Mushrooms have been used medicinally for years for multiple reasons. Medical researches have found that species of mushrooms such as maitake, shiitake and reishi can enhance the immune system, provide anti-cancer and anti-viral properties and promote liver function.
Maitake mushrooms may protect the liver and enhances white blood cell activity. Reishi mushrooms promote antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects as well as support normal cell growth. Shiitake mushrooms may increase white-blood cell activity. Oyster mushrooms are a natural source of lovastatin, which significantly lower cholesterol levels.
A recent study from the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that scientists have discovered how a drug from wild mushroom can be effective for treating a wide range of cancers. Cordycepin, an extract from the cordyceps mushroom commonly used in Chinese medicine, is the main reason for the success. The cordyceps mushroom has been studied by medical researchers since 1950 and its natural supplements have been sold around the world.
Researchers believe the potential health benefits of cordyceps mushrooms have yet to be fully discovered. The Nottingham team observed two effects on the cells: at a low dose cordycepin inhibits the uncontrolled growth and division of the cells, and at high doses it stops cells from sticking together, which also inhibits growth.
Both of these effects probably have the same underlying mechanism that cordycepin interferes with how cells make proteins. At low doses cordycepin interferes with the production of mRNA, the molecule that gives instructions on how to assemble a protein, and at higher doses it has a direct impact on the making of proteins.
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