University Department of Botany, Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
Received : 29th December, 2019 ; Revised : 24th February, 2020
Abstract : Over the past 25 years, new natural drugs have been approved for the treatment of human diseases. Natural products play a very important role in the process of discovery and development of drugs, including the treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer. For hundreds of years, medical mushrooms are used as decoctions and essences and are applied ad alternative medicine in Korea, China, Japan and Eastern Russia. Geologically, mushrooms existed on the earth even before man appeared on it as evidenced from the fossil records of the lower cretaceous period. Thus anthropologically speaking, there is every possibility that man used the mushrooms as food when still a food gathered and hunter on the chronology of Cultural Revolution. Mushrooms offer tremendous applications as they can be used as food and medicines besides their key ecological roles. They represent as one of the world’s greatest untapped resources of nutrition and palatable food of the future. Mushrooms had long been used for medical and food purposes since decades. It is new increasingly recognized that correct diet, controls and modulates many functions of human body and consequently participates in the maintenance of state of good health, necessary to reduce the risk of many diseases. Mushrooms have a great nutritional value since they are quite rich in protein with an important content of essential amino acids and fiber. The dietary fiber present in L.edodes (Shiitake) consists of soluble and insoluble structures. In the water-soluble are found the β-glucans and proteins. In the non soluble fraction, salts are extracted only with acids or alkalis and found the polyuronide (acidic polysaccharide), hemicelluloses, β-glucan chains with heterosaccharide, lignin and chitin. They also provide a nutritionally significant content of vitamins (B1, B2, B12,C, D and E). Numerous mushrooms and their ingredients have been known to be beneficial to the skin and hair. The
representative ingredients are as follows: phenolics, polyphenolics, terpenoids, selenium, polysaccharides, vitamins and volatile organic compounds. These compounds show excellent antioxidant, ant-aging, anti-wrinkle, skin whitening and moisturizing effects, which make them ideal candidates for cosmetics products. Present review is aimed to discuss the high nutritional and therapeutic potential of mushrooms and their applications as functional foods or as a source of
nutraceuticals for maintenance and promotion of health and life quality.