Medicinal mushrooms: Clinical perspective and challenges

Drug Discov Today. 2022 Feb;27(2):636-651. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2021.11.017. Epub 2021 Nov 22.


Mushrooms are valued by humans worldwide as food, but also for their medicinal properties. Over 130 medicinal effects of mushrooms have been reported, including anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, prebiotic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. Several mushrooms have been tested in phase I, II, or III clinical trials for various diseases, including cancers, as well as to modulate immunity. Here, we review clinical studies on medicinal mushrooms or preparations (but not pure compounds) derived thereof. Overall, few phase III trials have been performed, and in many cases, these trials included a relatively small number of patients. Therefore, despite the promising published clinical data, especially on immune modulation, more work is required to clarify the therapeutic value of mushrooms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales*
  • Anti-Infective Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antioxidants