Responsible Medicinal Mushroom Use – Staying Safe with Healing Mushrooms
With mushrooms rising in popularity for their health benefits, it’s wise to understand proper usage and potential downsides. While research shows mushrooms can help enhance wellness, inappropriate use may cause issues in some cases. Let’s explore common concerns and how to use mushrooms safely.
Interactions with Drugs
Some mushrooms like reishi are shown to interact with medications like blood thinners and immunosuppressants. A 2020 review found reishi increased platelet aggregation in people on warfarin therapy. Reishi may also raise the bioavailability of immunosuppressants.
Talk to your doctor before starting mushrooms if you take prescriptions or have health conditions. Stop at least 2 weeks before any procedures.
Poorly prepared mushrooms can irritate the digestive tract. Chitin in cell walls can cause bloating, diarrhea or constipation if not cooked thoroughly to break down fiber. Extract supplements may improve tolerance.
Start with small doses like 100mg, slowly increasing over 2-3 weeks when trying new varieties to see how your body responds. Avoid extracts on an empty stomach initially.
Mushrooms grown in polluted areas can accumulate toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium. Choose organic mushrooms from reputable growers to prevent contamination.
One study found high lead in some cheap imported reishi versus quality organic brands. Consider testing products when possible.
With no regulations around mushrooms, quality control is inconsistent. DNA research reveals some products contain cheap fillers like rice powder instead of actual mushrooms.
Purchase from reputable suppliers of organic, third-party tested products with dosage transparency and high beta-glucan content. Avoid questionable bargain mushroom products.
Some speculate overusing immune-enhancing mushrooms might cause immune imbalance or worsen autoimmunity. But this risk remains theoretical and unproven.
Only take immune-modulating mushrooms like turkey tail, reishi, or cordyceps during times of need like illness. Don’t use daily long-term without doctor guidance.
The benefits of mushrooms typically outweigh the potential risks when used properly. Focus on quality, moderation, and carefully observing your body’s responses. Discuss any concerns with your healthcare advisor.