Mushrooms are a healthy addition to any meal. They contain very little fat, have high amounts of protein, and can be very tasty. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and can be easily grown or cultivated. Another great thing about mushrooms is that they also have medicinal properties that have been used even as far back as the ancient Chinese period. One mushroom in particular, the chestnut mushroom, has considerable amounts of health and medicinal benefits.
The chestnut mushroom or the Agrocybe Aegerita is a type of mushroom that belongs to the white rot fungi. They are characterized by their almost flat cap and their gills have colors that range from light to dark browns. In some cases their gills can be whitish or pinkish in color. A chestnut mushroom’s cap can grow as wide as 4 inches.
Chestnut mushrooms are commonly cultivated and sold in countries like the US, Japan, China, Korea, Australia and Chile. In China, the chestnut mushroom is sometimes called the “magic mushroom of China”. The Chinese use this type of mushroom to cure different types of ailments including headaches and fever. Chestnut mushrooms can be found growing on poplar, Oak, Cottonwood, Maple, Willow, Box Elder, Tea-Oil trees.
The chestnut mushroom is considered as an edible mushroom although there are variants of it that are considered poisonous. If you fancy having some Agrocybe Aegerita for lunch, don’t try looking for them on your own. It is best to have an expert mycologist with you as you try to distinguish which ones are edible and which ones are poisonous.
The active compounds of a chestnut mushroom include:
- ceramide (1)
- methyl-β-d-glucopyranoside and α-d-glucopyranoside
- linoleic acid
- methyl ester
- palmitic acid
- vitamin B2, B3 and B5
Besides lending a unique taste to your meal, chestnut mushrooms also provide various health and medicinal benefits. Some of them are:
- anti-tumor properties
- anti-inflammatory properties
- anti-fungal properties
- slows down osteoporosis
- Contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals
The anti-tumor properties of the chestnut mushroom can make for a very promising medicine that can be used to reducing the development of stomach and breast cancers. Studies have shown that some of the properties of the chestnut mushroom were able to inhibit the proliferation of these human cancer cells by up to 26% for stomach cancers and 23% for breast cancers. Further studies are still being done as most of the tests are only done in laboratory testing facilities. This anti-tumor property of the chestnut mushroom is not usually found in other plant or animal species.
Another benefit of the chestnut mushroom is its anti-inflammatory property. The cyclooxygenase enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 are responsible for 2 very important bodily functions. The COX-1 is the one regulating the body’s homeostatic functions while the COX-2 handles the formation of prostaglandins that mediate pain and inflammation. Compounds contained within chestnut mushrooms have been found to be able to safely regulate inflammation by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme without affecting other important bodily functions. Some modern painkillers are able to stop inflammation but there are instances when there are side effects that come with ingesting these painkillers. Replacing these medicines with chestnut mushrooms can give you the same pain killing abilities without the unwanted side effects.
The chestnut mushroom also contains huge amounts of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B2, B3 and B5. It also contains biotin, potassium, selenium, copper and folate. The vitamin B2 content of most mushrooms is generally greater than those found in some vegetables. Chestnut mushrooms also contain high levels of anti-oxidant properties that fight free radicals in the body. They also help lower cholesterol as they contain very little fat and have high amounts of fiber. Adding chestnut mushrooms to your daily diet can considerably lower your cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases from advancing.
The chestnut mushroom has a lot of promising medicinal properties that can potentially cure the toughest cancers and diseases. Scientists have been continuously studying and discovering how chestnut mushrooms could help fight several cancers and they still have a long way to go. This should not stop you from adding a few slices of this delicious mushroom to your meal. The health benefits of the chestnut mushroom are not limited to cancer fighting alone. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals too.