Support cancer therapy naturally
Complementary use of vital mushrooms in cancer
July 29 2021
Dr. Dorothee Bös et al.
Cancer is increasingly becoming one of our most threatening widespread diseases. In 2017, about 1.7 million people in Germany were considered cancer patients. Yet living with cancer is arduous and the risk of death considerable.
The conventional medical therapies are often associated with severe side effects, which, however, can often be alleviated and supplemented with naturopathic treatments. The optimal cancer therapy is always based on numerous complementary pillars such as a natural diet rich in vital substances, exercise, naturopathy, strengthening measures for body and soul. Vital mushrooms are also an important pillar of complementary medicine and can help health through multiple mechanisms and ingredients.
We explain how vital mushrooms can specifically support the immune system during and after chemotherapy or radiation as well as reduce unpleasant side effects.
Cancer - a disease with many faces
Who gets cancer?
Theoretically, any human or mammal can develop cancer. Meanwhile, cancer tumors are among the most serious problems of our civilization. In Germany alone, almost 400,000 people contract cancer every year. That’s what the statistics say. According to autopsy studies, the number of unreported cases is significantly higher, as some tumors are not even detected during the patient’s lifetime. After cardiovascular disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in Western society.
The rate of disease is highest among those over 60 years of age. About three quarters of all cancers fall into this age group. However, younger people can also develop tumors. In Germany, approximately 1750 new cases are diagnosed in children each year. The brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes and blood (leukemia) are primarily affected at this age.
What are the types of cancer?
Cancer arises from a single cell. In principle, this can be located anywhere in the body. However, cancer needs many cell divisions to grow. Therefore, it grows preferentially from cells that divide frequently, such as epithelial cells found in skin and mucous membranes. There are tumors in stomach, liver, kidneys, thyroid gland, urinary bladder, oral pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, ovaries, testicles and some other places in the body. The most common types of cancer in Germany are by far the following (affected persons figures from 2013):
- Breast cancer: 71,640 women & several hundred men
- Colorectal cancer: 27,210 women & 33,370 men
- Prostate cancer: 59,620 men
- Lung cancer: 18,810 women & 34,690 men
"I have suffered from type I diabetes since 1970, and I also had breast cancer surgery in 2004. I take three capsules of ABM medicinal mushrooms per day and have a good general condition. The laboratory results are to the complete satisfaction of the doctor. I am hopefully completely cured."
"No side effects with a total of twelve chemotherapies. There is no parallel treatment. My oncologist at the University Hospital in Frankfurt has been informed. She has no concerns." This is how Mr. B. K. describes his experience with Reishi, Polyporus and Hericium for his colon cancer with metastases in liver, lungs and lymph.
Which cancer is curable?
When it comes to curing cancer, we can only ever talk about opportunities. Some cancers are particularly difficult to treat because of their characteristics. Some tumors develop the ability to “attract” blood vessels. In this way, they overcome encapsulation and build up their own supply of nutrients.
The formation of metastases is particularly serious. When a cancer manages to invade surrounding tissue or cause cancer cells to travel through the body via the lymphatic system or bloodstream, experts refer to them as “malignant” tumors. If metastasis occurs in particularly sensitive locations such as the lungs, brain, bones or liver, the cancer is almost impossible to stop. In fact, 90% of deaths in cancer patients are not due to the original tumor, but to its metastases.
Unlike malignant tumors, which carry a high risk of recurrence even with successful treatment, benign tumors can be easily removed surgically. Their growth is clearly circumscribed and they do not invade foreign tissue. One speaks of “cancer” only in the case of malignant tumors.
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Causes and treatment
How does cancer develop?
Why does cancer occur in old age?
How to prevent cancer?
- The DNA defect is inherited and therefore present from birth.
- Due to a problem in the cell, the DNA is copied incorrectly.
- Viruses damage cell DNA to give themselves advantages in reproduction.
- Environmental influences damage the genes. This primarily affects those cells that come into contact with the environment, i.e. the skin and the entire digestive tract as well as the lungs. Only radiation such as X-rays can also reach cells inside the body.
Potentially carcinogenic factors
- Obesity and diabetes – are responsible for about 40% of cancers
- Lack of exercise
- Unhealthy diet/food additives (e.g., highly processed foods, sugar, meat, aspartame).
