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Support cancer therapy naturally

Complementary use of vital mushrooms in cancer

July 29 2021
Dr. Dorothee Bös et al.

Cancer is increasingly becoming one of our most threatening widespread diseases. In 2017, about 1.7 million people in Germany were considered cancer patients. Yet living with cancer is arduous and the risk of death considerable.

The conventional medical therapies are often associated with severe side effects, which, however, can often be alleviated and supplemented with naturopathic treatments. The optimal cancer therapy is always based on numerous complementary pillars such as a natural diet rich in vital substances, exercise, naturopathy, strengthening measures for body and soul. Vital mushrooms are also an important pillar of complementary medicine and can help health through multiple mechanisms and ingredients.

We explain how vital mushrooms can specifically support the immune system during and after chemotherapy or radiation as well as reduce unpleasant side effects.

Cancer - a disease with many faces

Who gets cancer?

Theoretically, any human or mammal can develop cancer. Meanwhile, cancer tumors are among the most serious problems of our civilization. In Germany alone, almost 400,000 people contract cancer every year. That’s what the statistics say. According to autopsy studies, the number of unreported cases is significantly higher, as some tumors are not even detected during the patient’s lifetime. After cardiovascular disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in Western society. 

The rate of disease is highest among those over 60 years of age. About three quarters of all cancers fall into this age group. However, younger people can also develop tumors. In Germany, approximately 1750 new cases are diagnosed in children each year. The brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes and blood (leukemia) are primarily affected at this age.

What are the types of cancer?

Cancer arises from a single cell. In principle, this can be located anywhere in the body. However, cancer needs many cell divisions to grow. Therefore, it grows preferentially from cells that divide frequently, such as epithelial cells found in skin and mucous membranes. There are tumors in stomach, liver, kidneys, thyroid gland, urinary bladder, oral pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, ovaries, testicles and some other places in the body. The most common types of cancer in Germany are by far the following (affected persons figures from 2013):

  • Breast cancer: 71,640 women & several hundred men
  • Colorectal cancer: 27,210 women & 33,370 men
  • Prostate cancer: 59,620 men
  • Lung cancer: 18,810 women & 34,690 men
Weiße Anführungszeichen in dunkelblauem Kreis
Mrs. G. R. from Petersburg

"I have suffered from type I diabetes since 1970, and I also had breast cancer surgery in 2004. I take three capsules of ABM medicinal mushrooms per day and have a good general condition. The laboratory results are to the complete satisfaction of the doctor. I am hopefully completely cured."

Weiße Anführungszeichen in dunkelblauem Kreis
Mr. B. K.

"No side effects with a total of twelve chemotherapies. There is no parallel treatment. My oncologist at the University Hospital in Frankfurt has been informed. She has no concerns." This is how Mr. B. K. describes his experience with Reishi, Polyporus and Hericium for his colon cancer with metastases in liver, lungs and lymph.

Which cancer is curable?

When it comes to curing cancer, we can only ever talk about opportunities. Some cancers are particularly difficult to treat because of their characteristics. Some tumors develop the ability to “attract” blood vessels. In this way, they overcome encapsulation and build up their own supply of nutrients.

The formation of metastases is particularly serious. When a cancer manages to invade surrounding tissue or cause cancer cells to travel through the body via the lymphatic system or bloodstream, experts refer to them as “malignant” tumors. If metastasis occurs in particularly sensitive locations such as the lungs, brain, bones or liver, the cancer is almost impossible to stop. In fact, 90% of deaths in cancer patients are not due to the original tumor, but to its metastases.

Unlike malignant tumors, which carry a high risk of recurrence even with successful treatment, benign tumors can be easily removed surgically. Their growth is clearly circumscribed and they do not invade foreign tissue. One speaks of “cancer” only in the case of malignant tumors.

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Our experienced team will be happy to advise you in detail and free of charge on all matters relating to your health.

Causes and treatment

How does cancer develop?

