Tag Archives: supplements

Patent issued for dermal application of Turkey Tail extract

A US patent was recently awarded to Michael Bishop et al for the method by which Coriolus versicolor  extract is used to create a topical application that reduces and/or inhibits skin inflammation.  The application could be formulated in the future as a toner, face cream, shampoo, eye cream or serum that could be applied directly to the skin.

For many, ingesting anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to irritation in the gastrointestinal tract and possibly bleeding.  Finding a dermal application could alleviate these issues giving patients a less invasive alternative.

Coriolus versicolor, commonly known as Turkey Tail, can be found  growing in the wild on dead hardwoods in most parts of the world.  The mycelium and fruiting body of this mushroom have been studied at great lengths since it has a multitude of health benefits including anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.  It is also used to treat dermal wounds, can stimulate the immune system, has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, is an anti-oxidant and is used in the treatment of diabetes.

Terrafunga carries a certified  organic turkey tail supplement that offers many of these beneficial health benefits.

US Patent awarded to Bishop et al

Source: United States Patent, Bishop, et al, Paul Stamets, Mycomedicinals, 2002

Terrafunga does not offer medical advice.  Readers should seek medical advice from a licensed physician or other qualified healthcare professional and not rely on information they gather from secondary sources such as the internet.

Lion’s Mane – For your health and taste buds

Lion’s Mane – Hericium erinaceus is a fascinating mushroom that goes 320px-Igelstachelbart_Hericium_erinaceusby a lot of common names including monkey’s head, sheep’s head and bearded tooth.  In Japan it is called yamabushitake, loosely translated as “those who sleep in the mountains”, named after the Yamabushi monks who live high in the Omine mountain range.  Lion’s mane can be found on dead/dying oak, beech, maple and other deciduous trees and are usually found in the wild during the latter part of the summer and early fall.  It is an unusual looking mushroom shaped like a pompom with long, pure white cascading tendrils that carry its spores and turns brown as it ages.

Lion’s mane has been a staple in Chinese medicine for centuries and was thought to “give nerves of steel and the memory of a lion” to those who ingested it.  For years Buddhist monks have consumed this mushroom in the form of a tea to heighten their focus during meditation and enhance their brain power.  Recent studies have demonstrated that lion’s mane has the capacity to improve cognitive ability and strengthen memory and concentration explaining the increased awareness experienced by these monks.  Lion’s mane is considered a super food due to its many health benefits including its neuroregenerative properties.

When neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s occur, the brain is incapable of producing its own internal source of nerve growth factors (NGF), a protein that is essential for the maintenance and growth of nerve cells.  Whereas NGFs are also produced elsewhere in the body, the semi-permeable sheath that surrounds the brain (blood-brain barrier) prevents them from entering this area.  Research has shown that two compounds unique to lion’s mane, hericenones and erinacines are small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the brain to produce its own NGF, thereby boosting production of new nerve cells.  Erinacines compound have been called “the most powerful NGF inducers of all natural compounds” and has proven effective in improving muscle-motor response pathways in Parkinson’s patients and repair neurological trauma in stroke victims.

In addition to improving cognitive ability and memory, lion’s mane has been used by herbalists in conjunction with medicinal herbs to treat Lyme’s disease, specifically the Borrelia bacteria that causes neurocognitive deficit in the brain.  It appears that because compounds in lion’s mane can pass through the blood brain barrier, it releases the bacteria into the blood stream where it can be treated more effectively.  Separately, studies have shown that Lion’s mane can elevate one’s mood and alleviate anxiety, helpful when treating individuals suffering from depression.  It has also been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to maintain good colon health and improve a host of digestive disorders including stomach ailments, gastritis, duodenal ulcers, and esophageal cancer.

Gastronomically, Lion’s mane has a subtle seafood-like flavor, reminiscent of lobster and crab, which is intensified when slowly cooked in butter.  It is great sautéed on its own in olive oil with garlic and shallots or poached in a butter and white wine reduction sauce.  It complements fish dishes wonderfully and is a great substitute for meat in pasta.  To avoid getting a bitter taste, it is important to cook this mushroom slowly allowing the edges to turn a crispy brown then letting the liquids evaporate before adding in any flavorful moisture back.

Lion’s Mane/King Crab Spread: (courtesy Fungi.com and edited)


3 King Crab legs
7 medium cloves garlic
Juice of ½ lime
¼ medium red onion
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Celestial Seasonings Creole Spice
1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
2 heaping Tbsp sour cream
2 heaping Tbsp cream cheese
¼ medium tomato
½ – ¾ lb Lion’s Mane mushrooms

Steam crab legs then extract the crab meat from the shells and set aside.  Slice the Lion’s mane into discs and sauté in butter in an iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and quick-chop for approximately 30 seconds.  Add in mushrooms and crab and process for another minute.

Note from fungi.com: If you want to really send this recipe over the top, consider adding some fresh parmesan or goat cheese to it as well.

Source: superfoods-for-superhealth.com, foursigmafoods.com, Mycelium Running Paul Stamets, Beneficialbotanicals.com, fungi.com

Terrafunga does not offer medical advice.  Readers should seek medical advice from a licensed physician or other qualified health professional and not rely on information they may gather from secondary sources such as the internet.


Cordyceps Improve Exercise, Energy and Endurance

We have all been told that in order to improve our health and reduce our chances of getting a lifestyle-related disease is to eat wholesome foods and exercise regularly.  Exercise boosts our energy levels, improves heart, lung and muscle fitness, prevents weight gain and enhances our mood.  Researchers in 2012 surmised that worldwide 1 in 3 adults and 4 in 5 adolescents did not meet the minimum, daily exercise requirements thereby contributing to a decline in global health.

