I.
    BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS 
    β-glucans and α-glucan - Anti-cancer properties
    Polysaccharides, proteoglycans, and lectin - Anti-tumour properties
    Phenols lectins and polysaccharides - Antioxidant properties
    Polysaccharides - Immunomodulatory properties
    Polysaccharides - Anti-inflammatory properties
    Pleuran - Anti-atopic dermatitis properties.

    NAME + ORIGIN 
    PORCINI / 
    Boletus edulis Also known as cepes, pennybuns or their scientific name, Boletus edulis, porcini mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom found across the Northern Hemisphere, including in parts of North America, Europe, and Asia.
    BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS 
    Ergothioneine and glutathione - Porcini mushrooms contain the highest amounts of these two compounds which act as antioxidants. 
    Beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, and lycopene - Porcini mushrooms also contain these further three compounds acting as antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for human health as they can reduce oxidative stress linked to the buildup of free radicals and may even decrease the risk of certain inflammatory disorders, such as heart disease and cancer.

    NAME + ORIGIN
    CHANTARELLE / 
    Cantharellus derived from the Latin word cantharus (initially from the Greek ‘kantharos’) meaning a drinking vessel (generally with handles), a bowl or a chalice.
    BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS 
    Lentinan - Anti-cancer properties.
    Lanthionine - Aids in the treatment of Thrombosis.
    Flavonoids, quercetin - Aids in scavenging nitric oxide.
    Phenols - gallic acid, homogentisic acid, cinnamic acid derivatives p coumaric acid and ferulic acid - Acting as a powerful antioxidant. 
    Phenols and flavonoids - Are beneficial for protection against various bacteria -  Antimicrobial properties.
    Ascorbic acid - Reduces cell mutation rate.
    β-carotene - Prevents DNA damage, exhibiting antigenotoxic effects, prevents mutation, increases cell genome damage repair system and prevents cancer.

    NAME + ORIGIN
    TURKEY TAIL /
    Trametes versicolor - Turkey tail mushrooms have been brewed for thousands of years by the Chinese as medicinal teas, used as early as the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty in China. The Japanese, who reference it as kawaritake or “cloud mushrooms” due to an image of swirling clouds, have been well aware of the benefits of this super, power-filled mushroom, with researchers noting its health benefits, particularly in boosting the immune system. 
    BENEFICIAL COMPOUNDS 
    Polysaccharide-K (PSK) - Stimulates the immune system. PSK is so effective that it’s an approved anticancer prescription drug in Japan. 
    Phenols and flavonoids - Along with 35 different phenolic compounds including flavonoid antioxidants quercetin and baicalein- Phenol and flavonoid antioxidants promote immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds. 
    Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) - These are two types of polysaccharopeptides found in turkey tails mushrooms. Both PSK and PSP possess powerful immune-boosting properties, promoting immune response by both activating and inhibiting specific types of immune cells and by suppressing inflammation.
    Antibacterial qualities - In a lab study, turkey tail extract inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica, bacteria that can cause illness and infection.

    FUN FACTS /

    Glow in the Dark - Known as bioluminescent, to date there are over 75 species identified to glow.
    'Magic' Mushrooms - Over 200 species contain Psilocybin, the main ingredient which causes hallucinations. The three most well known, and most commonly used, varieties are Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe semilanceata, and Psilocybe baeocystis.
    Nature's Natural Pesticide - Mushrooms spores repel over 200,000 species of insects. 
    Human Have Been Taking Magic Mushrooms for Thousands of Years - Possibly as far back as 9,000 BC. Cave markings from that time period left by North African tribes depicting people taking 'shrooms. There are also statues and other art depicting magic mushrooms throughout many cultures including the Mayans and Aztecs.
    Egyptians Considered Them the Plant of Immortality - Egyptians referred to mushrooms as the plant of immortality in hieroglyphics more than 4600 years ago. Mushrooms were so revered in Egyptian society that commoners were forbidden from touching them. Mushrooms were considered to be food only for royalty.
    Prebiotics - Are types of dietary fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. This helps the gut bacteria produce nutrients for your colon cells and leads to a healthier digestive system. Mushrooms are easily digested, cheap, and prebiotic.
    Umami, the Fifth Taste - Salty, sweet, bitter, sour these are the four primary tastes, there's actually a fifth known as 'umami'. Mushrooms are the only food that possesses umami, almost meat-like flavor.  
    Mushrooms Can Be Used as a Dye - Combined with a solvent, mushrooms can be used to create vibrant dyes. Different mushrooms with different solvents can make nearly every color of the rainbow. The meadow mushroom plus saltwater can make yellow/green.

    Personally I eat lots of mushrooms, as many different varieties as I can get hold of. They are so versatile and a great addition to any dish! The hard to find ones, which will differ depending on where you live, can often be found in a local health food store in a dried state; or from a trusted online store, buying in bulk can help make your order more cost-effective and stored as per instructions they can be kept for a quite some time.

    Until next time.

    be human, be kind, be you.

     

       

     

    love letter

    REFERENCES / 

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