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< class="article__title title the-7-best-mushrooms-for-inflammation-and-immune-health"> The 7 Best Mushrooms for Inflammation and Immune Health>
The 7 Best Mushrooms for Inflammation and Immune Health
Nov 15, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

The 7 Best Mushrooms for Inflammation and Immune Health

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    A rising star in the holistic health field, Dr. Sony Sherpa has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Although she started writing on Nature’s Rise one year ago, her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine.

  • |
  • 16 min read

Chronic inflammation can damage tissue and cause ailments such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, joint pain associated with arthritis, and cancer. While you could turn to medications to treat chronic inflammation, how about you start with something natural—like mushrooms for inflammation? 

Lion's mane, Reishi, Chaga, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Maitake, and Shiitake mushrooms feature effective mechanisms that fight chronic inflammation. Moreover, the health benefits of these functional mushrooms fight inflammation without causing as many side effects as those associated with pharmaceutical drugs. 

However, how exactly do medicinal mushrooms act as a natural remedy for chronic inflammation? Below, you will learn how consuming mushrooms helps you avoid symptoms of inflammation, including stiffness, pain, and swelling, and reduces the risk of inflammation-related diseases like inflammatory bowel diseases, arthritis, and cancer. 

Health Benefits of Mushrooms for Inflammation

Mushrooms have been used extensively for thousands of years due to their nutritional and medicinal value. According to recent studies(1), edible mushroom extracts have positive therapeutic and health-promoting effects, especially in the case of diseases linked to inflammation. 

The phenolic and indolic compounds, polysaccharides, mycosteroids, carotenoids, vitamins, fatty acids, and biometals are just a few of the anti-inflammatory substances abundant in mushrooms.

Read More: See the nutritional value of Maitake mushrooms.

Below we will unearth the scientific evidence of medicinal mushrooms for inflammation and the best seven fungi that help fight inflammatory diseases like arthritis, different cancers, etc.  

1. Lion's Mane

Lion's Mane For Inflammation

Hericium erinaceus, or Lion's mane mushroom, is renowned for its brain-boosting effects but has also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane boosts memory.

Fights Obesity-Related Inflammation

Lion's mane's anti-inflammatory effects have been demonstrated on fatty tissues. For example, in a study(2), the mushroom extract significantly suppressed interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production, two inflammation-causing compounds. The mushroom, therefore, can fight obesity-related chronic low-grade inflammation in the adipose tissue, a primary initiator of metabolic diseases. 

Research conducted in 2022(3) showed that low-grade inflammation is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, especially in obese people. This suggests that adding Lion's mane to your diet or foods can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition that makes it impossible for the body to regulate its blood sugar levels. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights diabetes

Eliminates Gut Inflammation

Lion's mane mushroom polysaccharides function as probiotics. It strengthens the host immune system and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. 

These results(4) have been shown in animals with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), where the mushroom extracts have led to clinical improvements. In addition, lion's mane mushroom extract is also linked to a lower incidence of colon inflammation and indigestion.

Wages War Against Brain Inflammation

Inflammation in the brain is linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. In this 2019 study(5), the extracts of Lion's mane showed potent neuroprotective activity, and results indicated an anti-inflammatory action. These findings demonstrated Lion's mane might be a potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent in the brain.

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights Parkinson's disease.

2. Reishi


Another mushroom for inflammation is Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum.  It has antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory components, and studies(6) have also shown Reishi helps alleviate asthma symptoms.

Effective Treatment for Airway Inflammation

One of the things that cause asthma to develop is chronic airway inflammation in the body. In adults with asthma, an herbal remedy containing 62.5% Reishi mushroom was found to be well-tolerated and safe.

This Reishi dietary supplement helps people with asthma breathe more easily and thus strengthens their respiratory systems. Additionally, it was discovered that Reishi mushroom was just as successful at controlling asthma as systemic steroids.

Read More:See how Reishi fights Allergies like asthma

Fights Bowel Inflammation

In one study(7), bioactive compounds found in Reishi (Triterpene ganoderic acid) decreased TNF-α production and other proinflammatory proteins in people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It also inhibited the mucosal inflammatory pathways implicated in the development of the disease.

Improves Skin Inflammation

Eczema, or dermatitis, is another chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that affects millions worldwide. Reishi mushrooms have the potential to help with eczema because they have been shown to improve immunity and reduce inflammation

In one study(8), researchers determined that the effectiveness of Reishi mushroom was effective in treating severe atopic dermatitis (ADE), reliving symptoms of the disease in the study subjects. 

Read More: See all the benefits of Reishi for the skin

3. Chaga

Chaga For Inflammation

Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is rich in bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and betulinic acid. These bioactive compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Chaga may help to reduce inflammation in the body by modulating the immune system, reducing oxidative stress, and inhibiting inflammatory pathways. 

Stimulates Production of Anti-Inflammatory Molecules

Chaga mushroom stimulates cytokine production(9), vital molecules with anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, it can fight several inflammatory diseases like colitis. 

In a study(10)oral administration of Chaga mushrooms ameliorated acute inflammation in mice with colitis. In addition, Chaga extracts suppressed tissue swelling and mucosal damage and markedly decreased the levels of inflammatory markers.

