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Cordyceps Sinensis

Cordyceps Sinensis

The most bizarre developing medicinal mushroom. Its free-growing specimens penetrate the hyphae, the fungal filaments, of some insect species and during their development, they awaken the host. When the cultivation technology was developed, it was discovered that it had to be grown in an oxygen-deprived environment, because if it did not struggle and suffer during its development, it would not produce valuable active substances. Evidence exists that Cordyceps species have existed for as much as 48 million years. The most expensive specimens, sold for high prices above the gold rate, are free-collected specimens. For a long time, it was the second big shot mushroom, but it has now become perhaps the first, overtaking Reishi as the best-selling medicinal mushroom in the world, both on its own and in blends. A real doping agent that is not even on the doping list. In oxidative and vigorous sports, everyone takes it, even if they don’t talk about it. It is an excellent aphrodisiac, or libido enhancer, which according to an anecdote was observed by shepherds in the Himalayas by observing what the yaks were eating when they found out they were jumping on each other all day long. They ate the same thing, and the effect was the same…. allegedly. So it’s a fascinating plant in all its flavours, with so many legends surrounding it. Its main active ingredients are polysaccharides and sugar derivatives (e.g. proteins, peptides, polyamines and essential amino acids; sterols (ergosterol, sitosterol, daucosterol and campesterol), saturated and unsaturated fatty acids (palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid), polycyclic aromatic carbon hydrogens, essential vitamins (K and E, B1, B2 and B12) and macro- and microelements.

In veterinary medicine, more common uses are on their own:

  • Energy – if you need a little extra energy Cordyceps provides it at the mitochondrial level.
  • Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
  • Cancer – even with chemotherapy, to avoid side effects.
  • Weakened conditions, e.g.: strengthening a weakened body after breastfeeding or reducing weakness in old age.
  • Strengthening nervous system stabilisation
  • Endurance – workload endurance for working dogs
  • Kidney diseases and prostate problems

However, its synergistic effect in mixtures may make it even more widely used than on its own.

Maitake – Grifola frondosa – Hen-of-the-wood

Maitake – Grifola frondosa – Hen-of-the-wood

A new trend in some restaurants, the ‘Hen of the Woods’ is not a poultry dish, but a mushroom called maitake, which grows mainly on the stumps of oak, elm and maple trees. It is one of the most delicious and useful mushrooms. Mushrooms contain vitamins B, C and D, amino acids, macro- and microelements and are a rich source of fibre. Many studies confirm its anti-tumour and restorative effects on the weakened immune system. Its high antioxidant capacity is mainly due to its polysaccharide components.

Not only beta-glucans but also fructo-oligo-saccharides (FOS) oligofructose, polydextrose, dextrin and lactulose all play a role in the immunostimulant effect. Some of them cannot be absorbed, yet they exert their immunomodulatory effects by modulating the gut microflora. Maitake has been studied to increase the number of macrophages, natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells, thus exerting its anti-tumour effects.

It helps to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

It is often used in the following conditions in pets:

  • Immunodeficiency
  • Tumours, and the side effects of chemotherapy
  • Blood pressure, and blood sugar problems,
  • Infections
  • Liver, and pancreatic diseases
  • Intestinal problems

The mention of areas that seem distant from each other, independent of each other, shows that, like medicinal mushrooms in general, it has a robust effect on the whole body as a functioning whole. It is important to emphasise that it does this in synergy with other medicinal mushrooms, i.e. by reinforcing each other’s effects. One of the ingredients in Tumor, Obese and Metabolic is Maitake. Unfortunately, there are few treatments for immune deficiency in so-called Western veterinary medicine. Pets with malignant tumours are often given chemotherapy. A human scientific experiment has shown that Maitake mushroom owes its outstanding antitumour activity to a polysaccharide in the d fraction, mainly used for lung, liver, prostate, and breast tumours. It became popular by reducing the side effects of pain, hair loss and nausea caused by chemotherapy. Also in human trials, a chemotherapy drug called Mitomycin and Maitake mushroom alone were 45-60% effective against cancer, while when used together, the effectiveness was 90%!

Pets undergoing chemotherapy and immunocompromised pets can also benefit from these mushroom mixtures. In addition to reducing side effects, they lead to a rapid return of vitality.

In diabetic dogs, especially those on insulin therapy, extra caution is needed because the drug may work too well and cause insulin levels to be too low, which is of course undesirable.

Start with fractional doses, gradually build up the medicinal mushroom therapy and then reduce and eventually stop insulin supplementation with continuous insulin monitoring.

Almond Mushroom (Agaricus blazei murill)

Almond Mushroom (Agaricus blazei murill)

The adaptogenic almond mushroom has a number of scientifically proven, unique medicinal properties. Its anti-tumour effects have been demonstrated in laboratory settings and in animal studies. A vast amount of information is now available, mainly from experience in humans and experimental animals.

I have very briefly summarised its extremely wide range of beneficial physiological properties.