Athletes, on the other hand, understand the importance of taking care of their body by fueling it properly in order to maintain a desired level of fitness.  A university study of intercollegiate athletes determined that 88% used nutritional supplements as part of their training regimen (though there are some that resort to unnatural substances that promise to improve their performance).

The desire to improve physical performance and dominate in competition is not new.  For centuries, athletes have used a variety of “performance-enhancing” concoctions including the Ancient Greek Olympians who, prior to competing, ingested dried figs, mushrooms and strychnine amongst other substances, the Norse Berserkers who consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms to increase their fighting strength and, more recently, the Chinese women distance runners who shattered world records in ’93 due in part to a daily intake of cordyceps in chicken broth.

Cordyceps (aka Caterpillar fungus) are parasitic mushrooms that live on the larvae of butterflies and moths, primarily in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in Central Asia.  These celebrated mushrooms used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine grow in a mineral-rich soil at high altitudes and low temperature making their harvest a dangerous and treacherous activity.  Because of their incredible health benefits, scarcity, remote habitat and tough geography, cordyceps were historically reserved for the Emperor’s highest court and Chinese nobility and today are sold in Asian markets for exorbitant prices.

In recent years, six varieties have been cultivated for medicinal purposes; Cordyceps sinensis being the most common and promising.  This mushroom contains a broad range of compounds including vitamins E, K, B1, B2, B12, all essential amino acids, many sugars and polysaccharides, proteins, sterols and a host of macro and micro elements.  In traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps are used to treat respiratory and pulmonary disease, renal, liver and cardiovascular disease as well as immune disorders.  In Tibet, it is considered a rejuvenator that increases energy and reduces fatigue.

In Western medicine, cordyceps are used primarily by two distinct groups: the elderly and athletes, though with increased research, there are promising applications for patients undergoing cancer treatments and those suffering from respiratory, kidney and liver diseases.   Some athletes add cordyceps to their training regimen as research has shown it increases useful energy and endurance.  A Japanese study using aqueous cordyceps extracts showed that it dilated the aorta by 40% which increased blood flow to the muscles thereby greatly enhancing endurance.

A study in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise tested 30 healthy male athletes for 6 weeks to record the effects of cordyceps on their performance.  The group that added cordyceps to its daily regimen had twice the oxygen intake of the control group.  Oxygen intake is essential in supplying nutrients to the muscles, preventing fatigue and the build-up of lactic acid.  Another study done by the same group on 30 healthy Chinese elderly adults showed a 9% increase in aerobic activity.

Separately, a study performed in Shrewsbury, MA at the Rippe Lifestyle institute, tested sedentary adults for 12 weeks on their aerobic capability, exercise metabolism and endurance.  The healthy volunteers (ages 40-70) were divided into two groups with one consuming a mixture of cordyceps and rhodiola.  Their oxygen intake, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), blood pressure and body weight were measured at 0 weeks, 6 weeks and 12 weeks.

The group that consumed the cordyceps mixture reduced their timed one mile walk by 29 seconds at the end of 12 weeks, increased their work out on a cycle ergometer by 3.1%, increased their VO2peak by 5.5% (maximum of O2 body uses during a specific time) and decreased their RER by 2.1% (ratio between CO2 produced and O2 consumed in one breath).  Additionally, the group that consumed cordyceps lowered its blood pressure by 3.1% and decreased body weight by 1.2% by the end of the 12 weeks.

Research using laboratory animals also concluded that cordyceps improve performance.  In lab tests, mice that had cordyceps added to their diet significantly increased their time-to-exhaustion over the control group suggesting improved performance/endurance from increased energy output and decreased fatigue.  Another study using rats also determined that cordyceps improved endurance.  Two groups were tested; one that had not exercised prior to testing and the other that had.  The rats were given cordyceps over 15 days and tested against a control group.  The animals that had not exercised improved their endurance by 79% whereas the group that had exercised prior to testing improved by 179%.

Researchers concluded that the improvement in endurance was due to the activation of the skeletal muscle metabolic regulators, angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels important in improving physical performance) and better glucose and lactate uptake (glucose is necessary for ATP synthesis, lactate diminishes the “burn” in muscle). Others suggest the increased endurance was due to improved respiratory activity concomitant with the metabolism of lactic acid.  A Boston marathon runner shared that he improved his running time by 25 minutes recently attributing his success, in part, to consuming cordyceps in tea form.

Though more conclusive research needs to be done on the influence cordyceps have on physical performance, the positive health effects these fungi have on a slew of illnesses and disease is convincing.  Therapeutic effects include: anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-viral, blood pressure, blood sugar moderator, cardio-vascular, cholesterol reducer, immune enhancer, kidney tonic, lungs/respiratory, nerve tonic, sexual potentiator and stress reducer.  Additionally, there are some encouraging results using cordyceps in conjunction with certain cancer treatments including lung cancer, leukemia and lymphoma.

Consuming cordyceps from Asia in their natural form is not recommended as there may be many impurities, fungicidal residue and some are also stuffed with foreign objects (including lead) to increase their weight (and thus price).  Cordyceps cultivated in the US organically from mycelium are considered better and safer with greater consistency, quality assurance and controlled potency.  Terrafunga carries a reputable line of supplements including cordyceps that are grown organically in the US.

As many of us have resolved to eat healthier and exercise more this coming year, perhaps adding some cordyceps to our routine will give us the energy boost we need while improving our performance and endurance.

 Terrafunga does not offer medical advice.  Readers should seek medical advice from a licensed physician or other health care professional and not rely on information they may gather from secondary sources such as the internet.

Sources:  PubMed.gov, US National Library of Medicine, International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 10(3):219–234 (2008), Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, Medicinalmushroominfo.com/cordyceps, Mycomedicinals, Paul Stamets 2002