In our body, cells are continuously created and die. Cancer has its beginning precisely in this dynamic process: where it occurs, the balance between the formation and death of new cells is upset. To regulate the cell division process, there are oncogenes that stimulate cell growth and tumor suppressor genes that inhibit cell division. If for some reason there is a defect in one of these genes, cell growth can get out of control. It is conceivable that there is damage to the oncogenes, as a result of which cell growth is much faster than usual. Equally fatal is a defect in tumor suppressor genes that overrides cell growth inhibition. If such a mutation is present in a cell, it will propagate in the daughter cells. Actually, the body has taken precautions for such problems. In the first instance, enzymes step in to repair the damage to the genetic material. Sometimes these enzymes themselves do not function properly due to genetic damage, or they fail to repair. In such cases, our body initiates apoptosis, or regulated cell death. The immune system is responsible for this. It sends T cells and natural killer cells to clear out the broken cells. If the immune system is relatively weak or otherwise severely challenged, this mechanism may also fail. In this case, healthy cells encapsulate the tumor, cutting off its supply routes. Since tumor cells also need nutrients and oxygen to survive and reproduce, the absence of replenishment means certain death. However, some tumors also overcome this hurdle. Then growth can continue unchecked. The organism no longer has anything to oppose this. So, as you can see, there must be multiple genetic defects and problems for cancer to occur. Scientists assume that between one and ten mutations must be present, depending on the type of tumor. Cancer therefore never develops suddenly.

Why does cancer occur in old age?

The genetic damage that underlies cancer is usually caused by environmental factors. Some arise “accidentally” over time or are the result of cell fatigue. As we age, the genetic defects accumulate. The risk that the defects just described will occur increases. Ultimately, a cancer cell can be in the body for a long time before the tumor actually grows. This is another reason why the likelihood of developing cancer increases with age.

How to prevent cancer?

If you want to prevent cancer, you have to deal with the causes. Only an understanding of triggering factors allows us to take targeted action. We have already clarified that multiple gene defects or mutations must be present for a cell to degenerate. If natural protective substances such as the immune system then also fail, the tumor can grow. But what actually causes the damage in cell DNA? There are four possible answers to this:
  1. The DNA defect is inherited and therefore present from birth.
  2. Due to a problem in the cell, the DNA is copied incorrectly.
  3. Viruses damage cell DNA to give themselves advantages in reproduction.
  4. Environmental influences damage the genes. This primarily affects those cells that come into contact with the environment, i.e. the skin and the entire digestive tract as well as the lungs. Only radiation such as X-rays can also reach cells inside the body.

Potentially carcinogenic factors

Here you will find an overview of potentially carcinogenic factors:
  • Obesity and diabetes – are responsible for about 40% of cancers
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy diet/food additives (e.g., highly processed foods, sugar, meat, aspartame).
  • Radiation (e.g. UV, radioactive)
  • harmful environmental influences (e.g. asbestos, titanium dioxide)
  • Environmental toxins (e.g. benzene, nitrosamines, soot, arsenic)
  • Infections (e.g. HPV, hepatitis B & C virus, Borrelia)
  • chronic subthreshold inflammation (arteriosclerosis, abdominal fat)
  • psychological factors (permanent stress, persistent anxiety, trauma, grief)
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
Free radicals play a central role in alcohol consumption, smoking, environmental toxins, harmful environmental influences, radiation as well as in faulty processes in the cell. Their formation is promoted by the substances mentioned as well as by certain metabolic processes in the cell. Free radicals are high-energy particles that violate DNA completely at random.

Influence of obesity and diet

Looking at the harmful environmental influences, you can clearly see that lifestyle and especially diet play an essential role in cancer. People with obesity and diabetes have a significantly increased risk of developing cancer. On the one hand, this is related to the stimulatory effect that insulin and the insulin-like growth factor IGF exert on the growth of tumors. IGF is found primarily in animal protein from milk and meat. That is why a whole-food, plant-based diet is highly recommended for cancer.

On the other hand, there is chronic inflammation associated with abdominal fat, fatty liver and diabetes. Inflammation damages cell DNA. The same problem exists with infectious diseases. Sometimes tumor cells themselves produce pro-inflammatory substances because inflammation increases blood flow. This is equivalent to a better supply of nutrients and oxygen, which in turn makes the tumor grow faster.

