Mushrooms are all the rage right now for their varied uses in health and wellbeing. Many species have been used for centuries in ancient Chinese apothecaries for any number of ailments including low libido, fatigue, poor memory and even to enhance beauty, however, there has been a lot of fascinating research in recent years particularly for their potent immune enhancing abilities.
One area of study surrounding the immune properties of mushrooms is focused on their beta-glucans. These are specific sugars that are found in the fruiting bodies of mushrooms that have been found to improve the body’s vigilance against viral pathogens and may even have the ability to train the body’s innate immune system to respond to foreign invaders.
Common mushroom varieties such as shiitake, maitake and reishi in particular have shown to have powerful effects when taken in early stages of viral infections, however, according to Professor Kerry Bone, these mushrooms are best used as a preventative and can be included in your daily routine.
Luckily for us, we don’t need to sit down to a large bowl of mushrooms every night to benefit from their medicinal effects - although, including some shiitake in your next stir fry is not a bad idea!
There are now a huge variety of good quality supplements available on the market in powder, liquid and capsule form that deliver high doses of these specific compounds in a much more palatable form. As with all supplements, it is important to purchase from a reputable source, so best to speak to a qualified practitioner before purchasing some immune mushies!