Mushrooms and Health...

December 13, 2009

Since time immemorial mushrooms have been consumed not only as a source of food but also for medicinal purposes. Pharaohs ate mushrooms as a delicacy, Greeks believed them to be a source of divine strength and the Chinese treasured them for building endurance in their athletes. Described as nature’s Umbrella’s, mushrooms are a treasure trove of many vital nutrients, minerals and bioactive compounds which clearly build immunity and provide a host of health benefits. Mushrooms are also probiotic (Helps the body strengthen itself & fight off illness).

The concept of Modern Medicine is based on Prophylactic measures which in simple terms means, prevention is better than cure. To this end, the proteins in edible mushrooms act as powerful immune boosters and disease fighters. Mushroom intake helps the body strengthen its defense system and fight off illness by maintaining a high level of antibodies and at times act as antibiotics. Senior citizens, especially men are likely to suffer from a drop in their blood selenium. Including mushrooms in their diet will take care of the deficiency. Selenium in mushrooms is very effective in inhibiting cancerous cells too.

The vitamin B complex, comprising of riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive and nervous systems. A small serving of white mushrooms is enough to meet the body’s daily requirement. In addition mushrooms are known to regulate the blood pressure level and maintain the right balance of water in fat and muscle tissues. Moreover, the high lean protein content in mushrooms helps burn cholesterol when they are digested.

Even though, the role of mushrooms in food and medicine was known for thousands of years, it’s only off late that mushrooms are gaining popularity as a health food. Most edible mushrooms are low in calories and carbohydrates; provide essential amino acids, important vitamins and minerals including vitamin B, iron, potassium, selenium and zinc.

Mushrooms and Immune systems:

Most of the research completed on the health benefits of mushrooms has focused on four types of medicinal mushrooms, namely Maitake, Shiitake, Crimini and Reishi. The Maitake and Shiitake types of mushrooms are commercially cultivated in North India, but are expensive.

For the common man, the good news is that the commonly available and affordable button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is known to fight off different types of cancer, lower cholesterol, fight off inflammatory diseases, and prevent chronic diseases due to the presence of powerful antioxidants like ergothioneine. Other naturally occurring biological compounds contribute towards antitumor property. The compounds present in mushrooms (polysaccharides and glycoprotein’s) activate a variety of host specific immune responses.

Maitake is known to prevent diabetes, enhance immunity, support cardiovascular health and inhibit few types of cancer. Shitake mushroom plays an active role in treating liver ailments, preventing heart disease and combating AIDS. Reishi mushroom is helpful in lowering the risk of Asthma. Crimini mushrooms play an important role in the prevention of fatigue and are specially known to inhibit breast cancer.

In the last two decades there has been a rise on the use of mushrooms as nutraceuticals and many edible species have been thoroughly investigated and authenticated for medicinal use. The species that have been properly analyzed for medicinal value are: Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), Lentinus edodes (Shiitake), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Agaricus blazei (Hime-matsutake), Cordyceps militaris (Caterpillar fungus), Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster mushroom) and Hericium erinaceous (Lions mane).

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

100 grams of uncooked, white button mushrooms contain the following nutrients:  

Niacin (Vitamin B3) - 3.6 mg
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) - 1.5 mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - 0.4 mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) - 0.1 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.1 mg
Copper - 0.3 mg
Iron - 0.5 mg
Magnesium - 9.0 mg
Phosphorus - 86.0 mg
Potassium - 318 mg
Zinc - 0.5 mg
Selenium - 9.3 mcg
Folate (Vitamin B9) - 16.0 mcg
The rapid advancement in science and technology has helped scientists isolate the biologically active ingredients present in mushrooms that are responsible for their healing properties. Today modern medicine has clearly recogonized the role of medicinal mushrooms in lowering the risk of cancer, promoting the immune function, ward off pathogenic strains of microorganisms, boost heart health, combat allergies, help balance blood sugar levels, detoxify the toxins produced in the body, enhance the oxygen flow to the blood vessels and help the brain retain a state of alertness.


