Eat like an Okinawan. Try some mushroom miso soup. You and your kids can grow maitake or shiitake mushrooms at home, which is a lesson in science and nutrition with a lesson in cooking at the same time.
Miso soup recipe with maitake and shiitake mushrooms
1 quart of vegetable broth (vegans and vegetarians) or 1 quart of no-salt-added chicken broth (for omnivores).
1 cup water
2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
2 ounces dried maitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon to 1 and one half tablespoons of miso paste, light colored, low-sodium miso paste.
Optional (1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce).
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup green onions.
12 ounces of chopped mushrooms of any type you prefer such as reishi mushrooms, or any type you prefer. See the site, Healthy Nutrition – the Effects of Mushrooms.
Cut off hard-to-chew mushroom stems and cut the mushrooms into thin slices. For the dried mushrooms, remove the stems after they get soft in the broth as you will boil the dried mushrooms for a minute in the heated broth. Turn off the heat and let the dried mushrooms soak in the broth and steep out their juices into the broth. Remove any pieces hard to chew.
Chop the fresh mushrooms. In the hot water where the dried mushrooms are soaking till softer, stir in the miso paste. Simmer for a minute. Cover the pot and let stand for a few minutes, about 5 to 10 minutes. Then sprinkle the green onions on top and season with the black pepper.
Shiitake and maitake mushrooms are said to have various health benefits. In the Sacramento-Davis regional area, University of California, Davis tested mushroom extract to see whether it would shrink prostate cancer cells. See, Shitake Mushroom Extract in Prostate Cancer Tests at UC Davis.
Later, a UC Davis study on shiitake mushrooms and soy noted that “men on “watchful waiting” for prostate cancer may be eligible to participate in a UC Davis Cancer Center study of a food extract that could help prevent disease progression.”
The extract is genistein concentrated polysaccharide, or GCP. Derived from soybeans and shiitake mushrooms, GCP is used as a complementary prostate cancer therapy in Japan, Korea and other Asian countries. A preliminary study of GCP at UC Davis Cancer Center a few years ago found the supplement reduced prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a small number of “watchful waiting” patients.
Rising PSA levels in prostate cancer patients can be a signal of disease progression, while falling levels can signal remission. Watchful waiting is recommended for some small prostate cancers that cause no symptoms, are expected to grow very slowly, and are contained within one area of the prostate.
Even currently, UC Davis, the Western Human Nutrition Research Center, and the USDA are conducting studies with mushrooms regarding health benefits. If you’re healthy and between ages 20 to 59, and interested in participating in any study involving mushrooms, see the article, Western Human Nutrition Research Center: Nutrition studies for more information. Also currently, UC Davis is looking for people to paraticipate in a study where you eat mushrooms treated with ultra violet light. See, Eating Mushrooms treated with Ultra Violet Light Study on the Vitamin D2 content of the Mushrooms.
There’s also another study to find out whether mushrooms treated with ultra-violet light will have an effect on your vitamin D. USDA, ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center is inviting healthy men and women from 20 to 59 years of age to participate in a 42-day study with daily study visits at lunch-time on the UC Davis campus.
Researchers hope to learn whether mushrooms treated with UV light to increase the mushroom’s vitamin D2 content are actually a good source of vitamin D when consumed daily with a meal. If you want to participate in the eating mushrooms with a meal study, check out the USDA website for the mushroom study. The name of that study is “Effects of Consumption of Post Harvest UV-B Treated Mushrooms on Vitamin D Status of Healthy Adults.”
Basically, at UC Davis and in other studies using either the shiitake mushroom or the maitake mushroom or mushrooms and soy extracts mixed, scientists were studying the polysaccharides in mushrooms or in mixtures of soy and mushrooms to see whether mushrooms or various polysaccharides from plant extracts shrink tumors. In Asia, shiitake and maitake mushrooms are eaten as a food with rice.
Do they have specific health benefits, for example, to shrink tumors before they grow? Or can you grow you own mushrooms for use as food? And if you grow mushrooms, which mushrooms have the health benefits you want?
Should you grow your own specialized mushrooms if you can’t find commercial extracts that contain the ingredients you want? Or are mushroom extracts different from eating whole cooked mushrooms because the extracts use many more mushrooms that eating a few? What safety precautions do you need to take with mushrooms that should be cooked?
