Medicinal mushrooms: A blessing for mankind
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From long time ago medicinal mushrooms have helped humans in curing many diseases. Mushrooms have been assessed as edible and medicinal resource for millennia. Since the ancient times, medicinal mushrooms have played outstanding role in ameliorating the health of people. The traditional use of medicinal mushrooms has been long established among different cultural groups. Presently, the interest in the use of mushrooms is rising, but not much advancement has been made. Medicinal mushrooms contain many active ingredients such as polysaccharides, triterpenes, amino acids, that act actively against some diseases, including cancer, hypertension, diabetes. The main ingredients in medicinal mushrooms that exert anti-cancer and immune stimulating effect are immune polysaccharides. Medicinal mushrooms are a large source of proteins, minerals, anti-oxidants, fibres and other trace elements. The most commonly used medicinal mushroom species include Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum); Shiitake (Lentinula edodes); Cordyceps (Cordyceps ophioglossoides), Maitake (Grifola frondosa, Polyporous umbellatus, Grifola umbellatus, and Boletus frondosus). But about 50 species of mushrooms are poisonous from a total of 700 edible species. In this review we have listed a number of medicinal mushrooms with their medicinal uses and common names. Irrespective of their medicinal value some mushrooms may cause side effects such as dermatitis and other allergic reactions, which suggest that one should be very careful while taking these mushrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms, polysaccharides, anti-neoplastic, poisonous, immunomodulatory.