Medicinal mushrooms like reishi, maitake can
help fight cancer
by Mike Adams, the Health  Ranger, NaturalNews Editor 
Originally published October 23 2009
(NaturalNews) The cure for cancer already exists. But it wasn’t created in a lab, and
it wasn’t funded by pink-ribbon products or walkathons. It was created for free by
Mother Nature, and it exists as a collection of literally thousands of powerful anti-cancer phytonutrients found in  medicinal mushrooms.

Medicinal mushrooms contain some of the most potent medicine in the world. They
are living pharmaceutical fact ories, but they file no patents and ask for no royalties.
They just mind their own business, manufacturing healing medici nes day by day, and
waiting for someone wise and humble enough to come along and pick them.

Here, we’ve assembled a unique collection of supporting statements about medicinal
mushrooms and cancer from some of the top authors in the industry. If you (or
someone you know) suffers from any form of  cancer, make sure to send them this
information so they can learn what their co nventional cancer doctor won’t dare tell
them… that  medicinal mushrooms make chemotherapy virtually obsolete!
Beating cancer with the help of medicinal mushrooms
Many of the medicinal mushrooms, including chaga mushroom , maitake mushroom,
ganoderma mushroom, and cordyceps mushroom, contain cancer-preventive and
cancer-fighting actions. Research has focused on the polysaccharides with beta 1,3
glucan linkages. Indole-3-carbinol is a nutrient found in large quantities in
cruciferous vegetables. It is a potent antagonist of breast cancer, reducing formation
of cancerous compounds from hormones and participating in blockage of cancer cell
progression.
– The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everyt hing You Need to Know About Chinese,
Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments  by Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., A.H.G.,
D.Ay.

Other mushroom extracts that have been  shown to have clinical effectiveness
against human cancers are D-fraction extracted from the Maitake mushroom, and
extracts from the split gill, turkey tail and Reishi mushrooms. In 1998, Maitake
Products received FDA approval for an In vestigational New Drug Phase II pilot study
of maitake mushroom extract in the treatment of advanced breast and prostate
cancer. There is also some evidence that  the consumption of mu shrooms in the diet
may ward off cancer.
– You Don’t Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

As with many of the medicinal mushrooms, Shiitake has been shown to be of benefit
as an adjuvant cancer therapy. It has been shown to improve specific immune
markers (including natural killer cells, tumor necrosis factor, T-helper cells, and a
variety of interleukins), and patient outcomes. 
– The Health Benefits Of Medicinal Mushrooms  by Mark Stengler

Reishi is one of the most versatile medicinal mushrooms. It has long been used in
Asia as an energy tonic to promote longevity and overall health. Studies indicate that
reishi is an antioxidant and contains po lysaccharides and other compounds that may
boost the immune system. Reishi is taken to counter bacteria and viruses and has
shown promise as an agent to help prevent or treat cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome,
and other conditions. Russian researchers at the Cancer Research Center in Moscow
have had positive results using reishi extracts to boost the immunity of cancer
patients.
– The Health Benefits Of Medicinal Mushrooms  by Mark Stengler

Cancer patients may also wish to investigate medicinal mushrooms (such types as
reishi, shiitake, cordyceps, maitake, ag aracus, and coriolus)  as immune-boosting
companions to chemotherapy. These medicinal mushrooms are sources of antitumor
and immunity-modulating polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) that have been
extensively researched. Formulas containing concentrated extracts of medicinal
mushrooms are available; talk with your oncologist about which he or she might
recommend. 
– Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition by
Hyla Cass, M.D. 

Like many other medicinal mushrooms, reishi  mushroom can be used to treat cancer
patients due to its ability to activate NK cells, macrophages, T-lymphocytes, and
cytokines, all important immune system components. Kee Chang Huang reports that
reishi “exerts a synergistic effect with other anticancer  chemothera-peutic agents or
radiotherapy, to augment the clinical therapeutic effect in the treatment of cancer
patients.”
– The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everyt hing You Need to Know About Chinese,
Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments  by Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., A.H.G.,
D.Ay.

It takes about 15 pounds of reishi mushrooms to produce 1 pound of the powdered
concentrate. Medicinal mushrooms make a  significant contribution to the healing
process by enhancing and stimulating the body’s own immune system. This is a very
important factor in diseases like cancer and HIV, which have components unique to
each individual. In my protoc ols for people with cancer, I always include one or more
medicinal mushroom extract products. Descriptions of some of the more frequently
used mushrooms follow.
– Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and
Treatment by Donald R. Yance, j r.,C.N., M.H., A.H.G., with Arlene Valentine 

Although the Mayo Clinic regards the  use of medicinal mushrooms as more
traditional than scientific, they operate in a manner similar to prescription drugs
known as monocle. Cancer  patients need to understand the disconnect between the
supposed mission to cure cancer and the  objective of the companies that make
monoclonal antibodies, which appears to be profits above delivery of an effective
treatment. The total therapeutic monoclon al antibodies market was estimated at
$296 million in 2002, and was projected to surge to $2.8 billion by 2010.
– You Don’t Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

In another study, researchers exposed mice to a known urinary bladder carcinogen,
N-butyl-N’-butanolnitrosoamine  (BBN), every day for eight weeks and then fed them
medicinal mushrooms, including maitake, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. All of the
mice treated with BBN developed bladder cancer. While each of the mushrooms
reduced the number of bladder cancers, maitake was clearly most effective
(carcinomas were observed in 46.7 percent of the maitake-treated mice compared to
52.9 percent and 65 percent for shiitake and oyster, respectively).
– Natural Cancer Cures: The Definitive Guide to Using Dietary Supplements to Fight
and Prevent Cancer by Freedom Press 

