Mushroom Extracts: Oral or Sublingual ?

On the internet sellers of liquid mushroom extracts and tinctures usually recommend to take the product sublingual (under the tongue) instead of just swallowing it. If you have to believe them this is the best way to benefit from their product, and the main reason to choose a liquid mushroom product in the first place (why a liquid mushroom extract is actually not recommended at all you can read here).

Despite their convincing-sounding arguments they are wrong. Although for many drugs and supplements sublingual administration is indeed better, a mushroom product has unique properties that should be taken into account. This is science, not just an opinion.

First of all, the main bioactive compounds in mushroom extracts are beta-glucans. When taken orally, intestinal absorptive cells (enterocytes) facilitate the transportation of beta-glucans and similar compounds across the intestinal cell wall into the lymph, where they begin to interact with macrophages to activate the immune function.

Sublingual (under the tongue) or topic administration of beta-glucans is not effective because of the large size of bioactive beta-glucans. These are huge macro-molecules.

Compare it to trying to fit a foot size 9 in a shoe size 8 – it can’t be done. You would have to keep the glucan-containing liquid under your tongue for hours in order to get something in your system. Which is impractical, not to say undoable.

Second, beta-glucans and most other bioactive mushroom compounds found in properly extracted mushrooms are not affected by the stomach acid, and if you take them on an empty stomach (at least 30 minutes before meals) the therapeutic effects are just perfect. There is nothing to gain by sublingual administration.

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Mushroom compound may boost cancer survival: Animal data

Coriolus versicolor

The Coriolus Versicolor, growing on dead wood. Its mycelium has very powerful therapeutic properties

More proof that the Coriolus Versicolor and its main therapeutic component are worth considering when battling cancer and the side effects of the common treatments.

Led by, Dorothy Cimino Brown from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the researchers said the ‘promising findings’ offer hope that the compound may one day offer cancer patients — human and canine alike — a viable new ally in the battle against cancer.

“There have been a series of studies looking at groups of people with cancer,” Cimino Brown said. “The issue with those studies is that they weren’t necessarily measuring what most people would think is the most clinically important result, which is, do people taking PSP live longer?”

Based on the ultimate endpoints of how quickly the tumors progressed and how long dogs suffering from a natural form of cancer survived when given the supplement, the research team suggests that PSP supplementation may be effective in fighting the tumors.

“We were shocked,” Cimino Brown said. “Prior to this, the longest reported median survival time of dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen that underwent no further treatment was 86 days. We had dogs that lived beyond a year with nothing other than this mushroom as treatment.”

Dog study

To address this critical question, Cimino Brown and her team began research in dogs suffering from naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma (an aggressive, invasive cancer that arises from the blood cells and typically affects the spleen.)

(…)

The results of the researchers’ trial suggest that the PSP supplement was effectively fighting the tumors.

The full article can be found here:

Mushroom compound may boost cancer survival: Animal data.


Extensive background on PSP and the Coriolus versicolor medicinal mushroom can be found here.


Chaga tea

Introduction to Chaga tea

  • Supports your immune system
  • Balances your metabolism
  • Re-vitalizes, enhances your concentration
  • High in anti-oxidants, anti-aging power

Chaga tea does not have the potency of a highly concentrated extract. But sometimes you don’t need that amount of power. Or maybe you just prefer to drink a healthy herbal tea during the day instead of popping capsules. Chaga tea is an excellent prophylactic.

In most countries, tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot water until the brew reaches the desired strength. However, in Russia, a lot of tea leaves are steeped in little water to create a powerful, highly concentrated brew called zavarka (заварка), which often will be simmering all day. This brew is then diluted with hot water to taste when it is served.

The traditional samovar was designed to do just this: on the top there was a tea pot with brewing tea (zavarka), and inside was hot water, with a little tap to dilute your cup of zavarka to the desired strength. See the picture, below.

Description of a traditional samovar
This is an excellent way to prepare a really potent Chaga tea – in fact, you are performing a hot-water extraction this way, setting the active components free (beta-glucans, phenols) and thus increasing the therapeutic potency.

Chaga tea, when put in a filter bag, can be used a few times before losing its flavor if you choose the short (15 – 30 min. of steeping) method.

Russians also enjoy mixing different types of tea – for example, black tea with herbal tea. You can do the same with Chaga tea. You can also add small amounts of cinnamon, kardamom or nutmeg to vary the taste – feel free to experiment! Some mix it with instant-coffee (ratio 1:1) or drip-coffee. There are also people that put Chaga in an espresso-machine!

For sweeteners, Russians use sugar, honey, or even jam. Instead of dissolving sugar into the tea, some Russian tea drinkers prefer to hold a sugar cube in their mouths as they drink – a recipe for tooth decay, but an interesting idea nonetheless.


More background on Chaga and other medicinal mushrooms can be found, free for download, here.