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The ABC’s Of Medicinal Mushrooms

Among the most important trends in natural health is the rise of medicinal mushrooms as allies in the fight against both internal and external stressors. Of course, this is nothing new for those in eastern cultures, where the use of mushrooms for medicinal purposes has been a long standing tradition for centuries.

By naturally bringing the body into balance, they allow us to keep our defenses strong and robust.

A family of antioxidants and immunomodulators
Consider the following as some of the ABC’s of eight leading medicinal mushrooms:

Agaricus:  This detoxifying medicinal mushroom reduces both physical and mental stress and enhances immune response and overall health. Agaricus is a potent antioxidant and a source of fungal polysaccharides with the immunomodulating properties that help to calm or activate the immune system.

Chaga: Another stress-relieving adaptogen, it is arguably one of the strongest natural antioxidants on the planet. It helps to slow aging by fighting damage caused by free radical action and balances the immune response for enhanced protective effects, including healthy skin.

Cordyceps: This mushroom is synonymous with energy. It helps replenish the adrenal glands and supports breathing and libido. Cordyceps is known for its ability to increase ATP by 30 percent and oxygen utilization by 40%.[i]  This is why is it often popular among athletes wanting to enhance their endurance during exercise. Moreover, Cordyceps increases the body’s capacity to use oxygen effectively, which is central to the effective functioning of the heart, brain and muscles.

Lion’s Mane: Known for boosting brainpower, memory support and clarity, researchers suggest that Lion’s Mane stimulates the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF),[ii] which is known to inhibit age-related loss of cognitive function.  Lion’s Mane also benefits digestion, which is important to our overall nervous system since there are close to 100 million nerve cells embedded in our gut from the esophagus to the anus!

Maitake: This mushroom is known for its antiviral properties. Rich in vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, fiber and amino acids, Maitake is rich in antioxidants and supports immune building. Studies also suggest Maitake encourages balanced blood pressure and blood sugar[iii].

Reishi: Long associated with stress relief, sleep support and mind-calming, Reishi is a most revered ancient mushroom. Like many of its mushroom cousins, it is a powerful adaptogen and immunomodulatory. Red Reishi rejuvenates the body and returns it to a better state of balance to calm the mind, relieve stress and promote restful sleep[iv].

Shiitake: The antioxidant power of this mushroom is complemented by it being a rich source of B-Complex vitamins[v]. Like the other mushrooms, Shiitake possesses the immunomodulating substances that balance the various components of the immune response and enhance its ability to protect the body.

Turkey Tail: Also known as Coriolus, Turkey Tail builds immunity, prevents infection and serves as a natural source of Vitamin D. The specific substances in Turkey Tail effectively strengthen and support the immune system. Given its antiviral, anti-microbial properties, Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used Coriolus to ease infection within the upper respiratory tract.[vi]

The benefits of choosing PURICA medicinal mushrooms

PURICA medicinal mushrooms are defined by four specific characteristics that make them unique.

1. Full Spectrum – The full range of medicinal ingredients is maximized by using components from the entire life cycle of the mushroom: mycelia, fruitbodies spores and extra-cellular compounds.

2. Easily Absorbed – The PURICA micronization process unlocks and releases all of the important ingredients from the indigestible matrix of the mushroom.  This converts them into tiny particles that can be readily absorbed by the digestive tract.

3. Therapeutic Grade – The potency of the active ingredients is preserved through great care in growing to full maturation, and in the harvesting and processing of the mushrooms. The PURICA process results in the highest levels of beta-glucans supporting all aspects of the immune system.

4. Highest Quality – PURICA mushrooms are like superfoods. They are grown on a certified organic plant-base with trace minerals.  They are vegan, GMO-free and all testing is done by a FDA-certified labs.

PURICA mushrooms are available in capsules and powder. In addition to the eight leading medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake and Turkey Tail (Coriolus) – PURICA has also developed special formulations that rely heavily on the properties of mushrooms, including: Immune 7 featuring six mushrooms and the proprietary blend Nutricol (green tea and grape seed); the heart health supplement Provascin; Vitality Adrenal Support; and Rebalance Menopause Relief.

By Tawnya Ritco
Tawnya Ritco, RHN, specializes in the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle and vitality. 

[i] Lou Y, Liao X, Lu Y. Cardiovascular pharmacological studies of ethanol extracts of Cordyceps mycelia and Cordyceps fermentation solution. Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs 1986;17(5):17-21,209-213) Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases improvement of 40% after Cordyceps supplement. (Wang WQ. J. Administration Traditional Chinese Med 1995;5 (supp;):24)
[ii] Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 580752.
[iii] Fraction SX of maitake mushroom favorably influences blood glucose levels and blood pressure in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Med Food. 2012 Oct;15(10):901-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0011. Epub 2012 Aug 8.
[iv] See comment in PubMed Commons belowExtract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007 Apr;86(4):693-8. Epub 2007 Feb 22.
[v] Vitamin B12-Containing Plant Food Sources for Vegetarians Nutrients. 2014 May; 6(5): 1861–1873. Published online 2014 May 5. doi:  10.3390/nu6051861
[vi] Recent progress of research on medicinal mushrooms, foods, and other herbal products used in traditional Chinese medicine J Tradit Complement Med. 2012 Apr-Jun; 2(2): 84–95.
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