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Medicinal Mushrooms
Review Date: 4/24/15
• This presentation provides general
information about medicinal
• Consult with your health care
professional if you have any questions or
need additional information, because
each case is unique.
What are Medicinal Mushrooms?
• An ancient superfood dating back to the
Egyptians and Chinese cultures used to
promote health and longevity
• Contain immune activating beta-glucans and
other polysaccharides
What are Medicinal Mushrooms?
• Research has validated many of the
purposes/uses of traditional methods
• Abundant and diverse fungi represent
healthful properties, namely anti-cancer and
tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and
Types of Mushrooms
• Agaricus blazei
• Chaga
• Cordyceps
• Coriolus
• Mesima
• Matike
• Lion’s mane
• Reishi
• Shittake
• Tremella
Agaricus blazei
Agaricus blazei
• General
o Name means “growing in the fields”
o Cultivated in Japan, Korea, USA, Denmark,
Holland, and Brazil
o Grows well on cow manure
Agaricus blazei (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Ayurvedic medicine believes it to be an
o Norfolk, England: Treatment for throat
o China: Treatment for hypertension
Agaricus blazei
• Medicinal uses
o Contains traces of vitamins A, B1, C, K, and
o Helps with loss of appetite, indigestion,
and insufficient breast milk secretion
o Anti-bacterial
o Anti-viral
Inonotus obliquus
• General
o Can grow up to 2 kilograms or more
o Grows on boreal forest birch tree
Chaga (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Used as a beer flavoring
o To relieve rheumatic pain
o Treatment for tuberculosis, liver disease,
worms, and stomach problems
Chaga (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Antioxidant due to superoxidase dismutase (SOD) activity
o Inhibits tumor growth
o Polysaccharides inhibit glycosidase, which may inhibit the
absorption of glucose
o High oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value of
36 557 whereas the super food goji/wolfberry has 258.1
Cordyceps militaris
• General
o Also called “winter worm”
o Grows as a parasite in caterpillars and
 When the fungi kills the insect, it creates
a fruiting body
Cordyceps (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Lung and kidney tonic
o Alleviate cold/cough, anemia, and joint
o Aphrodisiac and increase sperm production
o Increase chi/qi
o Increase red blood cell production
Cordyceps (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Broad range of anti-tumor activities
o Anti-aging potential
o Improvement in sexual dysfunction
Cordyceps (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Athletes:
 Has been seen to increase respiratory
effect by removal of lactic acid
 Increase ATP levels
 Improvement of blood glucose
Cordyceps (cont’d)
• Things to note/caution
o Do not take during pregnancy or
breastfeeding due to 17- beta-estradiol
o Do not take during fever
Coriolus or Turkey Tail
Coriolus Versicolor
• General
o Turkey tail
 Colors of blue, brow, gray, and white
 Looks like the fan-like tale of the turkey
Coriolus (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Night sweats associated with tuberculosis
o Topical treatment for impetigo and ringworm
o Relief for rheumatism, fever, arthritis, and
o Decrease infection and inflammation of
upper respiratory, urinary, and digestive
Coriolus (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Krestin is a natural anti-cancer medication
used in Japan that is derived from coriolus
o Used along with traditional treatment such
as chemo and radiation
o Works directly on tumor cells, prevents
metastasis, enhances effects of radiation or
Coriolus (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Improves function of blood vessels,
o Immune enhancer
o Enhances alkaline phosphatase in
osteoblast cells, which suggests use in
osteoporosis and degenerative bone
Coriolus (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Activity against hypertension, diabetes,
rheumatism, thrombosis, hyperlipidemia
o Anti-inflammatory actions
o Leaky gut may benefit from PSK
component of mushroom
Grifola frondosa
• General
o Also knows as “dancing mushroom”
 Looks like a wild butterfly dancing on the
o Can weigh 22-95 pounds
o In Japan, the secret location of these
mushrooms were only revealed to the
eldest son upon death
Matike (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Diuretic
o Anti-pyretic
o Anti-gonorrheal
o Improve stomach and spleen conditions
o Hemorrhoids
o Help to calm mind and nervous system
