Shiitake Mushroom

BCCT plans to write a summary on shiitake mushroom, one of several medicinal mushrooms. While our summary is in development, you can visit About Herbs: Shiitake Mushroom

Before using this therapy, consult your oncology team about interactions with other treatments and therapies. Also make sure this therapy is safe for use with any other medical conditions you may have.


Shiitake mushrooms are widely available in edible form (fresh and dried) in grocery stores and markets. Extracts are also widely available. See these sources for specific information on quality sources of extracts:

  • Natural Medicines Database: Shiitake (subscription required)
  • (membership required)
  • The Moss Reports (purchase required) list sources of shiitake (whole and extract)
  • Commentary at the end of this summary


The About Herbs summary of Shiitake Mushroom lists case reports of adverse reactions as well as herb-lab interactions.

Advise your physician before taking mushroom extracts for cancer, and work with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable and skilled in using mushroom extracts in people with cancer.


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:

  • Block KI. Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Care. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009.
  • McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, 3rd Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2016.
  • Moss Reports (purchase required): Moss provides a recipe for getting health supportive “doses” of shiitake in a mushroom broth. Select from the list of cancers down the left side of the page for a report describing uses of conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies related to that cancer. Ralph Moss is among the most knowledgeable and balanced researchers of integrative cancer therapies. The cost of his Moss Reports is not negligible, but many patients find them of considerable value. Moss is also available for consultations.
  • TRC Natural Medicines Database: Shiitake (subscription required)

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 approaches1
      • Hormone balance
      • Enhancing the immune system
      • Mushroom extracts for support during radiation therapy
    • Block program2
      • As part of the core diet plan
      • Pre-op priming of the immune system
      • Enhancing immune cell cytotoxicity
      • Activating dendritic cells pre-operatively
      • Immune surveillance protocol
      • Enhancing chemotherapy effectiveness
    • McKinney ovarian cancer protocol3
  • Traditional systems


Paul Stametsadvises using mushroom products that contain both the water and alcohol extractions, since each contain different medicinally important compounds.4

Integrative oncologist and BCCT advisor 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).5

Naturopathic oncologist and BCCT advisor Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, August 9, 2018: There are instances when I use specific mushrooms, for instance: Coriolus (aka Trametesversicolor (turkey tail) for breast cancerAgaricus 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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