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Significance Of Medicinal Mushrooms In Integrative Oncology

Significance Of Medicinal Mushrooms In Integrative Oncology

What are medicinal mushrooms?

Medicinal mushrooms have been used to treat infection for hundreds of years, mostly in Asia. Today, medicinal mushrooms are also used to treat lung diseases and cancer. 

For more than 30 years, medicinal mushrooms have been approved as an addition to standard cancer treatments in Japan and China. In these countries, mushrooms have been used safely for a long time, either alone or combined with radiation or chemotherapy.

In Asia, there are more than 100 types of mushrooms used to treat cancer. Some of the more common ones are Ganoderma lucidum (reishi), Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor (turkey tail), Lentinus edodes (shiitake), and Grifola frondosa (maitake).

Types of medicinal mushrooms and their usage

Reishi Mushrooms

Mushrooms are being studied to find out how they affect the immune system and if they stop or slow the growth of tumours or kill tumour cells. It is thought that certain chemical compounds, such as polysaccharides (beta-glucans) in turkey tail mushrooms, strengthen the immune system to fight cancer.

Reishi mushroom, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense, has been commonly known as the mushroom of longevity or immortality. Out of all of the different types of mushrooms, reishi mushrooms seem to be the most widely used mushrooms for cancer prevention and to inhibit tumour growth. Mushrooms play a role in boosting the immune system and brain function.

Reishi has been used medicinally in East Asia since ancient times. It is a traditional medicine used throughout Asia for cancer prevention.

Reishi mushrooms were outed to prolong life, prevent ageing and increase energy. In China, mushrooms are used to fortify the immune system of people with cancer who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Turkey Tail and Polysaccharide-K (PSK)

Turkey tail is a type of mushroom that grows on dead logs worldwide. It’s named turkey tail because its rings of brown and tan look like the tail feathers of a turkey. Its scientific name is Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as Yun Zhi. 

Turkey tail has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lung diseases for many years. In Japan, turkey tail has been used to strengthen the immune system when given with standard cancer treatment.

Polysaccharide K (PSK) is best known active compound in turkey tail mushrooms. In Japan, PSK is an approved mushroom product used to treat cancer.

Why people with cancer use medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms contain several biologically active compounds that are effective against the development of cancer cells. They contain a class of polysaccharides known as beta-glucans. Beta-glucans have shown anti-cancer activity.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. The current anti-cancer drugs available in the market are not target specific and pose several side-effects and complications in clinical management of various forms of cancer, which highlights the urgent need for novel effective and less-toxic therapeutic approaches. 

In this context, some prized mushrooms with validated anti-cancer properties and their active compounds are of immense interest. Numerous clinical trials have been conducted to assess the benefits of using commercial preparations containing medicinal mushroom extracts in cancer therapy. Their potential uses individually and as adjuncts to cancer therapy have emerged. 

Mushrooms are known to complement chemotherapy and radiation therapy by countering the side-effects of cancer, such as nausea, bone marrow suppression, anaemia, and lowered resistance. Recently, a number of bioactive molecules, including anti-tumor agents, have been identified from various mushrooms.

Medicinal mushrooms indicated by cancer types

Type of cancer         Indicated mushroom
Breast cancer        Reishi, maitake and turkey tail   
Colon cancer Reishi, maitake and turkey tail
Gastric cancerTurkey tail
Hepatocellular carcinoma Agaricus and reishi
Leukemia Agaricus and reishi
Lymphoma Cordyceps
Lung cancer Reishi
Non-small cell lung cancer Cordyceps
Prostate cancerReishi

How you have it

Mushrooms can be eaten fresh or dried or taken as an extract in food supplements.

Reishi mushrooms are now made into an extract. You can take them in a liquid, powder, or capsule form that greatly or completely eliminates the unpleasant bitter flavour associated with the mushroom. You can simply buy Medizen-reishi-mushrooms and make them a part of your daily diet.

Dosage of reishi mushrooms

You can take 1 capsule of Medizen-reishi-mushrooms per day after meal for health benefits. For cancer patients, we recommend connecting with an anti-cancer expert at and get a plan which an most beneficial for you.

Safety of mushroom and mushroom extracts

There are no known side effects from eating normal amounts of mushrooms in our diet. Mushroom extracts are classed as dietary supplements.

Shiitake mushroom extracts are generally considered safe, although there are some reports of diarrhoea or bloating.

With other types of mushroom there are some reports of allergic reactions affecting the skin, nose, throat, or lungs.


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