According to Disease and Health , the article, Maitake Mushroom, by Ken Babal, CN, notes that, “recent research indicates that it may be the most potent of all mushroom-derived medicines in terms of its anti-tumor and immune-enhancing activity.” The article also states that, “In one animal experiment, maitake was able to shrink tumors better than other mushroom-derivatives, including the all-time best-selling cancer drug sold in Europe and Asia.”
The article doesn’t have a footnote on the site citing where readers could find a published abstract at least of that animal experiment and the date to refer to online or in a medical/scientific journal. However, looking at other resources on maitake mushrooms, patients usually take maitake D-fraction as dried mushroom extract in capsule or pill form along with multiple vitamins and minerals. For further information see Source: alive #217, November 2000.
According to the Mushrooms and Medicine site, certain mushrooms have various antiviral and antibacterial compounds in addition to their tumor-shrinking abilities. The US National Institutes of Health a few years ago funded the screening of mushrooms for agents to fight various viruses.
See the study on the effects of white button mushroom extracts on breast cancer survivor patients at ClinicalTrials.gov and also the study on the effects of genistein combined with polysaccharide (GCP) on prostate cancer patients. The product tested on the prostate cancer patients is derived from adding soy powder to shiitake mushrooms. The ClinicalTrials.gov site is a service of the US National Institutes of Health.
The phase I trial on the effects of white button mushroom extracts on breast cancer survivor patients at ClinicalTrials.gov is studying the side effects and best dose of white button mushroom extract in preventing the recurrence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are breast cancer survivors.
Some concentrated mixtures of mushroom extracts are currently being sold in Japan and the United States and are thought to possibly contain properties that may be useful in treating certain types of cancer. Some studies are ongoing and others have been completed. See the Clincal Trials.gov site for links to see what’s happening with various US National studies.
What mushrooms are used to shrink tumors because those mushrooms have stood up to tests of their anti-tumor activity? Certain mushrooms contain a polysaccharide, or carbohydrate, called beta glucan. What do you look for in a mushroom extract that you want to use both for anti-viral purposes and to help shrink tumors?
According to “The Doctor Is In” column (Questions and Answers) by Melinda Ring, MD, medical director at the Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, published in the April 2009 issue of Natural Solutions magazine, the answer to the question “What are the three most important supplements in your medicine cabinet?”
Regarding mushroom extract, the answer reads: “Look for a formula that combines the immune-boosting and anti-cancer properties of reishi mushrooms, the blood-sugar balancing and cancer-fighting properties of the maitake mushrooms, and the cholesterol-lowering abilities of the shittakes.“
The answer also mentions the product, Fungi Perfecti. Other items considered important supplements in the doctor’s medicine cabinet published in the column were vitamin D3 and fish oil.
The polysaccarides in beta glucan activate your immune system’s macrophages in your bloodstream to shrink and destroy tumors. See the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry article, Antioxidant Properties of Several Medicinal Mushrooms . Also read the PDF file article, “The Possible Benefits of Mycocyclin ® (from the Allergy Research Group®).
Mycocyclin® is the extract of six mushrooms. It’s available online from the Organic Pharmacy and from other online sellers of Mycocyclin®, such as Nutricology Mycocyclin Liquid available at the Fubao Health Store. Mycocyclin® is sold in small bottles with droppers in 1 fluid ounce – 620 mg. amounts. The label notes that one serving is one dropper full of the liquid.
Mycocylcin® is a liquid extract (using alcohol) of six mushrooms harvested in the mycelial stage of growth, the stage in which the active constituents are most concentrated. The mushrooms contained in Mycocyclin™ are Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), Lentinula edodes (Shitake), Cordyceps sinensis (Cordyceps), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Coriolus versicolor (Turkey tail), and Tremella fruciformis (Snow fungus).
These mushrooms come straight out of ancient Chinese medicine and are still used in traditional Chinese medicine to support the immune system. What’s in the mushroom extract liquid are bioflavonoids, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and for immune support, active constituent Beta-1,3-Glucan to increase the white blood cell count and stimulate the immune system.
If you use maitake mushrooms or maitake mushroom extract, called D-fraction, you’re using an old folkloric tradition in Japan, one more wise food tradition to shrink and destroy tumors. This is one way food traditions of various parts of the world get to be studied in a laboratory, first on animals and then on humans. How effective are these wise food traditions from different parts of the world?
