Category: Digestion, Energy and mental well-being, Integrative Nutrition

Take care of your health with Mycotherapy

Dr. Nuria Roda, Alberto Tejero.

Mycotherapy is defined as the application of medicinal mushrooms rich in active biomolecules for the benefit of people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life. This therapy can help to naturally complement integrative treatments and healthy routines. The synergy of the active ingredients of a mixture of 5 mushrooms plays an important role in protecting the immune system.


Mycotherapy is defined as the application of medicinal mushrooms rich in active biomolecules for the benefit of people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life. Some of the best-known drugs have their origin in the fungal kingdom, such as penicillin. Leaving aside this type of drug, it is also possible to opt for preparations made from various species in order to take advantage of their specific synergies, so that Mycotherapy can help to complement integrative treatments and healthy routines in a natural way. These benefits are discussed below for some of these mushrooms:

Organic Ganoderma extract: Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is known in Asia and by traditional Chinese medicine as a symbol of longevity and happiness. This is why this culture considers it ‘the king of medicinal mushrooms’ because of its coral-like shape and colour. Its bioactive compounds include polysaccharides such as β-glucans, terpenes (especially triterpenes), sterols (ergosterol or provitamin D), unsaturated fatty acids, essential amino acids, various vitamins (especially group B) and minerals.

Thanks to its polysaccharides and triterpenoids, it helps reduce oxidative damage and can therefore be used as an antioxidant and to protect the islets of the pancreas (anti-diabetic effect) as well as for its immunomodulatory properties that enhance the action of antigen-presenting cells, the mononuclear phagocyte system and humoral and cellular immunity. (1,2)

Antiviral effects have also been reported, as the triterpenoids of this fungus inhibit several enzymes such as neuraminidase. Hepatoprotective effects have also been attributed to it. Reishi’s liver protection mechanisms vary according to the disease. For example, administration of Ganoderma extract for 8 days significantly reduced inflammation caused by hepatotoxic drugs. (1).

Finally, Ganoderma also intervenes in the central nervous system (pineal body, amygdala nucleus, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum) and peripheral (heart, thyroid gland and liver) which allows to improve insomnia and emotional health. (3)




Organic sun mushroom extract: Agaricus blazei Murrill , better known as the sun mushroom, is a mushroom native to Brazil, named after its discoverer, which is gaining popularity in the field of integrative medicine due to its pharmacological properties. It has a broad spectrum of biological activities and has proved useful as a complementary treatment for cancer, chronic hepatitis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypercholesterolemia, etc. (4).

It contains a number of bioactive components: polysaccharides proteins lectins amino acids vitamins and sterols. Many of these are modulators of the immune response and activate our defence mechanisms. For example, the polysaccharides present in this fungus are known to have anti-cancer, anti-viral and immunomodulatory effects. (5,6) It also contains β-glucans and enzymatically hydrolysed oligosaccharides which show antihyperglycaemic, antihypertriglyceridaemic and anti-arteriosclerotic activities. (7)

In addition, the β-glucans present in the sun mushroom are also known to contribute to normal immune response and help keep the immune system in optimal condition.




Organic Cordyceps extract: Cordyceps sinensis is also known as the caterpillar fungus because of its peculiar shape and parasitic origin. It is a fungus known for its hepatoprotective properties as an energy tonic and at the genitourinary, immune and respiratory levels. It is rich in natural biomolecules such as β-glucans ergosterol or provitamin D essential amino acids linoleic and linolenic acid vitamins and minerals.

Its cordycepin content stands out, and together with the cordycepic acid and adenosine it contains, makes it a powerful cocktail for preventing fatigue, hence its application in sport and muscle development. (8) Its contribution to liver function has been known for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies with Cordyceps show its benefits in the treatment of liver fibrosis as well as a preventive agent for hypertension caused in the portal vein communicating with the liver, which is a common complication of cirrhosis. (9)

It has been shown to slow tissue fibrosis by reducing inflammation and thus delaying the development of cirrhosis. In addition, given its antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties, it appears that it could be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of hepatitis B. In relation to the immune system, cordycepin has been shown to be a potentially effective immunomodulator and is even used specifically to control autoimmune disorders as well as to prevent organ rejection after transplantation. Oral administration of C. sinensis extract improves macrophage phagocytosis and NK cell activity. A growing number of studies indicate that cordycepin is a modulator of the immune system through the regulation of innate and adaptive immunity. (10,11)

