Research Into Mushrooms As A Cancer Treatment
Research has looked at some particular mushrooms and their extracts. This includes:
Used for centuries in Eastern Ancient medicine, this extract is believed to refresh bodies and extend life.
Phellinus linteus is known as song gen in Chinese medicine, sang-hwang in Korean and meshimakobu in Japanese.
Studies have shown that this type of mushroom extract slows the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory. It has also been shown to have anti cancer effects on skin, lung and prostate cancer cells.
We have to be cautious about such early research. Substances that can kill cells in laboratory conditions don’t necessarily turn out to be useful treatments in people.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms Benefits
Here are some ways turkey tail mushrooms can help you stay healthy by boosting your immune system and fighting off cancerous cells.
These mushrooms have a high volume of polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that can improve the health of immune cells. In particular, turkey tails are full of Krestin and Polysaccharide Peptides . These can support your immune system by boosting your immune response while reducing inflammation.
Oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation and cellular damage. Antioxidants can reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress.
There are several antioxidants in turkey tail mushrooms, including flavonoids and phenols, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of essential protective compounds that can boost your immune function.
Some studies have found evidence that turkey tail mushrooms can actually stop cancer cells from growing. In particular, there have been studies related to :
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The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. PDQ Medicinal Mushrooms. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
Images in this summary are used with permission of the author, artist, and/or publisher for use in the PDQ summaries only. If you want to use an image from a PDQ summary and you are not using the whole summary, you must get permission from the owner. It cannot be given by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the images in this summary, along with many other images related to cancer can be found in Visuals Online. Visuals Online is a collection of more than 3,000 scientific images.
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Turkey Tail Mushrooms For Cancer Treatment
What does the latest research say about turkey tail mushrooms and cancer?
Andrew Weil, M.D. |January 7, 2022
A number of studies suggest that turkey tail mushroom shows promise as a complementary treatment for people with cancer. In 2012, a small phase I clinical trial looked at the effects of turkey tail mushrooms on nine women with stages I-III breast cancer who had completed radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Results showed that immune function was enhanced in those who took daily doses of turkey tail in pill form. The researchers reported that the improved immune response was dose dependent and that none of the subjects suffered any adverse effects.
Turkey tails benefits may stem from its content of polysaccharopeptide and polysaccharide-K , both of which appear to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. PSP may also stimulate the immune system, and PSK is approved in Japan as an adjuvant treatment for cancer.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
National Cancer Institute, Medicinal Mushrooms, July 14, 2021. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/mushrooms-pdq#_7
Originally Published April 2011. Updated January 2022.
Side Effects And Safety
If you have a mushroom allergy, you should not use these mushroom extracts. Caution is advised if using mushrooms along with blood thinning medication.
1. Lull C, Wichers HJ, Savelkoul HF. Antiinflammatory and immunomodulating properties of fungal metabolites. Mediators Inflamm. 2005 2005:63-80. doi:10.1155/MI.2005.63
2. Sekhon BK, Sze DM, Chan WK, Fan K, Li GQ, Moore DE, Roubin RH. PSP activates monocytes in resting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells: immunomodulatory implications for cancer treatment. Food Chem. 2013 Jun 15 138:2201-9. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.11.009. Epub 2012 Nov 15. PMID: 23497877.
3. Patel S, Goyal A. Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review. 3 Biotech. 2012 2:1-15. doi:10.1007/s13205-011-0036-2
4. Stamets P. Trametes versicolor and the Treatment of Breast Cancer. Glob Adv Health Med. 2012 1:20. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2012.1.5.007
5. Luk SU, Lee TK, Liu J, et al. Chemopreventive effect of PSP through targeting of prostate cancer stem cell-like population . PLoS One. 2011 6:e19804. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019804
6. Habtemariam S. Trametes versicolor Polysaccharides in Cancer Therapy: Targets and Efficacy. Biomedicines. 2020 8:135. Published 2020 May 25. doi:10.3390/biomedicines8050135
7. Saleh MH, Rashedi I, Keating A. Immunomodulatory Properties of Coriolus versicolor: The Role of Polysaccharopeptide. Front Immunol. 2017 8:1087. Published 2017 Sep 6. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.01087
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What Types Of Cancer Might Turkey Tail Mushrooms Help Fight
Researchers continue to examine the potential of using extract or treatments derived from turkey tail mushrooms to prevent or treat several kinds of cancer.
Although some study results are promising, turkey tail cant replace anticancer drugs. They should only be used by people with cancer if recommended by their oncologist.
What Other Mushrooms Are Good For Cancer
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests the efficacy of using medicinal mushrooms to assist in the treatment of various cancers. Each mushroom has its own list of benefits and potential risks that you will have to weigh up for yourself before deciding which to settle on. Additionally, some people suggest that you might be able to combine multiple types of medicinal mushrooms together and have benefits similar to CBD’s entourage effect, but there isn’t conclusive evidence to confirm or deny this.You might very well experience the medicinal benefits of Turkey Tail mushroom with little to no side effects, but if you’re ever unsure, then it’s recommended that you consult with a doctor to get a more accurate recommendation depending on your personal situation and any potential risk factors that you may have.