- Radiation (e.g. UV, radioactive)
- harmful environmental influences (e.g. asbestos, titanium dioxide)
- Environmental toxins (e.g. benzene, nitrosamines, soot, arsenic)
- Infections (e.g. HPV, hepatitis B & C virus, Borrelia)
- chronic subthreshold inflammation (arteriosclerosis, abdominal fat)
- psychological factors (permanent stress, persistent anxiety, trauma, grief)
Influence of obesity and diet
Looking at the harmful environmental influences, you can clearly see that lifestyle and especially diet play an essential role in cancer. People with obesity and diabetes have a significantly increased risk of developing cancer. On the one hand, this is related to the stimulatory effect that insulin and the insulin-like growth factor IGF exert on the growth of tumors. IGF is found primarily in animal protein from milk and meat. That is why a whole-food, plant-based diet is highly recommended for cancer.
On the other hand, there is chronic inflammation associated with abdominal fat, fatty liver and diabetes. Inflammation damages cell DNA. The same problem exists with infectious diseases. Sometimes tumor cells themselves produce pro-inflammatory substances because inflammation increases blood flow. This is equivalent to a better supply of nutrients and oxygen, which in turn makes the tumor grow faster.
Strengthen immune system
What treatment helps with cancer?
In German hospitals, conventional medical treatment of cancer clearly dominates. First and foremost, this includes surgical removal of the tumor. In addition, there are drugs that are supposed to act against the cancer cells in different ways. In addition to anti-hormone and cancer immunotherapy, chemotherapy is probably the best known.
During “chemo”, the patient is usually administered so-called cytostatic drugs. They are designed to suppress the growth of cancer cells or, at best, kill them. However, the drug cannot distinguish between healthy and tumor cells. However, since it interferes with the process of cell division, it primarily harms those cells that divide frequently. This is true for tumor cells, but also for epithelial and bone cells. The former are located, for example, at the hair root or in the mucous membranes. That’s why chemotherapy often causes hair loss, nausea and digestive problems. The components of the blood are produced in the bone cells: Platelets, erythrocytes and leukocytes. Chemotherapy lowers their production, which leads to exhaustion due to anemia. Since leukocytes are important cells in the body’s defense system, the immune system is also weakened after chemo.
Another conventional medical treatment method to cure cancer is radiation. Different types of radiation can be used, for example radioactive, X-ray, electron, neutron, proton and heavy ion beams. These are all high-energy or ionizing beams. They release electrons from atoms or molecules, which are then supposed to destroy the genes of the tumor cell. In addition, the radiation from the hydrogen in the cell releases free radicals. These in turn destroy the tumor DNA, but also attack enzymes, disrupting the functional processes in the cancer cell. The goal is to stop the proliferation of cells and, at best, to induce cell death, or apoptosis. In general, tumor tissue is more sensitive to radiation than healthy body tissue. Nevertheless, the side effects are not absent here either. Immediate reactions may include mucosal redness, nausea, diarrhea, and bladder problems. Long-term damage such as vasoconstriction, tissue scarring, bone and tooth damage often does not show up until months or years later.
Support through medicinal mushrooms
However, conventional medicine can and should always be supported with other pillars. In Asia, “the best of 2 worlds” – that is, conventional medicine and naturopathy – is always combined individually for the benefit of the patient. In this context, medicinal mushrooms play a very important role in complementary medicine for cancer. We will now explain their areas of application and mechanisms of action in more detail.
Complementary accompaniment of cancer
Many patients opt for a combination of classical treatment, alternative medicine and a healthy diet for cancer. There are definitely synergies here, as complementary treatment methods can also alleviate the side effects of chemo and radiation. Overall, they can add a lot more quality to life with cancer. It is also important that those affected feel comfortable with the chosen form of treatment. This usually also means that there is a consensus between the doctor and the patient on exactly what the procedure should be. Unfortunately, complementary treatment methods are not yet as widely recognized in Germany as they are in China, for example. However, many physicians are now exploring combinations and are increasingly realizing the opportunities offered by complementary medicine in cancer.
Which medicinal mushrooms can support cancer treatment?
In the spectrum of complementary treatments, vital mushrooms are a remarkable option. Many of them have been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), their gentle but lasting effects are highly valued. In addition, TCM also assigns a very decisive role to healthy nutrition in cancer.
If medicinal mushrooms are to be used for cancer, careful selection must be made. It is best to consult an expert to determine which vital mushrooms will best help with your specific tumor, stage of disease, and symptoms. It is conceivable to use the medicinal mushrooms listed below for cancer. All these mushrooms have in common that they help the body detoxify. This is always a help in cancer and its treatment, as the organism gets rid of unnecessary burdens. Furthermore, medicinal mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, which are dietary fibers. They stimulate the immune system and act against the cancer cells in a very wide variety of ways. There are also antioxidants, which provide valuable services in the prevention and treatment of cancer as well as in reducing the side effects of conventional medical measures.
