Oesophagitis, or oesophagus inflammation, is the swelling of the lining of the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. If left untreated, oesophagitis can be very uncomfortable. Patients will complain of difficulty swallowing, acid reflux, and in more serious cases, there will be scarring or ulcers. Furthermore, Barrett’s oesophagus, a complication of acid reflux, can cause cancer.
The issue that oesophagus inflammation presents for healthcare professionals is that it can be caused by a variety of pathologies. This makes it difficult to diagnose, and subsequently, treat. When it comes to allopathic remedies, the potential for interaction with other medications is high. Therefore, many opt for a nutritional approach – and one of the most compelling supplements is medicinal mushrooms.
Principle causes of oesophagus inflammation
Inflammation of the oesophagus is often caused by acidic matter passing through the throat, such as vomiting. The oesophagus will become inflamed when the condition is chronic, for example, when patients have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Equally, frequently taking medications like aspirin or other anti-inflammatories can irritate the oesophagus.
However, oesophagus inflammation can also be caused by bacterial or viral infections. For example, the infections like herpes and cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause irritation, as can candida. For those with weakened immune systems, such as patients with HIV, transplant patients, or those undergoing chemotherapy, candida is a particular issue. For chemotherapy patients, this is further exacerbated by burns to the thorax caused by radiation.
Treating inflammation gently and naturally
Many integrative therapists recommend a nutritional approach to manage inflammation of the oesophagus. Patients are advised to avoid spices like chilli, pepper and nutmeg, and acidic foods like citrus fruit and tomatoes. However, healthcare professionals are becoming increasingly interested in the soothing effects of medicinal mushrooms.
The relevant mushroom or supplement will depend on the source of the discomfort. For mechanical complaints like GERD, Hericium Erinaceus or Lion’s Mane mushroom is useful. In a recent pre-clinical study conducted at the University of Malaya, researchers found an aqueous extract of H. Erinaceus protected gastric mucosa against acid-induced injury and reduced the size of ulcers in the gastric wall .
Meanwhile, the antibacterial and anti-viral properties of other species are useful for treating oesophagus inflammation triggered by infection. Shiitake, Reishi, and Agaricus Blazei have anti-bacterial properties, with Shiitake found to have significant antibacterial action . For viral infections, Ganoderma Lucidum has been found to have powerful anti-viral properties due to its concentration of secondary metabolites .
Natural adjuvants to oesophageal complaints
Locating the root cause of oesophageal inflammation can be a challenge for healthcare professionals. There are numerous variables, and when dealing with immunocompromised patients, they need to tread carefully. This is why many will opt for a nutritional, adjuvant approach alongside allopathic treatments.
However, this method needn’t only be about elimination. By supplementing with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial mushroom nutriceuticals, irritation can be soothed as well as prevented. Plus, with an impressive nutritional profile, these supplements carry benefits beyond their soothing properties – making them a compelling solution for any healthcare professional interested in a holistic approach.
- Wong JY, Abdulla MA, Raman J, et al. Gastroprotective Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium Erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:492976.
- Kuznetsov OIu, Mil’kova EV, Sosnina AE, Sotnikova NIu. [Antimicrobial action of Lentinus edodes juice on human microflora]. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2005 Jan-Feb;(1):80-2. Russian. PMID: 15773410.
- Raut, Jay Kant. (2020). Mushroom: a potent source of natural antiviral drugs. Applied Science and Technology Annals. 1. 81-91.