Medicinal Mushrooms | Boost The Immune System Newsletter

Date: 12/02/2002    Written by: Jon Barron

Why The Immune Boosting Formula Does What It Does, Part 3

In this issue, we wrap up our discussion of the ingredients in the immune boosting tincture by focusing on the medicinal mushrooms found in the formula. We have already learned how the Pau d'arco and Suma, in addition, to improving immune function, also play a role in relieving arthritis pain and fighting cancer, among a myriad of other benefits. Today's discussion will show why people have reported that the formula has also helped with kidney problems and asthma - in addition to the ever present anticancer possibilities.

The Medicinal Mushroom Complex in the Formula

The key bio-chemicals in medicinal mushrooms are called polysaccharides. Polysaccharides contain a large number of molecular components - up to several million atoms, and this makes their absorption into the human body somewhat difficult. Certain polysaccharides, however, are readily assimilated by the human body -- with profound health benefits.

Reishi Medicinal Mushroom

The key polysaccharide found in resihi mushrooms is Beta-8 1,3 Glucan. The breakdown of this large polysaccharide in reishi into its usable oligoglucan form is facilitated both by the vitamin C content found in the echinacea present in Immunity Plus and by the pH balanced limonene that is used to facilitate the brewing process in all of Healing America's tinctures. (Note: using Multiplex III with Immunity Plus facilitates this process even more.)

The importance of oligoglucan is that it profoundly stimulates the macrophages, which can recognize and digest all foreign invaders (i.e. bacteria, viruses, and fungi) and, in addition, all aberrant cells and cellular debris.

When B-cells and T-cells fail to stop chronic disease and/or malignancy, it's the macrophages that take over. In effect, macrophages provide a final defense, and they are very effective at it. For example, even though a macrophage is only 1/10 the size of a cancer cell, it is nevertheless capable of destroying it. Knowing the role the polysaccharides in reishi play in stimulating macrophages, it is not hard to understand why reishi mushrooms have been used so successfully (primarily in Japan) in treating cancer.

Maitake Medicinal Mushrooms

Like reishi, maitake contains a high percentage of beta glucan, but in a slightly different form, which gives it special properties.

The “designation” of beta glucan as1,3 or 1,6, etc., is determined according to which position one of its component sugar molecule uses to bond with its neighbor. Since glucose is a six-carbon sugar, the linkage can occur between any combination of the six positions. Thus, a polysaccharide is referred to as 1,3 Beta-Glucan (as in reishi mushrooms) when the linkage is between the 1 position on one glucose molecule and the 3 position on its neighbor. Side branches can also occur at points on the molecule, such as 1,3/1,6 Beta-Glucan (1,3 primary bonding, with side branches at the 1,6 position). This is the polysaccharide found in Maitake mushrooms.

Numerous studies have confirmed that maitake's Beta 1,3/1,6 Glucan has superior immune activity. It promotes the action of not only macrophages, but also a variety of other immune-related cells, such as natural killer cells, killer T cells, and killer K cells that can attack tumor cells. Maitake also increases immune efficiency by increasing interleukin-1, interleukin-2, and lymphokine production. The end result is an increased ability of the body to fight off infections, AIDS, and even cancer.

Maitake fractions in particular seem to be particularly effective in slowing the growth of tumors in the colon, lungs, stomach, liver, prostate, brain, and other organs.

Cordyceps Medicinal Mushrooms

In addition to a variety of water-soluble polysaccharides, cordyceps also contains cordycepic acid and cordycepin. In composition, then, it is somewhat different from either reishi or maitake mushrooms. Cordyceps has been the subject of many studies in immune system stimulation and has been proven extremely effective. For example, like reishi and maitake, it stimulates various cells of the immune system, including natural killer cells, macrophages, interleukin 1, Gamma-interferon, immunoglobulins M and G, leukocytes, and helper T cells.

In addition, cordyceps is particularly effective in relaxing and opening breathing passages. Traditionally, it has been used to treat various diseases of the upper respiratory tract, such as pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, and tuberculosis. It is no wonder, then, that people with asthma and/or emphysema have testified to the benefits they have received using Immunity Plus.

And finally, cordyceps plays a very special role in protecting and revitalizing the kidneys. This is particularly important nowadays, as more and more people seem to be experiencing diminished kidney function and even kidney failure.

The bottom line is that this formula is not just an immune boosting formula; it really is a general, all-purpose health-tonic.

Continue reading about how to Strengthen Your Immune System with Natural Immune Boosters
Why the Immune Boosting Formula Does What it Does, Part 1
Why the Immune Boosting Formula Does What it Does, Part 2
Or visit our Natural Immunity Program