The mushroom's resistance to microbial attack is apparent from their hardiness in dark, moist environments where viruses and bacteria tend to flourish. The lower fungi (molds) were the first sources of antibiotics (penicillin, erythromycin and tetracycline); the higher fungi, mushrooms also make potent antiviral and antibacterial compounds to protect themselves against pathogens that would otherwise compromise their growth.
Along with polysaccharides, mushrooms also contain selenium and antioxidants, all of which stimulate immune function. Since mushrooms tend to accumulate aluminum which occurs naturally in soils, it is best to purchase them through reputable dealers. MycoStat claims to address this issue in the process of their liquid product.
Mushroom (ganoderma lucidum)
The Reishi mushroom has been used to ease nervous tension, enhance sleep,reduce indigestion, and support immune system functions. In clinical studies, it has been found to shrink tumors and increase T-cell and alpha-interferon production.
Shiitakes increase the production of macrophages (cells that eliminate foreign substances). Shiitakes also promote the production and utilization of Vitamin D. The principal active constituent in Shiitake is the polysaccharide lentinan which supports the immune system. Shiitake also contains a polysaccharide known as KS-2, and a polypentose, Ac2P, both of which are under investigation for their effects on viruses and the immune system. It is also an interferon inducer and increases the activity of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase.
In Japan, Shiitakes are used to treat breast cancer. The Chinese and the Japanese use Shiitakes to increase resistance to disease.
Mushroom (grifola frondosa)
Of the mushrooms that have been studied for medicinal value, Maitake has been found to have the most consistent anti-cancer effect form oral intake. Other mushrooms may have active ingredients that are effective when injected.
Beta-Glucan (1, 6 and 1, 3), one of the polysaccharides present in the Maitake, is extracted and sold in health food stores and has a good anecdotal tract record for assisting cancer patients.
D-fraction, also extracted and sold in capsule form at health food stores, increases interleukin-1 production from macrophages suppressing tumor growth and inhibiting metastasis. Studies show that D-fraction also augments the anticancer activity of drugs like Mytomycin and is effective in reducing the toxic side effects of chemotherapy by reducing the incidence of appetite loss, vomiting, nausea, hair loss, and leukopenia (deficiency of immune cells) in human cancer patients.
Dried Maitake mushrooms are readily available while fresh ones are still rare in the US.
fungus (cordyceps sinensis)