The immunomodulatory effects of two commonly consumed medicinal mushrooms

Data from a study published in the journal Herbal Medicine revealed that two mushrooms, Coriolus versicolor (turkey tail) and Ganoderma lucidum (lingzhi/reishi mushrooms) may have immunomodulatory properties. The study authors believe that these two mushrooms can help boost the immune systems of patients and improve their overall health.

  • For the study, researchers set out to examine whether C. versicolor and G. lucidum can be used to strengthen the immune system of certain patients. Both types of mushrooms are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat various health problems.
  • Earlier studies have proven that these mushrooms and certain herbal medicines offer some potential medical benefits. Specifically, both C. versicolor and G. lucidum had immunomodulatory effects which were observed via changes in the quantity of some specific cytokines in blood along with changes in the numbers and activities of specific immune cell subsets.
  • The researchers also studied the immunomodulatory functions of three other herbal medicines: Astragalus membranaceus (Mongolian milkvetch), Cordyceps sinensis (yartsa gunbu/caterpillar fungus), and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng).
  • The researchers then systematically searched articles of clinical trial studies that were published between 1985 and August 2015. The search was conducted in four electronic databases: EMBASE, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science.
  • The search results included changes in the serum cytokines secretion and the number and functional activity of different immune cell populations. The search included a total of 237 relevant articles, and the results identified 15 articles that met the researchers’ criteria.
  • The study authors analyzed the 15 articles and based on their findings, C. versicolor and G. lucidum had immunomodulatory properties (innate and adaptive immunity). However, only a handful of studies were available for each mushroom or herb, and the authors noted that unequivocal conclusions could not be drawn.

While C. versicolor and G. lucidum both had immunomodulatory properties based on data from the identified literature, the scientists conclude that future larger trials of randomized and placebo-controlled clinical studies are required before they can proceed to an evidence-based medicine approach.

Find the full text of study at this link.

You can read more articles about the health benefits of mushrooms like C. versicolor and G. lucidum at

Journal Reference: 

W JN, C WC. THE USE OF MEDICINAL MUSHROOM OR HERB AS EFFECTIVE IMMUNOMODULATORY AGENT. Herbal Medicine: Open Access. 2016;2(1). DOI: 10.21767/2472-0151.100009

comments powered by Disqus