There some evidence in PubMed than medicinal mushrooms may play a role in treatment of some cancers. Most of the claims of medical benefits are bot backed up by high quality studies as of 2019. References are below.
What is turkey tail?
Turkey tail is a type of mushroom that grows on dead logs worldwide. It's named turkey tail because its rings of brown and tan look like the tail feathers of a turkey. Its scientific name is Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as Yun Zhi. In Japan, it is known as kawaratake (roof tile fungus). Turkey tail has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lung diseases for many years. In Japan, turkey tail has been used to strengthen the immune system when given with standard cancer treatment.
What is PSK?
Polysaccharide K (PSK) is the best known active compound in turkey tail mushrooms. In Japan, PSK is an approved mushroom product used to treat cancer.
How is PSK given or taken?
PSK can be taken as a tea or in capsule form.
Have any laboratory or animal studies been done using PSK?
In laboratory studies, tumor cells are used to test a substance to find out if it is likely to have any anticancer effects. In animal studies, tests are done to see if a drug, procedure, or treatment is safe and effective in animals. Laboratory and animal studies are done before a substance is tested in people. Laboratory and animal studies have tested the effects of PSK on the immune system, including immune cells called natural killer cells and T-cells.
Have any studies of PSK been done in people?
PSK has been studied in patients with gastric cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. It has been used as adjuvant therapy in thousands of cancer patients since the mid-1970s. PSK has been safely used in people for a long time in Japan and few side effects have been reported.
Have any side effects or risks been reported from turkey tail or PSK?
There have been few side effects reported in studies of PSK in Japan.
Is turkey tail or PSK approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a cancer treatment in the United States?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of turkey tail or its active compound PSK as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition. The FDA does not approve dietary supplements as safe or effective.
What is reishi?
Reishi is a type of mushroom that grows on live trees. Scientists may call it either Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense. In traditional Chinese medicine, this group of mushrooms is known as Ling Zhi. In Japan, they are known as Reishi. In China, G. lucidum is known as Chizhi and G. sinense is known as Zizhi. Reishi has been used as medicine for a very long time in East Asia. It was thought to prolong life, prevent aging, and increase energy. In China, it is being used to strengthen the immune system of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
How is reishi given or taken?
Reishi is usually dried and taken as an extract in the form of a liquid, capsule, or powder.
Have any laboratory or animal studies been conducted using reishi?
In laboratory studies, tumor cells are used to test a new substance and find out if it is likely to have any anticancer effects. In animal studies, tests are done to see if a drug, procedure, or treatment is safe and effective in animals. Laboratory and animal studies are done before a substance is tested in people. Laboratory and animal studies have tested the effects of the active ingredients in reishi mushrooms, triterpenoids and polysaccharides, on tumors, including lung cancer.
Have any studies of reishi mushrooms been done in people?
Studies using products made from reishi have been done in China and Japan.
Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®): Patient Version.
Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®): Health Professional Version.
Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail Mushrooms) and the Treatment of Breast Cancer. Paul Stamets, founder and director of Fungi Perfecti, LLC., and director of the Fungi Perfecti Research Laboratories (www.fungi.com), has been a mycologist and mushroom enthusiast for more than 30 years. A pioneer in the cultivation of edible and medicinal mushrooms, he shares the experience of his own mother in this cases report. She was diagnosed with advances breast cancer and was a 5-year survivor as of 2015: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890100/
He describes the case after minute 9 in the video below:
Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science
Can mushrooms help save the world? Interview by Bonnie J. Horrigan.
Extracts from Hericium erinaceus relieve inflammatory bowel disease by regulating immunity and gut microbiota