While pharmaceutical companies search for the next cancer-fighting drug, scientists in Japan and China may have already found it. They have developed extracts made from natural substances that have no side effects, help prevent cancer, and are beneficial in both conventional and integrative therapies. One Japanese extract is so effective against various tumors that it's considered to be a drug covered by the Japanese healthcare plan.
The raw materials used to make these extracts are whole foods with a great many cancer-fighting properties. Although they’ve been used successfully for thousands of years, scientists have only recently been studying them.
I first talked about their ability to strengthen immunity and detoxify pharmaceutical drugs six years ago. Later, I explained how they improve athletic performance and enhance recovery from exercising. Now I want you to know about their benefits as part of a cancer prevention or treatment program.
Their nutrients increase immunity, have anti-tumor properties, and interrupt the food supply to cancerous tumors. In addition, they have antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties.
I'm talking about medicinal mushrooms.
While there are around 140,000 different mushrooms in the world, only a scant few dozen are grown commercially for nutritional supplements or medications. If you think mushrooms are popular now, just wait. I predict that they will continue to gain in popularity as additional varieties are studied and we learn more about their specific
Mushrooms fight cancer
Mushrooms contain complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides that have anti-tumor and immunostimulating properties. They don’t actually attack cancer cells, but rather activate immune responses that have anti-tumor effects. Different mushroom polysaccharides have different chemical compositions and properties. This is why I prefer a supplement with several medicinal mushrooms over a single extract.
Nutrients are absorbed into growing mushrooms via its thread-like mycelium. The most effective medicinal mushroom supplements I have found are made from mycelium grown on organic materials, such as brown rice.
Although extracts are more concentrated than the whole mushroom, the balance found in a whole food frequently has deeper, longer-lasting effects. Besides, we still don’t know all of a mushroom’s ingredients and their actions. Extracts are like drugs and may be helpful for short periods of time. Use them under the direction of a knowledgeable acupuncturist, MD, or naturopath. Whole mushroom supplements are safe for all of us to take any time.
Turkey Tail (Coriolus versicolor)
Years ago while walking in the country with an herbalist friend, we came upon a dead tree covered with half-moon-shaped fungi. They had distinctive dark brown markings. "This is called Turkey Tail," she said, “because its pattern looks like the bird’s feathers. It's a mushroom that’s used to fight cancer." Since then I discovered that its extract, PSK (polysaccharide Krestin), is the same one covered by health insurance in Japan. A similar extract, PSP (polysaccharide peptide), has been developed in China.
Studies showed that taking Turkey Tail for two months can double a person's natural killer cells, greatly boosting immune activity. Its polysaccharides support chemotherapy and radiation treatments, reducing symptoms. Turkey Tail has strong anti-tumor effects and slows the progression of various cancers.