Medicinal mushrooms and cancer – a scientific review

From time immemorial, mushrooms have been valued by humankind as a culinary wonder and folk medicine in Oriental practice. The last decade has witnessed the overwhelming interest of western research fraternity in pharmaceutical potential of mushrooms. The chief medicinal uses of mushrooms discovered so far are as anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, hypocholesterolemic, anti-tumor, anti-cancer, immunomodulatory, anti-allergic, nephroprotective, and anti-microbial agents. The mushrooms credited with success against cancer belong to the genus Phellinus, Pleurotus, Agaricus, Ganoderma, Clitocybe, Antrodia, Trametes, Cordyceps, Xerocomus, Calvatia, Schizophyllum, Flammulina, Suillus, Inonotus, Inocybe, Funlia, Lactarius, Albatrellus, Russula, and Fomes. The anti-cancer compounds play crucial role as reactive oxygen species inducer, mitotic kinase inhibitor, anti-mitotic, angiogenesis inhibitor, topoisomerase inhibitor, leading to apoptosis, and eventually checking cancer proliferation. The present review updates the recent findings on the pharmacologically active compounds, their anti-tumor potential, and underlying mechanism of biological action in order to raise awareness for further investigations to develop cancer therapeutics from mushrooms. The mounting evidences from various research groups across the globe, regarding anti-tumor application of mushroom extracts unarguably make it a fast-track research area worth mass attention.

Read the whole raport: Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review

The best medicinal mushrooms – list, benefits, anti-cancer mushrooms

TOP MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS

  • Reishi
  • Coriolus versicolor
  • Shiitake
  • Monkeyhead mushroom
  • Agaricus blazei
  • Chaga
  • Cordyceps sinensis

Reishi extract

LATIN NAME:
Ganoderma lucideum

PART USED:
Fruitbody, Mycelium

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysaccharides, BETA D Glucan, Triterpene, Protein, Reishi acid

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Anti-tumor
Protect liver
Anti-aging
Anti-allergic
Strengthen immunity
Promote the synthetic ability of DNA, RNA and protein in the liver, bone marrow and blood

Lions mane / Monkeyhead mushroom extract

LATIN NAME:
Hericium erinaceus

PART USED:
Fruitbody, mycelium

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysaccharides, BETA D Glucan, Hericenones

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Help to cure dyspesia, gastric ulcer, stomachache gasteremphraxis and neurasthenia
Lower serum cholesterol
Promote blood circulation

Agaricus blazei extract

LATIN NAME:
Agaricus brasilensis

PART USED:
Fruitbody, mycelium

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysaccharides, BETA D Glucan, Triterpene, Glycopeptide

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Retrain tumor cell growth
Lower blood glucose and cholesterol
Reverse atherosclerosis
Anti-tumor, anti-radiation
Resist mutation and anti-inflammatory

Coriolus versicolor / Turkey Tail

LATIN NAME:
Trametes versicolor

PART USED:
Fruitbody, mycelium

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysaccharides, BETA D Glucan, Triterpene, Glycopeptite, Protein

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Protect liver and heart
Cure chronic hepatitis and hepatitis B
Anti-aging
Anti-oxidant
Anti-tumor
Enhance body immunity

Shiitake extract

LATIN NAME:
Lentinus edodes

PART USED:
Fruitbody, Mycelium

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysaccharides, BETA D Glucan, Adenosine

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Relieve symptoms of relapsed gastric cancer, liver cancer, bladder canber.
Enhance body immunity system.
Adjust disorder of trace emements.

Chaga extract

LATIN NAME:
Inonqqus obliquus

PART USED:
Fruitbody, mycelium

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysccharides, BETA D Glucan, Triterpene, Betulinic acid

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Lower blood glucose
Help to cure heart diseases, diabetes, cancer (gastric cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer)
Restrain HIV virus

Cordyceps sinensis extract

LATIN NAME:
Ophiocordyceps sinensis

PART USED:
Mycelium, dried cordyceps militaris

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Polysaccharides, Manitol, Adenosine, Cordycepin, Cordycepic acid

PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTION:
Improve respiratory system
Enhance body immunity
Promote adrenal gland
Anti-tumor

How to cure HPV genital warts with Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy (ALA-PDT) is usually used against ACNE, but it’s off label usage (against genital warts) is very effective and has very low reccurence rate.

