Medicinal mushroom is a food as a medicine not only for adults, but also for children
Medicinal mushrooms are the latest trend in supplementary medicine – a re-emerging theraphy that is raising its recognition in scientific studies for its potential benefits in numerous conditions. But they are indeed not a fictional therapy; Ötzi the iceman, a man from the Copper Age found as mummy in the ice of contemporary Switzerland who lived over 5000 years ago, was found with a medicine kit containing amadou – Fomes Fomentarius. Amadou is described as a potent anti-inflammatory by Hippocrates for cauterizing wounds. Mushrooms were also traditionally consumed by the First Nations Peoples of North America, who used Calvatia (puffball) strains to treat wounds.
Medicinal mushrooms are probably the most affiliated with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the complementary medicine society. The origins of the traditional Chinese medicine connected with a myth that begins from about 5000 years ago with Emperor Yan Di – also called Shen Nong or the Divine Farmer. The emperor is considered as the author of the first Chinese herbal that contains 356 ingredients, including Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) mushrooms. Though it was edited much later – around 2200 years ago.
There are about 14000-150000 mushroom species that are know today
About 700 of them have medicinal properties. There are about 1100 species that are probable to have medicinal potential advantages. Besides all mushrooms have a certain amount of impact on the immune system. The cell walls in the mushrooms are created by the beta-glucans. They are active in the immune system via the fungal polysaccharide-specific receptors found on several immune cells, including dectin-1, CR3, TLR, SIGNR1, LacCer and scavenger cells. They are defined as medicinal and they have compounds alongside the beta glucans - including antiviral, antifungal, sterol, statin and phenolic proteins.
Many medical specialists have chosen medicinal mushroom as a supplement for therapy because the mixture of long history of traditional consumption with the latest scientific researches
Plenty of researches have been made into the use of mushrooms in disease states such as cancer, HIV, and into the immune boosting and antioxidant properties of mushrooms, for healing adult patients. But what about mushrooms for children? There were few controlled trials in children due to the obvious limits surrounding ethics and approval, but some evidence from medical specialists using medicinal mushrooms in children shows some promising results.
A 2017 review of the biologically active polysaccharides, also beta-glucans, in the control and prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) showed that beta-glucans are a probable effective healing method in different groups of people by age, including children (especially beta-glucans from Pleurotus ostreatus).
It is spoken that medicinal specialists have seen a successful treatment in their own children and younger patients by using medicinal mushrooms. A mixture of five mushroom powders ( Cordyceps sinensis – caterpillar mushroom, Lentinula edodes, Trametes versicolor, Grifola frondosa and reishi) has been used for both chronic immune system support ( 0.4 g) and intense dosing for treatment of URTIs 1.5g) in a child of 18 months, with the power added to a formula milk drink. The mushroom mixture was well-received.
One medical specialist has spoken about the experience threatening a seven year old child with a persistent chest infection which has not responded to three rounds of antibiotics. The child was given a mixture of 5g caterpillar mushroom and 5g reishi 2-3 times per day put in yoghurt. After one week of intake the chest infection cleared; treated was continued for two more days fully recover.
The big advantage for using dried medicinal mushroom extracts in children is the variety of foods they can be mixed with
Mushroom powders don’t change their capabilities by the heat and they can be added to food, milk or formula with little effect on taste or texture, and so compliance is high. With the high incidence of infectious disease, most commonly URTis, in young children attending school, kindergarten or day care, chronic support of the immune system is important for therapy – with medicinal mushrooms the dosing can also be increased for more intense support in times of illness.
Probably the biggest advantage in favor of using medicinal mushrooms for children is the introduction of food as medicine. To start with, at an early age, tutoring our children that the food we eat is not just a source of energy, but it can be medicinal and preventive in action. The natural therapies from the flora should be advised to children. They should know that medicinal mushrooms increase concentration while studying and help for the healthy sleep. They also should have in mind the healthy properties of the food as medicine to avoid getting sick, especially during the winter months. Both reishi and chaga mushrooms can be helpful against colds and flus.