Originally published May 27 2010
Reishi Mushrooms Offer Help for Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis
by William Rudolph
(NaturalNews) One of the key measures of a long and well lived life is adaptability. A person`s ability to adapt to changing circumstances goes a long way toward predicting longevity. This involves the responsiveness and functionality of the immune system. A robust immune system capable of adjusting to ever-changing situations is a key factor in preventing the manifestation of a cold or cancer, or anything in between. One important aspect of immune function is its ability to self-regulate downward when needed so that it doesn`t become hyperactive and attack your own tissues, as in the case with Rheumatoid arthritis. Fortunately, nature has delivered an amazingly versatile herb in the Reishi mushroom with the proven capacity to deliver relief and even assist in reversing this condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that can be characterized by chronic inflammation of the tissues and organs, but it usually attacks the joints. This hyper-inflammatory response can lead to the destruction of cartilage and the loss of mobility. Symptoms of RA can include swollen and stiff joints, accompanied by considerable pain and loss of function. It is three times more common in women than men, with the first onset of symptoms usually occurring between the ages of 40 and 60. RA is usually treated by mainstream medicine with cortisone-like steroids that suppress the immune system. Even in low dosages, these drugs can cause osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, or high blood sugar. Most importantly, this unnatural and dangerous approach to artificially suppressing the immune system can leave you susceptible to infections.
Reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is one of the oldest known herbal medicines in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It is native to China, Japan, and North America, has been used for thousands of years, and is revered for its longevity-promoting capabilities. Reishi influences cells that regulate the immune system - namely, lymphatic cells and interferon alpha and interferon beta cells - and has the ability to "educate" these cells of immunity so that they better respond to the body`s needs. In other words, with the help of Reishi, if cells of the immune system are not responsive enough, they will be called to action, or if they are hyperactive such as in the case of an autoimmune disorder such as RA, they will back down.
In a 2007 study published by the University of Hong Kong, the polysaccharide peptides in Reishi were found to "significantly inhibit the proliferation of Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts (RASF)." Read more on the results of this study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17219061
Where steroid medications suppress the immune system, Reishi doesn`t stimulate or suppress but rather educates, helps modulate, and teaches the cells of the immune system how to self-regulate more effectively. When your white blood cells graduate from the School of Reishi, they are better equipped to manage your immune system.
Reishi capsules or a Reishi tea that you consume today may have been one hundred years or more in the making. First, a tree grows and lives for decades, absorbing energy and nutrients from the sun and the soil. Then, when the tree begins to die, mushrooms will attach to the tree, absorb the life force and further concentrate the nutritional content and medicinal qualities that the tree has acquired throughout its life. Once the mushrooms are harvested and encapsulated or made into powders or teas, this concentrated life force is transferred to its end user. This process represents unleashing the power of Mother Nature onto your immunity.
Teeguarden, Ron. The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs. New York, NY: Warner Books -1998.
About the authorWilliam Rudolph is a natural health enthusiast who enjoys researching and learning about natural health approaches and strategies, longevity techniques, and natural ways of achieving peak performance.
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