Mushrooms indicated by cancer type
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 tumor 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 aging and increase energy. In China, mushrooms are used to fortify the immune system of people with cancer who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
These mushrooms are known as reishi In Japan. In China, G. lucidum is known as chizhi and G. sinense is known as zizhi.
Different types of mushrooms that are effective against different types of cancer are listed below.
Table 1. 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 cancer||Turkey tail|
|Hepatocellular carcinoma||Agaricus and reishi|
|Leukemia||Agaricus and reishi|
|Non-small cell lung cancer||Cordyceps|
What are medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms that are used as medicines. They are mainly used in the treatment of
- Lung diseases
Reported benefits of medicinal mushrooms include
- Immune boosting
- Cardiovascular protective
- Liver protective
In Japan and China, mushrooms have been used safely for a long time, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. There are more than 100 types of mushrooms used to treat cancer. The most common ones include
- Ganoderma lucidum (reishi)
- Trametes versicolor
- Coriolus versicolor (turkey tail)
- Lentinus edodes (shiitake)
- Grifola frondosa (maitake)
Research has been conducted to determine the antitumor activity of mushrooms and mushroom extracts.
Some of the traditionally used mushroom species include
|Scientific name||Common name|
|Cordyceps spp||Caterpillar fungi|
|Fomes fomentarius||Tinder fungus|
|Fomitopsis officinalis||Wood conk or Agaricon|
|Ganoderma lucidum||Ling Zhi|
|Grifola frondosa||Hen of the woods and dancing mushroom|
|Inonotus obliquus||Chaga, Cinderconk and Clinker fungus|
|Lentinula edodes||Shiitake, huagu and snake butter|
|Piptoporus betulinus||Birch polypore|
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.
Who should not take medicinal mushrooms?
Medicinal mushrooms are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because they come under the category of dietary supplements. Hence, take mushrooms at your risk. You shouldn’t take medicinal mushrooms if
What are the risks of taking medicinal mushrooms?
Generally, mushrooms are considered safe to include in your daily diet. However, there have been reports of side effects with medicinal mushrooms. These include
- Liver toxicity
- Chronic diarrhea
- Interfering with drugs
- Interfering with anti-diabetic drugs
- Interaction with medicines, foods or other herb supplements
A few types of mushrooms may cause hallucinations because of the content of psilocybin. It is important to differentiate psychogenic, medicinal and poisonous mushrooms before you consume them.
National Cancer Institute
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
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