Strengthen immune system

While inherited genetic defects cannot be changed, affected individuals can certainly strengthen their immune system to effectively fight cancer-causing viruses and degenerated cells. Therefore, preventive measures in alternative medicine for cancer consist primarily of a healthy lifestyle and a wholesome diet that strengthen the body and its natural healing powers. It is also important to exercise as much as possible because exercise lowers cancer factors such as insulin and IGF. If a tumor has already grown, the chances of survival increase significantly with regular exercise. After successful treatment, sporting activity also reduces the risk of relapse. Nature’s pharmacy cabinet is full of ways to accompany or prevent cancer. Medicinal mushrooms are at the forefront of this. They support a variety of the body’s own protective mechanisms. Some of their ingredients even have a direct effect on cancer cells. We would like to explain the entire span of these wonderful properties in the second half of this article.

What treatment helps with cancer?

In German hospitals, conventional medical treatment of cancer clearly dominates. First and foremost, this includes surgical removal of the tumor. In addition, there are drugs that are supposed to act against the cancer cells in different ways. In addition to anti-hormone and cancer immunotherapy, chemotherapy is probably the best known.


During “chemo”, the patient is usually administered so-called cytostatic drugs. They are designed to suppress the growth of cancer cells or, at best, kill them. However, the drug cannot distinguish between healthy and tumor cells. However, since it interferes with the process of cell division, it primarily harms those cells that divide frequently. This is true for tumor cells, but also for epithelial and bone cells. The former are located, for example, at the hair root or in the mucous membranes. That’s why chemotherapy often causes hair loss, nausea and digestive problems. The components of the blood are produced in the bone cells: Platelets, erythrocytes and leukocytes. Chemotherapy lowers their production, which leads to exhaustion due to anemia. Since leukocytes are important cells in the body’s defense system, the immune system is also weakened after chemo.


Another conventional medical treatment method to cure cancer is radiation. Different types of radiation can be used, for example radioactive, X-ray, electron, neutron, proton and heavy ion beams. A doctor checks MRI scanThese are all high-energy or ionizing beams. They release electrons from atoms or molecules, which are then supposed to destroy the genes of the tumor cell. In addition, the radiation from the hydrogen in the cell releases free radicals. These in turn destroy the tumor DNA, but also attack enzymes, disrupting the functional processes in the cancer cell. The goal is to stop the proliferation of cells and, at best, to induce cell death, or apoptosis. In general, tumor tissue is more sensitive to radiation than healthy body tissue. Nevertheless, the side effects are not absent here either. Immediate reactions may include mucosal redness, nausea, diarrhea, and bladder problems. Long-term damage such as vasoconstriction, tissue scarring, bone and tooth damage often does not show up until months or years later.

Support through medicinal mushrooms

However, conventional medicine can and should always be supported with other pillars. In Asia, “the best of 2 worlds” – that is, conventional medicine and naturopathy – is always combined individually for the benefit of the patient. In this context, medicinal mushrooms play a very important role in complementary medicine for cancer. We will now explain their areas of application and mechanisms of action in more detail.

Complementary accompaniment of cancer

Many patients opt for a combination of classical treatment, alternative medicine and a healthy diet for cancer. There are definitely synergies here, as complementary treatment methods can also alleviate the side effects of chemo and radiation. Overall, they can add a lot more quality to life with cancer. It is also important that those affected feel comfortable with the chosen form of treatment. This usually also means that there is a consensus between the doctor and the patient on exactly what the procedure should be. Unfortunately, complementary treatment methods are not yet as widely recognized in Germany as they are in China, for example. However, many physicians are now exploring combinations and are increasingly realizing the opportunities offered by complementary medicine in cancer.

Which medicinal mushrooms can support cancer treatment?

In the spectrum of complementary treatments, vital mushrooms are a remarkable option. Many of them have been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), their gentle but lasting effects are highly valued. In addition, TCM also assigns a very decisive role to healthy nutrition in cancer.

If medicinal mushrooms are to be used for cancer, careful selection must be made. It is best to consult an expert to determine which vital mushrooms will best help with your specific tumor, stage of disease, and symptoms. It is conceivable to use the medicinal mushrooms listed below for cancer. All these mushrooms have in common that they help the body detoxify. This is always a help in cancer and its treatment, as the organism gets rid of unnecessary burdens. Furthermore, medicinal mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, which are dietary fibers. They stimulate the immune system and act against the cancer cells in a very wide variety of ways. There are also antioxidants, which provide valuable services in the prevention and treatment of cancer as well as in reducing the side effects of conventional medical measures.

