Medicinal mushrooms have an established history of use in traditional oriental therapies. Contemporary research has validated and documented much of the ancient knowledge. The interdisciplinary field of medicinal mushrooms studies was developed and continues to reveal unique and potent properties of compounds extracted from a wide range of medicinal mushroom species in the last three decades. Currently, the field is growing into a very fruitful area. Modern clinical practice in Japan, China, Korea, and other Asian countries rely on mushroom-derived preparations.
Mushrooms are being evaluated for their nutritional value and acceptability as well as for their pharmacological properties. Recent studied medicinal actions of mushrooms include antitumor, immunomodulating, antioxidant, radical scavenging, cardiovascular, anti-hypercholesterolemia, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, hepatoprotective, and anti-diabetic effects. The majority of studies in medicinal mushroom science today include the anticancer action of mushroom components.
Mushroom polysaccharides prevent oncogenesis, show direct antitumor activity against various syngeneic tumors, and prevent tumor metastasis. Their activity is especially beneficial in clinics when used in conjunction with chemo-therapy. Mushrooms produce beneficial effects not only as drugs but also as dietary supplements (DS) or nutriceuticals. These beneficial medicinal mushroom components are not only used in the production of pharmaceuticals; these beneficial effects can also be found in mushrooms when used as part of a healthy diet.
Due to current trends in the medicinal mushroom industry, the organization of International Medicinal Mushroom Conferences (IMMC) has become extremely important. The importance of bringing together scientists from different medicinal mushroom fields to discuss scientific breakthroughs and share current results from research being carried out all over the world is significant.
In September 2001, the first IMMC was held in Kiev in the Ukraine on very high scientific and organizational levels. In July 2003 the second IMMC was held in a beautiful place near Pathaya under the Royal Family’s patronage. The third IMMC was held in October 2005 in beautiful Port Townsend, a historical city on the Pacific Coast of the US in the state of Washington. The 4th IMMC was held in Slovenia, Lubljana, in 2007. In 2009 the 5th IMMC Conference was held in Nontoong, China. In 2011 in Zagreb, Croatia, the 6th IMMC was organized. The 7th IMMC was organized in Beijing, China, again. The 8th conference was organized for the first time in Colombia (South America) in August 2015.
To date 8 IMMCs (3 in Europe, 3 in Asia, 1 in North America, and 1 in South America) have been organized.