  • Immunity: Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics which inhibit microbial and other fungal infections. Anti oxidants in mushrooms protect the body from free radicals.
  • Anti viral, Anti bacterial and anti fungal properties.
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Treatment of AIDS, hepatitis and cancer. Reduces the side effects of chemotherapy.
  • Diabetes-mushrooms are known to contain natural  compounds promoting the formation of insulin
  • Promotes the function of circulatory, digestive, urinary and hormone systems.
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Weight loss: Produces a fat absorbing compound that assists in weight control.
  • Anti ageing effect. Improves the skin tone.
  • Protection against Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improves hypertension and hypotensions

Identification & care to be taken while picking and consuming wild mushrooms:

During our treks we have collected various mushroom species and have sent them to laboratories for identification. Mushrooms are present in all environments but their numbers are dwindling in rainforests. Throughout the world, over 38,000 varieties of mushrooms have been discovered, only about 3,000 are edible, about 700 have known medicinal properties, and less than one percent are recognized as poisonous, and only a select few are commercially grown on farms. The risk involved in collecting and eating poisonous mushrooms include nausea, swelling, sweating, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, and hallucinations and in some cases a mortality rate of 60 % or more. People with expertise in mycology should attempt to collect mushrooms from the wild since some varieties are toxic.

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Comment on this article

  • MOHAN FRANK, Mangalore / Mumbai

    Thu, Aug 19 2021

    Thank you Dr Anand & Geeta for this wonderful article on Mushrooms.You have specially highlighted different variety’s their pictures and the nutrients they provide to our body as well as the medicinal uses today .I remember our grandmother , bantwalchi mai picking up very small white mushrooms which used to grow in Tressy aunty’s backyard , from the base surroundings of the coconut trees , after sorting out the poisonous ones she used to wash and clean them and prepare a wonderful dish with pepper salt and garlic , the taste of which along with Congi rice ( Paize in Konkani) is still very fresh in my mind even after 50 years . I think this variety has disappeared by now as it had a unique taste by itself .What we get today in the market are the white button type mostly home grown but nothing to match the taste of what we had during our young days freshly picked up from our backyard 👏👍Thanks Dr Anand & Geeta for bringing back sweet old memories of the sixties God bless you all 🙏

  • MOHAN FRANK, Mangalore / Mumbai

    Thu, Aug 19 2021

    Thank you Dr Anand & Geeta for this wonderful article on Mushrooms.You have specially highlighted different variety’s their pictures and the nutrients they provide to our body as well as the medicinal uses today .I remember our grandmother , bantwalchi mai picking up very small white mushrooms which used to grow in Tressy aunty’s backyard , from the base surroundings of the coconut trees , after sorting out the poisonous ones she used to wash and clean them and prepare a wonderful dish with pepper salt and garlic , the taste of which along with Congi rice ( Paize in Konkani) is still very fresh in my mind even after 50 years . I think this variety has disappeared by now as it had a unique taste by itself .What we get today in the market are the white button type mostly home grown but nothing to match the taste of what we had during our young days freshly picked up from our backyard 👏👍Thanks Dr Anand & Geeta for bringing back sweet old memories of the sixties God bless you all 🙏

  • veeresh babu d, raichur

    Fri, Jan 22 2016

    sir actually am intrested do my ph d on mushroomscan u suggest me any five to six mushrooms name for cary out my research work.
    thanking you sir

  • wrd, mlore

    Sat, Nov 22 2014

    Hey, its also called magic mushrooooms.. :D

  • Amrutha, US

    Wed, Jun 15 2011

    The article on Mushroom is very impressive.I came across this when I was trying to figure out the scientific/English name for the small button size mushrooms we get in the rainy months of June July in the Mangalore region.They are characteristic as they are found without any stem and need to be peeled before cooking.I have not found them in US markets and was wondering why they were not listed in many of the Edible Mushroom guides.
    Thanks and regards

  • Naresh kumar, ludhiana,punjab

    Wed, Jan 26 2011

    Very infomative article you have written,please something more about you .have you information about lentinus edodes protoplast fusion ,if yes then please share it

  • Jack, Bangalore

    Wed, Nov 17 2010

    Hi Vikram, do you know any place in bangalore where they teach you how to grow/cultivate Mushroom?

  • ankita, varansi

    Tue, May 18 2010

    i think the way of explanation is very good


    Mon, Mar 01 2010

    Dear Dr. Anand and Geetha Pereira , firstly I extend my warm congratulation to both of you ,having dedication to make the best efforts to identifying minute cellulolytic creature ie Basidiomycetes fungi, great patience in taking Beautiful photos at reproductive stage of mashrooms in their habitats and making educative tips on medicinal, nutritive value and health benefits of the mushrooms.
    I am post graduate in Plant Pathology, I never seen single mushroom of your kind except button mushroom, for me it is great opportunity to learn and up-gradation of my skills in identifying Basidiomycetes fungi.

