Mushrooms have long been used by Asian cultures for medicinal purposes. In the Western World, we have grown accustomed to dismissing traditional medicine, and yet around 70% of the new drugs introduced over the last 25years have been derived from natural sources. We have only recently started to investigate mycological sources for drugs, and many of the traditional Chinese or Japanese medicinal mushrooms have now been shown to have very real, and in some cases, exceptionally effective, medicinal effects. This little-studied area is undergoing increased research, as drug companies realise the huge potential for undiscovered drugs sourced from mushrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms contain a variety of medically-active components, often acting by stimulating the body's own immune system. Mushrooms provide especially effective treatments against some forms of cancer, both in terms of control and prevention.
Some medicinal mushrooms are good quality edible mushrooms which possess medicinal qualities - such as Shiitake and Lions Mane. Others are too tough to eat, or are very bitter, and are therefore either chopped/ground up and added to soups or stews, or alternatively used to brew mushroom teas.
For cancer-sufferers, mushrooms offer new hope in addition to conventional medical treatment. Scientific studies have unequivocally proved the benefit of certain types of mushrooms for certain types of cancer, with regression rates of up to 100%.