Now learn how exactly each mushroom helps you arm yourself against cancer.

Agaricus blazei murill (ABM) - "almond mushroom".

The ABM is an edible mushroom from the mushroom genus. These common mushrooms are always part of a full cancer diet. However, ABM also has a few very special properties that distinguish it from related species: ABM is rich in long-chain polysaccharides, the “beta-D-glucans”. These have a regulating effect on the immune system. This means that they curb excessive immune reactions such as those that occur in autoimmune diseases. On the other hand, they activate the cells of the immune system in case the latter should weaken. An active immune system is enormously important to naturally counteract or prevent cancer. This is because our immune cells are basically capable of fighting degenerated cells.

Thus, the ABM also plays a central role in accompanying orthodox cancer therapy. It supports the bone marrow in its regeneration after radiation or chemotherapy. The faster sufficient erythrocytes are produced again, the sooner exhaustion states subside. The rapid regeneration of leukocytes also revives the immune system after chemo.

ABM has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on growth in the following cancers:

  • Lung cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Brain tumors

In some cases, a decrease in tumor tissue was even observed with the administration of ABM. It thus appears to support mechanisms leading to apoptosis of cancer cells.

Furthermore, the ABM makes it easier for those affected to live with cancer. With regular use, an improvement in the general condition was observed. It protects the liver, which is severely affected by drugs and other treatments. In leukemia or lymphoma, it reduces possible swelling of the spleen.

In terms of prevention, the ABM is also a good choice. Comparing all medicinal mushrooms used in cancer, it contains the most antioxidant agents such as superoxide dismutase, catalase and tyrosinase and also activates the production of antioxidant enzymes. These enzymes defuse free radicals in the body’s cells, which could otherwise damage DNA. This is probably also the reason why cancer almost never occurred in the rural population in the homeland of this fungus in Brazil.


Polyporus is an edible and vital mushroom native to Asia. In addition to valuable polysaccharides, it is rich in active ingredients that support the lymphatic system in its detoxification. This property comes into play especially when lymph nodes have already been removed as part of cancer treatment. The stimulating effect of Polyporus reduces the associated risk of lymphatic congestion. For the same reason, this vital mushroom also supports the immune system after chemo. This is because the lymphatic system is intensively involved in removing the toxins produced during chemotherapy from the body. By promoting excretion through the lymph, Polyporus effectively prevents symptoms of poisoning. Lung and liver cancer showed slowed tumor growth when Polyporus was taken.

Coriolus versicolor

This medicinal mushroom has long been used in complementary medicine for cancer. Ötzi already had a close relative of Coriolus versicolor in his medicine chest 5200 years ago.

With the polysaccharides PSP and PSK, it promotes the immune defense. In particular, it activates the TH1 immune response, which helps the body fight viruses as well as tumor cells. This is presumably also the reason why physicians could not prove an existing infestation with the human papillomavirus (HPV) with some female patients after one year income of this vital mushroom any longer. HPV attacks the cervix and can lead to tumor growth there. In the course of Coriolus versicolor administration, even pre-existing cervical lesions regressed in affected patients.

Furthermore, it seems to cure hormone-dependent cancer naturally under certain circumstances. Here we are talking about breast or prostate cancer, for example. In addition, Coriolus versicolor stimulates apoptosis in various types of tumors. Furthermore, it inhibits tumor growth by impeding the formation of new vessels to supply the tumor.

Thanks to its antioxidant polysaccharides and the ability to activate the body’s own enzymes with antioxidant activity, Coriolus versicolor facilitates living with cancer and its conventional medical treatment. The strong antioxidant effect seems to reduce both the damage of irradiation to healthy tissue and to mucous membranes. Similarly, the cells of the bone marrow are protected from radiation damage, which is why hematopoiesis is less impaired after radiotherapy.


