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冬蟲夏草:呼吸系統的保護者和療愈者


我們生活的環境裡充滿了傷害肺部的有毒物質,空氣裡漂浮著工業和農業以及汽車排放出來的有毒顆粒,這些有毒物質是導致各種慢性呼吸道疾病和癌症的主要原因。加上最近爆發的新冠病毒疫情,COVID-19,人類呼吸系統的健康更是岌岌可危。長期以來,人類持續的在對抗空污,創造清潔健康的生活環境以及戰勝COVID-19的道路上努力追求有效的方案,因為健康的呼吸系統需要全方位的守護,而大自然也為我們提供了許多對呼吸道及肺部有療愈功效的藥草和菌類。其中,冬蟲夏草就是出眾的超級明星。

傳統醫學使用冬蟲夏草已經有幾個世紀的歷史了,破除迷思,冬蟲夏草全世界有超過400個品種,蟲草菌種在溫帶和熱帶森林中特別豐富,種類繁多, 冬蟲夏草是寄生於蟲體的菌类, 最野生蟲草真菌寄生在毛蟲的體內吸取養分逐漸長大直到破蟲而出;精華主要是菌类的袍子体,蟲體只是提供菌類生長的營養。現代的蟲草培植技術能夠讓蟲草生長於養殖的毛蟲體內或是有機的營養物質裡。中醫通常用冬蟲夏草来舒緩肺部,强腎,減輕疲勞和增強性功能。現代醫學在對冬蟲夏草進行了多年的科學研究後,除了證實了中醫所說的各種功效之外,還發現了許多其他的療效,例如對於各種癌症的助益,促進心臟和腎臟的健康功能等。但最令人驚艷的是冬蟲夏草對呼吸系統功效。

首先,研究證明了冬虫夏草對慢性阻塞性肺疾病(CODP)和哮喘的患者有助益。冬蟲夏草的療效來自於蟲草菌體裡抗炎症的特性。研究文獻結論出呼吸道過敏和氣喘的症狀經由冬蟲夏草裡減緩呼吸道炎症的特性得到改善(Lin等,2001; Gao,Li&Shen,2009; Wang等,2012; Chiou&林,2015)。其他研究甚至發現冬蟲夏草提取物可以減少哮喘患者不良的免疫反應並減低引發哮喘因子的出現(Heo等,2010)。還有一個特別令人振奮的研究結果是經由120位隨機取樣的受測試人得到的,這個研究發現蟲草提升了中度至重度哮喘患者的肺功能並同時改善了這些人炎症的狀況(Wang等,2016)。

另一個研究顯示,食用冬蟲夏草可以抑制氣管收縮並放鬆支氣管壁(Yang等人,2018)。雖然冬虫夏草的功效主要源於它抗炎的特性,但是它所提供對於呼吸道功能上的改善就是多方面的了。有研究顯示使用冬蟲夏草可以增加通向肺部的氣流並提高氧氣的利用率,蟲草提取物甚至被用做治療低氧性肺動脈高壓症的治療劑(Gao等,2010)。其他的研究也發現蟲草提取物能夠抑製抽煙導致的細胞衰老(Liu等人,2016),冬蟲夏草甚至可以減輕某些化學療法的副作用所引起的急性肺損傷(Lie等人,2016)。 2015)。

歸納二十個有關冬蟲夏草的研究我們可以得到的結論是功能強大的冬蟲夏草可以對許多呼吸道系統問題提供全方位的幫助。冬蟲夏草提取物能幫助呼吸,提高氧氣利用率,減少炎症,並直接抑制由細菌感染,病毒感染,化學物質和空氣污染所引起的呼吸系統腫瘤和細胞損傷。因此,患有慢性呼吸道疾病以及正在抵抗呼吸道感染的人,都應該理性的嘗試用冬蟲夏草來改善及守護呼吸道和肺部的健康。

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