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A compilation of chemical constituents?


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I only just noticed this forum section.  As someone who works actively with herbal medicine, I was excited.  But then a bit crestfallen to find the forum mostly-dead, with the most active posts sort of poo-poo'ing medicinal mushrooms.

I find that the best approach to herbal medicine is in understanding what chemicals a plant or plant's specific part is made up of.  This is how herbal medicine works, and mushrooms are no different.  Claims of cancer-curing "properties" are vague at best.  However, if the mushroom acclaimed to have cured cancer has a good concentration  of known cancer-fighting compounds, then we're on the right track to understanding what's really going on.

Medicinal mushrooms are no more 'bad science' than herbal medicine is.  The problem is hype and misinformation on both sides of the debate.  I have seen "Herbal Healing" books that make the strangest and wildest claims bordering on myth and legend, with no supporting evidence.   I've also seen WebMD articles that make wild claims about how dangerous an herb is to use, then when I follow their sources they're citing magazine articles, or isolated studies of the effects of mega-dosing on a single chemical compound, which happens to be one of dozens of compounds contained in this plant, which means that you will never consume enough of this plant's extract or infusion to rival the doses of a single compound used in the study that produced negative health effects- but they're still going to cite this study to make a baseless claim that drinking a cup of tea might destroy your liver, or some other nonsense.  Always investigate the citations, folks!  Any site can summarize a source's information however they want as long as they cite it.
A good herbal book or resource will break each herb down into its chemical components, which are the keys to understanding its medicinal applications.  It's true, not a whole heck of a lot of research has been done in the realm of the chemical composition of millions of species of flora.  It's an under-appreciated field, in my opinion.  You can essentially pick apart an herb's medicinal properties, not unlike a medication's, by identifying it's chemical activity and modes of interaction with the body.  After all, many medications are comprised of concentrated compounds found originally in healing herbs, molds, and fungis.

So, I was thinking- maybe this thread could be livened up with some factual foundations!  Does anyone know of some good resources for reports on the chemical constituents of various mushrooms?  Common, popular, or otherwise?  If we could compile some resources here, it would help to shed light on the reality of mushroom medicine and help to better educate folks :)

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