Is Now The Time Your Dog Learned About Medicinal Mushrooms? How Mushrooms Can Help Treat Canine Cancer


If you have been to our website before you will know that we love medicinal mushrooms! Not just a little bit but lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots( you get the idea)

​And we think every human on the planet should take them to improve their health and well being. 

But what if you are not human? 

What if you're a dog?

And you can't reach your owners healthy supplement stash. No matter how hard you jump? 

Then what do you do?

What Every Smart Dog Needs To Know!

So lets get down to the basics what are medicinal mushrooms? It could be said that all edible mushrooms are medicinal as they contain many vitamins and minerals that help to maintain a healthy body.

For example mushrooms are a  good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Zinc and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin D, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Selenium.

Now none of the above are to be sniffed at and all play important roles in the body.

For example Selenium is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent damage to the cells and tissues as well as support the immune system.

So what makes medicinal mushrooms the dogs bollocks? Or the Mutts nuts?

Lets find out.

The Big Dogs Of The Medicinal Mushroom World

The Reishi Mushrom

Ling Zhi/Ganaderma Lucidum or the Reishi mushroom as it is more commonly known is probably one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms of recent times.

The Reishi mushroom has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years in China and Asia and was considered a panacea due to its numerous health benefits and was highly sort after.  

Thanks to modern technolody we now know Reishi is primarily composed of complex carbohydrates called water-soluble polysaccharides, triterpeniods, proteins and amino acids.

Researchers have identified that water-soluble polysaccharides are the most active element found in Reishi that have anti-tumour, immune modulating and blood pressure lowering effects.

Medicinal mushrooms and dogs

​Reishi mushrooms are also full of rather unique unsaturated hydrocarbons called Triterpenes and Reishi contains hundreds of them! And more are still being found.

One of the most remarking qualities of triterpenes researched in the scientific field is their cytotoxicity (cyto=cell) against cancer and tumor cells.  For the study click 

Triterpenes have also been studied for their heptoprotective effects on the liver, meaning that they protect the liver from damage and can help balance the livers enzymes. They were also found to reduce inflamation and restore oxidant balance in the liver.

In Chinese medicine herbs that have a bitter flavour are said to act upon the liver and if you have ever tried a high quality Reishi extract you will know it is certainly bitter!

It seems Chinese medicine knew something before western medicine in regards to how certain herbs effect the human body. 

Reishi also has a positive effect on the kidneys, 14 patients with proteinuria, a sign of kidney disease, used Reishi.  All 14 patients got rid of the proteinuria after using reishi and restored their immune system to proper balance. For the study click HERE

Turkey Tail Mushroom

The next mushroom we are going to look at is called coriolus versicolor or more commonly the Turkey tail mushroom, so named due to the shape and colouring of the fruiting mushroom which resembles the tail of a Turkey.

This polypore mushroom is quite common in the UK and the rest of the world and can be seen growing on trees espeically fallen dead branches, logs and stumps.

The name polypore is given due the many porous holes on the underside of the mushroom ( poly=many pore=hole) which are used to release spores into the air and the surrounding area. This slightly differs to say Button mushrooms which have gills to do the same job.

medicinal mushrooms and dogs

A Macrophage Stretching In Two Directions To Engulf Unwanted Microbes

​Now lets get to the good part! Turkey Tail mushrooms contain a  protien bound polysaccharide or PSP that has a very positive anti-tumor effect. The way this works is the Turkey Tail acts like a biological response modifier increasing the bodies ability to use macrophages and T-lymphocytes.

Macrophages or literally Big=Macro Eaters=Phages if you translated the orginal Greek, are cells found in the bodies tissues or blood within white blood cells. They go around the body hoovering up unwanted debris, foreign substances, microbes and also cancer cells.

And for that matter anything else that does not belong in a healthy body.

So now we have a mushroom that when ingested in the right form, can help us mammals increase our bodies ability to fight cancer cells. So much so that by 1987 25% of Japans national cancer drug expenditure invloved drugs made from Turkey Tail mushrooms.

With more studies being made and other polysaccharides being isolated and tested Turkey Tail certainly seems like a strong player in future cancer fighting mushroom research.

Other clinical studies using Coriolus extract alone or in combination with other botanicals also suggest positive immunomodulatory effects. See HERE

​What About Dogs?

As we have seen medicinal mushrooms certainly have a role to play in the treatment and maybe more importantly the prevention of illness in us homo sapiens, even when that illness is cancer. 

Now lets turn to our canine friend over here what can medicinal mushrooms do for them? 

Well lets first say that pretty much all of the studies and clinical trials involving medicinal mushrooms thus far have been human studies. But we did come across a study carried out at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine by Dorathy Brown and Jennifer Reetz. 

Their study was carrried out on 15 dogs who had been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, a form of cancer that occurs almost exclusively in dogs, and only rarely in cats, horses, mice, or humans.

Divided into three groups of five, each group received a different dose — 25, 50 or 100 mg/kg/day of an extract made from Turkey Tail mushrooms called PSP ( see above). The owners of the dogs were instructed to give the same dose every day for the period of the trial. 

medicinal mushrooms and dogs

​Every month the dogs had blood samples and ultrasounds taken to see the rate at which the cancers had progressed and spread throughout their bodies. Professer and chair of the Department Of Clinical Studies Dorathy Brown was amazed at the results.

“We were shocked,” Dorathy Brown said. “Prior to this, the longest reported median survival time of dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen that underwent no further treatment was 86 days. We had dogs that lived beyond a year with nothing other than this mushroom as treatment.” 

The reseachers were so suprised at the results that they had the dogs tissue biopsies retested to make sure they even had the hemangiosarcoma in the first place. And yes all biopsies were indeed positve for hemangiosarcoma.

The longest survival times were in the group taking 100mg per/kg a day of the extract, with dogs living 199 days longer than the previous survival times.

We wish in time more studies will be carried out in both humans and dogs so both may benefit from the results.

​Lets hope that we learn as much as we can about these amazing mushrooms, some of which you have probably walked past a hundred times without ever knowing they were there, just waiting to give us and our animal friends alike a helping hand.


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Neal has had long running relationship with Daoism and its health related practices including Chi Gung, Meditation and a interest in its methods of using herbs and food to generate health. He hopes his passion will rub off on you in a positive way.

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