They are not called magic mushrooms for no reason…
These three Chinese/Japanese mushrooms have been shown in vitro (meaning, in test-tube laboratory studies) to be anti-cancer and anti-tumor against certain cancer cell lines. They also show promising natural treatments for other conditions:
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): chemopreventive effects of tumor growth and metastasis (1)
Cordyceps sinensis: increases bone marrow cells (therefore decreases bone marrow suppression) (2)
Maitake (Grifolia fondaosa): increases cell-mediated immunity (3), decreases bowel inflammation through TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and may have positive effects for inflammatory bowel disease (4), inhibits tumor growth (5), enhances immunotherapy, and decreases glucose and A1c in diabetes (7).
All research has been done on the mushroom extract. Hot water extraction is the best way to pull out the medicinal compounds.
(1): Weng et al (2010). Clin Exp Metastasis
(2): Xiao et al (2010). Cell immunol
(3):Masuda et al (2009) J Agric food chem.
(4):Lee et al (2010) Exp Mol Med.
(5):Kodama et al (2010). J Med food.
(6): Masuda et al (2010). Cancer Immunol Immunother
(7): Ulbricht et al (2009). J Soc Integr Oncol