“The Mushroom of Immortality”
May 20th, 2012 by Holly Cornish
At first glance, it sounds like a miracle herb: “Tames inflammation!” “Builds stamina!” “Relieves fatigue!” “Supports the immune system!”
Is it possible Ganoderma does all that and more — even though very few people seem to have heard of it?
That’s what I decided to find out after one of our readers asked us to look into it. What I discovered surprised me. I think this is a potent weapon against cancer. More details below. . .
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What is it?
Ganoderma is a hard, usually bitter-tasting mushroom that’s more commonly known as reishi. Other names include Ling zhi, lin zi, and the nickname, “mushroom of immortality.” For over 2,000 years, it’s been used in traditional Asian medicine to promote general health. That makes it one of the oldest known medicinal mushrooms.
I’m a big fan of mushroom remedies for healthy people as well as cancer patients. Ganoderma appears to be one of the best.
The ganoderma mushroom grows on wood and is sometimes called a shelf mushroom. Right now, scientists are studying several different species of Ganoderma for their many potential therapeutic benefits.
For some reason this age-old treatment has only recently gotten fanfare. We do cover reishi mushrooms in our new, just-published Complete Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments. This book is our most ambitious project to date — it covers every single treatment we’ve been able to find — more than 350 of them. It’s not for sale, but you can obtain it for free by joining our new “gold club” group. Just click on the link for details.
Shows promise for scientists and patients alike
For cancer treatment, the main advantage of ganoderma is its ability to stimulate the immune system. People with HIV use it for the same reason. Impressively, one study showed the mushroom was able to boost immune response in advanced-stage cancer patients.
A 2003 study of 34 advanced-stage cancer patients showed the mushroom played a significant role in increasing T-cell counts. T-cells are produced by the immune system. Patients in the study took ganoderma as a supplement three times a day for 12 weeks.
Other studies have found that extracts of this mushroom can boost the immune system in several other ways. Ganoderma extracts stimulate macrophages, immune system cells that devour unwanted waste and invaders. This, in turn, changes the levels of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and interleukins. Ganoderma also slows the aggregation of platelets, improves circulation, and helps the body eliminate free radicals.
Apparently, if you combine ganoderma extract with green tea, you actually strengthen its ability to slow the growth of cancer cells. Researchers found this out by conducting lab tests on breast cancer cells. Ganoderma also appears to have anti-tumor properties, thanks in part to the polysaccharides found in the mushroom.
Ganoderma supplements increase your antioxidant levels as well — and you probably know antioxidants help your body protect against and heal from cancer. Ganoderma also helps increase the appetite of patients with late-stage cancer, making it easier to win back some strength. Cachexia or “wasting away” is one of cancer’s fatal features. Anything that gets patients to eat is a lifesaver.
And for the cancer patient undergoing treatment, ganoderma is said to put a stop to chemotherapy-induced nausea.
How to use this ultimate herb
You can’t cook with it, even if it is a mushroom.
Generally speaking, you can find ganoderma capsules and liquid extract at your local health food store. I’ve also read it can be taken in coffee or tea form, but it has a bitter taste.
The healing compounds of ganoderma are found in the mushroom’s cap and stem. Active components are believed to include beta-glucan polysaccharides and triterpenes.
I’ve read that ganoderma helps reduce pain for cancer patients going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In fact, it’s said ganoderma can be taken as a supplement during chemotherapy or radiotherapy to reduce the toxic side effects from those treatments.
As for side effects from the mushroom itself, it sounds like virtually any other herb or nutritional supplement. Some people experience gastrointestinal issues like nausea. Some get a dry throat, or dry nose. But I haven’t found much beyond that.
Stomach or GI tract upset is one of the most common side effects reported for almost every kind of remedy as well as for pharmaceutical drugs and even placebos. So if you try ganoderma and experience this side effect, it’s your call whether it’s a serious problem or not.
Personally, I find when I take beta glucan products I feel a bit wired — they give me more energy than I really want. But it seems almost no one else has this problem.
