Medicinal Fungi

There are more than 300 species of higher fungi (mushrooms) that are known to demonstrate therapeutic properties, hence the term medical mushrooms, or medicinal fungi. These properties are due to the many compounds, notably steroids, lactones, alkaloids, polysaccharides (mainly beta glucans) and triterpenes that are contained within the fruiting bodies (which are colloquially called the mushrooms) and mycelium of the fungus. Pharmacologically, the polysaccharides are the main products of interest w.r.t. immune stimulating activities.
Products from medicinal fungi are normally consumed as liquid extracts or dried powders from the fruiting body. A limited number of highly purified polysaccharide compounds derived from certain medicinal mushrooms are now being used, particularly in Asia, as pharmaceutical grade products.



Beta glucans are found throughout nature. They are made up of many small sugar units linked together in different ways to form complex polysaccharides. Beta glucans are attracting attention within the field of medicine because they display immunomodulatory properties and have an antitumour action. The GlycaNova beta glucans are soluble in liquids, which means they are readily absorbed by the body and can thus be taken orally. Furthermore, the GlycaNova production process ensures that the beta glucan retains its triple helix structure, which is required for high bioactivity.