Mushrooms shield body from radiation

By Archita Bhatta
Published: Friday 15 September 2006

Healthy growth a mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, found in Kerala, has long been known as a panacea in Oriental folklore and Chinese medicine. Now a group of scientists in India claim the fungus shields the body from radiation.

Researchers from the Amala Cancer Research Centre at Thrissur in Kerala and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Mumbai say they found the mushroom extract could prevent cellular damage induced by radiation in cancer therapy, nuclear accidents and even in nuclear warfare. "The mushroom has profound antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, tumour and cancer preventive and to top it all radioprotective properties," says K K Janardanan, one of the researchers. The presence of aqueous extract of G lucidum along with dna during irradiation with gamma rays reduced radiation induced lesions in dna by 89.53 per cent and prevented damage to certain cell organelles by 98 per cent.The findings appeared in Current Science (Vol 91, No 3, August 10, 2006).

The mushroom (called reishi in India) finds mention in the earliest book on medicinal materials in China, Shen Nough's Herbal (100-200 ad). Earlier studies have shown it helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

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