It is estimated that approximately 300 million individuals globally have asthma. As air quality continues deteriorating, millions more people are expected to suffer from the common condition within the next decade.
Although there are numerous successful conventional asthma therapies, they just mask symptoms and make the patient more comfortable. They do not attempt to address or treat the underlying issue. Medicinal mushrooms for asthma and other upper respiratory problems have shown promise in treating the condition.
So, how is mushroom good for asthma? Let’s explore this below.
Understanding Asthma And Its Symptoms
Asthma is when your airways swell and narrow, causing more mucus to form. Muscles surround our lungs' airways and contain mucus glands. Usually, these muscles are calm, but they become sensitive and irritated if you have asthma. This can make breathing difficult and cause a whistling sound (wheezing), coughing, and shortness of breath.
Asthma is a minor nuisance for some people. For others, it can be a severe issue that disrupts everyday activities and may result in a life-threatening asthma attack.
The symptoms of asthma differ from individual to person. You may experience asthma attacks rarely, or the symptoms can appear only at certain times (for example, when exercising) or all of the time.
Asthma symptoms and signs include:
- Tightness or pain in the chest.
- Breathing difficulty.
- Sleeping difficulties are caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing.
- Exhaling wheezing is a typical symptom of asthma in children.
- Coughing or wheezing bouts are exacerbated by a respiratory illness, such as the common cold or the flu.
Nutritional Composition Of Mushrooms And Potential Benefits For Asthma
Because of their nutritional and medicinal value, mushrooms have been utilized widely for thousands of years. According to recent research(1),edible mushroom extracts offer positive therapeutic and health-promoting benefits, particularly in the case of inflammatory illnesses. The anti-inflammatory components abundant in mushrooms are phenolic and indolic compounds, carotenoids, polysaccharides, mycosteroids, vitamins, fatty acids, and biometals.
Medicinal Mushrooms And Their Effects On Asthma Symptoms
Here are the top 3 medicinal mushrooms and their benefits on asthma.
Reishi is a highly effective medicinal mushroom with anti-inflammatory(2) and anti-allergic effects. Several studies have also shown that Reishi can help relieve asthma symptoms.
In people with asthma, a herbal formula(3)containing 62.5% lingzhi mushroom was safe and well-tolerated. The mushroom improves oxygen use, hence boosting respiratory processes in asthmatics. Reishi mushroom has also been shown to be as beneficial as systemic steroids in treating asthma.
According to one animal study(4), Reishi serves as an immunomodulator (stimulates the immune system) and anti-inflammatory agent against markers of asthma.
Another study discovered that Reishi lowers inflammatory cell activity(5) caused by asthma, lowering airway hyperactivity and infiltration of inflammatory cells in lung tissue of asthmatic mice.
Cordyceps has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed, studies show that exposing human cells to the specific chemicals in Cordyceps reduces inflammatory proteins.
The mushroom, in particular, can inhibit immunological reactivity(6) by reducing histamine activity. Histamine is a chemical that aggravates asthma symptoms.
Cordyceps has also been proven to help transfer oxygen to the muscles. In addition, increasing physical performance can reduce the chance of an asthma attack, so many asthma advocates recommend Cordyceps as an effective pre-workout supplement (7).
The effect of cultivated Cordyceps militaris on airway inflammation in asthmatic mice was investigated in a study(8).Mice were divided into groups and given Cordyceps, asthma medicines, or a placebo. The airway responses and inflammation were evaluated.
Cordyceps militaris is a mushroom with well-documented immunomodulatory properties. The results showed that the Cordyceps militaris fungus could modify airway inflammation in asthma patients.
Many practitioners regard Chaga as one of the most potent mushrooms in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It functions as a powerful adaptogen, assisting the body in returning to its original state. In addition, Chaga acts as an immunomodulatory agent, aiding in disease prevention and treating chronic inflammation, making it one of our top mushroom for asthma.
One study on mice(9) discovered that it lowered inflammation while supporting the microbiome by suppressing cytokines. Another animal study(10) discovered that it could decrease inflammation in patients.
Chaga also aids in the body's immunological response. For example, it activates white blood cells, which help the body fight off infections. In addition, Chaga can significantly boost those whose immune systems have been weakened by corticosteroids.
Because cholesterol is frequently a concern for asthmatics, Chaga's anti-hyperlipidemic abilities can be beneficial. One rat study discovered that it reduced cholesterol while enhancing antioxidants to promote overall health. Another study(11) discovered that it decreased bad LDL cholesterol and increased healthy HDL cholesterol levels.
While additional research is needed, preliminary evidence indicates that Chaga can help with asthma. For example, one study on mice discovered that it aided in treating asthma symptoms(12).
Incorporating Mushrooms Into An Asthma-Friendly Diet
Here are our top 5 methods to incorporate mushroom superfoods into an asthma-friendly diet.
- Cook and consume adaptogenic mushrooms whole.
- Cook with powdered forms of adaptogenic mushrooms.
- Mix mushroom superfood powder into smoothies, shakes, teas, and other beverages.
- Consider using adaptogenic mushroom supplements.
- Incorporate adaptogenic mushrooms into your morning coffee.
FAQs About Mushrooms For Asthma
Can Mushroom Supplements Or Extracts Be Beneficial For Asthma Management?
Medicinal mushroom supplements or extracts have been found to reduce inflammation in animal airways, making them a potential asthma therapy. Cordyceps, Reishi, and Chaga are our top pick.
Can Mushrooms Be Used As A Standalone Treatment For Asthma?
Various anti-inflammatory medications are commonly used to treat asthma. In addition, mushrooms can be used as a supplemental therapy alongside conventional treatments.
Are There Any Potential Risks Or Side Effects Associated With Mushrooms For Asthma?
Using mushrooms for asthma is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people. However, it may trigger allergies for some, while it may interfere with medications such as blood thinners and anti-diabetic drugs for others.
Most of the existing asthma treatments rely on steroid use, which many patients dislike owing to potential long-term adverse effects. There is a demand for a natural alternative to asthma treatment with no side effects, and research has shed light on mushrooms for asthma, particularly Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi. Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to try these for yourself or your loved ones!
- Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms: A review, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29146352/
- Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24948193/
- Safety and tolerability of an antiasthma herbal Formula (ASHMI) in adult subjects with asthma: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation phase I study, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19586409/
- Ganoderma modulates allergic asthma pathologic features via anti-inflammatory effects, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35026480/
- Ganoderic Acid A Alleviates OVA-Induced Asthma in Mice, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8460586/
- Effects of the immunomodulatory agent Cordyceps militaris on airway inflammation in a mouse asthma model, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19133568/
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Cordyceps sinensis Mycelium Culture Extract (Cs-4) on Rodent Models of Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32899766/
- Effects of the immunomodulatory agent Cordyceps militaris on airway inflammation in a mouse asthma model, (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19133568/
- Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22819687/
- Anti-inflammatory effects of Inonotus obliquus in colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate, (10)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20300439/
- Effect of the Inonotus Obliquus Polysaccharides on Blood Lipid Metabolism and Oxidative Stress of Rats Fed High-Fat Diet In Vivo, (11)https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5305591
- Protective effects and mechanism of Inonotus obliquus on asthmatic mice, (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21809587/