There have been 150 species of medicinal mushrooms found to inhi bit the growth of
different kinds of tumors, especially cancer s of the stomach, esophagus, and lungs,
but chaga seems to stand out from the rest. I learned about this mushroom from
herbalist David Winston, who told me it has been used traditionally to treat different
forms of cancer in Siberia, Canada, Scan dinavia, the United States, and Russia.
Chaga is a fungal parasite that draws its nutrients out of living trees, rather than
from the ground.
– The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everyt hing You Need to Know About Chinese,
Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments  by Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., A.H.G.,
D.Ay.

Japanese products containing LEM, a poly saccharide-rich extract from the shiitake
mushroom, and similar extracts from maitake are currently undergoing trials in
Japan and the U.S. to test  their effectiveness in treati ng various forms of cancer.
They show promise for treating people su ffering from various forms of cancer and
AIDS and are currently in strong demand in Japan. 
– Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture (Herbs and
Health Series) by Christopher Hobbs 

Goro Chihara notes that medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake can play an
important role in augmenting “intrinsic host defense mechanisms” – boosting the
body’s inherent abilities to fight off invading agents. He says that such “host defense
potentiators” should be a more important focus for cancer research than the current
fascination with cell-killing substances. Shiitake and reishi are the most common
medicinal mushrooms in the United States today, though other varieties are
beginning to become available either in fresh or packaged forms.
– Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture (Herbs and
Health Series) by Christopher Hobbs 

In Japan, pushcart vendors on the streets still sell medicinal mushrooms to the
average citizen who uses them to mainta in health and promote longevity. Some
Japanese people have even been said to tr avel hundreds of miles in order to collect
wild mushrooms that only grow on very old plum trees – such as the Reishi –
renowned as a cure for cancer and degene rative diseases. Likewise, for over 3,000
years the Chinese have used and revered many fungi for their health-giving
properties, especially tonics for the immune system (Liu and Bau, 1980; Yun-Chang,
1985).
– Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture (Herbs and
Health Series) by Christopher Hobbs 

Often called the “king of mushrooms,” shiitake is just one of a number of medicinal
mushrooms currently under study at research centers in Germany,  the United States,
Japan, and China. Shiitake is being used for a wide variety of conditions involving
depressed immune function, from frequent colds to cancer. In Japan, physicians
prescribe shiitake in two different forms to treat many health conditions, including
asthma, hepatitis B, ulcers, high cholestero l, AIDS, kidney inflammation, herpes, and
various skin problems.
– The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs  by Robert S. McCaleb, Evelyn Leigh, and Krista
Morien

In the 1980s, Japanese researchers bega n to investigate the folklore behind
medicinal mushrooms and found that many had truly remarkable properties. For
example, maitake mushroom stimulates the immune system by activating T-cells,
the body’s natural defenders against viruses  and cancer cells. Recent animal studies
have shown that maitake extract can shrink tumors in mice even better than a
common chemotherapy drug.
– Earl Mindell’s Supplement Bible: A Co mprehensive Guide to Hundreds of NEW
Natural Products that Will Help You Live Longer, Look Better, Stay Heathier, … and
Much More! by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Here is a brief summary of published st udies on medicinal mushrooms and beta
glucans: Mushroom polysaccharides have remarkable anti-tumor activity. Mushrooms
have anti-hyperlipidemic, hypotensive, and hypoglycemic actions. Beta-glucan from
maitake mushrooms may induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Shiitake extracts
have reduced cholesterol and have anti-viral effects. Mushrooms are high fiber and
function as prebiotics, antioxidants, and antibiotics.
– The Anti-Aging Solution: 5 Simple Steps to Looking and Feeling Young by Vincent
Giampapa, Ronald Pero, and Marcia Zimmerman

As with most of the medicinal mushrooms, unique polysaccharides present in H.
erinaceus have immune-enhancing properties, and preliminary studies are
demonstrating some anticancer effects. The most intriguing potential of H. erinaceus
is that it may stimulate the production of  a substance known as Nerve Growth Factor
(NGF). This specialized protein is necessary for the growth of sensory neurons. An in
vitro study found that an extract from Hericium erinaceus mushroom promoted
myelin sheath growth on brain cells.
– The Health Benefits Of Medicinal Mushrooms  by Mark Stengler

Two species of medicinal mushrooms employed for healing purposes by Mazatec
Indian shamans in southern Mexico have gone extinct in the past half century. And
tribes themselves continue  to disappear. This is just as great a tragedy, because
almost every plant or plant  derivative employed for medicinal purposes by Western
society was investigated scientifically after being observed in use by “primitive”
cultures. Everything from codeine for pain to quinine for malaria to podo- phyllotoxin
for cancer is based on plants  discovered by ancient healers.
– Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets by Mark J. Plotkin 

Shiitake and reishi offer a diverse range of  potential health benefits. You can take all
of these supplements in perhaps eight to ten  pills or capsules daily . If you take just
three or four of these natural supplements  at breakfast and the same number later
in the day, you will have substantially increased your energy levels, boosted your
immune system, lowered your risk of he art disease and cancer, and strengthened
and balanced your overall system.
– Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets by Mark J. Plotkin