Richard J Smit

Natuurgeneeskundig therapeut
Natural Health Practitioner


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Beneficial mushrooms

For many years, I have used beneficial mushrooms in my practice with very good results. Mushrooms have been part of our diet for thousands of years and their use as a medicinal herb therefore belongs in herbal medicine. The Kingdom Fungi includes what we call mushrooms and are essential for all life on earth, for plants, humans and animals. They form one of the largest and most successful Kingdoms in the world. Many fungi convert dead material around us into useful materials that other organisms (trees, man and animals) can absorb in their body. Some fungal organisms have been found with a diameter of 8.9 km and are arguably one of the largest organisms in the world. Fungi often live in symbiosis with trees, i.e. there is a co-operation with the tree or plant with the fungus getting energy created by the tree by photosynthesis in exchange for nutrients taken up from the soil and protection against soil pathogens. Many types of fungi have a preference for certain types of trees to live in symbiosis with or to parasitize.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)Mushrooms have always mysteriously impressed man by their odd shapes, colours and the unusual speed with which they grow. They have been used as food already for centuries, especially in winter when food was scarce, and for medicinal purposes. The most famous example for medical use is Penicillium (a type of mold) to which countless people and animals owe their life. In the food industry, fungi are used for the production of wine, beer, yoghurt and cheeses such as Roquefort.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidium)

The Chinese have venerated mushrooms already for 3000 years because they improve the quality of life and health and support the immune system. Some rare mushrooms were worth their weight in gold. This is still the case for the wild Cordyceps sinensis which is found on the Tibetan plateau.

Under Dutch law in information on food supplements no specific diseases may be mentioned for which the products might have a healing effect.


Coriolus Coriolus (trametes) versicolor

 

 

All beneficial mushrooms have immune stimulating properties and possess a range of active substances. The most famous and interesting substances are polysaccharides. These are large, branched molecules constructed from smaller units of sugar molecules, which have a strong stimulating effect particularly on our immune system. Furthermore they contain amino acids, trace elements such as iron and selenium and B-vitamins.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) In addition Chaga also contains betulinic acid that supports very strongly the immune system. These polysaccharides and betulinic acid creates a variety of reactions in the immune system: it increases the number of macrophages (devouring cells) which break malignant cells down. The polysaccharides also boost the levels of natural killercells (NK) and T-lymphocytes. Smaller compounds such as terpenes and steroids are also found and these have an immune stimulating effect as well.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) Furthermore, mushrooms have a supporting role in winter-related illnesses and have a positive effect on blood pressure, blood fat and glucose.

The mushrooms I use are grown on a very carefully constructed substrate with a process similar to that of nature, but with one big advantage: contamination by other fungi, pesticides and other contaminants is thereby excluded. For this culture method the mycelium and young fruit body are used.

The mushrooms are dried, pulverized and processed into tablets or powder.

The whole process is conducted under GMP guidelines.

The following mushrooms are used in my practice:

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) Chaga Inonotus obliquus
Cordyceps Cordyceps sinensis
Reishi Ganoderma lucidium
Coriolus Coriolus (Trametes) versicolor
Shiitake Lentinula edodes
Maitake Grifola frondosa
Blazei Agaricus blazei
Auricularia Auricularia auricula-judae
Pleurotus Pleurotus ostreatus
Hericium Hericium erinaceus
Hoelen Wolfiporia extensa
Grifola umbellata Polyporus umbellatus (Zhu Ling)

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