Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yamabushitake or Lion’s Mane



Hericium erinaceus
In traditional Chinese medicine, Hericium erinaceus is prescribed for stomach disorders, ulcers, and gastrointestinal ailments.It is a culinary as well as a medicinal mushroom, giving a hint of seafood,crab, or lobster flavor.
  • Name: In Japan, the mushroom is known as Yamabushitake.Yamabushi, literally “those who sleep in the mountains,” are hermit monks and Hericium erinaceus is supposed to resemble the suzukake, an ornamental garment that these monks wear; take means “mushroom.” In China,the mushroom goes by the name shishigashira, which means “lion’s head,” and houtou, which means “baby monkey.” Also known as Lion’s Mane, Monkey’s Mushroom, Monkey’s Head, Bear’s Head, Hog’s Head Fungus, White Beard, Old Man’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog, Hedgehog Mushroom, and Pom Pom.

  • Description: The mushroom is 2–8 inches across. Its white, icicle-like ten-drils hang from a rubbery base.

  • Habitat: Found throughout the northern hemisphere in Europe, East Asia, and North America. The mushroom favors dead or dying broadleaf trees such as oak, walnut, and beech.

  • Active ingredients: Polysaccharides; fatty acids (Y-A-2); hericenons A and B, and hericenons C, D, E, F, G, and H. The mycelium also contains a group of diterpenes called erinacines that mimic the nerve growth factor; one erinacine is an opioid (useful for pain control).

  • Uses: Styptic; immunostimulant; anti-cancer (stomach, esophagus, skin); anti-sarcoma; helps control Alzheimer’s disease; antioxidant; regulates glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol (mostly LDL) blood levels.

RESEARCH AND STUDY ON HERICIUM ERINACEUS


Western science opened the book on Hericium erinaceus a few short years ago. Although the mushroom has been part of the diet in Japan and China for many centuries and its medicinal properties as a styptic are well known,scientists have hardly begun to study it. However, the mushroom has turned a few heads for its unusual medicinal properties. In a recent article in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Dr. Takashi Mizuno of Shizouka University, in Japan, noted the following about Hericium erinaceus:
  • Owing to their effect on the immune system, polysaccharides from the fruit-body of the mushroom may help against stomach, esophageal, and skin cancer. These polysaccharides modulate the immune system so that it responds more effectively and helps people who have cancer to control the disease and manage the side effects of chemotherapy.

  • Preliminary studies show that low-molecular-weight constituents such as phenols (hercenon A and B) and fatty acids (Y-A-2) from Hericium erinaceus may have chemotherapeutic effects on cancer. These molecules seem to operate directly against cancer cells.

Hericium erinaceus and Alzhelmer's Disease

What was especially intriguing about Takashi Mizuno’s article was its implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Some 4 million Americans suffer from this affliction, the most common form of irreversible
dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include confusion, memory loss, disorientation, and the inability to speak or reason. Scientists believe that the disease is caused in the brain by plaque buildup around nerve cells and by distorted nerve fibers called neurofibrillary tangles. Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure, and it is always fatal. Dr. Mizuno reported that compounds in Hericium erinaceus (hericenons C, D, E, F, G, H) may encourage the production of a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF), which is required in the brain for developing and maintaining important sensory neurons. To put it simply, Hericium erinaceus may regenerate nerve tissue in the brain. This might have an ameliorative effect in Alzheimer’s dementia, a unique opportunity that is actively studied in Japan, a country with a large aging population.


Hericium erinaceus and Cholesterol and Diabetes

Recent studies have shown that Hericium erinaceus extracts have antioxidant activities, regulate the levels of blood lipids (fats), and reduce blood glucose levels. In diabetic rats, the effects on blood glucose, serum triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels were very significant in the rats fed daily with a concentrate of Hericium erinaceus at 1g/kg body weight. The exobiopolymer produced from a submerged mycelium culture of Hericium erinaceus was even much more active, at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight, in reducing plasma total cholesterol (32.9%), LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (45.4%), triglyceride (34.3%), atherogenic index (58.7%), and the activity of the hepatic enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (20.2%).