Study 1:

The patient, a 30-year-old man with numerous genital condylomata acuminata (CA), has had unsuccessful treatment with liquid nitrogen, 20% podophyllin, and repeated 0.5% podophyllotoxin solution with 5% imiquimod (Figure 1). Before the appearance of CA, he experienced acute orchiepididimitis and a Candida infection. The patient was immunologically examined, and the lower level of lymphocytes, slightly reduced level of IgM, and C4 complement were revealed. Results from a human immunodeficiency virus examination were negative. After the therapeutic failure mentioned above, photodynamic therapy (PDT) was initiated using 20% aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) in a gel. The photosensitizer was applied to lesions and 10 mm of surrounding skin in a 1-mm-thick layer under occlusive dressing for 3 hours and then removed with saline and nonwoven gauze. The site was immediately irradiated with noncoherent red light with an emission spectrum of 580 to 680 nm wavelength (Medeikonos PDT-Model 200, Medeikonos AB, Sweden). The total light dose was 50 J/cm(2); light intensity ranged from 70 to 90 mW/cm(2). Because of persistent fluorescence during photodynamic therapy, the treatment was repeated 10 times in 2-week intervals with a follow-up of 1, 3, and 6 months after its completion. After the last PDT treatment, the persistent fluorescence disappeared completely. The absence of fluorescence corresponded with a healed clinical finding without scarring and pigmentation (Figure 2). The period from the initiation of PDT to the consolidation of CA was 22 weeks. During PDT treatment, the patient felt only mild burning, which disappeared after the illumination stopped. Six months after the therapy, there were no signs of recurrent disease.

Source: Genital warts treated by photodynamic therapy.

Study 2:

Our trial provided a complete cure rate of nine of 15 subjects after five PDT sessions. Perianal lesions showed a particularly rapid remission. While progressing towards total lesion clearance, the immunohistochemical pattern was dominated by dense CD4+ T lymphocytes infiltrating the superficial dermis, accompanied by an accumulation of Langerhans cells. Simultaneously, CD8 began to increase in the lesions of responding patients, and Langerhans cells seemed to migrate towards the dermis. CD68+ macrophages apparently did not participate in the immune inflammatory response.

Source: Immunological activity of photodynamic therapy for genital warts.

Study 3:

Genital warts were relieved in 107 out of the 110 cases (cure rate: 97.3%). Male patients had significantly better treatment outcomes at the urethral orifice than those in other affected parts. In the 107 patients, the cure rate of male patients was 98.8%, and they were cured after being treated four times. In contrast, female patients, who were cured after 5 times of treatment, had the cure rate of 91.7%. Their cure rates were similar (χ(2)=0, P>0.05), but the males were cured after significantly fewer times of treatment than the females (t=-7.432, P<0.05). Five patients suffered from mild tingling or burning sensation upon dressing at the urethral orifice, and the others were all free from systemic adverse reactions. After illumination, a small portion of the patients had mildly red, swelling, painful affected parts, with mild edema that almost disappeared within three days. Three patients relapsed at the urethral orifice and were then cured after further treatment.

Source: Therapeutic effects of topical 5-aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy.

European Dermatology Forum about Photodynamic therapy:

Download PDF file and look at point 6.6

Check other clinical studies about Photodynamic therapy vs. genital warts:

Download PDF file

Coriolus versicolor vs. HPV – clinical trials

Study 1:

In the conservative treatment, 64 out of 73 patients (88% of total) reverted to HPV-negative status;
In the combined treatment, 25 out of 27 patients (93% of total)reverted to HPV-negative status;

Study 2:

95% of the patients reverted to HPV-negative status within 6 months;
HPV-positive patients without histological changes reverted to HPV-negative status in 3 months;

Study 3:

Dr Couto showed that Coriolus versicolor biomass supplementation (3 g per day) over a period of one year substantially increased regression of LSIL (72.5% versus control 47.5%) and induced clearance of the high-risk sub-types of the HPV virus responsible for cervical cancer (90.0% versus control 8.5%).

Check this website for more details: Coriolus versicolor as an Effective Addition to the Treatment of HPV Infection

Study 4:

Effect of tropical mushroom, Coriolus versicolor, on natural killer cell

Here, the authors report observation on a patient with underlying breast cancer after complete standard treatment who intake C. versicolor as food supplementation. At first, her natural killer count (CD16/56) was at 5.9% (normal value 6.4-31.1). She got C. versicolor 2400 mg/day for 1 month, and the follow-up result showed CD16/56 equal to 11.6%. This observation can support the findings that C. versicolor could promote immunity.

Source: Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

Coriolus versicolor and Reishi vs. HPV

Coriolus Versicolor (Trametes Versicolor) and Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi) versus HPV:

This preliminary randomized study investigated the efficacy of medicinal mushrooms, Trametes versicolor (TV), Ganoderma lucidum (GL), and Laetiporus sulphureus (LS), on the clearance of oral human papillomavirus (HPV, serotypes 16 and 18). Among 472 patients who underwent oral swabs for gingivitis, 61 patients were positive for HPV16 or HPV18. Twenty patients were included in group 1 (LS) and 41 patients were included in group 2 (TV+GL) for 2 months. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HPV was performed at inclusion and after 2 months. In group 1, the clearance was equal to 5% after 2 months of treatment. In group 2, the clearance was equal to 88% (P<0.001). The detection of HPV16 or HPV18 could become relevant in routine since positivity is frequent and because a harmless and costless treatment may exist. The use of TV+GL for the clearance of oral HPV deserves further investigation.

Source: Control of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) by medicinal mushrooms, Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum: a preliminary clinical trial.  2014;16(5):497-8.