In addition to CBD oil, which supports a healthy immune system, the Immunity Support Tablets have a special combination of reishi mushrooms, cordyceps mushrooms, enokitake mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms to support immune system strength.
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Risks And Side Effects
Its always best to check with your doctor prior to using any new food for medicinal purposes, especially if youre pregnant or breastfeeding or have any disease-related condition.
What are the side effects of turkey tail mushroom? Some patients have reported problems with bowels, such as diarrhea and darkened stools, as well as darkened nail pigmentation. If you notice any negative effects or discomfort while consuming turkey tail mushroom, discontinue use immediately and check with your doctor.
How To Identify Turkey Tail Mushrooms
- Cap color: contrasting, concentric, multicolored bands with shades of white, grey, brown, beige, orange, yellow, cinnamon, reddish brown and blue
- Cap width: 1mm at the edge, and 2-3 mm at the wood attachment
- Cap surface: thin, flexible, slightly fuzzy, silky or velvety, fan-shaped
- Cap size: 1 to 4 inches on average, up to 6 inches, almost no height
- Underside: white with roughly 3 to 8 pores per millimeter , no gills, no stem
- Growth pattern: dense, circular, overlapping clusters, shelves, rows or rosettes
- Habitat: dead hardwood stumps, logs and branches to decompose, in the wounds of living hardwood trees, and on conifers
- Region: North America, and in many countries worldwide
- Season: May-December, but can be found year-round depending on location and conditions, they release their spores in autumn and winter
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Does Turkey Tail Kill Cancer Cells
As to whether Turkey Tail can directly inhibit or kill cancer cells, the research we have on the topic turns out to be quite promising.
Inhibit Cancer Cell Growth
This study found that Turkey Tail mushroom extracts contain a number of polysaccharides and their derivatives that were effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth in vitro by stimulating cytokine response in the immune system, as well as exhibiting direct anti-tumour activity outside of its effect on the immune system. The study makes note that these mushrooms could be effective in assisting with other cancer treatments.Stimulated the Cytokine Response
Additionally, this study notes that Turkey Tail mushrooms stimulated the cytokine response against breast cancer cells in vitro, as well as activating and increasing the lymphocyte count, natural killer cells, and specific T cells against breast cancer in vivo. The same study also found that patients with stage 2 colorectal cancer that were administered Turkey Tail mushroom extracts in conjunction with pharmaceutical cancer medication had a 26.7% higher survival rate than the control group who received only traditional cancer treatments.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects
Turkey tail mushrooms are generally considered safe. However, people with mushroom or mold allergies should steer clear of them.
While theyre generally considered safe, turkey tail mushrooms can occasionally have a few side effects to be aware of, including
- digestive upset, such as diarrhea, gas, or bloating
- darker pigment in your fingernails
Its also important to keep in mind that the FDA doesnt regulate dietary supplements in the same way that it regulates conventional medicines. Proceed with caution and talk with a healthcare professional about any supplements youre thinking of taking.
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Uses In Traditional Medicine
Eastern cultures have revered the powerful health benefits of mushrooms for thousands of years. In the classic herbal text the Shen Nong Ben Cao, written in 200 A.D., medicinal mushrooms are discussed for their healing potential.
In traditional Chinese medicine, turkey tail mushroom is known as Tun Zhi. Its been used by practitioners of TCM as an immunomodulator that boosts immune function and fights infections. This ability to support the health of both an underactive and overactive immune system is unique and valued among physicians of traditional medicine.
Turkey tail mushroom is also revered for its potential antitumor mechanisms and its ability to treat pulmonary disease. In Japan, a purified hot water extract was traditionally made from cultivated fungal mycelium and used as an adjuvant treatment for cancer.
Medications Changed By The Liver Substrates
Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. PSP, a chemical found in turkey tail mushroom, might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
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Turkey Tail To Support Digestive Health
Turkey Tail mushrooms are abundant in prebiotics, which is a type of fiber that nourishes the beneficial bacteria inside of our digestive tract, helping with improved digestion and immune response . Our gut is filled with a community of bacteria that is referred to by scientists as the human gut microbiota. This human gut microbiota is also sometimes called the gut microbiome, intestinal flora, gut bacteria, or “good” bacteria. These good bacteria can support our immune system, and help digest our food in order to make nutrients more bioavailable. So basically, having an abundant microbiome is a very, very helpful thing! Keep in mind that you can increase the amount of “good” bacteria in your gut by taking probiotics or ingesting prebiotics as found in Turkey Tail and other mushrooms!
Its also worth mentioning that the health of your microbiome has a direct correlation to the health of your immune system. So, by supporting your digestive health, Turkey Tail is also supporting your immunity! Neat!
