Mushrooms... What are they good for?
Medicinal mushrooms (MMs) are important supplements to fight many diseases, including cancer. Scientific studies have repeatedly proven the healing and invigorating effects of MMs due to their biological make-up. MMs are composed of polysaccharides, lysozymes, and triterpenes. This unique combination contains antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties.
In addition to their cellular-fighting capabilities, some MMs also boost the immune system, decrease stress, and fight allergies due to numerous vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, antioxidants, and sterols that comprise the fungi.
What do they treat?
In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), MMs often combat Excess Dampness and Damp Heat, like mucus build-up. MMs also help improve qi flow--or life energy--throughout the body. Here's a list of some of the health conditions MMs can be used to treat:
Are they safe?
The Animal Poison Control Center states that 99% of mushrooms are safe for pet consumption. All MMs used in TCVM fall under this umbrella, with little to no side effects. Rare side effects might include GI upset or allergic reactions, similar to other medications.
However, keep pets away from wild mushrooms and instead stick to veterinary-prescribed MMs to ensure pet safety. Any mushrooms falling into the 1% toxicity category can be fatal.
Raw vs Whole vs Medicinal Mushrooms
Even though eating grocery aisle mushrooms like Shiitake and Portobello in cooked or raw form does have some daily preventative health benefits, to fight an active ailment, MMs are the way to go.
We again must reiterate that despite many avid outdoorsmen being skilled in mushroom foraging, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, it is still recommended that any found mushrooms not be fed to pets. Mushrooms are extremely powerful!
What species are used as MMs?
MMs can be delivered in various oral forms, from capsules to powders to tinctures. Common species used in TCVM include: