Chanterelle mushrooms are not only delicious, they’re also medicinal! I’ve gathered the health benefits of chanterelle mushrooms for you for the next time you go foraging.
For a full breakdown on where to find chanterelles, and how to avoid dangerous look alikes, check out my post: How to Forage for Chanterelles.
Because chanterelles have been eaten as food for centuries, their medicinal benefits have been largely ignored.
The first texts really describing chanterelles was in the 16th century by the botanist Charles de l’Écluse.
The active ingredients in chanterelles that give them their medicinal properties are polyphenolic compounds, vitamin A, vitamin D2, eight essential amino acids, fatty acids, and potassium.
Herbal actions are the ways herbs and mushrooms act on the human body. Strictly the herbal actions of chanterelles are:
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health Benefits of Chanterelle Mushrooms
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use of chanterelles
According to TCM, chanterelles are often used to treat eye conditions such as night blindness and eye inflammation.
Chanterelles are also used to treat dry skin and to tonify the mucous membranes that may be caused by a Vitamin A deficiency. Chanterelles contains a high amount of Vitamin A.
They’re also used to increase immunity to respiratory tract infections.
Traditional Latvian Use
In Latvia, chanterelles have been traditionally used to treat infections, such as tonsillitis, and tuberculosis and respiratory infections (just like in TCM).
They’re also used to treat wounds, especially abscesses and boils. A recent study supports chanterelles’ antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing reputation. (Source)
.Other traditional Latvian herbal remedies using chanterelles are to remove radiation from the body and the removal of intestinal worms.
This may be the result of people noticing that worms never eat chanterelles, nor do any other insects rest on their caps.
Modern Studies on the health Benefits of Chanterelles
Modern medicine is late to the game in researching folk and natural remedies, so there are only a handful of small studies to reference and much more formal experiments need to be done before we can fully understand the medicinal benefits of chanterelles.
However, this study conducted on rats tested the wound-healing properties of chanterelles against a reference drug, Madecassol. The wounds treated with chanterelle extract showed “complete repair of the epidermal layer, increased collagen production, and a remarkable degree of neovascularization and epithelization.”
Other studies have isolated the polysaccharides found in chanterelles and showed that they inhibit COX-1 and COX-2 (enzymes which produce prostaglandins as part of the inflammatory response).
Another study that analyzed one type of polysaccharide, mannans, found that they inhibited the proliferation of cancer colon cells. In fact, a further study from Mexico identified a water extract of chanterelles as an effective cancer treatment and may help prevent the need for chemo.
This study tested the use of chanterelles in treating hypoxia in mice. It proved effective in treating hemic and circulatory hypoxia.
So, in addition to being FREE food, chanterelle mushrooms are also delicious and medicinal. That, to me, is a huge homesteading win – take a lovely walk in the woods, harvest some free food, and feed your nutrition and health.