Medicinal Mushrooms


Overheard recently in Santa Monica coffee shop … “my sister predicts that mushrooms will be the next health fad”.   It’s true that medicinal mushrooms are making a comeback, but what you may not know is that they have been used for thousands of years in folk medicine and now, the scientific evidence is catching up to reveal their many health benefits.


Did you know…

–       that the first antibiotics to be introduced were mushroom derivatives

–       PSK and PSP polysaccharides have antiviral, antitumor, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.

–       PSK can inhibit HIV infection

–       have both direct and indirect anti-cancer properties.  In fact, the polysaccharides Lentinan, PSK, and PSP are now used in US hospitals in conjunction with chemotherapy to enhance the effects of treatment while minimizing side effects. PSK and PSP have the ability to activate cell death, inhibit DNA synthesis, arrest the cell cycle, and inhibit cell division

–       mycologists (biologists who study fungi) believe that understanding the roles of mushrooms’ multiple bioactive compounds and their mechanisms of action can alleviate many forms of cancers

–       mushrooms have immune (both innate and adaptive) modulating properties, dialing down the immune system when it’s overactive (as in the case of autoimmune disease), or dialing it up (as in the case of viruses)

–       have the ability to regulate blood glucose levels

–       statin-containing mushrooms such as Agaricus bisporus (white button) have the ability to regulate blood cholesterol

–       some medications for Parkinson’s disease utilize the rich neuroprotective compounds  found in mushrooms

–       some headache medications are mushroom derivatives

–       studies of hot water extracts (HWE- PSK) reveal their superior chelating (heavy metal detox) and antioxidant activities, when compared to other types of formulations

–       ethanol extracts (EE- PSP) have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  They also have the remarkable ability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cases of cancer/ tumors

–       UV-exposed mushrooms (now becoming available in stores)

are a good source of Vitamin D; great news for vegetarians!

Science –

–       In a 1994 animal study, Paracetamol (an analgesic commonly used for mild aches and pains), when coadministered with PSP was found to have a significant protective effect on the liver

–       A study published in Vol. 97 (2003) 618-624 of Respiratory Medicine, showed that PSP administration resulted in a decelerated rate of deterioration in patients with Non-small cell lung cancer.  The study also revealed PSP’s direct anti-cancer potential and immunomodulatory effects

–        In a study published in Volume 12, Issue 6, November-December 2012; p. 467-474 of Pancreatology, PSK was shown to inhibit the growth of human pancreatic cells by promoting cell cycle arrest and apoptosis

–       A Japanese study published in the November 2010; (37)12:2255-7 of Gan To Kagaku Ryoho, showed that PSK has the ability to induce apoptosis and prevent cell proliferation in HL60 leukemia cells

Tips for effective administration:

It takes a minimum of 30 days to notice a difference in cancer patients receiving Lentinan, PSK, and/ or PSP.  It is recommended that patients continue the supplement for as long as possible both during and after treatment.

In the US, look for these science-driven brands:

FineCo Ltd. (also sold in JP, HK, AUS, and Europe)

Mushroom Wisdom

Mushroom Science

Aloha Medicinal, Inc.

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