Native to the American continent, the Almond mushroom (Agaricus blazei murill) has a pleasant almond-like smell and taste. The crispy fleshy mushrooms are eaten almost daily in some parts of Brazil. It was called the Mushroom of Life, or Cogumelo da Vida and it was the secret to the longevity of the area’s inhabitants. Growing Agaricus blazei murill is not easy, which is why it is expensive.

Almond mushrooms are an excellent source of minerals (Fe, Ca, P, Cu, Zn, K, Na), vitamins (D2, E vit, Biotin, Folic acid, Niacin) and fibre (about 20% of the fibre content).

It has a polysaccharide content of 12% which is the highest among medicinal mushrooms. It is mainly composed of easily absorbable 1-3 and 1-6 beta glucans with antioxidant activity, which gives it outstanding antitumor and immunomodulatory activity.

Its anti-tumour effects have been demonstrated in laboratory conditions and in animal studies. Almond mushroom stimulates T-lymphocytes and macrophages. It prevents the formation of metastases. Its mechanism of action is not fully understood, but it appears to “switch on the apoptotic effect” in tumour cells. (Programmed cell death.) Its anti-tumour effects have been found to be most effective in breast, leukaemia, prostate, colon and rectal cancers. The active substance agaritin is effective against leukaemia (2010 Japanese researchers).

It reduces blood fat, thus preventing atherosclerosis.

Improves insulin sensitivity through its isoflavones, thereby normalising blood sugar levels – antidiabetic effect. Use with insulin treatment requires caution and attention!

Liver protectant helps the regeneration of damaged liver cells.

Immune booster.

Improves oxygenation at the cellular level through its extremely powerful antioxidant action.

Almond mushroom also strengthens the nervous system, it can be used successfully in cases of mental fatigue, in reducing symptoms of emotional stress, in lowering the risk of age-related degenerative diseases and in slowing down their destructive effects.

It is a natural antibiotic. Its antiviral activity is demonstrated by its effectiveness against influenza, it is one of the natural antivirals against HIV. It kills a significant proportion of bacteria, and it also helps in the infection of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, which causes pneumonia and meningitis, by destroying the bacteria.

It also combats the Candida fungus through its fungicidal action.

It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. It does this by releasing cytokines, chemokines and leukocyte growth factors. It has been reported to significantly improve chronic ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

In adults with Crohn’s disease, intestinal inflammation was significantly reduced when they took almond mushroom extract for 12 days (Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 2011.)

I’ve left the real curiosity for the end, the relief of allergy symptoms by reducing IgE levels. The real difference between less severe so-called food intolerance and allergy is that the body produces a different type of immunoglobulin. IgG levels were significantly elevated in food intolerance, while IgE levels were significantly elevated in true allergy. These are usually checked by blood tests.

Its human applications today:

  • Allergy
  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Diabetes
  • Vascular diseases
  • Infectious diseases
  • Dieting
  • Inflammations
  • Hepatitis B
  • Immune boosting
  • Arthritis
  • Elimination of circulatory problems
  • Relieving symptoms caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Liver fattening/regeneration
  • Detoxification
  • Cell renewal
  • Weight loss
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)

Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)

It began its phenomenal career some 4000 years ago, but in the last 10-12 years it has been rediscovered not only by alternative medicine but also increasingly recognised by conventional or western medicine.

Widely researched, with more than 400 biologically active compounds already identified. The thousands of studies appearing in the medical journal alone show that the heightened interest in Ganoderma, the “mushroom of immortality”, cannot be a coincidence.

The main ingredients are: the main triterpenes are ganoderic acid, beta-glucans, proteins (Ling-zhi-8) and antioxidants such as zinc, vitamin C and selenium. It is very important to use only mushrooms grown in an organic environment and the way in which they are processed has a big influence on their effectiveness. HerbalVet products are made by using innovative and unique technology.

Alcoholic and aqueous extraction are used to extract the active ingredients so that the indigestible chitinous substances are retained.

It is used in dogs in the following cases:

  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Liver and pancreas diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Circulatory, blood pressure, cardiac support
  • Chronic inflammatory processes – e.g.: musculoskeletal problems, arthritis
  • Skin diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Adjuvant therapy in infections
  • Stress or nervous system instability

It is safe and smart because it has no harmful side effects and cannot be overdosed and because of its “adaptogenic” properties, it detects the body’s weaknesses and harmonises the body’s functioning. Consequently, even if you feed it to your pet for a lengthy period of time for no given reason, this mushroom will prolong the life of your dog and give it a better quality of life.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Shiitake is a medicinal edible mushroom from East Asia that has been used in traditional herbal medicine for thousands of years.

Shiitake mushrooms have a strong anti-tumour effect. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C and D and is also full of important minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, and selenium.

Low in calories, high in dietary fibre and protein. It contains several essential amino acids such as lysine, arginine, methionine and phenylalanine in a form that is readily available to the body.

Shiitake mushrooms of the species Lentinula edodes contain l-ergothionein and the immune-boosting polysaccharide lentinan… Polysaccharides enhance the phagocytotic activity of peritoneal macrophages, i.e. the anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties of the body.

