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New mushroom species costs Rs 1.5 lakh per kg; here's what's so special about it

GUIDE Director V Vijay Kumar said that the mushroom is often called the Himalayan Gold for its list of health benefits. He said that cordyceps can potentially prevent a range of illnesses

Generic photo of cordyceps militaris Generic photo of cordyceps militaris

Be it Chinese, Italian, Japanese or even Indian, mushrooms have been, for long, part of a lot of scrumptious fare. But now a new mushroom species is touted to be of medicinal value and is priced at a whopping Rs 1.50 lakh per kg.

Called cordyceps militaris, this new breed of mushroom has always been part of Chinese and Tibetan herbal medicines. It has now been successfully cultivated by Gujarat scientists at Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) in Kutch. These mushrooms were cultivated in a controlled environment in a laboratory in 35 jars. In 90 days it yielded 350 grams.

The institute has reportedly found the mushroom useful in treating even breast cancer, stated a report in Times of India. They now, for a nominal fee, aim to train entrepreneurs to cultivate the mushrooms at a laboratory scale.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

GUIDE Director V Vijay Kumar said that the mushroom is often called the Himalayan Gold for its list of health benefits. He said that cordyceps can potentially prevent a range of illnesses. The mushroom is club-shaped and the surface appears punctured. The inner fungal tissue is whitish to pale orange, he described.

The mushroom, cordyceps militaris, is anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, anti inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-tumor, anti-fibrotic, anti-HIV, anti-malaria and anti-fatigue properties. It has neuroprotective, reno protective and lung protective properties and is useful in treatment of chronic bronchitis, kidney disorder and renal hepatitis. It is also touted to improve liver function, as mentioned in the daily. It enhances stamina and promotes antibody production.

Cordyceps is high in cordycepin that has proven anti-tumor properties and helps reduce tumor size. It boosts cellular energy, strengthens cardiac muscles, helps in adjustment of the respiratory system by curing asthma and expansion of bronchus. It is also known to enhance bone marrow and generate platelets.

CLINICAL TRIALS

Along with Nirma University in Ahmedabad, the anti-tumor element of the mushroom was studied in detail. The in-vivo anti-cancer activity of the extracts was explored against breast cancer in animal studies. The results show that the extracts can provide significant results in terms of reduction in breast cancer tumour. GUIDE has sought approval to conduct clinical trials on humans. The institute is also studying its effects on prostate cancer.

Training of mushroom cultivation is priced at Rs 1 lakh a week but GUIDE will provide the training at a nominal charge.

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