Hericium erinaceus and the Immune System

Recently, scientists at Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Hangzhou, China, undertook an experiment to find out whether Hericium erinaceus can activate T and B lymphocytes in the immune system. These white blood cells circulate in the lymph and blood and flush viruses and bacteria from the body. The scientists were interested in knowing how Hericium erinaceus affected the lymphocytes and what would happen if the mushroom were used in conjunction with other substances known to stimulate lymphocyte production. The scientists isolated T and B lymphocytes from the blood of laboratory mice. They placed the lymphocytes in test tubes and spiked the test tubes with various combinations of a lectin called Con-A, polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), another stimulant of white blood cells. The scientists observed the following:
  • Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides and Con-A together made the T lymphocytes proliferate at three times the rate they proliferated when Con-Aalone was used. Hericium erinaceus alone, without Con-A, had no effect on lymphocytes

  • Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides and LPS together made lymphocytes proliferate at two to three times the rate they proliferate with LPS alone. Once again, Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides alone had no effect on lymphocyte production.

From this experiment, it appears that Hericium erinaceus can play a role in boosting the immune system when it is used in combination with other substances, namely Con-A and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In another recent xperiment conducted at the Tajen Institute of Technology, in Taiwan, water-soluble polysaccharides of Hericium erinaceus increased significantly he number of CD4+ cells and macrophages in mice, when compared to a control group.


Hericium erinaceus and Sarcoma Tumors

To test the effectiveness of Hericium erinaceus on tumors, scientists at the Yoritsu Pharmaceutical and Industrial Company, in Japan, transplanted sarcoma tumors into laboratory mice and fed the mice different doses of
dried mushroom powder for 14 days. At the end of the period, they cut out the tumors and weighed them to see if they had grown. The result of their experiment: the tumors either shrank or stopped growing. The interesting aspect of this experiment, however, had to do with the mushroom’s overall effect on the immune system. The scientists concluded that T cells had not shrunk the tumors. Hericium erinaceus is not chemotherapeutic. The Hericium erinaceus extract worked by stimulating the immune system of the animal, which in turn helped to control and reduce the burden of the sarcoma tumor.



References:Healing Mushrooms by: Georges M. Halpern (108-112)

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yamabushitake or Lion’s Mane

Hericium erinaceus
In traditional Chinese medicine, Hericium erinaceus is prescribed for stomach disorders, ulcers, and gastrointestinal ailments.It is a culinary as well as a medicinal mushroom, giving a hint of seafood,crab, or lobster flavor.
  • Name: In Japan, the mushroom is known as Yamabushitake.Yamabushi, literally “those who sleep in the mountains,” are hermit monks and Hericium erinaceus is supposed to resemble the suzukake, an ornamental garment that these monks wear; take means “mushroom.” In China,the mushroom goes by the name shishigashira, which means “lion’s head,” and houtou, which means “baby monkey.” Also known as Lion’s Mane, Monkey’s Mushroom, Monkey’s Head, Bear’s Head, Hog’s Head Fungus, White Beard, Old Man’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog, Hedgehog Mushroom, and Pom Pom.

  • Description: The mushroom is 2–8 inches across. Its white, icicle-like ten-drils hang from a rubbery base.

  • Habitat: Found throughout the northern hemisphere in Europe, East Asia, and North America. The mushroom favors dead or dying broadleaf trees such as oak, walnut, and beech.

  • Active ingredients: Polysaccharides; fatty acids (Y-A-2); hericenons A and B, and hericenons C, D, E, F, G, and H. The mycelium also contains a group of diterpenes called erinacines that mimic the nerve growth factor; one erinacine is an opioid (useful for pain control).

  • Uses: Styptic; immunostimulant; anti-cancer (stomach, esophagus, skin); anti-sarcoma; helps control Alzheimer’s disease; antioxidant; regulates glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol (mostly LDL) blood levels.

RESEARCH AND STUDY ON HERICIUM ERINACEUS


Western science opened the book on Hericium erinaceus a few short years ago. Although the mushroom has been part of the diet in Japan and China for many centuries and its medicinal properties as a styptic are well known,scientists have hardly begun to study it. However, the mushroom has turned a few heads for its unusual medicinal properties. In a recent article in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Dr. Takashi Mizuno of Shizouka University, in Japan, noted the following about Hericium erinaceus:
  • Owing to their effect on the immune system, polysaccharides from the fruit-body of the mushroom may help against stomach, esophageal, and skin cancer. These polysaccharides modulate the immune system so that it responds more effectively and helps people who have cancer to control the disease and manage the side effects of chemotherapy.