    It is of mind blowing and bird eye viewed photography, even we can clearly see gills and basidium. Your nutritive and medicinal tips on mushrooms will definitely opens eyes of the traditional laggards who refuse to eat mushrooms because they are of non vegetarian. Your tips surely helpful for the society in formulating balanced protein diet for diabetic , obese and heart related patients and also developing broad spectrum medicine. Thanking you behalf all innovative peoples and especially from my side.
    Nation like India, really indeed of innovative people like you, for quality research and development to make India as prosperous nation.

    I wish you good luck, may good give unique ideas, enough strength to your future innovative research to achieve new inventions to reach your destiny.

  • Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney, Australia

    Fri, Jan 15 2010

    No wonder the price of mushrooms in Mangalore and elsewhere went through the roof during the weeks leading to Christmas and New Year, thanks mainly to the subject article by Dr. Anand and Geeta Pereira, illuminating and illustrating the various health benefits, and also the wide coverage given to it by the Daijiworld.

    To be honest, I didn`t know that mushrooms had so many medicinal values specially to an oldie like me (aphrodisiac, lowers cholesterol, anti-ageing effect, protection against Alzheimer`s disease etc. as listed by the Authors, to name a few), they will go to my regular shopping list now on. In fact, I am going right now to the market to fetch a few. There are quite a few Supermarkets here in Sydney who sell Mushroom Kits and I am seiously thinking of growing them at home in the cool and dark place available at the rear of my garage. By the way, thanks to you Dr. Anand and Geeta for bringing in such a valuable article and also you Daijiworld for the coverage.

  • Leela, Shimoga

    Mon, Dec 21 2009

    Dear Anand and Geetha. I have gone through your article it is really very informative and useful. I wish your articles should really appear in international sites and also National News magazines and Papers. Because the quantum of time and dedication you both have put, is not a small thing, to write such a informative article. Because of your valuable articles Daiji gets more visitors to his site. Otherwise in Daiji we can see only marriage, divorce, and funeral and felicitation articles only. I hope Daiji will keep up a good Repo and relation with you for the efforts and contribution of your Great knowledge . Regards Leela Dharakar, Engineer.

  • Michael S Baptist, Chikmagalur

    Mon, Dec 21 2009

    I have gone through many articles of Dr. Anand & Geetha pereiera in Daijiworld. The time and dedication of this couple really to appriciate and the information about any subject They write is very infomative. I wish these articles may appaer in sites like Google and Yahoo , so many people can access easily instaed only a regional and community based site like Daijiworld.


    Sat, Dec 19 2009

    I train & enlighten people with the facts & Usage of Mushroom which is a leading wellness Industry. i am proud to be associated with DXN. Serving in more than 130 countries all can make use of me on 91=9739251454, further details, if requird.Good Luck.

  • Pramila Rebello, Mysore

    Fri, Dec 18 2009

    Dear Dr.Pereira, Read your article about different types of mushrooms which they have the effects medicinal value. Most of the people are afraid to consume mushrooms. Thank you very much. You opened our eyes. When nature is providing many useful things we have to make use of it.

  • sumathi , Bangalore

    Fri, Dec 18 2009

    Can edible mushrooms be consumed in yhe raw form so as to get the maximum benefit. Dr.Anandand Geeta, you are doing a excellent job. Keep sharing your indepth knowledge.

  • Balakrishna, Mumbai

    Fri, Dec 18 2009

    I enjoyed every bit of this quality article on mushrooms. I thank the authors for spending their quality time in educating the rest of the world. Thanks to Daijiworld for the space provided

  • Vikram, Bangalore

    Fri, Dec 18 2009

    I have a question for Dr.Anand and Geeta- As a rule are brightly coloured mushrooms poisonus.or is there any colour coding to distinguish the good and bad mushrooms. Thank you all for the good presentation.