Another mushroom that is said to have tumor-shrinking and destroying ability is Mycostat,™. According to the MycoStat ™ site, MycoStat ™ is a liquid blend of six mushrooms (Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, ‘caterpillar fungus,’ Turkey Tail, and Shirokikurage). These six mushrooms are known in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine for their healing potential.
Occasionally, the site notes that, “an allergic reaction such as a skin rash may occur that subsides with discontinued use.” The MycoStat™ site also reports, “Along with polysaccharides, mushrooms also contain selenium and antioxidants, all of which stimulate immune function.”
Since mushrooms tend to accumulate aluminum which occurs naturally in soils, it is best to purchase them through reputable dealers. The MycoStat site claims to address this issue in the process of their liquid product.
Six mushrooms are combined in the liquid extract. Also shiitake mushrooms increase the production of macrophages and also promote the production and utilization of Vitamin D. The tumor-shrinking ability of mushrooms partly lies in their polysaccharides.
Just what do polysaccharides do? In the shiitake mushroom, the polysaccharide KS-2, lentinan extract supports the immune system by also using a polypentose, called Ac2P. When KS-2 and Ac2P work together, they may destroy viruses and also turn up your immune system.
Research is still being done because the six mushroom extract also is “an interferon inducer and increases the activity of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase.” By looking to Japan and China, scientists are investigating why in Japan, shiitake mushrooms are used to treat breast cancer. And in China, shiitake mushrooms are used to increase immunity to a wide variety of diseases. You can buy the liquid extract of six mushrooms online.
The Caterpillar fungus (cordyceps sinensis) increases the activity of T-cells by accelerating spleen regeneration, enhances oxygen uptake, and increases superoxide dismtase (SOD) activity. Turkey tail mushrooms contain two polysaccharides that enhance the immune system.
Shirokikurage (tremella fuciformis), also called White Jelly is a fungus containing large quantities of glucuronoxylomannan, an acidic polysaccharide. According to the MycoStat™ site, “dietary supplementation with this polysaccharide in crude form results in marked hypocholesterolemic effects (levels of cholesterol that are too low), probably attributable to suppression of intestinal cholesterol absorption.”
The reishi Mushroom (ganoderma lucidum) is used in traditional Chinese medicine and known as ling zhi, (herb of spiritual potency). Reishi is used medicinally in China because it’s bitter and not put in food very often. Those who eat it cook it a long time in soups. But reishi is used to calm anxiety, enhance sleep, and help indigestion. It is used for immune system support. Reishi also shrinks tumors according to clinical studies by increasing T-cell and alpha-interferon production.
Institutes of Health studies. Two or three generations ago science studied molds that are related to fungi and came up with penicillin. Interestingly, no actual drugs put on the market by big business are being made by the research, but the supplement industry selling over-the-counter or online mushroom extracts is booming.
Sales of immune-boosters like maitake or shiitake mushrooms or reishi and dordycepts are up as much as 300 percent, according to the Mushrooms and Medicine site, Also see the video online called Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World.
What researchers are actually studying when they look for mushrooms that shrink tumors is the D-fraction of maitake’s (and other mushroom’s) immune-potentiating properties. Read the clinical trials at the Aloha Medicinals site, showing the clinical manifestations of a mixture of six medicinal mushroom extracts as an adjunct therapy to improve the immune function of cancer patients undergoing other therapies. The Zhejiang Qingyuan Fungi Medicinal & Health Products Co., Ltd produced the experimental mixture used in that clinical trial.
This mixture was formulated and is marketed in the United States of America under the trade name Immune-Assist where it has shown good results in cancer treatment. This mixture includes “Alpha and Beta-Glucans and other polysaccharides,” extracted from the following well-known species of medicinal mushrooms. In addition to offering polysaccharide products for humans, Aloha medicinal also sell polysaccharide products extracted from mushrooms for pets to help dog cancer.
Cooking with Collards and Maitake Mushrooms
There are plenty of stuffed collard greens recipes online. A generic mushroom and collards recipe is at Eat This (gluten-free) site, for example, for you to check out. Or you can try an online traditional collard green recipe. You also could make stuffed cabbage rolls. Or check out the site of Heather from Flour Girl, and the creator of the Cooking Away My CSA group.
Basically, in a search for grape vine leaves that didn’t contain sulfites, or in trying to find grape vine leaves in winter not so salty that the brine in the jar couldn’t be washed out, collard greens made a pretty good substitute for making vegan stuffed collard greens. Here’s an original multicultural Pan-Asian/Soulfood/Scottish recipe you might want to try.
