Maitake (dancing) mushroom, a.k.a. the Hen of the Woods mushroom, is a highly valuable functional or…
4 medicinal mushrooms stand out among the rest with their clinical studies in fighting viruses while boosting the immune system.
Did you know that if you inject a mushroom with E. coli that it will actually sweat out the antibodies?
Did you know that Penicillin was the first true antibiotic. It was discovered back in 1928 and it is a fungus.
Mushrooms thrive in the wild by living off the Forrest soil and thriving off of decaying woods and other matter. Their survival depends on their ability to be able to filter out bacteria and pathogens daily.
This is good for us because we can gain similar benefits by consuming mushrooms that have been proven to boost our immune system and contain compounds and complex substances that fight off bacteria, kill viruses any many other benefits. They do this through their beta-D-glucans and beta-glycosides.
Top 3 Antiviral Properties of Mushrooms
Mushrooms and mycelium contain Beta-D-Glucans within their cell walls. In order for your body to be able to absorb these Beta-D-Glucans effectively they need the extract.
Chitin is found in the cell wall of mushrooms and is indigestible to humans. However, within the chitin lies the highly sought after Beta-D-Glucans.
The only proven method to breakdown and ‘melt away’ the chitinous cell wall and release the Beta-D-Glucan is through hot water extract. Therefore, it is important to cook your mushrooms before you eat them, or just buy a supplement extract as well. Ideally is to boil them in a soup and drink the water.]
Once these Beta-D-Glucans enter the body they have been shown to activate the following:
1) Macrophages: A type of white blood cell that digests cellular debris, microbes, foreign substances and many other things in a process called phagocytosis. Basically, they are on patrol for anything that should not be there.
2) Neutrophil: They make up 40% – 70% of white blood cells in humans and play a key role in the front-line defense in killing pathogens.
3) Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells): NK cells provide rapid response to virus-infected cells as well as tumor formation. They are unique in they can attack and kill cells even in the absence of antibodies which makes for a faster response time.
Beta-D-Glucans also active other areas of the immune system but I just wanted to cover the top 3 antiviral properties here.
While consuming almost all mushrooms contain beta-D-glucans, there are four mushrooms that have had several clinical studies done on them specifically for fighting viruses and showing antiviral properties…
Top 4 Medicinal Mushrooms for Viruses
1) Reishi Mushroom for Herpes
In one study to determine the antiviral properties of the Reishi (ganoderma lucidum) they were examined for their activities against 4 pathogenic viruses:
1) Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1)
2) Herpes Simplex virus Type 2 (HSV-2)
3) Influenza A Virus (Flu A)
4) Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)
These antiviral properties inhibit cytopathic effects of HSV and VSV while also inhibiting plaque formation of HSV-2. Additionally, “it exhibited potent antiviral activity on the VSV New Jersey strain”. “These results indicate the possibility of development of antiviral agents” from these fungi.
Cyotpathic effects stop structural changes of cells infected by the virus and inhibiting plaque formation is basically stopping the destruction of the cell caused by the virus.
Another study resulted in the “discovery of ganoderic acid T-Q and TR as two potential broad-spectrum inhibitors against influenza NAs, particularly H5N1 and H1N1 NAs, from the most widely known medicinal mushroom in Asia.”
This study found that certain elements found in the Reishi mushroom assist with the inhibition of H5N1 and H1N1 Neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors. NAs are commonly used in antiviral drugs to prevent the reproduction of viruses. The study concluded that these elements “have potentially valuable implications for the design and development of NA inhibitors.”
Check out a reishi mushroom supplement extract on Amazon.
Check out dried Reishi mushroom on Amazon to put in your soups or teas.
2) Cordyceps Mushroom Benefits
The cordyceps mushroom has claims from folk healers/traditional healers to be used in treatment for the cold as well as many other treatments:
Additionally, it has been shown to decrease inflammation in chronic asthma and other lung diseases which could come in very helpful in improving the strength of your lungs.
Check out a Corydceps mushroom supplement extract on Amazon.
Check out dried Cordyceps mushroom on Amazon to put in your soups or teas.
