Medicinal Mushrooms


Is the name given to medicinal mushrooms. You may have been hearing that medicinal mushrooms have many known health benefits and seen press releases or articles that have convinced us all of this.

There many benefits come from their use in ancient times from Traditional Chinese Medicine for people with compromised health conditions. We are all re learning how to use them and integrate them into health regimes for improving wellbeing or a quality of life for many diseases.

We are also re-discovering how widely specific species can be used for a plethora of health issues.

Antiprotozoan, antiparasitic, antiviral, and antifungal properties of mushrooms

Scientists are realising and learning how to isolate new antiprotozoan, antiparasitic, antiviral, and antifungal properties of mushrooms and fungi each year which is why they are getting so much press and attention for a wealth of health issues.

Mycologists and other research scientists are now also catching up on the vast benefits of practitioners in Traditional Chinese Medicine which have long been known about these and have begun telling us about the magic of fungi and used them for thousands and thousand of years.

Egyptian Hieroglyphics

We see from the Egyptian hieroglyphic images that mushrooms were used for immortality and appeared in scenes depicting them as gifts from the gods,or sent to earth on lightning bolts. Their use was forbidden to all other than by the pharaohs.

Mushrooms were usually only eaten by pharoahs or other nobles, and given the name “sons of the gods”. The images were depicted in artwork and shown as sent to earth on Lightning bolts.

There are also Greek and Roman authors such as Seneca, Pliny, and Dioscorides who wrote about mushrooms, who were both for and against their medicinal benefits.

Egyptian hieroglyphics showing mushrooms

During the rule in ancient China, Reishi mushrooms was called “the mushroom of immortality,” and were served only to the Emperor.

Texts on Chinese medicine has been reported as dating back to 100 BCE discussing various mushrooms and fungi and used to treat cancer, respiratory ailments, and many other conditions.

Sacred Mushrooms of the Egyptian Ankh

In Ancient India

In ancient India Mushrooms would be rubbed on an individual’s tongue as well as the top of the skull (the crown / soft spot known in Indian as the “Aperture of Brahma” or the “Opening of Creation”).

Yarsa Gumba – From the Tibetan Hills

North Sikkim call the fungus/mushroom/herb yarsa gumba; its Tibetan name [winter (yarsa) and summer (gumba)

Healers in India and the Sikkim region have long recommended the fungus/mushroom Cordyceps sinensis is one of the most highly potential medicinal mushrooms in the world. Used “all illnesses”, as a tonic, and has been evidenced to improve energy, appetite, stamina, sleep, libido, endurance, and in the prevention of illness . This mushroom is a rare combination of a caterpillar and fungus found in the Sikkim altitudes above 3,800 m and is most popular in the Lachung and Lachen area of North Sikkim for its known reputation as a precious bioavailable mushroom for longevity.

In ancient Japan, maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms were worth their weight in silver. Mushrooms were an integral part of Mesoamerican cultures like the Maya, Inca, Aztecs and Olmecs and by shamans for spiritual purposes.

Chaga and other forms of fungus have been used across North America and Siberia since at least the 16th Century

Alexandra Fleming in the discovery of Penicillin 1928

The first time that beneficial properties from mushrooms were reported in the west was when it was identified following the extraction from fungus when Alexander Fleming ‘discovered’ penicillin.

When he discovered antibiotics- he stated they should only be used for life and limb – at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, This discovery led to the introduction of antibiotics

Medicinal Mushrooms in 2022

So here we are in 2022. Medicinal Mushrooms are now firmly in the West and being marketed for all their health benefits from improve memory to the treatment of many cancers and in the prevention of illness. Lionsmaine, Chaga, Reishi are in shops as a superfood and being sold widely as immunity boosters.

Medicinal Mushrooms are being promoted as a superfood for their healing and properties they offer nutritionally. Full of bioavailable nutrients, biomolecules present in the whole mushrooms, and for their prebiotic fibres which are reported as a concentrated form.

But lets not forget their true origins and how they continue to play a key role in the east, from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Herbal and Healers Medicinal practices, and by many other ancient cultures outside the UK which is food from their many ancient soils.

The magic is now being prescribed daily by alternative health practitioners like myself but let’s not forget their origin.

Randhiraj Bilan
The Magic of Medicinal Mushrooms

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