Now learn how exactly each mushroom helps you arm yourself against cancer.
Agaricus blazei murill (ABM) - "almond mushroom".
The ABM is an edible mushroom from the mushroom genus. These common mushrooms are always part of a full cancer diet. However, ABM also has a few very special properties that distinguish it from related species: ABM is rich in long-chain polysaccharides, the “beta-D-glucans”. These have a regulating effect on the immune system. This means that they curb excessive immune reactions such as those that occur in autoimmune diseases. On the other hand, they activate the cells of the immune system in case the latter should weaken. An active immune system is enormously important to naturally counteract or prevent cancer. This is because our immune cells are basically capable of fighting degenerated cells.
Thus, the ABM also plays a central role in accompanying orthodox cancer therapy. It supports the bone marrow in its regeneration after radiation or chemotherapy. The faster sufficient erythrocytes are produced again, the sooner exhaustion states subside. The rapid regeneration of leukocytes also revives the immune system after chemo.
ABM has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on growth in the following cancers:
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Liver cancer
- Brain tumors
In some cases, a decrease in tumor tissue was even observed with the administration of ABM. It thus appears to support mechanisms leading to apoptosis of cancer cells.
Furthermore, the ABM makes it easier for those affected to live with cancer. With regular use, an improvement in the general condition was observed. It protects the liver, which is severely affected by drugs and other treatments. In leukemia or lymphoma, it reduces possible swelling of the spleen.
In terms of prevention, the ABM is also a good choice. Comparing all medicinal mushrooms used in cancer, it contains the most antioxidant agents such as superoxide dismutase, catalase and tyrosinase and also activates the production of antioxidant enzymes. These enzymes defuse free radicals in the body’s cells, which could otherwise damage DNA. This is probably also the reason why cancer almost never occurred in the rural population in the homeland of this fungus in Brazil.
This medicinal mushroom has long been used in complementary medicine for cancer. Ötzi already had a close relative of Coriolus versicolor in his medicine chest 5200 years ago.
With the polysaccharides PSP and PSK, it promotes the immune defense. In particular, it activates the TH1 immune response, which helps the body fight viruses as well as tumor cells. This is presumably also the reason why physicians could not prove an existing infestation with the human papillomavirus (HPV) with some female patients after one year income of this vital mushroom any longer. HPV attacks the cervix and can lead to tumor growth there. In the course of Coriolus versicolor administration, even pre-existing cervical lesions regressed in affected patients.
Furthermore, it seems to cure hormone-dependent cancer naturally under certain circumstances. Here we are talking about breast or prostate cancer, for example. In addition, Coriolus versicolor stimulates apoptosis in various types of tumors. Furthermore, it inhibits tumor growth by impeding the formation of new vessels to supply the tumor.
Thanks to its antioxidant polysaccharides and the ability to activate the body’s own enzymes with antioxidant activity, Coriolus versicolor facilitates living with cancer and its conventional medical treatment. The strong antioxidant effect seems to reduce both the damage of irradiation to healthy tissue and to mucous membranes. Similarly, the cells of the bone marrow are protected from radiation damage, which is why hematopoiesis is less impaired after radiotherapy.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa - "rattle sponge")
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
As the last of our medicinal mushrooms on the subject of cancer, we present the Reishi. This primary rock of the vital mushrooms has already proven itself for over 4000 years in Far Eastern medicine. It is a popular remedy when it comes to providing natural support to cancer patients. Among other things, it has an inhibitory effect on the growth of tumor cells in breast, prostate, ovarian, lung and liver cancer.
In prevention, the antioxidant properties of Reishi are shown to be extremely efficient. By activating superoxide dismutase, glutathione S-transferase and laccase, it reduces the risk of free radicals damaging genes in cells. The antioxidants also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Since inflammation is a risk factor for cell degeneration, Reishi also prevents tumor formation at this point.
Accompanying chemotherapy, experts appreciate its beneficial effect on detoxification processes. Thus, it effectively alleviates unpleasant side effects. In addition, its ability to reduce pain and stimulate appetite. It thus makes an important contribution to improving the quality of life of cancer patients during chemotherapy.
Selection and dosage of medicinal mushrooms
Note: This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult an experienced mycotherapist in advance and talk to your doctor or therapist before adjusting your medication if necessary. Vital mushrooms are not intended as the sole means of treating diseases and the results may vary depending on individual medical history or constitution!