Cordycepin has also been reported to be effective in bronchial asthma by preventing airway inflammation and improving both mucus clearance and hydration of the airway surface, and may therefore be useful in a variety of respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma. (11)




Organic Chaga extract: Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a medicinal mushroom that has attracted community attention in recent decades due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant and anticancer properties. (12) It grows on birch trees in cold countries of Eastern Europe, Asia and North America and has been used by traditional Siberian medicine for hundreds of years to treat stomach ailments, cardiovascular liver disease and even tumours. The medicinal properties it exhibits are attributed to the poly-saccharides terpenes amino acids and β-glucans it possesses. (13)

Chaga extract has been shown to inhibit the action of proteases of certain viruses such as HIV-1 and has shown antiviral activity against hepatitis C virus and even against two strains of influenza virus (A and B). (14,15,16) (14,15,16) It has also shown an antiviral effect against herpes simplex virus type 1.(17) Some authors postulate that this antiviral activity is due to the content of betulin lupeol and mycosterols present in the fungus.

On the other hand, the antioxidant capacity of Chaga has been demonstrated by reducing intracellular levels of ROS and MDA as well as increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, whose function is to prevent the generation of free radicals. (18) Studies have shown the efficacy of aqueous and phenolic extracts of Chaga in reducing nitric oxide (NO) as well as inhibiting some markers of inflammation: IL-1β IL-6 and TNF-α. (19) Another study indicates that inhalations of Chaga extracts along with other herbs reduce airway inflammation and facilitate breathing. (20)

As for its immunostimulant and anti-tumour properties, it has been shown that the polysaccharides present in Chaga have the ability to stimulate the immune response by promoting macrophage activation through the MAPK and NF-κB signalling pathways. (21) Numerous in vitro studies using cancer cell lines have shown that polysaccharides extracted from Chaga have cytotoxic and apoptotic effects.(22)




Organic Maitake extract: Maitake or Grifola frondosa frondosa is a mushroom used in traditional medicine as a health tonic due to its adaptogenic quality. It contains β-glucans which, as with the other mushrooms mentioned, have an immunomodulatory function, as well as lectins, enzymes, provitamin D, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Because of all these components, it is especially used for weight control, detoxification and improving cardiovascular health by regulating cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension levels. (23) In traditional Asian medicine, it is used to tonify the spleen, pancreas and stomach. For this reason, this action has been analysed and some studies have shown that it has anti-diabetic and anti-nephritic effects.

One particular study investigated the hypoglycaemic, anti-diabetic, anti-nephrotic and antioxidant properties of G. frondosa polysaccharides in diabetic rats. After a 4-week treatment with 100 mg/kg metformin and 200 mg/kg of a G. frondosa extract, diabetic rats increased body weight and suppressed plasma glucose, indicating hypoglycaemic activities. Furthermore, G. frondosa polysaccharides were associated with modulation of serum levels of oxidative factors such as SOD or catalase revealing their antioxidant properties. Inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B activities in serum and kidneys also suggested anti-nephritic capacity.(24) Finally, its properties have been evaluated in combination with conventional treatments to improve the quality of life of sick people as it boosts the immune system by activating and increasing the effectiveness of NK cells and lymphocytes, increasing the expression of interleukins IL-1 IL-2 and IL-12 and increasing the production of NO.(25) A part of the polysaccharides contained in the so-called griffon D fraction is even attributed with a powerful anti-metastatic and tumour growth inhibiting action.(26)




In short, the synergy of the active ingredients of this mixture of mushrooms plays an important role in protecting the immune system. It can also be used in convalescent patients with infectious degenerative consumptive processes in post-traumatic and senile patients and as a restorative.


Bibliographic References:

1. Liu, Q., & Tie, L. (2019). Preventive and Therapeutic Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Diabetes. Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1182, 201–215. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-32-9421-9_8

2. Ahmad, M. F., et al. (2021). Ganoderma lucidum: A potential source to surmount viral infections through β-glucans immunomodulatory and triterpenoids antiviral properties. International journal of biological macromolecules, 187, 769–779

3. Wang J, et al. (2017). Emerging Roles of Ganoderma Lucidum in Anti-Aging. Aging Dis. 2017;8(6):691-707.

4. Chunchao Han et al. (2013). The Medicinal Values of Culinary-Medicinal Royal Sun Mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murrill). Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Volume 2013, Article ID 842619, 6 pages.

5. Liyan Jiang et al. (2018). Low-molecular-weight polysaccharides from Agaricus blazei Murrill modulate the Th1 response in cancer immunity. Oncology Letters, 2018; 15: 3429-3436.

