You may have heard the Greek myth of the daughter of Zeus, Hebe, with the ability to restore youth to aging mortals. Unfortunately it is just a myth for those of us who wish to turn back the clock to our more spry, younger days, but it does not mean we are powerless to the effects of time. For hundreds of years, mushrooms have been used for their anti-aging capabilities and just recently are we starting to see some evidence that there really is something to this ancient wisdom. So which mushrooms are doing the work of Hebe in our modern society today?
Ganoderma lucidum, otherwise known in Japan as reishi, is one of the most famous of the medicinal mushrooms generating billions of dollars in sales. Not only does it show great leaps and bounds toward helping patients with cancer, arthritis, and allergies, but it is showing promising steps towards the anti-aging front. Reishi's wide spectrum of cardiovascular, immunological, neurological benefits coupled with it's healing attributes for cholesterol control and blood sugar mitigation, helps tell a more practical story depicting anti-aging at its best.
Cordyceps Sinensis. This zombie mushroom is actually a parasitic mushroom that feeds off insects eventually killing its host. Cordyceps has been used for hundreds of years in asia as an anti-aging go-to for the elderly because of their apparent increases in aerobic capacity, oxygen intake, and improved resistance to fatigue. There is even some evidence based on polysaccharide extracts showing improved brain function and some antioxidative action that seems to be a great supplement for the elderly.
Sparassis crispa, or in Japanese, hanabiratake, is gaining a lot of attention for its phenomenal beta-glucan content, and many anti-microbal agents. In addition, it contains active terpenoid constituents and phthalides that have been linked to anti-cancer activity. What else can you ask for in an anti-aging supplement? How about healthy skin? Hanabiratake supplementation has shown to enhance wound healing in diabeitc lab rats and also has shown an increase in the level of new collagen in the skin of rats with a protein deficient diet. Hanabiratake supplementation has also shown to reduce inflammation in mouse dermatitis.
Lion's mane is a delicious mushroom known for its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor. Because of this miracle of nature, Hericium erinaceus, is being used for its very promising treatment of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Lion's mane also plays a much larger role in the body's homeostatsis in general. It shows very strong antioxidant properties and even evidence that it may speed up the body's natural wound healing capabilities which could be extremely helpful in many approaches toward healthier living and various avenues for recovery from a variety of ailments. The immune strengthening properties of Lion's mane are very promising indeed and coupled with the other mushrooms stated above sound like the perfect start on any anti-aging campaign.