Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Medicinal Mushrooms and Tea...for FREE!

Here are some mushrooms I pick around my house in Alaska. There is undoubtedly something just as cool where you live!

Other mushroom posts I've written here:

The Pharmacy in your Backyard

Magic Mushrooms

The nice thing about these type of fungi is that they grow quickly and they are plentiful.  The big one is perennial, you can count it's age in the growth rings, so this one is nearly 20 years old!

I grind these mushrooms and Labrador tea and put a spoonful in with my coffee when I make a pot. If you go for mushrooms, make sure you get the right ones!  Get a good book, take a class, or ask around. Some mushrooms are edible and tasty. These are not for eating, but make good tea, and have some very healthy qualities.

Shelf Bracket Fungi

The big brown one is Phellinus igniarus, similar properties to chaga:

Members of the genera Phellinus and Inonotus, including P. linteus, P. igniarius, P. ribis, I. obliquus and I. xeranticus are well-known medicinal fungi (mushrooms) and have been used in treatment of cancer, diabetes, bacterial and viral infections and ulcer. Adverse effects of these medicinal mushrooms have not yet been reported, indicating the safe nature of these mushrooms. Polysaccharides, particularly β-glucan, are considered the compounds responsible for the biological activity of medicinal mushrooms. However, there is only a limited amount of evidence to indicate that polysaccharides are in fact responsible for the biological effects of these medicinal mushrooms. Recently, many research groups have begun identification of active low-MW compounds in medicinal mushrooms, with a focus on the yellow polyphenol pigments, which are composed of a styrylpyrone class of compounds. Interestingly, a representative group of medicinal fungi, including P. linteus, P. igniarius, P. ribis, I. obliquus and I. xeranticus were shown to produce a large and diverse range of styrylpyrone-type polyphenol pigments that exhibited various biological activities, including anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-diabetic, anti-dementia and anti-viral effects. Styrylpyrone pigments in mushrooms are thought to have a role similar to that of flavonoids in plants. The unique and unprecedented carbon skeleton of fused styrylpyrone might be an attractive molecular scaffold for pharmacological applications. In this review, the structural diversity, biological effects and biogenesis of styrylpyrone-class polyphenols from medicinal fungi are described. 

Piptoporus betulinis (This is the one Otzi had): (small tan one)

Six lanostane-type triterpene acids were isolated from the fruiting bodies of Piptoporus betulinus. They were identified as polyporenic acids A (1) and C (2), three derivatives of polyporenic acid A (3-5), and a novel compound, (+)-12 alpha,28-dihydroxy-3 alpha-(3'-hydroxy-3'-methylglutaryloxy)-24-methyllanosta-8,24(31)-dien-26-oic acid (6). All these compounds suppressed the 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced edema on mouse ears by 49-86% with a 400 nmol/ear application. 

Fomes Fomentarius (Maybe the best of all!  Hoof shaped gray one)

The goal of this investigation was to comparatively study the efficiency of traditionally used anti-infective drugs and biopolymer complexes originated from the medicinal mushroom Fomes fomentarius (L.:Fr.) Fr.: 1) water-soluble melanin-glucan complex (MGC; -80% melanins and -20% beta-glucans) and 2) insoluble chitin-glucan-melanin complex (ChGMC; -70% chitin, -20% beta-glucans, and -10% melanins). Infectious materials (Helicobacter pylori, Candida albicans, and Herpes vulgaris I and HIV-1(zmb) were used in pure cultures of in vitro and in vivo models on experimental animals. Comparison studies of fungal biopolymers and effective modern antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral drugs were used in in vitro models. The comparative clinical efficiency of ChGMC and of etiotropic pharmaceuticals in models of H. pylori, C. albicans, and H. vulgaris I infection contamination were studied. Using in vitro models, it was established that MGC completely depresses growth of C. albicans. MGC had an antimicrobial effect on H. pylori identical to erythromycin in all concentrations, and had a stronger action on this bacterium than other tested antibiotics. Tested MGC possesses simultaneously weak toxicity and high anti-HIV-1 activity in comparison with zidovudine (Retrovir). The obtained results show that CLUDDT therapy in Wistar rats with the application of ChGMC is, on average, 1.35-1.43 times as effective as a traditional one. Considering the absence of MGC and ChGMC toxic properties on blood cells even in very high concentrations, these complexes may be used as a source of biopolymers for the creation of essentially new agents for wide application in infectious pathology.

And also some Labrador Tea!

Labrador Tea

Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum Retzius) is an ericaceae widely distributed in North America. The leaves and twigs were used in Native American traditional medicine to treat several inflammatory pathologies such as asthma, rheumatisms and burns. Reactive oxygen species as well as reactive nitrogen species such as nitric oxide (NO) contribute significantly to these pathologies. In this study, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of crude methanol extracts of leaves and twigs from Ledum groenlandicum were investigated. Both extracts showed a strong antioxidant activity using the ORAC method and a cell based-assay. Moreover, the twig and leaf extracts showed significant anti-inflammatory activity, inhibiting NO release, respectively, by 28 and 17% at 25 microg/ml in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. In comparison, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, reduced NO release by 24% at 25 microg/ml. The twig extract was also found to be active against DLD-1 colon carcinoma and A-549 lung carcinoma cells, with IC(50) values of 43+/-1 and 65+/-8 microg/ml, respectively. The bioguided study of the twig extract resulted in the isolation and identification of ursolic acid, a known triterpene. Ursolic acid was active against DLD-1 (IC(50): 9.3+/-0.3 microM) and A-549 (IC(50): 8.9+/-0.2 microM), suggesting it is, in part, responsible of the anticancer activity of the twig extract.


