Reishi Mushroom

BCCT plans to write a summary on reishi mushroom, one of several medicinal mushrooms. While our summary is in development, you can visit these sites:

Cautions

The Reishi Mushroom summary from About Herbs lists several cautions, adverse reactions and herb-drug interactions, including the potential for interfering with chemotherapy agents that rely on free radicals to kill cancer cells. Also of note is that in a small study (three patients), reishi mushroom spore powder intake was associated with an elevated tumor marker in gastrointestinal cancer,1 so caution is advised until further studies provide more conclusive information.

Toxic effects have been noted to the liver from use in powder form.2 3 . Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. 2007 Jan;90(1):179-81.

BCCT advises that you consult with your physician before taking reishi mushrooms and that you work with a healthcare provider knowledgeable and experienced in using reishi mushrooms in people with cancer.

Dosing

BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated.

Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:

Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems

For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.
  • Programs and protocols
    • Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches4
      • Colorectal cancer
      • Hormonal balance
      • Enhancing immune system function
      • Mushroom extracts during radiation therapy to support immunity and reduce fatigue
    • Block program5
      • Core diet plan and in extracts
      • Pre-operative priming of the immune system
      • Enhancing immune cell cytotoxicity
      • Targeting cancer progression pathways
      • Immune surveillance
      • Enhancing effectiveness of chemotherapy
    • Lemole, Mehta & McKee protocols: as part of a whole foods diet6
    • McKinney protocols7
      • Chemotherapy support
      • Protecting from radiation from imaging tests
      • Radiation therapy fatigue
      • Chemotherapy fatigue
      • Integrative support plan for chemotherapy
      • Inhibiting NF kappa B
      • Preventing tumor resistance with gemcitabine and capecitabine
      • Weight loss and metabolic cachexia protocol
      • Natural targeted agent
      • Immune modulation
      • General leading remedy for integrative cancer care to balance immunity and promote healing
      • Bladder cancer
      • Brain cancer
      • Breast cancer
      • Cervical cancer
      • Colorectal cancer
      • Esophageal cancer
      • Gallbladder cancer
      • Head and neck cancer
      • Lung cancer
      • Multiple myeloma
      • Pancreatic cancer
      • Prostate cancer
      • Sarcoma
      • Skin cancer (nonmelanoma)
      • Uterine cancer
  • Traditional systems

Commentary

Paul Stamets advises using mushroom products that contain both the water and alcohol extractions, since each contain different medicinally important compounds.8

Integrative oncologist Keith Block, MD, advises using extracts (rather than eating whole mushrooms) that are blends of several different medicinal mushrooms, including maitake (Grifola frondosa), agaricus (Agaricus blazeii), shiitake (Lentinula or Lentinus edodes), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), turkey tail (Trametes or Coriolus versicolor), and caterpillar fungus or cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis).9

Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, August 9, 2018: There are instances when I use specific mushrooms, for instance: Coriolus (aka Trametesversicolor (turkey tail) for breast cancer, Agaricus blazeii for ovarian cancer and chaga mushroom for melanoma. However, it is a very valuable and reasonable strategy to use a blend that includes mushrooms, each of which is standardized to its polysaccharides and beta-glucans. The key is to use a hot water extract of the fruiting bodies or a full-spectrum extract (includes mycelium) that clearly identifies on its label the quantity of mushroom extract.

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