Here’s an original recipe maitake mushrooms and whole oat groats stuffed in collard greens
1 Tbsp grape seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. maitake mushrooms, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/8 tsp finely ground black pepper mixed
1/4 tsp dried thyme
favorite spices or sea salt
1 1/2 cups cooked whole oat groats
1 tsp grape seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin or 1/2 teaspoon crushed sumac
salt and pepper to taste, if not salt-sensitive
6-8 large collard green leaves
Optional–sliced, peeled potatoes to go on the bottom of your pan to keep the vegetable rolls from sticking to the pan.
Heat 1 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Fry your red onion until tender, and then add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in maitake mushrooms, spices and seasons and cook until mushrooms are soft enough to chew easily. Combine maitake mushrooms with cooked whole oat groats and put aside for now.
Add 1 tsp oil to the same frying pan or heated wok and stir in the remaining half of the onion, moving around until tender. Then add garlic, cook an additional minute, and stir in tomatoes, any other spices you want to add such as curry, or salt and pepper if you’re not salt-sensitive. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove the end of the stem that protrudes after the leaf from each collard green. Then fold each one in half length-wise so that the tough stem is on the outside. Cut off extra stem. Don’t cut into the leaf or the fillings will leak out. Spoon the leaves into a large pot of boiling water or vegetable stock for about two minutes until the leaves are tender enough to easily chew. Remove from water and let cool for a few minutes.
Add about 1/4 cup tomato paste that you can season with your favorite seasonings and spices to the bottom of a medium baking dish. Place a half cup of maitake mushrooms and boiled whole oat groats mixed together at one end of a collard leaf. Roll the leaf over the stuffing as if you were making stuffed cabbage roles or stuffed grape vine leaves.
Roll up each leaf that has a small amount of stuffing and fold the ends on each wrap. Line the bottom of the pan either with tomato paste or with peeled, sliced potatoes to keep the rolls from sticking to the bottom of your pan. Place each roll in the prepared pan and top with remaining sauce. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Serves 3-4.
The use of collards in place of grape vine leaves (full of health benefits) came as a substitute because the local supermarket didn’t carry grape vine leaves in a jar that did not contain sulfites or various preservatives. In the summer time, you can boil fresh grape vine leaves. But in winter, collard greens can substitute. Instead of mushrooms, you can stuff the leaves with cooked brown rice, or any other grain of your choice mixed with tomato juice or chopped vegetables.
Make sure you only put a small amount of stuffing into the rolls or they’ll open up in the pan. You may have to weigh down the pan or pot with heavy dishes that can withstand heat or the rolls will open up if you boil them in water or put them in the oven in liquid. If uncovered, they’ll dry out, so cover the pan or pot. Collard leaves won’t be as tender as boiled stuffed cabbage or grape vine leaves.
If you don’t like tomato sauce or paste or diced tomatoes, you could cook this in coconut milk for a Malay flavor. But try it first with the tomato-based flavor and spices, garlic, and onion. The coconut milk is for recipes that don’t have the onion added.
Resources on Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
Growing Gourmet And Medicinal Mushrooms
Amazon.com: Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
Cool Edible Mushroom Kits
Plug-In Mushroom Dome Kit
Amazon.com: Medicinal Mushrooms You Can Grow For Health, Pleasure
Fungi Perfecti®: books on mushrooms and health
Grow your own medicinal mushrooms book
Agaricus blazei Royal Sun 90 Veg Cap 400 mg by Mushroom Science
Turkey Tail Indoor Mushroom Patch
Books on Growing Mushrooms
Grow Your Own Mushrooms — Growing Medicinal Mushrooms at Home
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms – Book Review
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
Books: Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (Paperback)
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms: Amazon.co.uk:
Mushroom Identification: Guides to identify edible and poisonous
Stamets, Paul : Growing Gourmet And Medicinal Mushrooms – Book … Book results for grow your own medicinal mushrooms book Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms – by Paul Stamets – 620 pages Mushrooms: Cultivation Nutritional Value – by Shu ting Chang, Philip G Miles
For more info: browse my books, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues (2009) or Predictive Medicine for Rookies (2005). Or see my books, How to Safely Tailor Your Foods, Medicines, & Cosmetics to Your Genes (2003) or How to Interpret Family History & Ancestry DNA Test Results for Beginners (2004) or How to Open DNA-driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting Businesses. (2007).