4 Edible Mushrooms: The Most Studied Foods That Fight Cancer

Edible mushrooms, or medicinal mushrooms, are truly powerful food for treating cancer – supported by a solid body of human clinical research. Scientists have identified more than 200 health conditions that might benefit from these edible mushrooms, as well as over hundred beneficial properties they can induce through the modulation of numerous physiological pathways and systems within the body, e.g. antiproliferative, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory.

Having secured an abundant history in various ancient Asian healing practices, edible mushrooms have been prescribed and used for many health conditions for thousands of years. As modern medicine rediscovers these traditional superfoods, there is great evidence that medicinal mushrooms are among the most studied food with proven cancer-preventing and cancer-fighting arsenal.

It’s first significant to differentiate between the anti-cancer edible mushrooms and the numerous other common variabilities. A quick visit to the local grocery will reveal culinary mushrooms like portabella, oyster, and many others.

Even though these have their benefits, the focus of this article will be on 4 of the more studied and not classically commercially grown maitake, reishi, turkey tail, and Agaricus blazei murill mushrooms.

Edible Mushrooms

Edible Mushrooms and Cancer 

There are a few principal mechanisms which most of these efficient, anti-cancerous mushrooms share when supporting the body during cancer stages or in everyday prevention. They have an ability to defend and improve the immune system. When this system has failed or is simply weak, the mechanism for cancer has better opportunities to manifest.

Moreover, certain anti-cancer mushrooms show direct antiviral and cancer shrinking abilities.

In learning about the support given by edible mushrooms, it’s significant to note that the precautions exhibited are usually very mild, but it’s still important to talk with your GP before use.

It has been demonstrated that, in particular cases, methods containing several strains of diverse mushroom extracts often exhibit complementary, amplified, and synergistic effects. This is something very different from the negative cumulative effects of radiation therapy methods and chemotherapy drugs commonly prescribed in clinics today. As with research for various alternative treatments, the U.S. has been late to the party when it comes to medicinal research on the anti-tumor and overall health welfares of edible mushrooms.

Health Benefits of Edible Mushrooms 

Following, we present the nature’s most researched anti-cancer agents – 4 medicinal mushrooms with amazing health benefits.

  1. The Mushroom of Immortality: Reishi Mushroomreishi mushroom

Maybe one of the most popular medicinal mushroom in Asian healing culture is Reishi (or Ganoderma lucidum). The polysaccharides and bioactive molecules of this mushroom have been proven to better activate NK (natural killer) cells decreasing cancer metastasis. These cells are lymphocytes which perform immunosurveillance in the body, persistently on the lookout for “immuno-alerters” signaling lump presence.

Reishi also has been proven to assist in slowing the angiogenesis (growth) of the tumor as well as activating programmed cell death in cancerous cells. Now, there is data to support the possible use of this mushroom as, at the very least, an aide-de-camp therapy for lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.

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  1. The Dancing Mushroom: Maitake Mushroom

maitake mushroomJust like the Reishi mushroom – Maitake also has a broad-spectrum range of bioactive molecules. In research, this mushroom has shown similar results like the reishi mushroom in stimulating the activities of natural killer cell in cancer patients. Maitake also exhibits promise in activating malignant cell death through its explicit immune-enhancing approaches and blocking tumor growth. Maitake mushrooms have clinically shown promise for persons with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), lung cancer, and breast cancer.


  1. Tokyo’s Cancer Secret: Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroomagaricus blazei murill mushroom

Agaricus Blazei Murill made possibly the biggest splash when a research jointly conducted by the Tokyo College of Pharmacy, and Medical Department of Tokyo University (The National Cancer Center Laboratory) showed a whole recovery in 90 percent of guinea pigs injected with tumor cells (180 malignancy).

The array of other mushrooms was seen again as Agaricus blazei muril triggered macrophage and interferon immune activities leading to growth reduction, a halt in metastasis, and shrinkage of future sarcoma occurrences. Additionally, Agaricus blazei murill was shown to diminish the side effects in persons undergoing chemotherapy for cervical, ovarian, and endometrial cancers.   

  1. The $5 Million Dollar Mushroom: Turkey Tail Mushroom

turkey tail mushroomIn 1976, a company in Japan patented some extracts of Turkey Tail under the label PSK and then, later – PSP. Since then, they have become acknowledged cancer remedies in Japan. This mushroom has unique anti-viral properties and can target tumor virus (oncoviruses) such as hepatitis C leading to liver cancer, human papillomavirus leading to cervical cancer, and many others. For Turkey Tail mushroom, again researchers are displaying increased natural killer activities towards growth detection and abolition. This mushroom is in the process of a $5.4 million research by the National Institutes of Health, which started at the end of 2012.

It’s significant to note that drug companies can’t patent mushrooms. Because of this – funds normally won’t be allocated to study them except they come from government grants or private institutions. Yet, this should be a positive as many types of research only seek to isolate one part of a mushroom or plant to patent as a medication.

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As modern medicine rediscovers antique superfoods, there is growing evidence that edible mushrooms are among the most potent functional foods for both treating and preventing cancer. Actually, certain anti-cancer mushrooms (such as Agaricus Blazei Murill, Reishi, Turkey Tail, and Maitake mushroom) show direct tumor and antiviral shrinking aptitudes.

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