Mushrooms for Eczema: Exploring the Potential Benefits

Mushrooms for Eczema: Exploring the Potential Benefits - Lucid™

Eczema, a skin condition affecting millions worldwide, has spurred interest in alternative remedies, including the potential use of medicinal mushrooms. While traditional treatments focus on managing symptoms, recent studies have delved into the therapeutic properties of certain mushrooms in easing eczema symptoms.


So, follow us as we look at the research and purported benefits of mushrooms for eczema. Then, we’ll cover some basics, like how to use mushrooms and what to expect. Here are the basics:

Key Takeaways

  • Mushrooms show promise in aiding eczema management due to their potential anti-inflammatory and skin-nourishing properties.
  • Mushrooms may offer benefits both when used topically and when consumed as supplements, teas, or edibles.
  • Understand risks like allergic reactions, digestive issues, and drug interactions; prioritize quality sourcing and dosage accuracy when incorporating mushrooms into eczema care.

What is Eczema and What Causes It?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a long-lasting skin problem causing red, itchy, and swollen skin. It affects many people in the US, around 30 million, but exactly why it happens isn't fully known. It's believed to be because of a mix of family history and things in the environment. 


When our immune system reacts to things around us, it can make the skin swollen and itchy, especially for those whose immune systems are very active. Some genes might also be part of it, like one called "filaggrin," which helps keep skin moist. If there's not enough of it, the skin can get dry and itchy.


Eczema comes in different types and can show up on various body parts, like the face, hands, or neck. While there's no cure, treatments are there to help make it better and improve life quality. Researchers are still learning more to make new and better ways to deal with eczema.

What Triggers an Eczema Flare?

Eczema often brings sudden, uncomfortable symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling. Although the exact causes are unclear, triggers like stress, certain foods, environmental factors, and hormonal changes can worsen flare-ups.


While not an autoimmune disease, immune system issues can make flare-ups more frequent. These flare-ups can also weaken the skin's defenses, making it more prone to other conditions or infections. While it's crucial to identify and avoid triggers, this can be tough. Medications may help, but many people find that conventional treatments, like steroid creams, don’t do enough.


For this reason, it may be beneficial to use mushrooms, both for their topical advantages and for their potential immune-boosting benefits.

Understanding the Link Between Mushrooms and Eczema

Mushrooms possess bioactive compounds like beta-glucans, polysaccharides, and antioxidants known for their anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. Various mushrooms, like Turkey Tail and Chaga, have been linked to a wide range of skincare benefits. These elements could play a pivotal role in mitigating the inflammatory responses associated with eczema.


Research is currently limited, but some evidence exists to help us understand how particular mushrooms may play a positive role in managing eczema flares. Let’s take a look:

Types of Mushrooms for Eczema and The Research

Tremella

Tremella fuciformis, commonly known as Snow Fungus, has been prized in China for centuries for its skin benefits. Its hydrating and antioxidant properties make it a sought-after ingredient in skincare. One 2021 study highlighted its anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and anti-aging abilities. Tremella polysaccharides, often used in cosmetics, contribute to its moisturizing effects. 


Additionally, Tremella shows promise in treating eczema by positively affecting the immune system and gut bacteria. Both topical and oral use have demonstrated improvements in skin health, with oral administration showing notably better efficacy.

Chaga

In eczema, itching is a major symptom linked to increased histamine levels. According to research, histamine plays a key role in this condition, contributing to inflammation and skin disruption. 


Chaga mushroom extract has shown promise in reducing histamine-induced inflammation, potentially soothing skin sensitivities in eczema and bolstering the skin against environmental triggers.


Moreover, Chaga is rich in beta-glucans, known for their immune-modulating properties. These natural compounds found in fungi have various skin benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing effects. Beta-glucans have been acknowledged in dermatology for enhancing wound healing and rejuvenating the skin.

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms are packed with potent functional elements like polysaccharides and ganoderic acids, known for their strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Using Reishi extracts has shown promise in enhancing skin healing, fighting infections, and reducing inflammation in conditions like atopic dermatitis and cutaneous sarcoidosis. 


Oxidative stress is linked to various chronic inflammatory conditions, including atopic dermatitis, though the precise mechanisms aren't entirely clear. A 2020 study revealed that medicinal mushrooms like Reishi offer rich sources of antioxidants that can help counteract oxidative stress, potentially preventing its development in conditions like atopic dermatitis.

Cordyceps

 Known for its immunomodulatory properties, Cordyceps mushrooms have shown promise in managing allergic reactions and soothing skin inflammation, making them a potential candidate for eczema management. 


One 2021 animal study aimed to identify why cordyceps has anecdotally succeeded in treating various skincare concerns. It found that Cordyceps seemed to work to reduce skin conditions similar to eczema by blocking certain immune-related events, like the release of histamine and the production of substances that worsen the condition.

Turkey Tail

Rich in polysaccharopeptide, Turkey Tail mushrooms exhibit immune-enhancing properties that could potentially alleviate eczema symptoms by regulating the immune response. 


Thanks to its ability to fight oxidative stress, Turkey Tail Mushroom is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, lending it the ability to calm down redness and irritation. In fact, many of the flavonoids in Turkey Tail may help to combat inflammation at the cellular level.


According to evidence, Quercetin, one potent flavonoid found in turkey tails, may help to reduce chronic and acute inflammation. That means it may have benefits as a spot treatment and as a daily preventative treatment.


