Cancer doesn’t happen over night and the development of tumor cells progressly grow over months or years. One theory of carcinogenesis is the inability of the immune system to mark out cells which are not normal and should be marked for destruction by the natural killer (NK-cells) in the immune system. This means that cancer is basically, a disease of the immune system, regardless of the type of cancer. Thus, it is important to keep the immune system strong, and avoid stresses in order to prevent, or beat cancer. Oncology treatment uses some forms of immunotherapy to stimulate the immune system.
How can we strengthen our immune system naturally?
There are many herbs to strengthen the immune system but today I will only talk about beta-glucans. This is a complex sugar that is found in the cell walls of different pathogenic fungi, yeasts, bacteria, and even seaweed, algae, lichens and some plants. This complex sugar is known as ß-glucans, or simply, beta-glucans.
These are considered to be immunomodulators, in that, they modify the response of the body’s immune system, and how it functions, or reacts. Not only does it stimulate the immune system, but it also makes it “smarter”, becoming more effective in fighting and killing cancer cells.
ß-glucans are given to people whose immune systems have been compromised either by physical/mental conditions, such as physical and emotional stress; or treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Interestingly in other ailments, ß-glucans have been shown to be effective with condition which include high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, colds, flu, swine flu (H1N1), allergies, hepatitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
There are two sources of medicinal mushrooms which are rich in ß-glucans. These are Reishi Mushrooms and Cordyceps:
Also called lin zi or ling zhi, reishi mushrooms are dubbed as mushroom of immortality due to its ability to enhance the body’s immune responses, and for its antioxidant properties. Aside from having ß-glucans that hinder the growth and spread of cancer cells, it also has triterpenes that lower blood pressure and fight allergies, and sterols that can act as precursors to hormones. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to slow the process of blood clotting as well.
Other purported uses include treating fatigue, and lower urinary tract symptoms, lowering high blood pressure, and increasing strength and stamina. It is important to source the best quality mushrooms as many come from China and can be substituted with other mushrooms with less effective results or worse, no effect on the immune system at all.
Cordyceps is rich in ß-glucans, vitamins and minerals, and polysaccharides, which modulate the immune response, inhibiting the growth of several cancer cells. It also protects the liver and kidneys from toxic chemotherapy side effects, and enhances the activities of some medications taken during chemotherapy.
It is important to note that the mushroom qualities must be of a high standard, and must be properly prepared or processed to insure maximum healing benefits. There are several powders available in blends with other medicinal mushrooms and there are also liquids for fast absorption.
Like most other natural medicines and oncology medicines, for dosages, interactions and source, it is best to consult with your Naturopath first. Call Cura Medicine at 0892844644.