Mushrooms have long been known to be powerful natural drugs in the human world, but more and more veterinarians are turning to forest-dwelling fungi to combat various diseases in dogs, cats, and other pets.
Referred to as Medicinal Mushrooms (MMs), these mushrooms differ from grocery store or recreational psychoactive mushrooms. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) cultivates certain species of mushrooms that have proven healing benefits. Notable among the MMs are the Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris), Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus), King Trumpet (Pleurotus eryngii), and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor).
Despite 99 percent of mushrooms being nontoxic to pets, the 1 percent that are toxic can be fatal. Because of this, trained veterinarians should be the ONLY ones prescribing mushrooms to pets. While some of these mushrooms can be found in the wild, even acclaimed naturalists should not be feeding harvested mushrooms to pets.
Edible mushrooms found at the grocery store, like Portobello, have their own health benefits, but the effects are minimal, whether raw or cooked. Instead, TCVM concentrates the healing aspects of MMs into powdered forms that can be administered as such or in capsules or other forms.
The benefits of MMs have been cited by way of their unique combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, antioxidants (specifically L-ergothioneine), and sterols. Additionally, MMs house polysaccharides, beta-glucans, lysozymes, and triterpenes, which give them antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties. Scientists have long studied the incredible immune response of mushrooms, specifically in the mycelium cells, which can in turn help with immune function in pets.
Mushroom supplements have been used to treat:
- Heart complications
- Stress (Anxiety/Cushing's)
- Urinary issues
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Low white blood cells
- Blood clots and circulation problems
- Muscle weakness and atrophy
Before you start using mushroom extracts to combat a disease in your pet, remember that trained veterinarians should be the ONLY ones prescribing mushrooms to pets.
Has your pet ever been on medicinal mushrooms? Tell us about the outcome in the comments below.
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