Of course, all the medical websites say more research is needed to figure out just how safe and effective this treatment is. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s worth looking into. Natural, noninvasive, proven over time … so I’ll close by saying I agree — it certainly does sound like the ultimate herbal substance, or at least one of them.
Meanwhile, it’s the time of year for sun and fun, and for smearing sunscreen all over yourself to prevent skin cancer. But wait a minute! Sunscreens are not such a good idea. If you don’t know the facts, scroll down and read ’em now.
Are sunscreens a cancer shield
or a CANCER RISK?
We’re coming to the time of year when many folks in North America make a beeline for sandy beaches, park benches and sunny rooftops to soak up some sun rays.
And you can be sure most of these sun seekers douse themselves with sunblock and tanning lotions in an effort to protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Maybe you think the government is watching out for you and requires that all these products be tested for long-term health effects. Think again. Neither the manufacturers nor the government have looked into long-term effects at all. Now we’re learning they should have. It appears that sunscreens may be more likely than sunshine to cause cancer. . .
Continued below. . .
You’ve been told to avoid it at all costs. But–
This “forbidden” food could be the biggest health breakthrough of our time
Your whole life, you’ve been warned that this substance can wreak havoc on your health.
But the bad rap could be for nothing. Because research proves this shunned food:
- “washes away” stubborn bladder infections (often in less than 48 hours)
- decreases tooth decay by 80%–without having to drop any of your favorite foods
- reduces blood clots without the dangerous side effects of aspirin
- cuts sinus and ear infections by 93%–One pioneering Texas doctor reports these results that are so dramatic his patients forget to keep using it!
And you should see how it helps you drop weight!
How can one food–especially one we’re told to stay away from–do so much?
You would expect the increased use of sunscreens should be accompanied by a marked decrease in cases of skin cancer over time. Do the statistics show this to be true?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit consumer research organization, said despite increased use of sunscreen products—incidents of skin cancer in the United States continue to RISE!
In a sobering 2011 study on the science behind sunscreens and skin cancer, the EWG determined that sunscreens:
- May decrease the occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma…
- Have no demonstrated influence on basal cell carcinoma…
- May INCREASE risk of melanoma when used during intentional sun exposure, such as when staying outdoors for lengthy periods
Yes, you heard right on that last point: sunscreens may cause melanoma skin cancer.
How could sunscreens actually increase your risk for developing melanoma? EWG said many lotions produced over the past 30 years are effective at blocking UVB rays—while allowing higher UVA exposure. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, thereby causing more DNA damage.
And although many sunscreens now include UVA filters, EWG said many of the products available as late as 2011 still fell short in offering sufficient UVA protection.
But one health researcher said lack of UVA safeguards isn’t the only problem you’ll run into with sunscreen use. These chemical cocktails may cause cancer in other ways, too. Keep reading. . .
Here’s why ‘fake’ hormones in sunscreens
can harm your health…
Did you know that some chemicals in sunscreens can take the place of your body’s natural hormones?
I’m not talking about something out of a science fiction movie. This is for real!
Dr. Elizabeth Plourde, C.L.S., PhD, a clinical laboratory scientist and health researcher, identified some of these chemicals in her book Sunscreens—Biohazard: Treat as Hazardous Waste.
According to Plourde, a class of chemicals called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are so similar in structure to natural hormones like androgen and estrogen—they actually can invade the space these hormones should occupy — and take over!
Not only do EDCs substitute for your natural hormones, they even PREVENT the natural ones from doing what they’re supposed to do!
Dr. Plourde said one group of researchers found that all 18 of the sunscreen chemicals they examined were EDCs. If you’ve got a bottle at home, check the back for names such as:
- Cinnamates (IMC)
- OMC PABAs
If you see any or all of them listed—you should know that these substances have been shown repeatedly to have a toxic effect on the reproductive systems of lab animals!
So what effect do fake hormones have on humans?
