Coriolus Versicolor (Mushroom)

Coriolus Versicolor (Mushroom)

"PSK [Coriolus Versicolor] acts as an immuno-modulator and is used primarily in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical treatments for cancer. Clinical studies have demonstrated significant results, results that would make headlines if obtained through conventional treatments: 30% vs. 10% disease-free survival for colon cancer patients over and eight-year clinical trial when PSK was used alone and tested against a placebo; 22% vs. 5% survival at five years for stage III lung cancer patients who were given radiation plus PSK as opposed to radiation alone; 81% vs. 64% survival at ten years for breast cancer patients who were given chemotherapy plus PSK as opposed to chemotherapy alone; 73% vs. 60% survival at five years for gastric cancer patients who combined daily PSK use with their chemotherapy as opposed to chemotherapy alone. This study, published in Lancet, found these results to be significant." While PSK may have a profoundly higher survival rate than orthodox treatments, it is definitely not in the "top 50" of alternative treatments as currently used.

Ask the Herbalist: What is Coriolus Versicolor?
Health Concerns

8001 Capwell Drive; Oakland, California 94621 USA Phone: 510-639-0280, Fax: 510-639-9140 -

Coriolus, also known as Yun Zhi and Turkey Tail, is a mushroom widely used in Japan as an adjunct to biomedical cancer treatments. In terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Coriolus is said to clear dampness, phelgm and heat. Over 400 clinical studies have demonstrated that Coriolus polysacchahde extracts have immune modulating and anti-tumor effects. In vitro and laboratory experiments have demonstrated that Coriolus boosts NK cell activity, inhibits metastic activity, improves interferon and interleukin-2 response, and T cell proliferation. It also counteracts the depressive effect of cyclophosphamide on white blood cell counts. In laboratory experiments Coriolus polysaccharides antagonize immuno-suppression by prednisone, and have radio protective and liver protective effects. Patients using Coriolus as an adjunct to conventional cancer treatments have increased survival rates.

In a study published in Lancet, a group of 262 gastric cancer patients, who underwent gastrectomy followed by chemotherapy, were randomly divided into two groups. The group that was placed on Coriolus during chemotherapy had a survival rate of 73% as opposed to 60% for the group who underwent chemotherapy alone. Another study was conducted on 185 patients with stages I, II, or III non-small cell lung cancer who were treated with radiotherapy. Those with stages I or II who were administered Coriolus had a 39% five-year survival rate as opposed to the 22% and 16% survival rates respectively of patients of the same disease stages who had not received Coriolus. Stage III patients who took Coriolus had a 22% survival rate versus none for the non-Coriolus group.

Cancers that have been reported to respond to Coriolus include stomach, uterine, colon, lung, colorectal, prostate, breast, and liver. In the overall treatment of cancer, Coriolus seems to be most beneficial when used as an adjunct to conventional therapeutic regimens. Researchers suggest that Coriolus appears to counteract the immune suppression of the conventional therapies and the toxic processes of cancer proliferation.

Case One

Keith was a 68 year-old retired electrician who was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Occasionally he had perianal pain and difficulty with urination, though he was usually asymptomatic.

As it was determined that his cancer was slow growing he elected to treat himself with PC Spes, an over the counter herbal remedy for prostate health that has been well researched. It contains: Ganoderma Ling Zhi, Scutellaria baicalsensis Huang Qin, Rabdosia rubescens, Isatis Da Qing Ye, Dendranthema morifolium, Serenoa repens Saw Palmetto, Panax notoginseng San Qi, Licorice Gan Cao (2 caps tid). Response was good resulting in reduction of PSA levels. However, he elected to stop taking PC Spes after six months due to the high cost. The reason for coming to our clinic was to improve his immune system. His pulse was slippery and his tongue reddish purple with a yellow coat. We recommended Coriolus PS containing: Coriolus Versicolor Yun Zhi (2 tabs qid) plus Essence Chamber which contains: Patrinia Bai Jiang Cao, Saw Palmetto Concentrate Serronoae serrulatae, Salvia Dan Shen, Vaccaria Wang Bu Liu Xing, Liquidamber Lu Lu Tong, Hydrangea Hydrangeae arborscentis, Damiana Turnerae aphrodisia cae, Poria Fu Ling, Tokoro Bi Jie, Abutilon Dong Gua Zi (2 tabs Qid). After two weeks, Keith reported his urine flow was stronger. His pulse was unchanged and his tongue was no longer coated.

After being on the protocol for six weeks, he no longer had perianal pain or difficulty with urination. Keith remained on the protocol for six months, as tolerance was good.

Case 2

Barbara, a 38 year-old woman, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was treated with surgery and chemotherapy. In addition to fatigue, Barbara had painful and burning urination as well as constantly feeling like she had to urinate, burning and numbness of her extremities, and nausea. Currently, she was taking antioxidants and had a vegetarian diet.
Barbara's pulse was rapid and tight and her tongue was bright red and dry. We recommended that she try to increase her consumption of protein, as adequate protein is essential for cancer recovery. Initially we recommended a combination of Clear Heat containing: Isatis Extract Ban Lan Gen & Da Qing Ye, Oldenlandia Bai Hua She She Cao, Lonicera Jin Yin Hua, Prunella Xia Ku Cao, Andrographis Chuan Xin Lian, Laminaria Kun Bu, Viola Zi Hua Di Ding, Cordyceps Dong Chong Xia Cao, Licorice Gan Cao; and Akebia Moist Heat which contains Akebia Trifoliata root Mu Tong, Pyrrosia Flower Shi Wei, Plantago seed Che Qian Zi, Dianthus herb Qu Mai, Lygodium spore Hai Jin Shu, Gardinia flower Zhi Zi, Magnesium salts Hua Shi, Tetrapanax pith Deng Xing Cao, Licorice root Gan Cao, Jurinea root Mu Xiang, Rhubarb root Zhi Da Huang (2 tabs of each formula Qid) with peppermint tea. Tolerance was good, however sometimes she missed a dosage because of her nausea.

After two weeks her urinary symptoms were greatly decreased, and there was improvement in the burning sensation in her legs at night. Her pulse was less rapid and still tight, and her tongue was unchanged. We recommended she continue with the herbs for another two weeks. On her return visit her fatigue was worse and her neuropathy was unchanged, although her urinary symptoms were now only occasional. Her pulse was tight and her tongue was less red. At this point we recommended Coriolus PS (3 tabs qid) and Regeneration containing: Kirin Ginseng Jilin Shen, Tang-kuei Dang Gui, Akebia fruit Ba Yue Zha, Sparganium San Leng, Zedoaria E Zhu, Notoginseng San Qi, Gentiana Long Dan Cao, Scute Huang Qin, Qin Jiao Qin Jiao, Persica Tao Ren, Moutan Mu Dan Pi, White Peony Bai Shao (2 tabs qid) with peppermint tea. After two weeks Barbara reported greater energy. Her pulse was wiry and her tongue was red. She remained on the protocol for several months.


Most of Barbara's symptoms were likely caused by chemotherapy. Clear Heat and Akebia Moist Heat were administered to reduce heat, as well as urinary burning, pain and frequency. Peppermint tea was recommended as it counters nausea and improves digestive functions. Coriolus was administered to reduce heat as well as improve her immune functioning. Regeneration was recommended to increase blood circulation and to reduce toxicity.
By Andrew Gaeddert

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