  • Mark Elliott, MD, Denver, CO

    Wed, Dec 16 2009

    Not all mushroom products are created the same with the same efficacy: Qore Defense is an American product being used as purely an immune booster: Qore Defense contains six of the most powerful and proven medicinal mushrooms combined together in this unique formula. The key to immune system health is to keep it alert and active and each of the ingredients in Qore Defense are scientifically proven to trigger positive immune function and activate NK cells. In the early stages of growth, mushrooms actively assimilate nutrients from their surroundings, digest them, and store them for later use. Using revolutionary cultivation technology, the Qore Defense mushrooms are grown on a bed of immune-enhancing adaptogenic herbs that strengthen and enhance the potency of the mushrooms, amplify their nutritional content, extend and expand their inherently potent benefits. In addition, the mushrooms in Qivana’s Qore Defense are all organically grown, cultivated in a greenhouse environment under fully controlled conditions in the United States and are free of heavy metal contamination, herbicides, pesticides, and are GMO free. ="">

  • Dr.R.Nayak, Dubai

    Wed, Dec 16 2009

    Hi, Please email me (

  • Satish Kumar Pv, Bahrain

    Tue, Dec 15 2009

    I would like to Get the contact of DR NAYAK in dubai! Thank you

  • arun, mangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    There are many types.which are good?. as i heard that some are poisonous also!.....

  • Della Rego, Mangalore, Doha, Qatar

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Thank you Dr.Anand & Geetha, excellent article with lots of information about the intakes of mashrooms. Photos are beautiful. Thanks to daiji too

  • Shankar Shetty, Kuwait

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Very well written, informative & educative. Keep writing Dr.Anand & Geeta Pereira

  • Sourya Prakasha, Permude

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Thanks Daiji for such a informative article. Our nearest forest got lot of (pictured) mushrooms can anybody from the reader or authors tell is there any benefits from them.? have a look at

  • Sudhir B, Jeppu

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Very educative Thanks to Dr. Anand & Geetha

  • Savithri, Merihill

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Beautiful pictures

  • Manikya, Katipalla

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Good work

  • Lathish, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Excellent work

  • Suguna, Bangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    We enjoyed the pictures and will now make a point to include mushrooms in our regular diet. Thank you Dr.Anand and Geeta

  • HAMSA, PERTH/Australia

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Dr.Anand and Geeta have provided rich illustrations on the mushroom diversity of the western ghats.May be a few of them have medicinal properties that have hitherto not been discovered. its time a data base is made so that their nutritional and medicinal properties could be looked into. thank you daijiworld.

  • Anjali, Melborne/Australia

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    More and more scientific Institutions are researching on the varied medicinal benefits of mushrooms. Moreover, the commercial cultivation requires very little space because mushrooms can be stacked one above the other on shelves. Its good to note that more and more people are becoming aware of mushroom health benefits. thank you Dr.Anand and Geeta.

  • Namita, Bangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Its nice to understand the medicinal and health benefits of mushrooms in laymans language. Thank you Dr.Anand and Geeta. DO tell us more about herbs and spices.


    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Very informative article & beautiful detailed photographs. Thank you for the information

  • SHeikh M. Nasrullah, KMJ/Saudi Arabia

    Mon, Dec 14 2009

    Thanks to Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira  for enlightning us with  such an  informative & excellent aticle on Mushrooms. As little children  we used have Mushrooms often during  rainy season, In KSA very rare to get, anyhow thanx to Daiji as well.

  • Liza Gina Pais, Mysore

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dear Dr Anand-The mushroom pictures are too good,i will definitely use them for my project work in school,I can surely use your article in school & we have a lot of good information-Regards Allen Pais

  • Leander Pais, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dr Anand.We found out a lot of information on Mushrooms through your article,we learnt about the value of mushrooms related to our health & immune system,we are eventually upgrading our knowledge time to time by reading your articles in Daiji world-Regards-Leander Pais (Mysore)

  • Leona Pais, Pune

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dr Anand & Geeta,Very good article,we all liked the mashroom images,The article is very informative & we have gained a lot of knowledge,You have once again shown us your attitude towards providing us with a lot of un known knowledge especially since it is related to the environment-Regards Leona Pais -Mysore

  • Allen Pais, Sidapur(Coorg)

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dr Anand & Geeta,Excellent article,Although i have very faint connectivity in Sidapur i some how managed to browse through the article,Your work is very well appreciated by all of us out here in Sidapur,Continue the good work & you have been more than important for the Indian Environmentalists-Warm regards-Allen.J.Pais Sidapur(Coorg)

  • Arun/Pratibha, Kaprigudda,Mangalore/Dubai

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dear Anand and Geeta,such a informative subject and wonderful pictures too. Keep up the good work.

  • Ivan Frank, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Thank you Dr.Anand & Geeta for highlighting the benefits of mushrooms.Mushrooms are unique and delicious but quite expensive. People living close to the forest are lucky as they can pick mushrooms for free. I was thrilled to see the mushrooms in so many different colours, shapes and sizes.