In conclusion, the research certainly seems to point to Turkey Tails promising potential as a supportive immune system therapy. With the abundance of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that can pose a threat to our immune system, we are very lucky to have such an incredible mushroom to support us! Leave it to Mother Earth and her medicines to always take care of us.
You can find Turkey Tail mushroom powder in our Wisdom Superfood Mushroom Blend.
Other Types Of Cancer
Research has proven that people can benefit from turkey tail mushroom lung cancer benefits. Many trials have also reported improved survival in lung cancer when Turkey tail mushroom extract was combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The turkey tail lung cancer study also reported that PSK exhibited direct tumor-suppressing activity as well as the suppression of the spread of the tumor.
The mushroom extract has also shown promising results in treating cancers of the white blood cells . The anti-tumors effects were due to the inhibition of the growth of cancer cells as well as the induction of cellular death.
Turkey tail mushroom has also shown some very promising results when it comes to the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the most common form of liver cancer.
When it comes to using turkey tail for cancer care, the mushroom supplement can be used as an adjunct treatmentwhen used this way, almost every clinical study has shown that turkey’s tail mushroom will reduce the side effects of other treatment methods, while its ingredients will ensure the treatment being used has a better impact on the health of the patient.
For example, when it comes to the use of trametes versicolor in women with breast cancer, the mushroom supports treatment options like Chemotherapy, ensuring better results are seen sooner.
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To Learn More About Cam
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health facilitates research and evaluation of complementary and alternative practices, and provides information about a variety of approaches to health professionals and the public.
- NCCIH Clearinghouse
- Post Office Box 7923 Gaithersburg, MD 208987923
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Modulates The Immune System
Turkey tail mushrooms modulate immune function by stimulating the production of immune cells, including cytotoxic T-cells and natural killer cells, the latter corresponding to reductions in tumor formation and growth. Natural killer cells have the critical job of detecting, targeting, and attacking cancer cells.
An increase in their activity is no small matter since the immune system is the bodys primary defense against cancer, with the optimal functioning of immune molecules fundamental to the eradication of malignant cells. When the immune system is functioning as it should, processes that contribute to cancer should be derailed before cancer can take hold.
It has long been purported that viruses and bacteria play a key role in the development of cancer. Turkey tail mushrooms have strong antiviral properties that are able to eradicate tumor viruses, such as the HPV virus, which is associated with cervical cancer, hepatitis C and liver cancer, H. pylori and gastric cancer, the herpes virus and Kaposi sarcoma, and Epstein-Barr and oncogenic JC virus implicated in cancers of the GI tract.
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Can Mushrooms Help During Cancer Treatment
In some parts of the world, mushroom extracts are often used by patients for their medicinal benefits. Theyre packed with vitamin D, which is essential for the immune system.
And their benefits may not stop there. In Japan and China, certain mushrooms are routinely used to complement cancer treatments.
These mushrooms have been around for hundreds of years, says Santhosshi Narayanan, M.D., a physician in MD Andersons Integrative Medicine Center. They’re often used in Asian countries, not only in cancer care, but also to treat infections and other diseases.
There have been more than 2,000 studies focused on mushrooms and cancer in the last 10 years, and Narayanan is conducting a review of the findings.
Heres what she wants cancer patients to know about medicinal mushrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms are not ordinary mushrooms.
There are hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms. Those most frequently studied in cancer research are not usually sold in grocery stores.
The most common medicinal mushrooms are:
Shiitake mushrooms are the only one of these that can easily be bought whole in grocery stores. The rest are often found in powdered forms in health food stores. Sometimes the active ingredient is removed and sold as a supplement.
Mushrooms can strengthen the immune system
Some studies show mushrooms boost parts of the immune system that are linked to cancer.
Most studies show a positive effect on the immune system, but more research is needed.
Turkey Tail And Cancer: How Far Back Does The Relationship Go
Turkey tail mushroom has been in use for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, where it goes by the name Yun Zhi. The extract of the fungus was used to treat respiratory ailments. In traditional western herbal medicine, it was considered to be an immunomodulator that fights infection and boosts immune function.
Today, people are still taking advantage of the numerous turkey tail mushroom health benefits. However, in recent times, the relationship between turkey tail mushroom and cancer has come to light.
Just like reishi offers cancer benefits and the mushroom Chaga also helps fight cancer, the currently available information shows that the turkey tail mushroom has the ability to support cancer patients in their treatment process. What’s better, adding turkey tail to your diet and foods can help you reduce the risk of developing cancer in the first place.
There have been some studies done on turkey tail mushroom for cancer. These turkey tail mushroom cancer studies have shown promising results. However, even though the turkey tail has been used in Japan by humans for cancer treatments for years, some people are still new to turkey tail mushrooms cancer benefits.
Similar to how Cordyceps offers cancer benefits for all types of cancer, turkey tail mushroom also does the same thing. The mushroom supports breast cancer patients, gastric cancer patients, stage II breast cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancers, and others.
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