Honey Mushrooms are extremely rich in polysaccharides. Polysaccharides from natural sources have attracted increased attention due to their potential biological functions, especially antioxidant and immunomodulation activities such as scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid oxidation.1
Everyday stress, pollution and processed foods can lead to the formation of free radicals. These are rogue atoms or atomic groups which have lost at least one electron and are forced to steal electrons from neighbouring molecules in the hope of stabilising themselves, which can cause havoc in the body. The antioxidants in Honey Mushrooms helps to neutralise free radicals, protecting the body from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
As with most medicinal mushrooms, Honey Mushrooms can be consumed to keep the immune system working to its optimal level. Polysaccharides also have powerful immune boosting qualities, promoting natural killer cells (NK), and activating macrophages and interleukins. As an “immunomodulator” it can either up-regulate or down-regulate the immune system in response to external stimuli.
It stimulates the immune system by boosting the activity of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell), which protect the body from viruses and bacteria. Activating macrophages encourages the release of cytokines, chemicals that when secreted enable the immune cells to communicate with one another. Interleukins are a large and varied category of cytokines produced by leukocytes, especially T-cells. Their function depends on the type of white blood cell with which they interact. Lymphokines co-ordinate the immune response through communication with other cells.
According to a study published in “Oxidative Health and Cellular Longevity”, the polysaccharides found in Honey Mushrooms can enhance brain function and protect against neurodegenerative disorders. The study found that these compounds decreased the build-up of the specific proteins in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, they were found to improve neuron function and prevent brain cell damage.
The study concluded, "Our findings provide experimental evidence that A. mellea might be a useful neuroprotective agent for the treatment or prevention of neurodegenerative disease."2
Stabilises Blood Sugar
A 2015 study found that the phenolic content of Honey Mushrooms showed antioxidant and anti-hyperglycaemic effects. Hyperglycaemia is high blood sugar and is found in both types 1 and 2 diabetes – Honey Mushroom compounds were found to lower high blood sugar in the study.
Preventing hyperglycaemia with both a good diet and good supplement regime will protect your body against “insulin resistance”, the pre-cursor to type 2 diabetes. Other consequences of high blood sugar include; increased thirst, fatigue, irritability, headaches, blurred vision and increased hunger. More seriously, extra sugar in the bloodstream can be very harmful to the vessels of the body, as well as some major organs.
Several antibiotics, primarily sesquiterpene aryl esters, have been isolated from the Honey Mushroom and show strong action against gram-positive bacteria such as; Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus etc, as well as yeasts and other fungi.
Folklore and history
The classic "Honey Hushroom," Armillaria mellea, was first named in Europe in the 18th Century; in North America it is limited to roughly the eastern half of North America, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast and the East Coast—although it has also been reported from northern California. It grows in tightly packed clusters, usually on the wood of hardwoods, but it is occasionally found on conifer wood.
The Honey Fungus species has the ability to glow in dark. The light-producing part is the mycelium, the thread-like filamentous roots that branch out underground that allow the mushroom feed and grow.
Honey fungus is the common name for several fungi within the genus Armillaria. Its mycelium produces edible fruiting bodies with a distinctive golden colour. A single example can grow to cover a vast area and it is reported that the largest living organism in the world is a related species of honey fungus covering an area of 2400 acres in Oregon, USA, with estimates of its age ranging from 1900 to 8650 years!
An ancient remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine and other Asian healing systems, tablets containing Honey Mushroom mycelium are prescribed in China to treat a variety of neurological conditions including; Meniere’s Syndrome, vertigo, headache, insomnia, epilepsy, neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion), and hypertension.
Honey Mushroom Capsules
2 capsules, 1 - 3 times a day as a dietary supplement, or as recommended by your healthcare professional.
Honey Mushroom Powder
Add 1 - 3g daily to food or drink as a dietary supplement (one level 5ml tsp = 2g).
Honey Mushroom mycelium contains high levels of polysaccharides. A number of indole compounds have been isolated including tryptamine, L- tryptophan and serotonin, with A.mellea fruiting bodies containing 2.207mg serotonin per 100g dry weight.
Whilst this mushroom is not considered poisonous, it is deemed mildly toxic if eaten raw. Honey Mushroom supplements and powders are treated and extracted correctly to ensure the toxins are removed.