Breast cancer continues to be a leading cause of cancer death in women.
The cancer kills, not because it invades the breast, but because it invades
the whole body, particularly the bone and the brain. We diagnose it with
increasing frequency, and treatments are disfiguring and, frankly, pretty
brutal, removing one of the major attributes of our femininity, the breast.
The paper whose title is the title of this article discusses the value of a particular
Cordyceps sinensis, which has been used in China for thousands of years
as a treatment for multiple conditions involving the immune system, including tumors.
Why should a lowly mushroom be beneficial to our health?
The health of most forests depends upon the presence, abundance and variety
of their interconnecting roots (called mycorrhiza), i.e. the number and
variety of mushrooms growing in the forest and the interplay among their
interconnections. Mushrooms help plants to fix nitrogen from the air and
the soil, so that their leaves may grow.
Did you ever ask yourself whether these mushrooms might serve a similar
function in us? After all, our guts contain a large number of fungi –
which we tend to lump together under the name “candida”. We
blame these mushrooms for a variety of symptoms – leaky gut, diarrhea,
abdominal pain, muscle and joint pains…
What if the mushrooms were found to be beneficial all along? What if they
just overgrow because we overfeed them? Or feed them food they cannot
use, such as monosodium glutamate, aspartame, red dye #40. Did you ever
think that perhaps their invasion into our body’s function occurs
because they are looking to clean up their environment, the way they do
in the forest?
Mushrooms produce a network of roots called the “mycelium”
which is essential for their survival. The mycelium is packed with vitamins
and nutrients, helps to condition the soil in which it grows, helps choose
beneficial bacteria to break down nutrients and produce other nutrients
which we cannot produce ourselves.
In human terms, the mushrooms and their mycelia have been shown to be
prebiotics for our gut, encouraging the growth of helpful bacteria like acidophilus
and Bifidobacterium, as well as supporting our immune systems.
The mycelium also destroys environmental toxins. If it grows in a soil
which contains a multitude of toxic chemicals, the mycelium does indeed
take up those toxins, cleaning up the soil. But you probably don’t
want to eat mushrooms grown in that toxic environment.
For medicinal purposes, mushrooms have been shown to activate Toll-like
receptors, a very
important part of the innate immune system which is also involved in recognition
of cancerous cells, and preventing their growth.
Get your mushrooms – both food and medicinal – grown organically,
so that you may get the benefit of their ability to clean up
your toxic environment, and enjoy the taste and nutrients at the same time.
And if you are taking them for medicinal purposes, make
sure that they are grown organically. You might be surprised at how much mercury
and other toxic contaminants may be present in those inexpensive supplements.
Ask for a chemical analysis of the end product before you buy it.
 One excellent source of organic medicinal mushrooms is
Desert Forest Nutritionals, whose mushrooms are grown organically in the Brazilian Rainforest.