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What Are the Medical Uses of Hericium Erinaceus?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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Hericium erinaceus is a traditional herbal treatment in Chinese medicine. Studies have shown that this mushroom may stimulate nerve growth and repair damaged neurons. Doctors are hopeful that further studies will show that the mushroom can treat various neurological disorders. Initial results in patients with disorders such as dementia show improvement when the patients are taking Hericium erinaceus. Ulcers and cancer of the stomach or esophagus have also been treated with it.

One of the most promising uses for Hericium erinaceus is as a treatment for damaged nerve cells. Studies in the 2000s have shown that this mushroom increases nerve growth and promotes the development of myelin, which speeds up the rate at which nerves transmit signals. Both the brain and the peripheral nervous system show an increased rate of repair when a patient is given Hericium erinaceus. The treatment can even restore mobility and sensation caused by damaged nerves.

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Preliminary studies suggest that Hericium erinaceus may be useful in the treatment of a number of neurological disorders. When treated with Hericium erinaceus, patients with dementia have shown improvement in their ability to communicate and in their ability to care for themselves. It appears that this treatment is only effective while the patient is undergoing treatment. Alzheimer's patients may also show improvement when treated with this mushroom. It is possible that the myelin produced when a patient consumes Hericium erinaceus may help with multiple sclerosis, as well, though more studies are needed to determine how effective it may be.

One of the other traditional uses for Hericium erinaceus is in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. The mushroom contains the chemical cyathane, which has been known to have antibiotic effects. It has traditionally been used to treat ulcers and cancers of the stomach and esophagus. The antibiotic properties of the mushroom may make it effective in the treatment of stomach ulcers, though its usefulness as a cancer treatment has not been verified.

Hericium erinaceus may also have antioxidant effects. Some of the chemicals in the mushroom can provide a boost to the immune system and increase the overall health of the patient. There are also chemicals present in the mushroom that may promote good blood chemistry.

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