Here’s a little-known secret for reducing inflammation: mushrooms and fungi. This kingdom of living organisms helps in many ways and will intelligently modulate the immune system, helping boost it when needed and helping tone it down when the immune response (inflammation) is excessive.

We call this a biological response modifier (BRM) or adaptogen. Fungi contain hundreds of chemical compounds that are adaptogens. We are discovering more and more of them, all the time. There are around 100 such useful compounds in the Reishi mushroom alone.

Adaptogens engage the immune system is a smart way, instead of all-out suppression, as most anti-inflammatory drugs do (aspirin, Ibuprofen, NSAIDs etc.).

Technically, the adaptogens are terpenes. These substances are resins and found in trees and other plants, as well as fungi, which of course are not in the plant kingdom at all.

These terpenes have great powers to reduce swelling, redness and pain, improve breathing and reduce the first stages of heart disease.

King of the anti-inflammatory mushrooms is the amazing Ganoderma lucidum mushroom; Chinese name Reishi.

In one scientific test, comparing the effects of Reishi to that of hydrocortisone, a simple hot water extract of the fruiting body was every bit as good as the drug. But there were none of the notorious side effects of the corticosteroid drug (immune suppression, water retention, stomach ulcers, etc.)

Here’s a short list of useful anti-inflammatory mushrooms:

  • Hericium erinacous (Lion’s mane)
  • Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom)
  • Polyporus umbellatus (The umbrella polypore; Chinese Zhuling)
  • Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi, lingzhi)

Note: There are many useful species in the Ganoderma family

These are notes from my upcoming book “Fire In The Belly”. I hope it will be published in just the next few days.