Compendium of Mycotherapy
The term mycotherapy was first coined in 1997 by the coauthor of this book, Professor Jan I. Lelley. It refers to the use of fungi and fungal substances in the prevention and treatment of health problems in humans and animals. Over the past 18 years, this form of naturopathy, which has been firmly entrenched in traditional European and Asian medicine for nearly half a century, has been increasingly corroborated through modern, scientific research, gaining considerable importance over time. Preparations made from over a dozen large fungi (macromycetes) are produced by numerous companies and are available as over-the-counter remedies. They are also recommended and prescribed by therapists. The products are classified as dietary supplements.
Given the increasing significance of these products, an overwhelming amount of factual information of varying relevance is in circulation. It is virtually impossible for laypersons and therapists with little experience in mycology to read and digest all of this information; hence it can be bewildering. The development of mycotherapy has not escaped media attention. The press grasp any opportunity to
discuss fungi and provide information on their healing powers. Accurate, factual information is not always conveyed, however, and this makes it difficult for the
right message to get through to the general public. Now and then we may have the impression that medicinal mushrooms could cure almost every ailment. Therefore, we briefly summarize the key information about medicinal mushrooms and their potential therapeutic applications. This compendium on mycotherapy has been compiled on the basis of recognized scientific information and years of practical experience. It does not, however, claim to be exhaustive, but it is expandable. We have therefore expressly asked all of those involved in this specialist area for their comments and recommendations.