(NaturalNews) The chances of a brush with cancer these days are unfortunately high, especially in the West - with one in three now expected to suffer some form our most notorious disease at some point in their lives. With the rise of environmental toxins, unnatural levels of hormones in dairy and meat produce, transfats and sugars in foods, and freaky chemicals in cosmetics, cancer's relentless rise is unwelcome, but ultimately understandable.
Whereas NaturalNews readers will be aware that a healthy diet filled with wholefoods and genuine nutrition is a great way to help protect yourself against cancer, the fact is we can never tell exactly where the cancer roulette wheel will land.
Given this, many people will unfortunately have to suffer chemotherapy at some point in their treatment, which severely diminishes the immune system and energy levels. Fortunately, nature has ways to counteract the worst of any trial man can dream up! One of the lesser known ways of combating the some of the negative effects of cancer and chemotherapy is from the use of medicinal mushrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms are a group of edible mushrooms, or extracts from the mushrooms, which contain a diverse range of incredibly powerful compounds which have been scientifically proven to 1) prevent certain cancers; 2) reduce symptoms of cancers; 3) significantly boost a compromised immune system; and, 4) reduce negative effects of various cancer treatments, including chemotherapy.
In the USA and Europe, knowledge is finally seeping through about the power hidden in the mycological kingdom, and Western science is confirming ancient Eastern knowledge about the health improving and cancer fighting abilities of medicinal mushrooms.
Snow Fungus (Tremella Fuciforims)
Cobalt-60 is a type of radiation therapy which has been used for 60 years. It is one of the most precise administrations of radiotherapy, most commonly used in brain cancer. Despite its usefulness as a conventional treatment, Cobalt-60 chemotherapy reduces myeloid granuloctyes (an important type of white blood cell which is damaged during chemotherapy) to 20 percent of natural levels. However, daily administration of Tremella Fuciformis (Snow Fungus) leads to a reduction of myeloid granulocytes to 60 percent of the normal amount - a significant 40 percent boost over non-users.
PSK is a polysaccharide extracted from the Turkey Tail Mushroom, the most researched of the medicinal mushrooms, and is licensed in Japan as an adjuvant in cancer treatment (An adjuvant is something which is recommended for use alongside conventional cancer treatment) and has scientifically proven anticancer activity from in vitro (in the lab) and in vivo (in the body). At the University of Texas Cancer Center MD Anderson has reported that it is a "promising candidate for chemo-prevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process, limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods of time." Anecdotal reports suggest during chemotherapy, users of Turkey Tail extracts have a better immune system response; in Japan it can even be claimed on medical insurance!
Shiitake - Lentinan
Most people know the gourmet Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinus Edodes), but less are aware of its cancer fighting properties. One of the symptoms of cancer, and specifically chemotherapy, is the huge strain on the immune system. Polysaccharide compounds in the Shiitake Mushroom significantly increase immune function, helping chemotherpay sufferers boost their immune system. A pure extract of one of these polysaccharides is called lentinan and has been licensed for anti-tumour treatment in Japan for 30 years, and clinical studies of cancer patients have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life, and lower re-occurrence rates.
Other medicinal mushrooms which also improve immune function include Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum), ABM (Agaricus Blazei Murril), Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) and Antrodia CamphorataAntrodia Camphorata. Have a look around online, find out about medicinal mushrooms and their effects on cancer treatment and if you or a friend is unfortunate enough to suffer cancer, maybe these natural marvels might be able to lend a helping hand.
The Mushroom Cultivator, Paul Stamets and J.S. Chilton
About the author: Mark Towse is a professional naturopath, nutritionist and mycologist specializing in herbal extracts, phytonutrients and medicinal mushrooms. He owns and runs the European herbal extract specialist Active Health Supplements, www.activehealthsupplements.com. He is interested in all things relating to the natural world, particularly the healing power hidden within the plant kingdom and how nature has given us the power to detoxify, re-balance and strengthen ourselves in the increasingly crazy pressures of modern life! If you are interested in high-strength herbal extracts and rare medicinal mushrooms, or are looking for more information or advice in his specialist areas, he'd love you to visit his website www.activehealthsupplements.com.