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What Does Mushroom Extract Do?

By Nicki Wolf

Mushroom extract comes in both pill and liquid form and you can find this substance derived from a variety of mushroom types, from reishi to shiitake. Each mushroom's extract provides a variety of benefits, but do not introduce this natural medicine to your diet until you get approval from your health care provider.

Cancer Treatment

Some mushroom extracts benefit you while undergoing cancer treatment. A study published in the May 2011 issue of the "Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition" explores the benefits of shiitake mushroom extract for cancer patients, while research featured in the June 2011 edition of the "Journal of Medicinal Food" indicates that maitake mushroom extract kills breast cancer cells. Researchers theorize that the extracts from both of these types mushrooms may be developed into effective treatments for cancer.

Anti-Aging Benefits

Mushroom extract can be used as topical treatment or internal medicine to prevent the effects of aging on skin and organs. Evidence available in the August 2010 "Journal of Medicinal Food" correlates laboratory testing of extracts from the oyster mushroom tested on aging rats with benefits to the brain, liver, kidneys and heart. Researchers believe oyster mushroom extracts may provide antioxidant benefits to these organs that might delay age-related deterioration.

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Liver Toxicity Protection

A variety of environmental toxins can damage your liver. A study released in the August 2009 issue of "The Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research" suggests that extracts from the Tamogidake mushrooms may help protect the liver from toxicity triggered by exposure to carbon tetrachloride. This environmental compound is used to manufacture refrigerants and substances in aerosol cans as well as oil, varnish and resin solvents. You may also find it in dry cleaning agents, although only industrial use of carbon tetrachloride is allowed in the United States. Additional testing is needed to determine if Tamogidake mushroom extract effectively protects the human liver.

Allergy Therapy

If you suffer from some allergies, extract made from a Brazilian mushroom may offer benefits. Research featured in the May 2009 issue of "Clinical and Molecular Allergy" indicates that extracts that derive from Agaricus blazei Murill mushrooms suppressed allergies triggered by proteins in egg whites in animal studies. Human testing is needed to determine if this effect applies to men and women.

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