Discover Medicinal Mushrooms for Arthritis

People are using medicinal mushrooms for arthritis support. Today we are going over some of the mushrooms that have some evidence in potentially helping

People have used medicinal mushrooms for millennia. In modern times, studies are looking more deeply at the constituents and health supporting characteristics found in a variety of mushroom species. 

Today we are looking at medicinal mushrooms for arthritis, for those who are dealing with the aches and pains associated with osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammation in general. 

Medicinal mushrooms for arthritis targeting gouty arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

It’s important to realize that there are a variety of types of arthritis that can impact people’s lives. Gouty arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are good examples of these. Gouty arthritis is caused by excessive uric acid crystals. This buildup in the joints over time can be very painful. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis where the body’s immune system attacks itself. Inflammation is present in both these arthritis types. 

Fortunately, it seems that eating mushrooms can help manage some of the impact of arthritis. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, “A research team led by Christian Hertweck at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Products Research and Infection Biology, Jena, Germany, have identified compounds in mushrooms which they say are capable of treating rheumatoid and gouty arthritis.”

“The inflammation of joints and tissues in these common diseases are controlled by enzymes in the body. The researchers claim the compounds they have identified can block the action of the specific enzymes which cause the inflammation.”

One mushroom with ties to anti-inflammatory properties is the Italian oyster, which is discussed in more detail below. 

Medicinal mushrooms for arthritis and vitamin D

Saga Magazine reminds us of something important. “People with arthritis are often found to be low in vitamin D, which is needed to regulate bone-building calcium. We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight – but along with oily fish and egg yolks, sun-exposed mushrooms are among the best dietary sources.”

We have written about mushrooms and vitamin D before. In fact, we’ve long shared our recommendation for drying mushrooms (we’ve specifically mentioned shiitakes) out in sunlight with the gills facing up. 

For people who are low in vitamin D and thus susceptible to arthritis, increasing the amount of sun-dried mushrooms in your diet may prove helpful. 

Medicinal mushrooms for arthritis: Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

According to MycoMedicinals by Paul Stamets, “Constituents--including lanostanic triterpenoids--from the fruitbodies of this remarkable species have been shown to be anti-inflammatory (Ukai et al., 1983) in the treatment of arthritis (Stavinoha et al. 1990, 1996; Lin et al., 1993; Mizumo & Kim, 1996; Lee et al. 2001).

The same book also mentions studies on reishi relating to inflammation of the brain and the prostate. The book states, “Ganoderma lucidum may prove useful for treating inflammation of the brain (Stavinoha, 1997).”

“Significant results were obtained recently in a clinical study using Reishi components in the treatment of prostate inflammation. (Small et al. 2000).”

Reishi grows in various places throughout the United States. We find it regularly starting to grow in the Northeast during the spring. It’s good to harvest months later when it turns a bright red color. In our area it is often found near water or in maple groves. In the southeast and southwest of the United States, reishi can be found more easily in oak forests. 

In addition to the ability to forage reishi, the mushroom can be cultivated. We provide an array of spawn if you would like to grow your own reishi at home. We also have reishi mushroom growing kits, which will produce a different reishi than you may be used to when foraging. Reishis cultivated will grow in the antler phase. They are a treat to look at especially while growing, and they have similar healthful constituents as found in foraged reishi. 

Understanding the Italian oyster and its anti-inflammatory properties

The Italian oyster (P. pulmonarius) is also known as the lung oyster or phoenix oyster. The cap of this oyster mushroom resembles a lung, which is why it has received this name. The cap also becomes wavy in maturity. 

We offer spawn and mushroom growing kits of the Italian oyster. They are one of the popular varieties to grow because they have the vigor found in various oyster mushrooms. Our growing kits are 10 pounds of colonized substrate and certified organic. We expect you will be able to harvest 2-4 pounds of fresh Italian oysters from this kit throughout its duration. You can order your kit here. 

We hope you know more about medicinal mushrooms for arthritis! There is so much to know about medicinal mushrooms and we will continue to provide you with that information here on the Fungal Universe. For more on medicinal mushrooms, check out this online course

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