The Shen Nong's Herbal Classic, a 2,000-year old book considered as the oldest book on oriental herbal medicine, classifies 365 species of roots, grass, woods, furs, animals and stones into three categories:
Superior: Herbs effective for multiple diseases that are mostly responsible for maintaining and restoring the body balance. They have almost no unfavorable side-effects.
Tonics and boosters: Consumption must not be prolonged.
Remedies: Taken usually in small doses, for the treatment of specific ailments only.
Lingzhi mushrooms ranked number one of the superior medicines, was therefore the most exalted medicine. The ancient Chinese use of mushrooms for medicine has inspired modern day research into medicinal mushrooms like lingzhi, shiitake, Agaricus blazei, Trametes versicolor and the table mushroom. Highly purified compounds isolated from medicinal mushrooms like lentinan (from Shiitake), and Polysaccharide-K, (from Trametes versicolor), have become incorporated into the health care system of countries such as Japan. The compounds are used to stimulate the immune system and promote health.
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