Why isn’t Western Medicine Using Medicinal Mushrooms?
A cynic might say the reason why Western medicine is reluctant to prescribe medicinal mushrooms is because they cannot patent a plant, herb or medicinal mushroom.
Perhaps this is partially true but certainly money will be a key factor, after all, it is far cheaper to create and mass produce a laboratory-made substance in comparison to growing and harvesting medicinal mushrooms.
Also, getting any drug tested to be safe for your consumption, whether discovered in nature or the laboratory, is a lengthy and extremely expensive process, thus, keeping pharmaceutical companies focused on drugs which are cheapest to produce.
The sum of these factors means your Western doctor and nurses are not typically taught anything about medicinal mushrooms during their studies and therefore can only prescribe what they know.
Could Doctors Be Prescribing Medicinal Mushroom Supplements in the Future?
Maybe because GPs are morally concerned by the “pill for every ill” culture and the worrying trend of drug resistance, more clinical practitioners are becoming increasing interested in medicinal mushrooms and herbal remedies in general.
In fact, medicinal mushrooms are already used alongside traditional medicines across much of Asia.
Nowadays, it would not be unthinkable for your doctor to suggest a natural health supplement as a standalone remedy or to be used in combination with traditional pharmaceutical prescription.
Medicinal Mushroom Research
Research into medicinal mushrooms and their therapeutic properties has largely been dominated by East Asia, however, many Western scientists, and the general public, are now also taking a keen interest in the fascinating Kingdom of medicinal mushrooms.
In 2013 medicinal mushrooms constituted 38% of the total mushroom production, a percentage which is forecast to rise as they continue to be exported across the world for the production of, health supplements, ‘mushroom pharmaceuticals’, bio-control agents (e.g. Insecticides) and even cosmeceuticals.
Although it is important to stress that much more research is needed in the field of medicinal mushrooms it is abundantly clear that they possess the potential to significantly contribute to your health.
“Pharmacological properties of mushrooms are currently widely recognised. They make up a vast and yet largely untapped source of powerful new pharmaceutical products. In particular and most importantly for modern medicine. Medicinal mushrooms present an unlimited source of polysaccharides (especially beta-glucan) and polysaccharide-proteins complexes with anticancer and immunostimulating properties”
Quoted from: Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms: Technology and Application. Edited by Diego Cunha Zied and Arturo Pardo-gimenez. (2017) Published by Wiley Blackwell