Cordyceps sinensis (also known as Cordyceps) is a fungus that grows naturally in many parts of the world including Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe. It’s name comes from the Greek word “képis” which means “to chew”. This mushroom is used for its medicinal properties such as treating arthritis, depression, anxiety disorders and even cancer. The fungus is considered to have anti-inflammatory effects, it can reduce inflammation in the body and it may even prevent or reverse some types of cancers.
The scientific research on this fungus is still ongoing, but there are several studies showing that eating these mushrooms could help with weight loss, diabetes prevention and treatment, heart disease prevention and treatment, blood pressure control and cholesterol reduction. These findings suggest that consuming mushrooms regularly might actually lower your risk of developing certain diseases.
It is believed that the mushroom contains compounds called mycotoxins, which cause damage to the human liver and other organs when consumed. Mycotoxin poisoning can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and even death. There are no reported cases of humans becoming ill after eating mushrooms. However, there have been reports of animals dying after ingesting these fungi.
The most common symptoms include lethargy, weakness and tremors followed by coma and eventually death.
Toxins are usually concentrated in certain parts of the mushroom, which means that only these parts of the fungus should not be eaten and can make you sick if you do. To prevent any accidental illnesses or death when eating mushrooms, always ensure that you remove and discard these parts before preparing or cooking them. It is also important that you don’t pick and eat any mushroom that you cannot identify with complete certainty.
Shiitake mushrooms are a popular culinary ingredient in many Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and China. They are used in dishes to boost the flavor as well as texture. It is also used in the production of certain types of food such as tempeh, which is a soy-based cake. The mushrooms are also used to manufacture certain types of beverages such as wine, coffee and vinegar.
Most species of this mushroom grow on dead trees and other vegetation. In Asia, they are mostly cultivated on dead logs. The mycelium, or the root system of the fungus is used in the cultivation process. It is placed into a hole in a log where it can easily take root as it feeds on the cellulose of the dead wood.
As it grows and spreads, it breaks down the wood while absorbing nutrients and minerals. This process is essential for recycling wood that would otherwise take centuries to decompose.
When cultivated indoors, the mushrooms are usually grown in a mixture of hardwood sawdust and grain husks. The mixture is packed into plastic bags or wooden boxes where moisture can easily be controlled. Pins that signify the growth of the mushroom emerge after 4-6 weeks, after which they are harvested.
Shiitake mushrooms can also be bought from the supermarket. To conserve medicinal properties, the mushrooms should be dried yourself at home and then consumed in tablet or capsule form.
If you are going out to hunt for these delicious mushrooms yourself, there are a few things to remember to keep you safe and healthy. Just like with any mushroom, it is important that you thoroughly wash or wipe the specimen to remove any dirt or debris. Also, make sure that your hands are clean before handling them.
Remember, always check your local laws to ensure that it is legal to collect mushrooms in your area!
Shiitake mushrooms contain a variety of nutrients and minerals that are essential for optimum health. They are a good source of iron, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. As mentioned earlier, they also contain antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds such as Lentinan and Shitanoside.
Health Benefits of Eating Shiitake Mushrooms
1) Promotes Heart Health
The antioxidant properties of the shiitake mushroom help to protect the cardiovascular system. It prevents fatty build-up and reduces oxidative stress in blood vessels that can cause plaque buildup. Just a half-cup serving of shiitake mushrooms provide 8% of your daily value of copper, which is an essential mineral that helps to keep the heart functioning properly.
Shiitake mushrooms are also a good source of potassium. Just one cup of these mushrooms contains 20% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium. Potassium works with sodium to help control the heart rate as well as blood pressure. It also helps to eliminate waste from within the cells and is therefore needed for maintaining a regular heartbeat.
2) Helps in Diabetes Management
Shiitake mushrooms are low in both sugar and fat but they do contain a fair amount of carbohydrates. Despite being high in fiber, they have only a mild effect on blood sugar levels. This makes them suitable even for people with diabetes as part of a balanced diet.
3) Combats Infections
Shiitake mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 4000 years. It is believed to stimulate the activity of white blood cells and is effective against a wide range of bacterial and fungal infections such as the common cold and sore throat as well as Cystitis and Prostatitis.
4) Boosts the Immune System
Shiitake mushrooms contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimum health. As well as being rich in iron and copper, these mushrooms also contain selenium, which is an essential antioxidant that plays an important role in immunity.
Other essential vitamins and minerals that shiitake mushrooms contain include:
* Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – Needed for healthy skin, red blood cells and the processing of food in the body.
* Niacin (Vitamin B3) – Needed to release energy from food and to prevent blood clots.
* Folate (Vitamin B9) – Needed for cell growth and development during pregnancy.
5) May Help in Weight Loss
Due to being low in both fat and sugar content, these mushrooms make an excellent choice for anyone wanting to lose weight. However, remember to still eat them in moderation.
6) Rich in Selenium
Shiitake mushrooms are a rich source of selenium, this essential trace element has antioxidant properties and prevents damage to important cells in the body.
7) Improve Mental Performance
Due to their high concentration of Vitamin B and Iron, shiitake mushrooms can help to increase physical and mental performance. They have also been linked to reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
8) Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers
Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by up to 20% and lung cancer by up to 50%. They are also rich in antioxidants that stop the premature aging of cells and reduce the risk of other types of cancers.
9) Prevent anemia
Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of iron, which is a mineral that many of us don’t get enough of in our diet. Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin in red blood cells, which transport oxygen to all parts of the body.
10) Promote Bone Health
Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of copper, which is a mineral that many of us don’t get enough of in our diet. Copper is essential for the production of collagen, which is needed to keep bones, joints and tendons healthy.
11) Regulate Blood Sugar
Due to being low in both sugar and fat, shiitake mushrooms make an excellent choice for anyone wanting to control blood sugar levels.
12) Improve Digestion
One of the problems that many of us face today is indigestion and poor absorption of nutrients from the food that we consume. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of Chitin, which can help to relieve the symptoms of these problems.
Shiitake mushrooms also contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for cell growth and repair.
13) Help Reduce Acne
Shiitake mushrooms are highly absorbent and can draw out oils and toxins from the skin when applied topically. They can be used as an effective treatment for acne. Simply wash the mushrooms, slice them up and place them in boiling water for at least ten minutes. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter, place it in a glass jar and refrigerate it until it is cold.
Apply the liquid to the face with a cotton ball after cleansing the skin.
14) Prevent Sunburn
Shiitake mushrooms have a high Vitamin D content, which helps promote healthy bones and protect against osteoporosis and other bone diseases. They should be eaten regularly as part of a balanced diet.
Shiitake mushrooms can be enjoyed in many delicious dishes. They pair well with beef, fish, chicken, pasta, gravy, vegetables and more!
Sources & references used in this article:
Almost Magic: Why You Need to Eat More Mushrooms by J Taraday – breakingmuscle.com
Magical mushrooms, mischievous molds by GW Hudler – 2000 – books.google.com
Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide: A Handbook for Psilocybin Enthusiasts by OT Oss, ON Oeric – 1992 – books.google.com
Harm potential of magic mushroom use: a review by RG Wasson – Life, 1957