It is estimated that, currently, there are over a thousand species of medicinal mushrooms. While they all have different looks, there is one thing that many of them share in common: very bioactive compounds called terpenes and triterpenes within the cell walls. Each with its own unique chemical composition and therapeutic properties. In this blog post, we will take a look at what medicinal mushroom terpenes and triterpenes are, their unique therapeutic effects on the body, and why they may be an integral part of our future in medical care.
Terpenes are chemical compounds that are found in plants, fruits and vegetables. They typically have a strong smell which is why they are used by many perfumers to add scent to their products. These specific compounds have been found to have a wide range of therapeutic properties.
Medicinal mushrooms are no exception and they too contain terpenes. Mushrooms such as Lion's Mane, Maitake and Shiitake are known to contain terpenes. Mushroom terpenes offer the following benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Boost immune system function
- Relieve pain relief for arthritis sufferers
- Reduce symptoms of depression Improve alertness and reduce fatigue
Not all terpenes are the same. There are different types which include monoterpene, sesquiterpene and diterpenoid compounds. Each one has their own specific therapeutic properties. For example, some may help to relieve pain while others have anti-inflammatory properties.
Triterpenes are chemical compounds that contain three isoprene units. This is the main difference between triterpenes and terpenes which contain only two isoprene units. Isoprene units are found in all living organisms. They are the basis for many of our nutrients and they also contribute to some of the essential components that we need to survive.
Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps contain triterpenes. These triterpenes offer a wide range of health benefits including:
- Support liver and kidney function
- Help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood
- Boost memory function and cognitive ability
- Regulate insulin levels
- Reduce anxiety
It is important to note that not all medicinal mushroom triterpenes are the same as they vary from species to species. However, most of these compounds have been found to be adaptogenic which means that they can help the body cope with stress and keep it balanced.
Lion's Mane contains the following terpenes Hericenones, Erinacines and Shiitanol. These terpenes have been found to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotection, and immunomodulatory properties.
It is believed that the Erinacines from Lion's Mane stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which aids in providing relief for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or dementia as it helps support brain cell regeneration.
Hericenones are known to be powerful anti-inflammatory compounds and help reduce painful symptoms associated with arthritis. These same properties can also relieve pain for those suffering from other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis or gout.
Reishi is one of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms. It has been used for centuries to help improve general health and wellbeing. Reishi contains triterpenes such as Ganoderic Acids which have a wide range of therapeutic properties including:
- Regulate cholesterol and blood pressure
- Boost the immune systemPrevent free radical damage
- Promote a healthy cardiovascular system
- Regulate blood sugar levels and insulin production
Clinical studies have shown that Ganoderic Acids from Reishi can help reduce tumor growth. They do this by inducing apoptosis which causes cancer cells to self-destruct.
The health benefits of terpenes and triterpenes are immense. However, there have been some reports that excessive use can cause an upset stomach in certain individuals. If this occurs, it is recommended to reduce the dosage or take a break from using these compounds for a few days.
Terpenes and triterpenes are naturally occurring and therefore, won't cause any serious side effects. However, anyone who is taking blood-thinning medication should consult their doctor before taking these compounds as they can interfere with the medication.
Chaga is a very potent fungus and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Eastern Europe for centuries. As well as containing triterpenes, Chaga is rich in Betulinic Acid and Inotodiol which also has a range of therapeutic properties including:
- Anti-inflammatory benefits for arthritis sufferers
- Provide support for the liver and pancreas function
- Promote healthy cholesterol levels
- Provide support for the immune system to fight against infection and illness.
Cordyceps is another well-known medicinal mushroom that offers a range of health benefits. It contains triterpenes such as cordycepic acid and adenosine. Cordyceps has been used for centuries to help regulate kidney function, promote healthy blood pressure, boost the immune system and also fight against fatigue.
Cordycepin, which is a derivative of cordycepic acid, is a nucleoside that can be found in Cordyceps. It is thought to influence certain enzymes and promote healthy cell function. Cordyceps triterpenes can also help to:
- Help improve energy levels
- Boost stamina and endurance
- Provide antioxidant support to the body
- Increase oxygen intake
- Fight against infections
In this blog post, we explored the various terpenes and triterpenes found in mushrooms. These naturally occurring chemical compounds can help to improve your health and wellbeing, as they work on a cellular level.
Triterpenes are naturally occurring compounds that can be found in a wide range of natural foods including fruits, vegetables, and fungi. They have been used for centuries to help promote general wellbeing as well as offer additional therapeutic properties to fight against common diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Terpenes are also known to benefit the immune system as well as help to regulate mood swings and anxiety. Terpenes are safe to use without causing any serious side effects.
Triterpenes and terpenes are gaining in popularity due to their great health benefits. As they become more popular, expect to see a rise in mushroom brands that offer mushroom extracts with these compounds. If you’re interested in mushroom extracts with optimized levels of terpenes and triterpenes, then look no further than Qi Mushrooms extracts. Qi Mushrooms offers a range of products that are third-party tested to contain potent levels of terpenes and triterpenes.