Cordyceps has some valuable ingredients that can be useful in cancer. With regard to cordycepin, it has been shown in the laboratory that it kills cancer cells. This is true for leukemia cells as well as breast and prostate cancer cells. So far, however, this effect has not been confirmed outside the test tube. However, it is known with certainty that cordyceps supports the immune system in the fight against tumor cells by regulating the activity of white blood cells, as well as natural killer cells and macrophages. In terms of prevention and therapy support, the antioxidant effect should be emphasized. Thus, it stimulates the body’s own superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Cordyceps militaris also contains the substance ergosterol. This is an antioxidant that exerts a strong antitumor effect in the organism. When the cancer patient feels weak and his immune system works poorly after chemo, cordyceps has a strengthening and restorative effect. It brings the regeneration after strong continuous load quickly.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa - "rattle sponge")

Maitake is both a tasty addition to the diet and a medicinal and vital mushroom. In fact, it is an excellent, although rare, edible mushroom. After ABM, maitake has the highest concentration of polysaccharides. The positive effect on the immune system comes primarily from the beta-D-glucans. They stimulate phagocytes, which can recognize and destroy tumor cells. The more scavenger cells are active in the body, the lower the risk that a cancer cell will remain alive. In alternative medicine for cancer, maitake has been particularly effective in preventing bone metastases. It is rich in the antioxidant ergosterol, a precursor of vitamin D2. This substance promotes calcium absorption into the bones, which makes them more resistant. In practice, the inhibitory effect on the formation of metastases has been observed in many different types of cancer. In particular, brain tumors also show a growth-inhibiting effect. In prostate cancer, even apoptosis of tumor cells was observed when maitake was taken. Thus, maitake has great potential to support cancer therapy.

Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)

As the last of our medicinal mushrooms on the subject of cancer, we present the Reishi. This primary rock of the vital mushrooms has already proven itself for over 4000 years in Far Eastern medicine. It is a popular remedy when it comes to providing natural support to cancer patients. Among other things, it has an inhibitory effect on the growth of tumor cells in breast, prostate, ovarian, lung and liver cancer.

In prevention, the antioxidant properties of Reishi are shown to be extremely efficient. By activating superoxide dismutase, glutathione S-transferase and laccase, it reduces the risk of free radicals damaging genes in cells. The antioxidants also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Since inflammation is a risk factor for cell degeneration, Reishi also prevents tumor formation at this point.

Accompanying chemotherapy, experts appreciate its beneficial effect on detoxification processes. Thus, it effectively alleviates unpleasant side effects. In addition, its ability to reduce pain and stimulate appetite. It thus makes an important contribution to improving the quality of life of cancer patients during chemotherapy.

Selection and dosage of medicinal mushrooms

Although many of the vital mushrooms are also excellent tasting edible mushrooms, it is not enough to change the diet to regular cooking of mushroom dishes in case of cancer. You can achieve a medicinal effect only by taking mushroom powder. The presentation in the form of capsules has proven its worth: this way, the mushroom powder is protected from adverse environmental influences and the valuable ingredients are safely preserved. Make sure that your source of supply is a competent manufacturer with a focus on organic cultivation methods. Since mushrooms are predestined to absorb toxins from their environment, medicinal mushrooms in particular must not come into contact with any harmful substances during cultivation. In addition, drying the mushrooms requires a lot of sensitivity. At temperatures above 40° Celsius, many valuable ingredients are destroyed. Be sure to choose a German grower of vital mushrooms. Here, the cultivation and manufacturing methods are the most transparent. To find out which medicinal mushrooms against cancer are recommended in your case, you should consult with a specialist from the MykoTroph Institute. Dosage is an important issue, especially in the beginning. If you take too much mushroom powder at the beginning, it can put additional stress on your body due to the strong detoxification. Serious side effects in the actual sense are not yet known with medicinal mushrooms, however. Also with regard to interactions with conventional medicines, there have been no bad experiences so far. However, in addition to the specific cancer, stage, treatment and overall physical condition, there are many variables to consider when making a selection. Only if the vital mushrooms are exactly matched to you, they actually contribute to curing cancer. Please consult your therapist before use!


We will gladly take time for you. In our free consultation, we answer all your health questions individually and personally. We are looking forward to meeting you!

Note: This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult an experienced mycotherapist in advance and talk to your doctor or therapist before adjusting your medication if necessary. Vital mushrooms are not intended as the sole means of treating diseases and the results may vary depending on individual medical history or constitution!

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