Asthma

Cordyceps sinensis has traditionally been used to treat respiratory disorders including asthma and serum markers of airway inflammation were seen to be reduced in patients with mild asthma given C. sinensis capsules1.

C. sinensis also improved lung function in sensitized guinea pigs and reduce airway inflammation in sensitized rats2. In vitro study on human airway epithelial cells showed C. sinensis and its components to have an effect on ion transport and to regulate the Th1/Th2 balance3,4.

Ganoderma lucidum has also traditionally been used to treat asthma and its triterpenoid components are known to have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine activity. Research on a closely related species, Ganoderma tsugae, shows that triterpenoid extracts reduce bronchoalveolar inflammation and attenuate Th2 responses without overall immunosuppressive effects in allergic murine models of asthma5,6.

In addition, mushroom polysaccharide extracts are known to shift immune balance away from Th2 dominance and towards Th1 dominance and have been shown to help correct a skewed Th1/Th2 balance in an animal asthma model indicating their potential in the management of this condition, as well as other allergic disorders7.

1. Effect of dongchong xiacao capsule on airway inflammation of asthmatic patients. Wang N.Q, Jiang L.D, Zhang X.M, Li Z.X. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007;32(15):1566-8.
2. Effects of fermented Cordyceps powder on pulmonary function in sensitized guinea pigs and airway inflammation in sensitized rats. Lin X.X, Xie Q.M, Shen W.H, Chen Y. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2001;26(9):622-5
3. Effects of Cordyceps sinensis, Cordyceps militaris and their isolated compounds on ion transport in Calu-3 human airway epithelial cells. Yue G.G, Lau C.B, Fung K, Leung P, Ko W. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2008;117(1):92-1014.
4. Regulation of bronchoalveolar lavage fluids cell function by the immunomodulatory agents from Cordyceps sinensis. Kuo Y.C, Tsai W.J, Wang J.Y, Chang S.C, Lin C.Y, Shiao M.S. Life Sci. 2001;68(9):1067-82
5. Ganoderma tsugae supplementation alleviates bronchoalveolar inflammation in an airway sensitization and challenge mouse model. Lin J.Y, Chen M.L, Chiang B.L, Lin B.F. Int Immunopharmacol. 2006;6(2):241-51.
6. Effects of triterpenoid-rich extracts of Ganoderma tsugae on airway hyperreactivity and Th2 responses in vivo. Chen M.L, Lin B.F. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2007;143(1):21-30.
7. Amelioration of skewed Th1/Th2 balance in tumor-bearing and asthma-induced mice by oral administration of Agaricus blazei extracts. Takimoto H, Kato H, Kaneko M, Kumazawa Y. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2008;30(4):747-60.

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