Quercetin may also help restore skin barrier function. The skin barrier is responsible for locking in hydration and for absorbing topicals, so it plays a huge role in hydration and overall skin health.


Quercetin has also been found to restore human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs), a compound that makes up skin connective tissue. This may be beneficial for improving skin healing, collagen production, and elastin secretion, which can prevent signs of aging.

Certainly! Here's a section on how mushrooms are used for eczema:

How Are Mushrooms Used for Eczema?

Mushrooms offer versatile applications in eczema management, available in various formulations that cater to both topical and internal use:

Topical Formulations

  • Creams and Ointments: Topical creams containing mushroom extracts, such as Tremella, Chaga, or Reishi, are applied directly to affected skin areas. These formulations aim to soothe irritation, reduce inflammation, and promote skin healing.
  • Serums and Lotions: Mushroom-infused serums and lotions are designed to hydrate and nourish the skin while potentially alleviating itchiness and redness associated with eczema.

Internal Use:


  • Capsules and Supplements: Mushroom supplements, available in capsule form, allow for internal consumption. These supplements often contain concentrated extracts of mushrooms like Reishi or Cordyceps, aiming to modulate the immune system and reduce systemic inflammation associated with eczema.
  • Teas, Coffees, and Tinctures: Some individuals incorporate mushroom extracts into beverages or tinctures for internal consumption. These preparations may offer a more holistic approach, potentially addressing underlying inflammation and immune responses linked to eczema.

Effectiveness of Topical and Internal Use:


  • Topical Applications: Directly applying mushroom-based creams or ointments to affected skin areas can provide localized relief by reducing inflammation, itchiness, and promoting healing.
  • Internal Use: Consuming mushroom supplements or extracts internally may target systemic inflammation and immune dysregulation, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups.

Important Note: Before using any mushroom-based product for eczema, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the most suitable formulation and dosage, considering individual factors and the severity of the condition.


Integrating both topical and internal applications of mushrooms might offer a comprehensive approach to eczema management, potentially addressing both localized symptoms and underlying inflammatory processes.

Risks and Considerations of Using Mushrooms for Eczema

When considering the integration of mushrooms into eczema management, it's vital to prioritize consultation with a healthcare professional. While mushrooms have shown potential benefits for skin conditions like eczema, several considerations and precautions should be taken into account: 


1. Individual Variations: Responses to mushroom supplements or extracts can vary from person to person. Factors such as age, overall health, and existing medical conditions can influence how mushrooms interact with the body.


2. Drug Interactions: Mushrooms may interact with certain medications, affecting their efficacy or causing adverse reactions. Consulting a healthcare provider helps identify potential interactions, especially for individuals on prescribed medications.


3. Quality and Source: The quality and source of mushroom supplements or extracts can vary widely. Ensure you source these products from reputable and trusted sources to guarantee purity and safety.


4. Dosage and Formulation: Determining the appropriate dosage and formulation is essential. Different mushrooms may have varied effects, and the optimal dosage could differ based on the specific condition being treated.

Potential Side Effects of Medicinal Mushrooms

  • Digestive Issues: Some individuals might experience digestive discomfort, such as upset stomach or diarrhea, when consuming certain mushrooms or their extracts.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic responses to mushrooms can range from mild skin rashes to severe allergic reactions. Immediate medical attention is necessary in case of severe allergic symptoms like difficulty breathing or swelling.
  • Interaction with Blood Thinners: Certain mushrooms, due to their properties, might interfere with blood-thinning medications, potentially affecting blood clotting mechanisms.
  • Toxicity Concerns: Improper identification or consumption of wild mushrooms can lead to toxicity. It's essential to be cautious and only consume mushrooms known to be safe for consumption.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Limited research exists on the safety of various mushroom supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It's advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding individuals to avoid mushroom supplements unless advised otherwise by a healthcare provider.

Conclusion

Mushrooms, with their diverse bioactive compounds, exhibit promising properties that may benefit individuals grappling with eczema. While research is ongoing, their potential in mitigating symptoms and modulating immune responses offers hope for a complementary approach to eczema management. 


In conclusion, while mushrooms show promise in easing eczema symptoms, further research and guidance from healthcare professionals are essential before integrating them into treatment regimens.

Resources

  1. “A review on the production, structure, bioactivities and applications of Tremella polysaccharides” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172338/
  2. “Tremella fuciformis polysaccharides alleviate induced atopic dermatitis in mice by regulating immune response and gut microbiota” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9452665/
  3. “Histamine, antihistamines and atopic eczema” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1980856/
  4. “Inonotus obliquus attenuates histamine-induced microvascular inflammation” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31437163/
  5. “β-Glucans: Multi-Functional Modulator of Wound Healing” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017669/
  6. “Preventive and Therapeutic Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Skin Diseases and Care” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31777026/
  7. “Oxidative Stress and Atopic Dermatitis” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32111015/
  8. “A review on the production, structure, bioactivities and applications of Tremella polysaccharides” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172338/
  9. “Flavonoids, Inflammation and Immune System” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5084045/
  10. “Soothing and anti-itch effect of quercetin phytosome in human subjects: a single-blind study” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777224/

“Restoring Effects of Natural Anti-Oxidant Quercetin on Cellular Senescent Human Dermal Fibroblasts” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29737207/


Older post Newer post