Use of Mycelium by Cardiac Patients

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Mycelium is the root of mushrooms.
Mycelium is the root of mushrooms.

Mycelium is a fancy term for fungus. More specifically, it is the "vegetative part of fungus," according to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Mushrooms are the result of mycelium growth, or the "fruit." They have been used in herbal medicine for their substantial healing properties. It has been suggested that mushrooms (fruit, mycelium and other compounds) could lower cholesterol levels and prevent artherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). It is possible that cardiac patients could benefit from the use of these herbal remedies.

  1. Medicinal mushrooms

    • According to Full Spectrum Mushroom Mycelium Products, there are mushroom extracts, liquid culture myceliums, mycelium biomass powders and fruitbody products. Each uses different forms of the fungus. The science of medicinal mushrooms began in the 1970s. Before that, mushrooms had been used medicinally for centuries without scientific research.

      The part of the fungus that is used, the process for cultivating it and the specific methods used all play a role in the effectiveness of the products. Also, different mushrooms, like Shiitake or Cordyceps Sinensis, can be used. Maitake, Shiitake and Reishi all assist with heart health, according to Health Castle.

    Shiitake for heart health

    • Specifically, the Shiitake mushroom has been used for improving heart health. According to Health Castle, Japanese researchers discovered a specific amino acid in the Shiitake mushroom that assists with processing cholesterol at a faster rate. In the study Herbs for Health, done in 1997, 40 older adults who consumed the Shiitake mushroom product for seven days reduced their cholesterol levels by up to 15 percent. For younger female subjects, cholesterol levels were lowered by 6 to 12 percent.

    Reishi for cardiotonic properties

    • According to Disabled World, Reishi (Ling Zhi) mushrooms can lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, making them cardiotonic. In Chinese Medicine, this type of mushroom is used for coronary artery disease because of its many active ingredients like sterols and amino acids. In particular, the mycelium of Reishi has polysaccharides (carbohydrate chains), which have been shown to help fight viral infections and improve immune system functioning.

    Combination of mushrooms

    • Many mushroom mycelium products combine several mushroom species. According to the Vitamins and Health Supplements Guide, Reishi and Cordyceps together offer a powerful combination and are more effective than one alone. You can get Shiitake and Reishi together or a combination of Reishi, Shiitake and Cordyceps. Unlike traditional medicine, the interactions are positive and not contraindicated.

    Mycelium products and cardiac patients

    • LEM (Lentinus edodes mycelium) is a particular powdered mycelium form of the Shiitake mushroom. This may be the most common one used by cardiac patients to boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. It can have some side effects like diarrhea, rashes and dizziness. If you are taking a blood thinner, there could be an interaction. Always consult with your doctor before taking herbs of any kind.

      Since mycelium products can be used as teas, tinctures and extracts, you may want to research different products before deciding what is best for you.

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  • Photo Credit mushrooms image by Bogdan Modzelewski from Fotolia.com

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