Dr. Plourde said researchers have concluded that early exposure to EDCs, combined with genetic propensity, contributes to adult testicular cancer… low testosterone levels… and male infertility…
And women aren’t off the hook either. When EDCs in sunscreen act as fake estrogens—they can lead to increased risk of breast cancer… thyroid problems that affect metabolism… and problems with fetal development during pregnancy…
In addition to the EDCs, sunscreens may also contain vitamin A to help slow skin aging. But according to the EWG report, vitamin A and its derivatives retinol and retinyl palmitate actually may increase the development of cancer cells!
The group said vitamin A used on skin exposed to sunlight can actually cause the formation of cancerous tumors.
The irony is that EWG reached its conclusion by examining results of a study released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology Program.
These are the very agencies the government uses to evaluate substances that could pose a public health threat!
Some folks insist that sunscreens are actually TOXIC to all living organisms and should be treated as hazardous waste. They might be right.
I’ve never liked slathering on sunscreens and haven’t used them for a number of years now. And I’ve always been horrified to see young parents coating their babies and toddlers with these chemicals from head to toe. Of course, we all know why they do. . .
We’ve all had it drummed into our heads that overexposure to sunrays can damage your cell DNA and put you at major risk for developing skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), this affects one to two million Americans each year.
The statistic is nonsense because nearly ALL these cases are basal cell carcinomas, a type of skin cancer that’s about as life-threatening as a pimple. Dermatologists insist on removing these almost-harmless specs with “surgery” that can cost you several hundred dollars.
Something like one or two thousand deaths a year can be attributed to basal cell carcinomas. That’s a tiny number. Out of 310 million Americans, it’s a very minor problem.
Melanoma skin cancer is another matter entirely.
Some recent scientific research has isolated UV radiation as a deadly culprit behind the development of melanoma. In a landmark 2009 study from The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom, scientists used new molecular technology to determine that thousands of gene mutations they identified in melanoma lesion cells were caused by UV radiation.
Prior to this study the connection between sun exposure and melanoma was in dispute (by me, not least of all). One problem is that melanomas often appear in areas of the body that get little, if any, sun. How do you figure that?
The new study tilts me a little bit toward believing sunburns may lead to melanoma. In any case, you only need moderate sun exposure and you should avoid burning or deep tanning. Tanning ages your skin and causes wrinkling. A light tan acquired by just a few minutes of sun exposure per day is the safest, healthiest option.
The ACS, of course, is a firm believer that sunshine causes skin cancer including melanoma, and recommends that you always use a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
How serious is the problem?
Although melanoma and other skin cancers don’t lead the pack for causing cancer deaths—the fact is, people DO die from skin cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) reported that melanoma accounts for about 9,000 of the nearly 12,000 skin cancer deaths each year. The other deaths could be traced to other forms of skin cancer such as basal or squamous cell carcinomas.
The fact is that very few people die of skin cancer. It’s not a major health risk compared to breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and many other types.
Still melanoma is a nasty, life-threatening cancer if you do get it, a fact that leads many folks to slather on lotions and creams — mostly so they can spend long, long hours in the sun.
So if you choose not to use chemical laden sunscreens-what CAN you do to protect your skin from sun damage?
Dr. Plourde offers these suggestions:
- Wear clothes that shield your skin—such as tightly woven fabrics; you may not know it, but thin, light fabrics may allow the sun’s rays to pass through
- Reduce time spent in the sun—seek shade and be sure to cover up between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. By 5 PM in the summer there’s still plenty of sun and you can spend as much time in it as you want without burning
- Adopt antioxidants—foods with healthy antioxidants will protect your skin naturally. I’ve also heard that a solution of powdered vitamin C in water, applied to the skin, prevents a burn. I don’t have confirmation of this.
So. . .you may need to change habits you’ve developed over many years. But if ditching your bottles of sunscreen determines whether or not you become a cancer statistic—it might be a move worth considering!
Lee Euler Publisher