Combining the Anticancer and Immunomodulatory Effects of Astragalus and Shiitake as an Integrated Therapeutic Approach

Nutrients. 2021 Jul 27;13(8):2564. doi: 10.3390/nu13082564.


Astragalus root (Huang Qi) and Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes) are both considered medicinal foods and are frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine due to their anticancer and immunomodulating properties. Here, the scientific literatures describing evidence for the anticancer and immunogenic properties of Shiitake and Astragalus were reviewed. Based on our experimental data, the potential to develop medicinal food with combined bioactivities was assessed using Shiitake mushrooms grown over Astragalus beds in a proprietary manufacturing process, as a novel cancer prevention approach. Notably, our data suggest that this new manufacturing process can result in transfer and increased bioavailability of Astragalus polysaccharides with therapeutic potential into edible Shiitake. Further research efforts are required to validate the therapeutic potential of this new Hengshan Astragalus Shiitake medicinal food.

Keywords: Astragalus; Hengshan Astragalus Shiitake; Shiitake; bioactive; cancer immunology; medicinal food.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Astragalus Plant* / chemistry
  • Astragalus Plant* / growth & development
  • Astragalus Plant* / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Metabolomics
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Shiitake Mushrooms* / chemistry
  • Shiitake Mushrooms* / growth & development
  • Shiitake Mushrooms* / metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal