From time immemorial, mushrooms have been valued by humankind as a culinary wonder and folk medicine in Oriental practice.The last decade has witnessed the overwhelming interest of western research fraternity in pharmaceutical potential of mushrooms. The chief medicinal uses of mushrooms discovered so far are as anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, hypocholesterolemic, anti-tumor, anti-cancer, immunomodulatory, anti-allergic, nephroprotective, and anti-microbial agents.The mushrooms credited with success against cancer belong to the genusPhellinus, Pleurotus, Agaricus, Ganoderma, Clitocybe, Antrodia, Trametes,Cordyceps, Xerocomus, Calvatia, Schizophyllum, Flammulina, Suillus, Inonotus,Inocybe, Funlia, Lactarius, Albatrellus, Russula, and Fomes. The anti-cancer compounds play crucial role as reactive oxygen species inducer, mitotic kinase inhibitor, anti-mitotic, angiogenesis inhibitor, topoisomerase inhibitor, leading to apoptosis, and eventually checking cancer proliferation.
Turkey Tail is known to supercharge the immune system through its PSK and PSP Polysaccharides molecules and their role in activating the Natural Killer cells. Natural Killer cells are part of the cell mediated immune response where White Cells directly kills the infecting organisms through direct action. Natural killer cells or NK cells are a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte critical to the innate immune system. NK cells provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells, acting at around 3 days after infection, and respond to tumor formation. Typically, immune cells detect major histocompatibility complex (MHC) presented on infected cell surfaces, triggering cytokine release, causing lysis or apoptosis. NK cells are unique, however, as they have the ability to recognize stressed cells in the absence of antibodies and MHC, allowing for a much faster immune reaction. They were named “natural killers” because of the initial notion that they do not require activation to kill cells that are missing “self” markers of MHC class 1. This role is especially important because harmful cells that are missing MHC I markers cannot be detected and destroyed by other immune cells, such as T lymphocyte cells.