Day #9: Fighting Cancer Naturally: Mushrooms
Mushrooms – Although we’ve heard much about medicinal mushrooms (reishi, shiitake, maitake, chaga) in recent years, even the common white button mushroom (the kind you find on pizzas) removes bad estrogens from the body, so is protective against breast and ovarian cancer. For those who live in areas where medicinal mushrooms aren’t easily available (no, not that kind), you can also take these in the form of an herbal supplement, which would have a higher concentration (powder capsule form is best for absorption).
Many of us have cancer cells in us over the years that we don’t even know about, and are obliterated by our immune systems, way before we have ever tangibly “caught” cancer. So it would behoove us to give our immune system extra ammo wherever we can. These medicinal mushrooms catapult our immunity into the stratosphere – they have within them concentrated elements that were once absorbed from the tree they grew on during the entire lifetime of the tree – possibly 100 years. There is nothing “new-agey” about them, they have been used for thousands of years to increase immunity.
Chaga mushrooms grow on birch trees (usually) but also alder, ash, beach and elm trees. Russian political dissident and Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzenhitsyn brought awareness of the chaga mushroom to the west with his book “The Cancer Ward.” He noticed that the peasants who lived near the chaga mushroom and drank it as tea living to 100 and never got cancer. Cancers the chaga mushroom has been known to be beneficial and even curative for:
Brain – Breast – Cervical – Colon – Ewing’s Sarcoma – Leukemia – Liver – Lung – Medulloblastoma – Melanoma – Neuroblastoma – Ovarian – Squamous Cell Cancers of the Head & Neck – Stomach – Uterine
Maitake mushrooms contain grifolan, an important beta-glucan polysaccharide which activates macrophages, which are heavy artillery cells on the frontlines of our immune system. Shiitake mushrooms contain a polysaccharide, called “lentinan”, which spurs your immune system to starts amassing an army of infection fighting cells. When researches fed lentinan in the form of dried shiitake mushroom powder to laboratory animals with tumors, they inhibited tumor growth by 67 percent. Last, but not least, reishi mushrooms which very well could be the silver bullet of fighting cancer. They have been time-tested for 3,000-5,000 years in Chinese medicine and are known as the most potent adaptogen available. Where to begin? Not only does this mushroom fight cancer, but it also wards off heart disease, calms your nerves and relieves both allergies and inflammation. But we’re talking about cancer. Reishi may help the body defeat cancer in not just one, but four ways. In addition to boosting the immune system, the glucan in reishi helps immune cells bind to tumor cells. By reducing the number of cancer cells, reishi mushrooms make it easier for T-cells and macrophages to rid the body of them. Reishi mushrooms are actually recognized by the Japanese government as a cancer treatment. However, don’t count on the FDA to bring this front and center stage anytime soon.
I’m a loyal customer to Far West Fungi, which specializes in a wide varietal of mushrooms, including mushrooms that you can take as a tea. They are the best mushroom merchant this side of the Mississipp! The staff is fun and extremely well-informed. Check them out at the Embarcadero Ferry Building in San Francisco next time you swing through town. Also try www.mountainroseherbs.com, or www.amazon.com.
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