  • Preliminary studies show that low-molecular-weight constituents such as phenols (hercenon A and B) and fatty acids (Y-A-2) from Hericium erinaceus may have chemotherapeutic effects on cancer. These molecules seem to operate directly against cancer cells.

Hericium erinaceus and Alzhelmer's Disease

What was especially intriguing about Takashi Mizuno’s article was its implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Some 4 million Americans suffer from this affliction, the most common form of irreversible
dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include confusion, memory loss, disorientation, and the inability to speak or reason. Scientists believe that the disease is caused in the brain by plaque buildup around nerve cells and by distorted nerve fibers called neurofibrillary tangles. Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure, and it is always fatal. Dr. Mizuno reported that compounds in Hericium erinaceus (hericenons C, D, E, F, G, H) may encourage the production of a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF), which is required in the brain for developing and maintaining important sensory neurons. To put it simply, Hericium erinaceus may regenerate nerve tissue in the brain. This might have an ameliorative effect in Alzheimer’s dementia, a unique opportunity that is actively studied in Japan, a country with a large aging population.


Hericium erinaceus and Cholesterol and Diabetes

Recent studies have shown that Hericium erinaceus extracts have antioxidant activities, regulate the levels of blood lipids (fats), and reduce blood glucose levels. In diabetic rats, the effects on blood glucose, serum triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels were very significant in the rats fed daily with a concentrate of Hericium erinaceus at 1g/kg body weight. The exobiopolymer produced from a submerged mycelium culture of Hericium erinaceus was even much more active, at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight, in reducing plasma total cholesterol (32.9%), LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (45.4%), triglyceride (34.3%), atherogenic index (58.7%), and the activity of the hepatic enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (20.2%).


Hericium erinaceus and the Immune System

Recently, scientists at Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Hangzhou, China, undertook an experiment to find out whether Hericium erinaceus can activate T and B lymphocytes in the immune system. These white blood cells circulate in the lymph and blood and flush viruses and bacteria from the body. The scientists were interested in knowing how Hericium erinaceus affected the lymphocytes and what would happen if the mushroom were used in conjunction with other substances known to stimulate lymphocyte production. The scientists isolated T and B lymphocytes from the blood of laboratory mice. They placed the lymphocytes in test tubes and spiked the test tubes with various combinations of a lectin called Con-A, polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), another stimulant of white blood cells. The scientists observed the following:
  • Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides and Con-A together made the T lymphocytes proliferate at three times the rate they proliferated when Con-Aalone was used. Hericium erinaceus alone, without Con-A, had no effect on lymphocytes

  • Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides and LPS together made lymphocytes proliferate at two to three times the rate they proliferate with LPS alone. Once again, Hericium erinaceus polysaccharides alone had no effect on lymphocyte production.

From this experiment, it appears that Hericium erinaceus can play a role in boosting the immune system when it is used in combination with other substances, namely Con-A and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In another recent xperiment conducted at the Tajen Institute of Technology, in Taiwan, water-soluble polysaccharides of Hericium erinaceus increased significantly he number of CD4+ cells and macrophages in mice, when compared to a control group.


Hericium erinaceus and Sarcoma Tumors

To test the effectiveness of Hericium erinaceus on tumors, scientists at the Yoritsu Pharmaceutical and Industrial Company, in Japan, transplanted sarcoma tumors into laboratory mice and fed the mice different doses of
dried mushroom powder for 14 days. At the end of the period, they cut out the tumors and weighed them to see if they had grown. The result of their experiment: the tumors either shrank or stopped growing. The interesting aspect of this experiment, however, had to do with the mushroom’s overall effect on the immune system. The scientists concluded that T cells had not shrunk the tumors. Hericium erinaceus is not chemotherapeutic. The Hericium erinaceus extract worked by stimulating the immune system of the animal, which in turn helped to control and reduce the burden of the sarcoma tumor.



References:Healing Mushrooms by: Georges M. Halpern (108-112)

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