Medicinal Mushrooms as Complementary Therapies

Medicinal Mushrooms as Complementary Therapies

The complexity of the human body and its response to disease, infection, and injury means treatment of any ailment is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Many acute and chronic conditions require practitioners to create customised treatment solutions which combine a variety of therapies, including medication, psychological support, and supplemental treatment.

Complementary rehabilitation treatments in modern healthcare can help to manage the side effects and symptoms of conditions not addressed by primary treatment methods. The World Health Organization notes that approximately 65 to 80% of the global population uses some form of complementary or alternative treatment, often combined with common Western medicine practices.

While complementary rehabilitation treatments can improve the efficacy of primary treatment methods and deliver quality of life improvements for many patients, the success of the therapy will depend on a number of factors. Some complementary treatments are safer than others, particularly when combined with Western medicine.

Applying Complementary Rehabilitation Treatments Safely

Complementary therapies come in a variety of forms, from psychological treatments, intended to address the mental and cognitive side-effects of physical ailments, to supplemental treatments using natural and holistic substances. Most complementary treatments share a few common beliefs. For instance, practitioners using complementary medicines believe that a body in balance (a state of homeostasis) is more likely to recover than one out of balance.

The philosophy of complementary medicine also dictates there is no quick fix to many health problems, and that the whole person should be treated when searching for a solution, not just the symptoms or specific disease.

The efficacy of complementary treatments is an area currently attracting extensive study. To deliver safe complementary therapeutic treatments, practitioners must consider the unique needs of the patient, and the existing medicines or treatments that the individual is using. Some complementary treatments, though considered “natural” can still have a negative impact on the body when mixed with other substances. This is why it’s crucial to be cautious when mixing therapies.

Do Complementary Rehabilitation Treatments work?

In certain circumstances, complementary therapies have proven to be extremely effective. In one study, people with Parkinson’s disease were found to respond positively to complementary therapy focused on dance and movement. Studies into complementary and integrative health interventions for musculoskeletal conditions have revealed that various forms of holistic treatments, like acupuncture, and mind-body medicine, can have a positive impact on musculoskeletal pains.

Studies have even revealed that mind-body therapies can be effective when dealing with the symptoms and side effects of certain cancers, as well as the side effects of chemotherapy treatments. In these cases, the use of complementary medicines can improve the quality of life of the patient, while they go through traditional treatment practices (like chemotherapy).

The biggest concern surrounding complementary medicine is whether they may also have a negative impact on the patient in some cases. Certain herbal and natural products can cause approved medicines to have unintended side-effects. Concerns regarding interactions have prompted a deeper interest in medicinal mushrooms, which are proven to work synergistically alongside many primary treatment options, without the risk of negative interactions.

Reishi mushroom, or Ganoderma lucidum, for instance, is an effective tool for patients with fibromyalgia. The mushroom extract can address various symptoms of fibromyalgia, including hypertension, pain, depression, and trouble sleeping. The Reishi mushroom significantly improves the quality and quantity of sleep in patients, improving the defence levels of the immune system in the fibromyalgia population.

Studies into Ganoderma lucidum use for fibromyalgia also found that the medicinal mushroom can assist with improving overall quality of life, reducing feelings of depression, improving energy levels, and enhancing endurance in the lower limbs.

Medicinal Mushrooms as Complementary Therapies

Ganoderma lucidum is a popular complementary therapy for those in search of holistic treatments for a range of conditions. The substance has been evaluated for its efficacy in helping with pain management during cancer treatment. Reishi is also known for its ability to reduce inflammation and improve immunomodulation, to support the natural homeostasis of the body throughout various acute and chronic conditions.

Other medicinal mushrooms can also work synergistically with primary treatment options in modern healthcare. Cordyceps mushrooms, for instance, can assist with osteoarthritis symptoms, reducing pain and inflammation, while improving energy levels. Cordycepin, its main bioactive molecule,  blocks the inflammatory process that causes pain in osteoarthritis, without the negative side effects of NSAIDs. Cordyceps can also assist with muscle recovery and inflammation, allowing the body to recover more quickly from injury.

Lion’s Mane, or Hericium erinaceus mushroom, has also been studied as a solution for complementary therapies in neural injuries and neuropathy. Studies into Transverse Myelitis, for instance, demonstrates the ability of Lion’s Mane mushroom to regenerate the neural pathways in the brain, and help them recover during rehabilitation treatments. Supplementation with Lion’s mane mushroom can help to improve the brain’s ability to rebuild pathways damaged by illness.

This medicinal mushroom stimulates nerve growth, and empowers patients to build strength, muscle, and muscle memory faster in a safe way.

For the future of healthcare, complementary rehabilitation treatments backed by scientific research, like medicinal mushrooms, will significantly improve the recovery rate in various serious conditions. Their unique abilities together with the safety of these substances, especially if there is an internal study of the producer that proves no drug interaction, make them the perfect synergistic solution for holistic treatment paths.