Top 3 Eastern Mushrooms That Help Fight Cancer


While mushrooms have always been valued in the West, it has largely been for their culinary properties, and recipes for soups, stews, stuffing and other mushroom-based dishes go back hundreds of years in the United States and Europe. However, there is a lot more to mushrooms that just their great taste and texture.

In the East, especially in China and Japan – practitioners of traditional medicine long have known about the healing properties of mushrooms which are useful in the treatment of many ailments, even serious ones like cancer. Read on to find out more about the cancer-fighting powers of three of the most popular mushrooms in Eastern healing reishis, shiitakes and maitakes.

Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms have long been valued by traditional healers, especially those in Asia, for their ability to help fight cancer naturally and scientists are finding ample evidence in the lab as to why this should be so. Reishi mushrooms are apparently able to activate various parts of the immune system – including natural killer cells, cytokines and lymphocytes – which take the most active part in killing off bacteria and viruses, but also are able to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Studies have also found that reishi mushrooms may help cancer patients due to their antioxidant properties  they reduce oxidative stress to the bodily tissues caused by free radicals which reduces the chances of cancer development. (1)

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitakes are another kind of mushroom with proven medicinal properties, especially against cancer. There is currently research underway in Japan looking at a compound called LEM, a polysaccharide which is one of the many active ingredients found in these popular mushrooms and which in the past has been proven to help prevent cancer development. Japanese researchers speculate that shiitakes are good for cancer patients because of their ability to strengthen the body’s immune system defenses and make it easier to fend off not only foreign pathogens but cancerous cells as well. Much of the research into these mushrooms is focused in on these immune-boosting properties. (2)

Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms have also long been valued for their healing powers by traditional practitioners and modern science appears to be backing this use up as well. It is believed that the medicinal benefits brought by maitakes come from active compounds extracted from the mushrooms which have shown to have strong anti-carcinogenic properties. One research group, Maitake Products, has actually received FDA approval for a clinical study of maitake mushroom extract for the treatment of advanced cancers of the breast and prostate. (3)

For those who are battling cancer or who are even at risk for it, the use any of these medicine mushrooms should be seriously considered. The immune-boosting compounds in these mushrooms don’t just help to fight against cancer, they can strengthen the body against many forms of infection and disease.

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Sandeep Godiyal
Sandeep has written many health field articles for both Internet and print publication. His areas of expertise including traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic and natural treatments, wellness, medical marijuana, diets and fitness.