Medicinal mushrooms are fantastic for boosting immune health, making this a functional and delicious dessert going into winter. By itself, a pinch of powdered medicinal mushroom tastes pretty ordinary. Combined with raw cacao and a little honey in a dessert, they are sensational. Source your mushrooms (ideally organic) from good health food stores and reputable online herbal distributors.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
is perhaps the most highly prized and longest-used medicinal mushroom, with a history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine spanning over 4000 years. In China, this bad boy is known as ling zhi or “mushroom of immortality” and rightly so; as they prolong life. Reishi mushrooms are hard core. They’ve been shown in randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trials (the ones that scientists sit up straight for) to play a worthy adjunct role in advanced lung cancer patients (1).
In an uncontrolled trial, Ganoderma extract enhanced the immune responses of patients with advanced stage cancer, undergoing chemotherapy (mainly lung, breast, liver, colon, prostate, bladder, brain) (2). For healthy people, these mushrooms can be used to boost immune function and stamina.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
has been used in folk medicine in Siberia, North America, and North Europe to treat cancers. In trials on mice it has reduced tumour size by up to a third (3). It is claimed to have beneficial properties for human health, such as anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, and indeed has shown significant antioxidant activities in protection against DNA damage (4).
- 1/4 cup raw coconut oil
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder / carob powder (if you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons powdered medicinal mushrooms of your choice
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons organic turmeric powder and/or beetroot powder to roll truffles in
Melt the coconut oil by placing the jar in a non-plastic bowl of boiling water – this won’t take long. Once melted, pour the coconut oil into a small bowl and stir in the cacao, herbs, honey and water until well combined.
Pop the bowl in the freezer for a couple of minutes so that the oil becomes firm enough to roll into balls. Roll a teaspoon of the chocolate mixture into a ball on a smooth surface. You can use your hands but the mixture will melt faster. Roll in turmeric or beetroot powder and set on a plate. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.
Truffles will keep for 5-6 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
(1) Gao YH, Dai XH, Chen GL, Ye JX, and Zhou SF (2003), A randomised, placebo-controlled, multicenter study of Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.: Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae) polysaccharides (Ganopoly®) in patients with advanced lung cancer. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2003;5:369-381.
(2) McKenna DJ, Jones K, Hughes K, et al. (2002) Botanical Medicines: The Desk Reference for Major Herbal Supplements, 2nd ed. New York:Haworth Herbal Press.
(3) Chung MJ, Chung CK, Jeong Y, Ham SS (2010), Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells. Nutr Res Pract. Jun;4(3):177-182.
(4) Park, YK, Lee, HB, Jeon, EJ, Jung, H. S. and Kang, MH (2004), Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay. BioFactors, 21: 109–112.
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