  1. This is kind of off topic here, but I wanted to post some news - only because it may help others who suffer with GERD. I continued to suffer even after eliminating the usual suspects and focusing on unprocessed foods. I stumbled across two things online that have all but cured my GERD in a little under 3 weeks - Betaine with Pepsin (already known by those who follow Kresser) plus adding a new supplement - Limonene - 1K grams every other's like a miracle. I am not affiliated at all....I've wanted to learn more about how/why these work - learned the most on the blog of John Brisson (gut guy) and Amazon reviewer comments. I am thrilled.

  2. Do you drink the Labrador tea and if so, does it help with inflammation?


    1. I drink it from time to time. There are a couple 2016 studies showing that it is "anti-diabetic" but it seems to be one of those plants used for just about everything, yet toxic at the same time. So care should be taken not to overdo it. I'll make a tea by steeping a handful of leaves in boiled water, it turns the water a nice orange shade, and tastes really nice.

    2. I read it could make you drowsy - I could use help with sleep! I saw some on Amazon... I purchased some Chagall for tea from someone in Canada a while back. I like it but don't notice any health benefits.

    3. I can't say I've tried an herb (well..ahem) that I felt made a huge difference in anything. I believe the effects are subtle and cumulative. I do not go chasing the latest super-food or Dr. Oz approved detox tea, but I do look around where I live for the traditional healing teas. Some are considered spring tonics, like rose petals. Some available only later in the year, like rose hips. And some can be dried and enjoyed year round, like Labrador tea. You'll be surprised what grows nearby, mostly overlooked and considered weeds.

    4. Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. I try to avoid Dr. Oz as well. But I do want to give my body the tools it needs after doing so much damage with SAD and medications for auto-immune issues. There is just so much out there and I am trying to find what works for me and that I can incorporate consistently. I think that's the hard part - being consistent, or at least it is for me.

    5. Also think about letting yourself be inconsistent. At some point in your healing process, your gut might start communicating what it wants. I've found some things I am very consistent about (garlic and onions) and things I am not. For instance, about once a month I want a tablespoon of raw honey. Then I'm done. I don't worry about it.

      The things I'm consistent about sometimes change. Last summer I ate lots of berries And very few salad greens. This year it's the opposite. I can't explain, but I don't worry.

      Maybe just let good whole food, fiber, and tannins be your consistency.

    6. Thanks Wilbur. Those are the things I am trying the most to be consistent with but with travel and taking care of aging parents and being away from home, it can be difficult. I am not where you are yet. When people said certain foods made them "feel" different or gave them a feeling of calm, euphoria, etc. I thought I would never get there. Now when I eat raw cocoa beans, I do NOT like the taste but afterward, I just feel something different... it's weird!

      Much thanks!

    7. I tend to try things out, then after a period of a year or so, decide whether it's something I want to keep in my repertoire of "hacks."

      Sometimes the decision is purely scientific, ie. honey is "fattening" but full of so many health properties it's worth the extra calories.

      Sometimes the decision is because of how I feel, ie. "oil pulling" puts me in a meditative state and makes my gums feel great, and the dentist is very happy with my oral health. Still, there are hundreds of people on the internet saying that oil pulling is a hoax.

      The biggest and most hard-hitting changes anyone can probably make are to avoid processed foods, get plenty of good sleep, exercise, and reduce stress in your life.

      It's fun to try the different teas and super-foods, but quite doubtful that there is one that is the answer to all one's problems in life.

    8. I agree it can be difficult. I recently travelled myself and found it comically difficult to get a decent veggie omelette forget a decent lunch!

      I'm only replying because my gut speaks to me before I eat something. When I think about eating something and I get a happy feeling, I know it's right. A that sounds good right now type of thing.

      In contrast, I usually skip lunch. Not because I'm not hungry - sometimes I am. It's because when I scan for things to eat, nothing stands out that will make me happy. For me, the communication with the gut doesn't take place after I've eaten something. But tonight, we are having red sauce and roasted kale, and the mere thought of eating it makes me giddy. I am excited by it! There is zero chance I will opt for something else, even if someone were to put it in front of me.

      For travel, I'm a big believer in supplemental fiber for evening out the poor quality and fiber of travel food. A drop from 150 to 100 g/day is less consequential than a drop from 35 to near zero, i think.

    9. Thanks Tim & Wilbur. That all makes sense. And as to sleep, tell me how - I would gladly do that! But I keep working at increasing the fiber and will take my fiber supplements with me on this trip and hope for the best! Thanks guys!

    10. Re: sleep

      I used to be a light sleeper. I used to brag that I could keep up with 4 hours per night.

      Not anymore! Since fixing my gut, I sleep hard and for 8-9 hours. Oddly, I've been falling asleep early about 9 pm, waking up at 3 pm, lying in bed for a couple of hours doing absolutely nothing, and then getting up at 8 am. That'll change now that my daughter's school has started. But that couple of hours being awake is the most relaxing and wonderful experience.

    11. I'm hoping my sleep will improve as my gut heals also but I obviously have a ways to go yet... I've been doing the RPS for 2 years, adding a few other powders from time to time but haven't been able to stay consistent on those. Today is day 3 of the potato hack but have still had to add my RPS and other fiber mix, magnesium, and triphalla to have BMs. I'm not sure how much fiber I am getting but I have a long way to go!