Medicinal Mushrooms: Health benefits include cancer fighting, cholesterol lowering and more!

If we think about mushrooms at all, we may consider them a tasty addition to a salad or casserole. In fact, an estimated 38,000 species of mushrooms, most provide a wealth of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin C, as well as calcium and other minerals. And at least three species have demonstrated phenomenal healing potential: maitake, shiitake, and reishi. These medicinal mushrooms have been shown to boost heart health; lower the risk of cancer,; promote immune function; ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi; reduce inflammation; combat allergies; help balance blood sugar levels; and support the body's detoxification mechanisms.

Why are medicinal mushrooms becoming increasingly popular in North America? Harriet Beinfield, acupuncturist and co-author of Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine, explains: " the movement began with healthy food in the late '60s; now it's health medicine. People are interested in medicinal mushrooms because they've been used effectively for thousands of years".

Maitake, shiitake, and reishi mushrooms have many overlapping properties: all boost immune function, all support cardiovascular health, and all show promise in lowering the risk of - or treating - cancer. However, maitake is specifically recommended for the stomach and intestines, as well as blood sugar levels; shiitake treats nutritional deficiencies and liver ailments; and reishi promotes respiratory health and spirituality.

Details on 3 main Medicinal Mushrooms:

Source: Nature's Impact Dec / Jan - 1997/98

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