3) Maitake Mushroom Benefits (Hen of the Woods)
The cool thing about this mushroom is it has the potential to stop the replication of the influenza virus which would be very helpful in allowing your body to fight it off without getting to overwhelmed and prevent a lot of excessive damage. Additionally, it also shows to boost your bodies supply of antiviral cytokines.
Here is a quote from the studies abstract:
“Notably, the inhibitory effect of the CM prepared by using MF2 (molecular weight of 30 Kd to 100 Kd) was the strongest (28% reduction compared to the control). RT-PCR and ELISA assays showed that the CMs could induce the expression of TNF-α mRNA in D1 cells leading to production of TNF-α, known as an antiviral cytokine. These findings suggest that ME and MFs (especially MF-2) might induce the production of certain factors, including TNF-α, which are responsible for the inhibition of viral growth in vitro.”
Check out a Maitake mushroom supplement extract on Amazon.
Check out dried Maitake mushroom on Amazon to put in your soups or teas.
4) Shiitake Mushrooms Benefits
The Shiitake is really exciting because is shows potential in stopping the growth of the influenza virus by preventing the entry and it has a cool process of un-coating the influenza virus. Here is a quote from the studies abstract:
“We propose that LEM has anti-influenza virus activities through the direct action on viral growth and stimulatory activity of innate immunity.”
“Lentinula edodes mycelia (LEM) is a whole extract from the mycelial culture of Japanese edible mushroom, Lentinus edodes, grown in a solid medium of sugar-cane bagasse and defatted rice bran. LEM and its purified fractions have been shown to have antiviral activities against hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (Suzuki et al., 1990; Kawano et al., 2010; Okuno and Uno, 2011; Kim et al., 2014; Matsuhisa et al., 2015). ”
Additionally, when the Shiitake extract was given to mice that were infected with the influenza virus, it actually increased their survival rate. When taken in combination with Maitake it has been shown to increase the effectiveness in it’s virus fighting ability.
Check out a Shiitake mushroom supplement extract on Amazon.
Check out dried Shiitake mushroom on Amazon.
Bonus Antiviral Mushrooms List
If you listen to Paul Stamets in his recent talk at SAND you will see he also mentions some medicinal mushrooms that he has shown through his studies to prevent viruses:
In his talk he tells how the Honeybee population is decreasing annually by 50% because viruses infect bees. One of the reasons is because the bees don’t have access to mushrooms to consume to receive their antiviral properties.
In this video he mentions of the following antiviral mushrooms:
1) Amadou: Effective killing reducing the Deformed Wing Virus (DMV) by 879:1 in bees.
2) Reishi: Reduces DMV by 80:1 and the Lake Sinai Virus (LSV) by 45,000 to 1.
3) Chaga: Reduces the Black Queen Cell Virus that affects all queen bees by 500:1
4) Red Belted Polypore: Doubled the life span of bees.
Mushroom Supplement Blend
As you can see there are studies on mushrooms to prove their potential to assist as an antiviral treatment. All mushrooms tend to have many these characteristics as well.
Therefore, you may want to consider getting a mushroom extract blend that uses the top 10 medicinal mushrooms. All of these mushrooms have proven numerous medicinal benefits. From my research the one I recommend is the 14:1 SUPERFOOD 10 Organic Mushroom Powder Extract Supplement:
You can also check out my article where I review that top 15 mushroom supplement blends that are all extracts and are sourced from the actual fruiting body of the mushroom to provide maximum health benefit.
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It is true that all mushrooms contain beta-D-glucans and can help with boosting the immune system health. However, we covered top 4 medicinal mushrooms that have the most proven clinical studies in regards to fighting off viruses.
One of the biggest concerns is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and none of these have clinical studies for fighting that virus. Anyway, you can see that these mushrooms do have some pretty cool virus fighting ability in general.
Also, since the Coronavirus is a new virus that is why there are not any clinical studies on it. However, I am sure there will be many clinical studies to reference in the near future.
If you want to learn more about preventing the Coronavirus specifically, then check out that article here:
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