Lectin, a beta-glucan extracted from the mushroom, has been shown to activate immunoglobulins, Natural Killer Cells, so that the immune system is awakened, and the body turns against tumour cells. The polysaccharides enhance the phagocytotic activity of peritoneal macrophages, the anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties of the body.

Main effects in a nutshell:

  • Antifungal and antiviral action
  • Anticancer, immunomodulatory effect
  • Liver protection, regulates cholesterol and fat metabolism,
  • Supports intestinal flora.

The beneficial properties of shiitake mushrooms are best when combined with other medicinal mushrooms. For example, a dietary supplement containing Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms will help your pet’s metabolism most effectively.



What on earth is a Chaga?

Ash bark fungus, Inonotus obliquus.

Chaga looks like ripe charcoal. It is a dark, crusty, blackened growth of about 25-28cm that appears on birch trees in cold climates (also called birch bark).

Inside is a soft, orange-coloured seed. The chaga mushroom has played an important role in folk medicine since the 16th century and has even been called “a gift from God”. Modern medicine, however, has only recently begun to discover the benefits of this mushroom… and recent studies show promise.

Here are some reasons why your dog could benefit from a taste of this mushroom:

  • The immune system
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic
  • Antiviral
  • Stomach problems
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol

The immune system

    The main benefit of Chaga mushrooms is its effect on the immune system. Its unique property is that, when needed, they not only boost the immune system, but also slow down the immune system running on overdrive – this is called Biological Response Modifier.

    This is good news for dogs whose disease is due to overactivity of the immune system. Think of the relief from allergies and common autoimmune diseases such as arthritis!

    Anti-cancer properties

    In those areas of Russia where the population has a long history of regular use of Chaga mushrooms, the incidence of cancer is still lower. It has proven effective against many types of cancer, especially breast and uterine cancer. Other recent studies show that chaga is effective for melanoma, liver, and colon cancer.

    Their anti-tumour effects are called “pro-apoptotic”, meaning that they promote cell loss in cells that pose a threat to the body, while leaving healthy cells alone – selectively targeting and killing cancer cells. They have also been shown to help reduce toxicity after conventional radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatments.


    Chaga mushrooms are full of antioxidants! They contain polysaccharides that improve heart, gut and liver health, as well as energy levels. Chaga mushrooms also contain high levels of beta-D-glucans, which are important in regulating the immune system, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, helping the immune system to target cancer cells. High in B vitamins, enzymes, sterols, and many minerals such as zinc and potassium, all of which help fight free radicals.

    Anti-inflammatory and analgesic

    Chaga mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effects, especially in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver and pancreatic inflammation. They also have analgesic effects.


    A study by Ulrike Lindequist and colleagues published in 2005 studied the medicinal benefits of several different types of mushrooms and found that chaga is particularly useful as an antiviral agent.

    The article notes that “in addition to immune stimulation, other effects of [fungal] polysaccharide-protein complexes contribute to antiviral activity”. While chaga mushrooms are being researched in HIV patients, they may also be useful components of antiviral drugs for dogs.

    Stomach problems

    Chaga mushrooms were used in the early days to treat ulcers, stomach pain and inflammatory bowel disease. Chaga’s immune-stimulating properties are believed to help balance gut bacteria and relieve ulcers and gastritis.


    Chaga mushrooms can help control blood sugar levels in diabetic animals. However, if your dog is diabetic, you should warn your vet that your dog is also taking this mushroom. This may affect treatment and it is worth checking blood sugar levels regularly.

    Hypothyroidism and Cholesterol

    A study from Jiangnan University in China showed that adding Chaga to the diet can significantly lower cholesterol levels and increase HDL, or “good cholesterol.”

    If your dog has an underactive thyroid, it may be more prone to high cholesterol, and chaga mushrooms can be a great addition to the diet to help with this.

    How much should be given?

    The recommended base dose for the preparation is 1ml + 1ml per 10kg per day (so if the dog weighs 25kg the dose is 3.5ml)

    Reports are that dogs and even cats generally like the taste.  It is also recommended to build up the recommended dose gradually. Try a lower dose to start with and increase by 0.5ml per week to reach or even exceed the base dose. Chaga mushrooms also have a cleansing effect and may even increase bowel movements, so.

    Other considerations:

    As the demand for medicinal mushrooms increases worldwide, it becomes increasingly important to choose the right source of supply.  Ethical” growers are also concerned about the health of the birch trees from which they collect these mushrooms and organic certification is a guarantee of chemical-free production.


    Chaga mushrooms may also interfere with and potentiate the effects of blood thinners, so increased caution is advised in such cases, and it is always advisable to consult the practitioner or holistic veterinarian beforehand.

    Fresh drinking water should always be kept in front of the animal to help get rid of toxins released during the cleaning process.

    Diarrhoea and increased activity may occur during the initial phase of the treatment, especially if started without gradual application, and may also result in sleep deprivation.