Are mushrooms medicinal?

Fungal Biol. 2016 Apr;120(4):449-453. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2016.01.006. Epub 2016 Jan 21.


Despite the longstanding use of dried mushrooms and mushroom extracts in traditional Chinese medicine, there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these preparations in the treatment of human disease. Consumers should evaluate assertions made by companies about the miraculous properties of medicinal mushrooms very critically. The potential harm caused by these natural products is another important consideration. In a more positive vein, the presence of potent toxins and neurotropic compounds in basidiomycete fruit bodies suggests that secondary metabolites with useful pharmacological properties are widespread in these fungi. Major investment in controlled experiments and objective clinical trials is necessary to develop this natural pharmacopeia.

Keywords: Cancer; Lentinan; Lingzhi; Reishi; Shiitake.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Biological Products / isolation & purification*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Humans


  • Biological Products