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Mycotherapy - healing with mushrooms

Mycotherapy is one of the oldest and most effective therapies of naturopathy. Its origin lies in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Mycotherapy is the medicine of mushrooms. Yet the positive effects of some mushrooms on human health have been known for thousands of years. Nowadays, vital mushrooms offer us a unique chance to fight against serious civilization diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure without side effects. But you can also strengthen the immune system, facilitate weight loss, relieve allergies and much more.

What is mycotherapy?

Just as phytotherapy deals with the health effects of plants, mycotherapy is concerned with the healing properties of vital mushrooms – also called “medicinal mushrooms”, “medicated mushrooms” or “medicinal fungi”. Mycotherapy is part of so-called “alternative medicine” and is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). You may now be wondering why there is a separate medical science for mushrooms, when phytotherapy already deals with the health-promoting properties of plants. The reason for this is quite simple: mushrooms are not plants. They form a whole life form of their own.

A medicinal mushroom is always a so-called large mushroom. This means that it is visible to the naked eye as a fungus. Small fungal variants such as mold are not used in mycotherapy. A vital mushroom can be a conventional edible mushroom such as Hericium.

However, mycotherapists also use various tree mushrooms that are not suitable for use in the kitchen. By the way, the most cultivated mushrooms in the world are the mushroom and shiitake. The latter is also a very valuable medicinal mushroom.

Even though mycotherapy is still a relatively young concept within holistic medicine, it is on the rise. While it is an important part of medical practice in Asia and to some extent also in Africa and South America today, as it was centuries ago, its importance is only gradually growing again in Europe.

We say “again” because mushrooms were also a common remedy here centuries and millennia ago. Unfortunately, mushrooms are generally much less common on the table in Europe than in China or Japan, for example. But even that is slowly changing as more and more people realize its nutritional benefits.

Where does mycotherapy come from?

Healing with mushrooms has a long tradition. Thousands of years ago, people knew about their positive effect on human health. Ötzi, for example, had a medicinal mushroom in his luggage on his hike across the Alps 5000 years ago. Presentation of traditional Chinese medicine with dried mushrooms and herbs in Asian ambienceHowever, experts place the starting point for today’s form of mycotherapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It has continuously cultivated the knowledge of medicinal mushrooms over the past centuries. The beginnings of TCM itself are said to be in the Stone Age, when there was already some kind of herbal medicine and even acupuncture. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that one of the first written records mentioning medicinal mushrooms is a TCM book from about 2000 years ago.

Although in the Western world mycotherapy is attributed more to alternative medicine, it has a long tradition in classical medicine behind it. For example, the “Herbal Book” by Adam Lonitzer in 1679 mentions relevant medicinal mushrooms and their effects on health. Today, this form of healing is also pushed into the alternative drawer, because there nature connection and mindfulness are generally capitalized.

Vital mushrooms fit perfectly with the basic assumption that man must always be considered as a whole and only a holistic approach to therapy brings sustainable success. By the way, even modern research is now concerned with the effectiveness of certain medicinal mushrooms and their ingredients. Thus, more and more modern studies prove on a scientific level exactly what mycotherapists have known for centuries.

The importance of mycotherapy today

Despite a high standard of living and unprecedented medical possibilities, we are currently experiencing a rapid increase in both serious and chronic diseases. Cancer and allergies are just two examples of many. A young woman in a park has a happy little girl in her arms and turnsAt the same time, we can also observe a return to natural healing methods and so-called alternative procedures, which include mycotherapy. The reason for this is probably to be found in the holistic nature as well as the gentleness of naturopathic methods. As a rule, they do not cause any side effects. In addition, mycotherapy and related procedures directly address the root cause of a disease, promoting long-term health. This makes them clearly superior to symptom-based therapies.

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An extremely significant effect of vital mushrooms on the human organism is detoxification. Never in the history of mankind has our body come into contact with so many chemical substances and toxins as it does today. This is the starting point for numerous ailments as well as for a generally spreading exhaustion. By taking medicinal mushrooms, the body gradually eliminates toxins already absorbed, resulting in a better general condition and a lower risk of disease. Boosting immune defenses and supporting healthy gut flora are two other factors that make mycotherapy incredibly valuable today.

