Can Medicinal Mushrooms Fight Against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19?

Keywords: Covid-19 management, reishi mushroom, medicinal mushrooms, cytokine storm protection, Basidiomycetes


The power of mushrooms as medicine was recognized nearly two thousand years ago. They are nature’s miniature pharmaceutical factories, rich in a vast array of novel constituents and wide open for exploration. Reishi mushroom also called “the mushroom of immortality” yields miraculous health benefits and contains over 400 bioactive compounds, which have a number of medicinal effects. 

Medicinal Basidiomycetes mushrooms (including reishi mushroom, almond mushroom, pom-pom mushroom, and maitake mushroom) are usually consumed in China, Japan, Thailand, and Korea as immune response modifiers for prevention of cancer, or as nutritional support during chemotherapy, and for chronic inflammatory conditions such as hepatitis and other diseases.

Presently medicinal mushrooms are mainly used as dietary supplements or functional food. Special precautions should be there, like cooking procedure, amount to consume, source of collection, and most importantly hypersensitivity (allergy) of individual person before consumption. Nevertheless, they have the potential to become real drugs from medicinal plants. Also, to explore them as dietary supplements, preclinical and clinical trials, and legal authorization are necessary.



1. Cör D, Knez Ž, Knez Hrnčič M. Antitumour, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Antiacetylcholinesterase Effect of Ganoderma Lucidum Terpenoids and Polysaccharides: A Review. Molecules. 2018;23(3):649. Published 2018 Mar 13. doi:10.3390/molecules23030649
2. Stamets P, Zwickey H. Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(1):46-47.
3. Hetland G, Johnson E, Bernardshaw SV, Grinde B. Can medicinal mushrooms have prophylactic or therapeutic effect against COVID-19 and its pneumonic superinfection and complicating inflammation?. Scand J Immunol. 2021;93(1):e12937. doi:10.1111/sji.12937
4. Rangsinth P, Sillapachaiyaporn C, Nilkhet S, Tencomnao T, Ung AT, Chuchawankul S. Mushroom-derived bioactive compounds potentially serve as the inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 main protease: An in silico approach. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2021;11(2):158-172. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2020.12.002
5. Shahzad F, Anderson D, Najafzadeh M. The Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Natural Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms and SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Nutrients. 2020;12(9):2573. Published 2020 Aug 25. doi:10.3390/nu12092573
6. Murphy EJ, Masterson C, Rezoagli E, et al. β-Glucan extracts from the same edible shiitake mushroom Lentinus edodes produce differential in-vitro immunomodulatory and pulmonary cytoprotective effects - Implications for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) immunotherapies. Sci Total Environ. 2020;732:139330. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139330
7. Jayawardena R, Sooriyaarachchi P, Chourdakis M, Jeewandara C, Ranasinghe P. Enhancing immunity in viral infections, with special emphasis on COVID-19: A review. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020;14(4):367-382. doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2020.04.015
8. Thota SM, Balan V, Sivaramakrishnan V. Natural products as home-based prophylactic and symptom management agents in the setting of COVID-19. Phytother Res. 2020;34(12):3148-3167. doi:10.1002/ptr.6794
9. Rahman MM, Mosaddik A, Alam AK. Traditional foods with their constituents antiviral and immune system modulating properties. Heliyon. 2021;7(1). doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e05957
10. Yanuck SF, Pizzorno J, Messier H, Fitzgerald KN. Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2020;19(Suppl 1):8-35.
How to Cite
Mohiuddin, A. K. (2021). Can Medicinal Mushrooms Fight Against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19?. Journal of Internal Medicine: Science & Art, 2(1), 23 - 24.