6. C. Faccin et al., (2007). Antiviral activity of aqueous and ethanol extracts and of an isolated polysaccharide from Agaricus brasiliensis against poliovirus type 1, Letters in Applied Microbiology, 2007; 45 (1), 24–28.

7. W. Kim et al. (2005). Anti-diabetic activity of -glucans and their enzymatically hydrolyzed oligosaccharides from Agaricus blazei, Biotechnology Letters, 2005; 27 (7), 483–487.

8. Liu, Y., Wang, J., Wang, W., Zhang, H., Zhang, X. y Han, C. (2015). The chemical constituents and pharmacological actions of Cordyceps sinensis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM , 2015 , 575063. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/575063

9. Liu YK, Shen W. (2003). Inhibitive effect of cordyceps sinensis on experimental hepatic fibrosis and its possible mechanism.. World J Gastroenterol.. 2003 Mar;9(3):529-33.

10. Lin B, Li S. (2011). Cordyceps as an herbal drug. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal medicine: biomolecular and clinical aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Ratón (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 5. Available in: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92758/

11. Ashraf, SA, Elkhalifa, AEO, Siddiqui, AJ, Patel, M., Awadelkareem, AM, Snoussi, M., Ashraf, MS, Adnan, M. y Hadi, S. (2020). Cordycepin for health and wellness: a potent bioactive metabolite of an entomopathogenic Cordyceps medicinal mushroom and its nutraceutical and therapeutic potential. Molecules (Basilea, Suiza) , 25 (12), 2735. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122735

12. Illana-Esteban, C. Medicinal interest of “chaga” (Inonotus obliquus). Soc. Micol. 2011, Madrid 35: 175-185.

13. Rogers, R. The fungal pharmacy. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA. 2011.

14. Ichimura T. et al. (1998). Inhibition of HIV-1 protease by water-soluble lignin-like substance from an edible mushroom, Fuscoporia obliqua. Biotechnol. Biochem. 1998; 62: 575-577.

15. Shibnev VA et al. (2011). Antiviral Activity of Inonotus Obliquus Fungus Extract towards Infection Caused by Hepatitis C Virus in Cell Cultures. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2011; 151: 612-614.

16. Kahlos, K. (1996). Preliminary test of antiviral activity of two strains of Inonotus obliquus. Phytotherapy 1996; 67: 344–347.

17. K Kapp. et al. (2017). Antiviral effect of Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilat extract against herpes simplex virus type 1 in vitro. Planta Medica International Open 2017; 4(S 01): S1-S202.

18. Trishna Debnath et al. (2013). Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Inonotus obliquus and germinated brown rice extracts. Molecules, 2013; 18(8):9293-304.

19. Q Van et al. (2009). Anti-inflammatory effect of Inonotus obliquus, Polygala senega L., and Viburnum trilobum in a cell screening assay. J Ethnopharmacol; 2009; 125(3):487-93.

20. Shashkina M.Y. et al. Chemical and medicobiological properties of chaga (review). Chem. J. 2006; 40: 560-568.

21. Dong Pil Won et al. (2011). Immunostimulating activity by polysaccharides isolated from fruiting body of Inonotus obliquus. Mol Cells, 2011; 31(2):165-73.

22. Sung Hak Lee et al. (2009). Antitumor activity of water extract of a mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, against HT-29 human colon cancer cells. Phytother Res. 2009; 23(12):1784-9.

23. Ganesan, K. y Xu, B. (2018). Anti-obesity effects of medicinal and edible mushrooms. Molecules (Basilea, Suiza) , 23 (11), 2880. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23112880

24. Kou, L., Du, M., Liu, P., Zhang, B., Zhang, Y., Yang, P., Shang, M., & Wang, X. (2019). Anti-Diabetic and Anti-Nephritic Activities of Grifola frondosa Mycelium Polysaccharides in Diet-Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats Via Modulation on Oxidative Stress. Applied biochemistry and biotechnology, 187(1), 310–322. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12010-018-2803-6

25. Vetvicka, Vaclav y Jana Vetvickova. (2014). “Immunostimulatory effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts.” Annals of translational medicine vol. 2,2 (2014): 14. https://doi.org/10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2014.01.05

26. Kodama, N., Murata, Y., Asakawa, A., Inui, A., Hayashi, M., Sakai, N. y Nanba, H. (2005). Maitake D-Fraction enhances antitumor effects and reduces immunosuppression of mitomycin-C in tumor-bearing mice. Nutrition, 21 (5), 624-629.


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