Bioactive compounds derived from mushrooms include polysaccharides known as glucans, as well as polysaccharide-protein complexes, some of which have been developed as anticancer treatments. They elicit antitumor, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antihypercholesterolemic, antidiabetic, and hepato-protective effects.
Supplemental forms include tablets, capsules, teas, and liquid extracts originating from both natural and artificially cultivated fruiting bodies and mycelial extracts; spores and their extracts are also used, but less frequently. Patients use them to improve immune function, as a cancer treatment, and to prevent recurrence.
Research over the past few decades has focused on maitake (Grifola frondosa), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), coriolus (Coriolus versicolor), shiitake (Lentinula edodes), and agaricus (Agaricus blazei), which are predominantly used in Asia.