Medicinal Mushrooms: Powerful Immune Enhancers

Learn how you can us medicinal mushrooms as powerful immune enhancers to decrease the chance of you getting cancer.


| November/December 2003


Discover medicinal mushrooms, these immune enhancers will help you stay healthy and cancer-free.

Medicinal Mushrooms: Powerful Immune Enhancers

Medicinal mushrooms are rich sources of beta glucans, naturally occurring complex sugars that have been shown to stimulate immune function and kill cancer cells.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) activates various cells of the immune system, including those that directly inhibit cancer cells. It’s sold fresh or dried in gourmet and Oriental markets; it’s also available in supplement form. Eat maitake a couple of times a week in soups, stir-fries or pasta dishes; for supplements, follow the package directions.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) strengthens immune function, including increasing the production of interferon and other important immune compounds. You can find fresh or dried shiitake in many supermarkets; add the mushrooms to soups, scrambles, stir-fries and pasta dishes. For immune enhancement, eat a few shiitakes at least twice weekly.



Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) enhances overall immune function and inhibits the growth of tumors. The mushrooms are woody and bitter (thus inedible) but are widely available as a tea, in capsules or as a liquid extract. Follow the directions on the package label.


Laurel Vukovic writes and teaches about herbs and natural healing from her home in southern Oregon. She is the author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall, 1998) and Herbal Healing Secrets for Women (Prentice Hall, 2000).







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