As organisms between the plant and animal world, fungi are slightly underestimated living creatures. Since ancient times, most mushrooms have been used exclusively for nutrition. But their use in medicine has been minimal. So, they found their purpose in magical rituals, spells and potions.
More than a century ago, modern medicine began to show interest in the healing properties of members of the fungi kingdom. It turns out that these organisms have many benefits for human health and can be used as remedies. Various studies had shed light on their nutritional value. This doesn’t apply though to all sorts of mushrooms, but those classified as toxic contain many beneficial ingredients.
Medicinal fungi have been prized in the Eastern tradition for healing properties, but also for the prevention of various diseases. They contain the list of essential amino acids necessary for human life. Although almost 95% of the mushroom is made up of water, the rest of the solid matter is rich in beneficial micro and macronutrients.
Fungi abound in a variety of substances that have proven medicinal properties. In the first place, these are proteins and carbs. The caloric value of mushrooms is made up of B-group vitamins, as well as Vitamin C. Also, fungi contain beta-carotene, which the human body turns into Vitamin A.
All medicinal fungi are rich in antioxidants. The list of minerals in them is also long – they contain potassium, phosphorus, sodium, selenium, iron, and calcium in the optimal amount. Due to the presence of phenols and polysaccharides – anti-inflammatory and anticancer substances – the health potential of fungi is high.
Healthy ‘Pom-Pom’ Mushroom – Lion’s Mane
You all know how mushrooms look. Or at least you think you know. That is why many are surprised to see a medical fungus of a specific name – a Lions Mane. The traditional name may be associated with a lion’s head, but in fact, this representative of the mushroom kingdom looks more like a fluffy toy.
Among all fungi used in human nutrition, a lion’s mane has perhaps the most clinical studies that confirm its therapeutic effects. Although it can be used in almost every branch of medicine, due to its many favorable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, the effects associated with nervous system diseases are particularly prominent.
Helps with Neuromuscular Disorders
Scientists who have researched this unusual fungus found out that certain active ingredients from it are essential in the healing of nerve tissue. This fact can be useful in treating diseases that cause premature nerve failures, such as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.
Namely, active substances from the lion’s mane mushroom stimulate the renewal of the cover of the damaged cells. Damage occurred due to a genetic factor or as a consequence of some disease or physical injury. In repaired tissues, the nerve signals are restored. It means that patients can return mobility after taking this medication.
Relieve Cognitive Disorders
The regenerating feature of the lion’s mane, combined with the neuroprotective effect, makes this mushroom a desirable therapy for cognitive impairment. Treatment based on a lion’s mane is recommended for patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Some of the active substances in this fungus boost the release of nerve growth factor. That further stimulates nerve tissue renewal. At the same time, antioxidants reduce the deposition of elements that lead to dementia.
Besides treating memory disorders, a lion’s mane can be useful for all those suffering neuropathic pain due to injury. Further studies are ongoing, but so far, it has been confirmed that it can significantly improve the quality of patients’ lives.
Boost Brain Functions
A lion’s mane affects the production of nerve growth factors, thereby improving the overall function of the brain. It proves that this mushroom can be used safely as a natural nootropic. It has remarkable effects on memory, learning ability, focus improvement, but also the healthy functioning of the immune system.
A lion’s mane looks exotic and this unusual look attracted people to it since olden times. When studies confirmed how beneficial this miracle of nature is, it was no wonder it was marked as a superfood. Plus, it tastes great, too.