Reishi mushroom is a natural product that may enhance immunity and response to chemo/radiotherapy, improve quality of life, and manage some side effects.
Safety and precautions
We advise you to consult your physician before taking reishi mushrooms. We also advise that you work with a healthcare professional knowledgeable and experienced in using reishi mushrooms with people with cancer.
Several individual cases of an elevated tumor markera chemical or substance, such as certain proteins or genetic material, that are associated with the presence of cancer or a change in status or prognosis; these markers can be detected in blood, urine, or tissue. Tumor markers are not direct measures of clinical outcomes such as survival or metastasis, and if a therapy or treatment shows an impact only on tumor markers, we cannot surmise that it will affect survival. have been detected with reishi use.1Liang Y, He M et al. An abnormal elevation of serum CA72-4 by ganoderma lucidum spore powder. Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science. Summer 2013;43(3):337-40; Yan B, Meng X et al. Ganoderma lucidum spore induced CA72-4 elevation in gastrointestinal cancer: a five-case report. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2014 Mar;13(2):161-6.
Adverse effects noted in clinical trials include nausea, insomnia, mild discomfort (dizziness and dry mouth), diarrhea, stomach discomfort and poor health.2Jeitler M, Michalsen A et al. Significance of medicinal mushrooms in integrative oncology: a narrative review. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2020 Nov 11;11:580656. Powder form can be toxic to the liver.3Wanmuang H, Leopairut J, Kositchaiwat C, Wananukul W, Bunyaratvej S. Fatal fulminant hepatitis associated with Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi) mushroom powder. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. 2007 Jan;90(1):179-81.
Interaction with cancer treatments
Some evidence shows that reishi may improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy and/or certain chemotherapy drugs in some cancers, but the evidence is not strong. Some researchers have expressed concern it may possibly interfere with certain chemotherapy drugs that depend on oxidation to kill cancer cells due to its antioxidant activity.4Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Herbs: Reishi Mushroom. February 5, 2021. Viewed February 11, 2021. However, we’re not aware of any evidence to support this. See the commentary from Erlene Chiang, DAOM, LAc, regarding use during chemo/radiotherapy in How do experts use reishi mushroom? ›
Interactions with medications
Reishi mushroom and its extracts should be used with caution by people taking antidiabetic, anticoagulant/antiplatelet or antihypertensive medications as the effects of the medications may be increased. People who have gastric ulcers or active gastrointestinal bleeding, or who will have operations in the near future, should consult their physicians before use.5Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides as an anti-cancer agent. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2018;18(5):667-674.
Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides have antibacterial effects and may increase the activity of some antibiotics.6Sohretoglu D, Huang S. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides as an anti-cancer agent. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2018;18(5):667-674.
Do not use (contraindications)
Do not use reishi mushroom or its extracts if you have a known allergy or hypersensitivity to it or any of its components.
Keep reading about reishi mushroom