Using Medicinal Mushrooms for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer


Research suggests that mushroom extracts are useful as a preventative to cancer. Paul Stamets, a renowned mycologist, explains that, “The non-alcohol soluble beta glucan and glycoprotein complexes found in oyster and other medicinal mushrooms alert the immune system’s natural killer and cytotoxic T cells, improving the body’s natural anti-cancer responses.”

Studies have shown that mushrooms can be used in the treatment of cancer as well. Stamets continues, “In the International Journal of OncologyJedinaki and Silva (2008) identified two molecular mechanisms from alcohol extracts of oyster mushrooms that ‘specifically inhibits growth of colon and breast cancer cells without significant effect on normal cells, and has a potential therapeutic/preventive effect on breast and colon cancer.’”

In fact, in Japan shiitake mushrooms are used as a conventional treatment for cancer. In her 2012 article regarding cancer-fighting mushrooms, Dr. Nalini Chilkov explains, “Lentinan, a compound found in Shiitake, is used as an intravenous anti-cancer drug with antitumor properties. Clinical studies have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life and lower recurrence of cancer.”

While there is more research to be done, the studies show great promise for the use of mushrooms as a complementary therapy in the fight against cancer.

As always, be sure to discuss all health and treatment plans with a medical practitioner.


Stamets, Paul. MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms. MycoMedia

Productions, 2002.