Chinese remedies for cancer

Topic:David Moore's Medical Mycology Blog

In November 2000 a report was commissioned by Cancer Research UK [1] to look at the potential of medicinal mushrooms in the treatment of cancer.

The aim of this Special Study Module (SSM) is to review and produce a report accessible to all members of the public, using that original report as the starting point. In addition it will look at the history of Chinese fungal remedies which dates far back into ancient times, and has formed the basis of the research in the report. The SSM will also look into the potential of use of fungal products in the NHS as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

The major findings of the report showed that there are certain compounds found in mushrooms that have an anti-cancer effect. These compounds are known as polysaccharides. They appear to act on the host’s immune system rather than directly on the tumour. The main polysaccharides that the report focuses on are Lentinan, Schizophyllan, PSK and PSP.

These polysaccharides have undergone several clinical trials and are showing good prospects for use in Western medicine. It is just a matter of whether the Western population will accept this method of treatment.

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