Matike (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o When exposed to sun, mushrooms are a good
source of vitamin D
o Antioxidant
o Reduce hypertension, blood glucose, and
o Decrease abdominal obesity
o May induce ovulation in polycystic ovary
syndrome (PCOS)
Matike (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Cox 1 and 2 inhibitory activity
o Stimulate immune system in chronic
fatigue syndrome
Matike (cont’d)
• Things to note/caution
o May aggravate neuromuscular diseases
such as multiple sclerosis (MS)
Lion’s Mane
Hydnum/Hericium erinaceus
Lion’s Mane
• General
o In Japan it is referred to as yamabushi,
“those who sleep in the mountains”
o Mushroom looks like a white lion’s mane
hanging from a tree
Lion’s Mane (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o In traditional Chinese medicine it is used
for digestion and gastric ulcers
o Treat neurasthenia and general debility
o Cuts and wounds healing
Lion’s Mane (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Inhibitory effects on cancer
o Anti-fungal and anti-microbial
o Treating gastric and duodenal ulcers and
chronic gastritis
o Helpful with chronic bronchitis
o Immunodilation
Ganoderma lucidum
• General
o “Devine or spiritual mushroom”
Reishi (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Chronic hepatitis, asthma and bronchitis,
nephritis, nerve pain, hypertension, gastric
ulcers, insomnia
o Stimulate sexual prowess and endurance
o Balance endocrine and hormone levels
Reishi (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-tumor
o Stabilize antibody levels which possibly
explains alleviation of food sensitivities
o Prevent and aid in treatment of peptic
o Decrease cholesterol, blood glucose, and
Reishi (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Calming, decreases anxiety, decreases
insomnia and nervousness due to adrenal
o Radiation protection
o Enhanced bone marrow nucleated cell
Reishi (cont’d)
• Things to note/caution
o Acts as a vasodilator
 Do not take before surgery
 Caution when taking an ACE inhibitor
Lentinula edodes
• General
o Also called the “oak mushroom”
o Grows on evergreen oak
Shiitake (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Increase stamina and circulation
o Alleviate arthritis, diabetes, increased
cholesterol, and immune deficiency
Shiitake (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Treatment of gastric ulcers
o Prevents immune system damage in
women with breast cancer who have a
mastectomy without radiation
o Increase lymphocyte proliferation
o Effective against yeast and mold
Shiitake (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o When sun dried, it is a good source of
vitamin D
o Inhibits herpes
o Inhibits HIV and increases T4 cells in AIDS
Shiitake (cont’d)
• Things to note/caution
o Should be cooked prior to consumption
 Does not lose its medicinal benefits
o Anti-clotting effects
 Do not take with blood thinning
Tremella mesenterica
• General
o One-time belief that they were
extraterrestrial or remains of a meteor
from stars
Tremella (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Lower total cholesterol
o Moisten lungs and treat dry, nonproductive cough
Tremella (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Relieve inflammation in upper respiratory
 Soothing
 Demulcent
 Slightly expectorant
Tremella (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood
o Expectorant for lungs
o Immune stimulation
o Radiation protection
o Anti-inflammatory
o Hepatoprotective
Phellinus linteus
• Traditional uses
o Mixed with water:
 For a sore throat, cough, fever, diarrhea,
and lung problems
 A “cooling” effect, to detoxify and
restore internal organs
Mesima (cont’d)
• Traditional uses
o Smoke mushroom for a sore throat
o Activate blood circulation, nourish vital
organs, resolve indigestion, relieve
hot/inflamed tissue
Mesima (cont’d)
• Medicinal uses
o Anti-tumor
o Anti-fungal
o Stimulate immune activity
o Decrease metastasis of cancer
o Good to add to chemotherapy and other
o Moderate vasorelaxing effect
Mesima (cont’)
• Things to note/caution
o May enlarge prostate
References and
recommended readings
George H. Medicinal mushrooms: The ancient superfood.
website. Accessed July 3, 2015.
Ikekawa T. Beneficial effects of edible and medicinal mushrooms on health care. Int
J Med Mushrooms. 2001;3(4):4. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v3.i4.20.
Medical website. Accessed
July 3, 2015.
Rogers R, Wasser SP. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal
Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books;