Why mushrooms support health

Fungi not only form a group of their own alongside plants and animals, but they also have very special forms of metabolism. For example, some medicinal mushrooms are able to decompose wood. From this they draw unique substances that are not found in any other plant and have a high value for human health. In general, the metabolism of fungi is much more similar to that of us humans than to that of plants. That is why the ingredients of medicinal mushrooms are relatively well utilizable for the human organism. They help eliminate the cause of certain ailments altogether, rather than just alleviating noticeable symptoms. Another great advantage of mycotherapy is also that it works absolutely naturally and thus does not involve any side effects or even long-term damage.

In the wild, fungi have to defend themselves against very similar attackers as the human organism. Birch wood with focus on a chaga mushroom growing on a birch tree trunkThat is why, for example, they develop antiviral, antibiotic and fungicidal substances that our immune defenses take advantage of when taking vital mushrooms. In addition, fungi can adapt to adverse environmental conditions. This makes them so-called “adaptogens.” That is why they support our body in adapting to the current situation in the best possible way as well. The mode of action is always in the direction of a harmonic equilibrium. This means, for example, that a medicinal mushroom does not calm OR activate, but has a general balancing effect. Excessive as well as deficient reactions settle at a healthy average. This applies equally to the cardiovascular, endocrine and immune systems.

The most important ingredients of vital mushrooms

Even ordinary edible mushrooms are considered “superfoods.” They are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and also contain all the essential amino acids. Vital mushrooms also contain many specific substances that support our health. The following substances make a particularly outstanding contribution to healing with mushrooms:

Polysaccharides: These are multiple sugars. Medicinal mushrooms mainly contain beta-glucans, which belong to this group. Their extremely complex chemical structure leads to complex reactions in the body. Polysaccharides are a great support for the immune system and metabolism. In addition, they have an antitumor effect.

TriterpenesThese lipids belong to the group of secondary plant compounds. They are primarily responsible for the adaptogenic effect of the vital mushrooms. The vital mushroom Reishi alone contains over 100 different triterpenes, which makes it an extremely versatile medicinal mushroom.

Adenosine: Adenosine is the central building block of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which in turn provides our cells with vital energy. In addition, adenosine is contained in DNA strands. Medicinal mushrooms that have particularly high levels of adenosine include ABM, Auricularia, Cordyceps, Reishi and Shiitake.

Antioxidants: Oxidative stress is considered a central cause of various diseases. That is why it is enormously important to supply the body with sufficient antioxidants. These can render the free radicals harmless.

What ailments can I treat with mushrooms?

Now that you have received a brief overview of the importance and active ingredients of medicinal mushrooms, we would like to take this opportunity to illustrate how wide-ranging the possible applications of mycotherapy are. Thus, healing with mushrooms has proven effective for the following health problems, among others:

This list can be extended almost indefinitely. It is important to know for all these ailments that vital mushrooms not only serve well in treatment, but are equally effective in prevention. So, if you belong to the risk group for a certain disease, taking an appropriate vital mushroom can significantly reduce the risk of actual disease.

What medicinal mushrooms can help me?

If you are now wondering which medicinal mushrooms are suitable for you and how best to take them, please get in touch with our experts at +49 40 334686-370. Also browse through our articles on various disease patterns and medicinal mushrooms. Discover all the wonderful possibilities that mycotherapy brings.

Vital mushrooms in the food bowl

If your four-legged friend suffers from health problems, he can also benefit from the health-promoting effect of vital mushrooms. Many ingredients work equally well on humans and animals. You will also find detailed information on our animal page as well as comprehensive advice from our specialists.

For mushroom powders there are many suppliers

You will find trustworthy suppliers with controlled organic cultivation in Germany, but unfortunately also less recommendable importers of cheap goods. Read what is important when buying.

Weiße Anführungszeichen in dunkelblauem Kreis
Mr. K. from Gotha

"For approximately four years I am symptom-free, except for very few days", so Mr. K. from Gotha summarizes the effect of the welfare mushrooms. "I am very satisfied with the result. Unlike various asthma sprays and desensitizations that had no lasting success."

Weiße Anführungszeichen in dunkelblauem Kreis
Mr. E. R. from Neuhof

"By regularly taking Reishi, my life has become worth living again," Mr. E. R. from Neuhof tells us. "The fear of allergies is gone. And with it, eye burning, sneezing, swollen nose and bronchial whistling."


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