Pleurotus ostreatus: a mushroom with acclaimed medicinal properties

Our team of researchers observes the beauty of nature and draws lessons from it, and with creativity and innovation transforms them into new products, natural and safe. In particular, for products for veterinary use, we have selected Pleurotus ostreatus, a mushroom with relevant medicinal properties, rich in nutrients and bioactive molecules, among the ingredients.

Mushrooms between history and legend
Mushrooms became part of human life thousands of years ago. We find ancient evidence of their use: they have been consumed both for nutritional and medical properties, as well as in shamanic and religious rituals. Traditional Chinese medicine has been able to recognize its benefits for human health, giving way to what is now known as Mycotherapy. And it is from the twentieth century that interest has also grown in the West.
The history of P. ostreatus is also ancient, with references that come to us from the Sung dynasty (420-479 BC), calling it “mushroom of celestial flowers”. The first modern cultivation dates back to Germany in 1917, which used it as a subsistence measure during the First World War (M. Hofrichter, 2010). Its medicinal properties have been studied worldwide, from Central Europe to Africa and South America.

Beneficial properties of the mushroom Pleurotus
Pleurotus ostreatus is a saprophytic-parasitic mushroom, with the characteristic shape that led it to be commonly known as the “oyster” mushroom. It grows on old stumps, in temperate and tropical climates and is today the third most common edible mushroom in the world, after the champignon and Shiitake. In recent years, studies concerning its nutraceutical and medicinal properties have increased. It is a source of protein, essential amino acids, B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as minerals. It therefore falls into the category of so-called functional foods, that is, containing bioactive molecules capable of bringing benefits to human health and reducing risks of chronic diseases (Patel et al., 2012).

A mushroom with relevant medicinal properties
The bioactive substances contained in the mycelium and fruiting bodies have immunostimulating, antineoplastic, antidiabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties (Golak-Siwulska et al., 2018). A noteworthy secondary metabolite is Lovastatin, a statin involved in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels, which gives Pleurotus a protective action against heart disease (Zainal-Abidin et al., 2017). It is also a source of β-glucans such as Pleurane, capable of stimulating the body’s innate and adaptive immune response. Preclinical studies have reported a positive action, such as that carried out by Nita and collaborators (2018) where the administration of the fraction obtained by ethanolic extraction of P. ostreatus resulted in an increase in the population of lymphocytes, in the antibody titer and in the levels of γ -globulin in the blood of mice.