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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
GACOCA Formulation of East African Wild Mushrooms Show Promise in Combating Kaposi's Sarcoma and HIV/ AIDS
Julius David Sumba
Mushroom Practitioner Box 698 Ifakara, Tanzania
Preliminary studies involving the use of a formulation comprising a mixture of powdered fruit bodies of several wild medicinal East African mushrooms in the treatment of patients with Kaposi's sarcoma (an opportunistic skin cancer affecting patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS) show promising therapeutic results. The same product has also benefited patients with HIV/AIDS.
The literature reports that these mushrooms can heal the inflammation of the brain (as in Alzheimer’s disease) at early stages. Phellinus linteus (Berk. et M.A. Curt.) Teng is a more familiar product in the medical literature. It has antitumor and immuno-modulating properties, especially in the enhancement of activity of B lymphocytes. Studies reported in 2000 found that this mushroom had the highest rate of inhibition against implanted sarcoma cancer 180 in mice, resulting in 96.7% inhibition. A report in 2001 explored the antimutagenic properties of this mushroom, showing activity in limiting or preventing tumor development. Research in Korea led to the establishment of Ph. Linteus as a standard treatment for cancer.
The mushroom species described above have been identified in large quantities in Tanzania and East Africa, and we are working with hospital clinicians, natural therapists, and traditional healers to study their medicinal value in our settings. It is my intention to make this information available so that the GACOCA mushroom will interest scientists, medical professionals, environmentalists, the business community, educators, and any other stakeholders in the region and the world. I believe there is big potential here, especially now when pollution is already a concern elsewhere in the world.
I was introduced to this mushroom back in 1967. At that time I was staying in Sigulu Island on lake Victoria, Uganda, with my grandmother Veronica Ajiambo, who adopted me after the death of my father in 1963 at Jipe, Mwanga in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. She taught me the art of identifying and picking mushrooms.
In 1980 I learned about mushroom cultivation. In 1993 I started collecting mushroom literature from the best world authorities. I read all I could about mushrooms, cultivated them, collected them, identified them, and worked with local consultants to design clinical trials.
Today in Tanzania the GACOCA mushroom is being used as an immune booster by patients with HIV+, Kaposi's sarcoma, and arthritis, among other illnesses. Through HBCPs (home based care providers) the GACOCA mushroom is distributed to the community in the Kibaha coast region. I work with KIDEFO (Kibaha Development Foundation) to support the community healthwise. We intend to expand the service countrywide, and expect to make GACOCA extracts in early 2005. The center for production of this mushroom is in Kibaha Maili moja coast region in Tanzania. It is collected from different regions in the country and processed for community. Some is sold to pharmaceutical shops and supermarkets to sustain the GACOCA project.
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