Assalamu alaikum wa rehmatullahi wa barakatuh
Narrated Sa’id bin Zaid, Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said, “The Kama (Mushroom-Truffle)) is like the mann (in that it is obtained without effort) and its water is a (medicine) cure for eye troubles.” (Sahih Bukhari).
Macrofungi are well known to contain different bioactive polyphenolic compounds. These compounds act as effective antioxidants based on their excellent ability to scavenge free radicals and act as reducing agents. Thus, it was proposed by many authors that there are strong correlations between the antioxidant activities of certain type of fungi and the type and concentration of polyphenolic compounds.
Since the early 20th century, fungi are known for their highly potent antimicrobial secondary metabolites. However, the antibacterial and antiviral activities of desert truffles were first studied in 1980s by Al-Marzooky who investigated the in vitro biological activities of all aqueous polar and nonpolar extracts of T. claveryi. This extract exhibited good wide spectral antimicrobial activities especially against the trachoma causing disease Chlamydia trachomatis, stomach ulcer, and open cut. Another research demonstrated that the use of aqueous extract of Terfezia claveryi inhibited the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa . The antimicrobial activity of Terfezia was due to the production of small molecular weight peptide antibiotics. In addition to the wide spectrum antibacterial activities, Terfezia extract possessed also antiviral activities . Another research done by Dib-Bellahouel and Fortas showed also that the ethyl acetate extract of Tirmania pinoyi exhibited potent antimicrobial activities against the G+ve bacteria B. subtilis and S. aureus. These all together make mushrooms and truffle important candidates in complementary medicine .
Immunomodulators and Antitumors:
Immunomodulators or Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs) are compounds capable of interacting with the immune system to upregulate or downregulate specific aspects of the host response. Some of these compounds exhibiting also anticancer activities were isolated from different types of macrofungi . Different types of BRM were applied as immunotherapeutic agents and showed significant activity as potent anticancer compounds in both in vitro and in vivo models Of the two main types of macrofungi, mushrooms are a common source of producing this type of compounds naturally. BRMs were isolated from different mushrooms parts such as fruiting bodies, stalk, spores, and mycelium in addition to fermentation broth when cultivated in submerged culture. In some research, BRMs were applied in combination with conventional chemo- and radiotherapy during cancer treatment to increase their efficiency. In general, according to their chemical structure, mushroom BRMs were classified into four main categories: lectins, terpenoids, polysaccharides and their peptides, and fungal immunomodulator proteins (Fips) . Since the discovery of the potent anticancer polysaccharide lentinan (derived from Lentinus edodes) by Ikekawa and his group in late 1960s, mushrooms polysaccharides became one of the most interesting topics of research for the discovery and development of new anticancer drugs. Most of the known mushroom bioactive polysaccharides have various branching types of (1→3)- and (1→6)-β-D-glucan and polysaccharide protein complex . However, the biological activity of mushroom polysaccharides is highly dependent on the length and branching of the chain, chain rigidity, and helical conformation. Pleuran (from Pleurotus ostreatus), Lentinan (from Lentinus edodes), Grifolan (from Grifola frondosa), Krestin-PSK (from Polystitcus versicolor), and Scleroglucan (from Sclerotina sclerotiorum) are the most famous bioactive polysaccharides from mushroom origin
Other medical and cosmeceutical applications:
The medicinal value of African and Middle Eastern macrofungi is not limited to the above mentioned applications. It was also reported that both truffles and mushrooms have also potential applications as hepatoprotective, cholesterol and sugar lowering, and anti-inflammatory agent. For example, the extract of the known desert truffle (T. claveryi) showed powerful hepatotoxic activity against the known hepatotoxin carbon tetrachloride . In addition to the known and the well-studied medical applications, different mushroom extracts were applied in cosmetic products such as moisturizers, skin antifade and antiaging agents, skin revitalizers, and whitening cream .
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