  • Goutam, Sakleshpur & Kolkata

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Thanks for sharing. Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if each one, young and old, shared a little of what one is good at.

  • Jatinder Singh, Virginia, USA

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dear Anand and Geeta, Thank you for another informative article.

  • Sathyanarayan., Texas /u.s.

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    As a scientist and researcher, I found both the articles on mushrooms very interesting and educative. In fact, Dr.Anand and Geeta have clearly mentioned the modern concept of Prophylactic measures . We need to take serious measures in this direction. A healthy body can fight off any disease. Thank you Dr. Anand, geeta .

  • nazma, surathkal

    Sun, Dec 13 2009


  • Nimmoo, Bangalore

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Thanks to this nature loving couple for enlightning us on mushrooms and health.I have read your previous post on mushrooms and found both the articles educative.

  • dsouza, London / u.k.

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    A few of the hospitals in the U.K. include mushrooms as a source of protein in the diet of patients. As a doctor, I often advice people to regularly consume mushrooms.Very good article for both the common man as well as for professionals. Thank you Dr. Anand and Geeta.

  • Romola pereira, Sakleshpur/kadri

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Over the years, the work force in plantation areas have developed a knack of distinguishing between edible and poisonus mushrooms.This article by Dr. Anand and Geeta highlights the importance of mushrooms in providing a balanced nutrition for all ages.

  • Ramanand, Newjersey/U.S.A

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dr.Anand and Geeta, my family and I thorouly enjoy your very inspiring articles and pictures. Luckily, in this part of the U.S. most of the edible mushrooms that you have mentioned are available.We make it a point to include them in our diet.Thank you daijiworld too.

  • Pavitra , Virajpet

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    We often use button mushrooms in various home preparations. Not only do they impart a unique taste but more importantly, the entire family stands to benefit from the goodness of mushrooms. Thanks to Dr. Anand, Geeta and Daiji world.

  • Rakesh, Bangalore/Hassan

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dr Anand and Dr. Geeta thank you for this very enlightining article on mushrooms. Whenever possible, depending on the availability, we need to include them in our diet and reap the health benefits.

  • Veeresh, Texas, U.S.A

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Mushroom diversity is an important link in breaking down organic matter from the floor of the forest. This well researched article and brilliant pictures, clearly reveal the potential of mushrooms as a health food. Thank you Dr. Anand and geeta and daijiworld for educating us.

  • shilpa, kodagu

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    dear Anand and geeta Great pictures and good information. Keep up the good work.

  • Dr. R Nayak, Dubai

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Dear Dr Anand and Geeta, thankyou for the excellent article, very informative both on nutritional aspect as well medicinal values, God bless you with good health health and happiness.

  • D.M.D' Souza, Bantwal

    Sun, Dec 13 2009

    Thanks Dr Anand & Geeta for shedding more light on mushrooms. I used to love the taste of wild mushrooms cooked by my mother, with ingrdients such as onions & garlic-its a delicacy I'd love to enjoy everyday. The commercially grown variety is good in taste as well, but the cost of it makes us to enjoy it very rarely,& they cannot be found in every place. If more people grow them & make available at reasonable rates, then I think prople would stop eating non-vegan foods for the health benefits they get from mushrooms.

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Sat, Dec 12 2009

    Dear Dr. Anand & Geetha, Thank you for one more of this gem of articles this time on an item that had left mesmerized since childhood. Raised in a farmer-family, I watched with disbelief the mushrooms emerging from our hay-stack each morning during October-November. I didn't get answers to my questions until I got to learn History of Science as part of my Bachelor's degree. Till then, it was a mystery to me as to how mushrooms erupted like millions stars across our woods if it thundered heavily during previous night. My subject has a mention that during thunder storms some of the oxygen and nitrogen in the air get converted into oxides of nitrogen under high temperatures of lightening. The oxides of nitrogen get dissolved into rain-water and reach the ground. That is exactly is why mushrooms come up soon after a thundery rain. Your article does not only enlighten me about their diet content and curing ability but it introduced me to their colourful world too. You continue to unwinding to us the mysteries of earth. All the very best.

  • Padmanabha Shenoy, Udupi / Saudi Arabia

    Sat, Dec 12 2009

    Thanks you Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira for the wonderful article. I never knowing mushrooms are good for health. I always use to avoid mushrooms thinking its one type of fungus

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