Reishi mushroom is a natural product that may enhance immunity and response to chemo/radiotherapy, improve quality of life, and manage some side effects. 

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This section does not replicate the other information on this topic but provides additional details or context most relevant to professionals.

More on safety

A cell study found toxic effects of reishi mushrooms on human leukocytes.1Gill SK, Rieder MJ. Toxicity of a traditional Chinese medicine, Ganoderma lucidum, in children with cancer. Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2008 Summer;15(2):e275-85.

Preclinical evidence

Notable preclinical evidence is listed here; clinical evidence is in How can reishi mushroom help you? What the research says ›

Improving treatment outcomes

Enhanced response to chemotherapy

Brain and nervous system cancers: tumor response 

  • Anaplastic meningioma: lower tumor volume, less tumor cell proliferation and longer survival in rats3Das A, Alshareef M et al. Ganoderic acid A/DM-induced NDRG2 over-expression suppresses high-grade meningioma growth. Clinical & Translational Oncology: Official Publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico. 2020 Jul;22(7):1138-1145.
  • Glioma: slower tumor development and longer survival in rats4Wang C, Shi S et al. Antitumor and immunomodulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides in glioma-bearing rats. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2018 Sep;17(3):674-683.

Breast cancer: tumor response and less cell invasion, migration and metastasis

Colon cancer: improved sensitivity to 5FU

Gynecological cancer: tumor response in combination with cisplatin

Liver cancer: tumor response

Lung cancer: tumor response and reduce mobility

Ovarian cancer: tumor response

Prostate cancer: less adhesion and migration

  • Prostate cancer: less adhesion and migration of highly invasive prostate cancer cells17Sliva D. Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) in cancer treatment. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2003 Dec;2(4):358-64.

Optimizing your terrain

Managing side effects and promoting wellness: preclinical evidence 

Blood-related side effects

Cardiovascular symptoms

Changes in appetite

  • Better appetite and general health in rats23Wang CZ, Basila D et al. Effects of ganoderma lucidum extract on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in a rat model. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2005;33(5):807-15.

Gastrointestinal effects

Other chemotherapy and radiotherapy side effects

Reducing cancer risk

Bladder cancer: tumor inhibition

Colorectal cancer: less carcinogenesis 

Prostate cancer: inhibition of premalignant cells

Skin cancer: fewer tumors and longer latency

Helpful links for professionals

KNOW Oncology ›

A subscription is required; access is free of charge for members of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

This table summarizes the evidence of interactions with reishi (Lingzhi) and turkey tail (Yunzhi) mushrooms and components with 17 chemotherapy drugs: Pharmacodynamic interactions between medicinal mushrooms and cytotoxic drugs in clinical studies ›
From Lam CS, Cheng LP, Zhou LM, Cheung YT, Zuo Z. Herb-drug interactions between the medicinal mushrooms Lingzhi and Yunzhi and cytotoxic anticancer drugs: a systematic review. Chinese Medicine. 2020 Jul 25;15:75.

Keep reading about reishi mushroom


Maria Williams

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Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

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Laura Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS

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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

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Andrew Jackson, ND

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Andrew Jackson, ND, serves as a CancerChoices research associate. As a naturopathic physician practicing in Kirkland, Washington, he teaches critical evaluation of the medical literture at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. His great appreciation of scientific inquiry and the scientific process has led him to view research with a critical eye.

Andrew Jackson, ND Research Associate

Last update: December 20, 2023

Last full literature review: June 2021

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

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