Mushrooms and cure

Exotic fungi such as shitake and oyster mushrooms could provide a powerful new weapon in the fight against cancer, according to an analysis of research in the Far East. The Health Charity Cancer Research, U K has reviewed how fungi are used to treat and prevent cancers in ancient and modern eastern medicine. The report says pure extracts of exotic mushrooms such as shitake, enoke maitake and oyster have been shown by researchers in China, Japan and Korea to have anti-tumour properties and to be capable of stimulating the immune system to fight disease. It also reproduces research findings from the Far East that suggest medicinal mushrooms can help reduce side-effects from radiotherapy and chemotherapy and improve the quality of life for patents in the advanced stages of cancer. Prof. John Smith from the University of Strathclyde, who led the review, said there was increasing evidence that some mushrooms offered medicinally important compounds that had yet to be evaluated in the West. The active compounds in exotic mushrooms are complex sugars called polysaccharides, which are said to enhance the activity of the immune system.

(Courtesy- The Hindu, August 27)

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