Fights Histamine to Reduce Microvascular Inflammation

The phenolic compounds in the fruit bodies of Inonotus obliquus were discovered to reduce histamine's ability to cause microvascular inflammation in an animal experiment conducted in 2019(11)

On a microvascular level, inflammation can impair cell-to-cell communication and, if left unchecked, may even result in cardiovascular diseases. However, several ingredients in this delectable mushroom seem to reduce microvascular inflammation.

Read More: See all the benefits of Chaga mushrooms

4. Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail

Traditional uses of Turkey tail mushrooms or Trametes versicolor include treating(12) inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, and airway inflammation (bronchitis). The mushroom, therefore, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. 

Turkey Tail is Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Compounds

The Turkey tail mushroom inflammation benefits were explored in this 2018 study(13)The fungus is rich in bioactive substances like triterpenoids, phenols, and sterols that have been shown to inhibit both the inflammation process and the chemicals that trigger it.

It has been demonstrated that the mushroom's mycelium significantly increases the proinflammatory cytokines, which the body uses to fight inflammation. In addition, the Turkey tail mushroom was also said to produce virus-fighting chemicals, according to the same study.

Turkey Tail Fights Joint Inflammation

One study(14) described how polysaccharide krestin isolated from Turkey tail works to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The foot diameters of six groups of male Wistar rats were measured with calipers. The findings revealed a noticeable reduction in foot diameter.

Read More: See all the health benefits of turkey tail mushrooms.

5. Cordyceps

Cordyceps For Inflammation

Cordyceps contains bioactive compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. These bioactive compounds include cordycepin, polysaccharides, and ergosterol. 

Fights Joint Inflammation Associated with Arthritis

In this 2019 study(15), researchers discovered that cordycepin decreased joint pathology, synovial inflammation, and pain behavior in rats and people with rheumatoid arthritis

Another study(16) looked into the effects of cordycepin on rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Results showed that cordycepin inhibited inflammatory markers associated with arthritis. This suggests that the mushroom can be effective in fighting symptoms of arthritis, including joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

Fights Airway Inflammation

Cordyceps has been traditionally used to support lung function and may be beneficial for people with respiratory conditions that involve inflammation, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

One study(17) determined that Cordyceps plays a protective role in lung fibrosis by fighting inflammation. Another study confirmed(18) that the mushroom effectively fights airway inflammation, acting as a natural remedy for COPD. 

Read More: See the health benefits of Cordyceps for Lungs.

6. Maitake


Maitake or Grifola frondosa is also one of the best mushrooms for inflammation. Research suggests that maitake mushrooms contain various bioactive compounds, such as beta-glucans and ergothioneine. These compounds may have anti-inflammatory effects by modulating the immune system and reducing the production of proinflammatory molecules in the body.

Maitake Fights Hepatitis Inflammation

In a 2021 experiment on animals(19), the effect of a maitake mushroom extract on hepatitis-related inflammatory processes was investigated. Results indicate that maitake mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties because the mice who received them had lower levels of inflammation than the control group.

Bioactive Components in Maitake Reduce Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory properties of o-orsellinaldehyde, a naturally occurring substance found in the superfood Grifola frondosa, were investigated in a 2021 study(20). The results demonstrated that o-orsellinaldehyde is one of the most effective inflammatory mediators that significantly inhibits the inflammatory responses in astrocytes and microglia. Additionally, o-orsellinaldehyde prevents NF-B (an inflammatory marker) activation in microglia cells.

Read More: See all the benefits of maitake mushrooms.

7. Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushroom species are known for their potential anti-inflammatory properties. They contain various compounds, including polysaccharides, beta-glucans (β-glucan), and ergothioneine. These bioactive compounds have been studied for their potential effects on reducing inflammation in the body.

Fights Tumor-Related Inflammation

Shiitake mushrooms have a bioactive compound called lentinan, which has been studied for its potential ability to exert anti-tumor effects. Studies have shown(21) Lentinan stimulates the immune function, enhances the production of natural killer cells and T-cells, and reduces inflammation in the body. 

Some studies have suggested that Lentinan may help fight growth of cancer cells, particularly in patients with certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Shiitake Modulates the Immune System

Research has shown(22) that Shiitake mushrooms are effective immune system modulators. Modulating the immune system can help fight inflammation by regulating the body's immune response and reducing the production of proinflammatory molecules.

FAQs About Mushrooms for Inflammation

Which Mushroom Is Best For Inflammation?

Among the many types of mushrooms, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, Lion's Mane, and Chaga have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Reishi mushrooms, for example, contain a group of triterpenoids that have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. On the other hand, Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called ergothioneine, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, Maitake mushrooms have beta-glucans, a compound that has been found to have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Cordyceps mushrooms are known for their potent anti-inflammatory effects. Lion's Mane mushrooms boast anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Chaga mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties and are also believed to have immune-boosting effects.

Is Lion's Mane Good For Inflammation?

Lion's Mane mushrooms contain anti-inflammatory compounds, making them a potential natural remedy for inflammation. In addition, research has suggested that Lion's Mane mushrooms may help reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory molecules. 

Specifically, Lion's Mane mushrooms contain compounds called polysaccharides and beta-glucans that have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, these compounds inhibit the production of chemicals that contribute to inflammation in the body.

Which Mushroom Is Best For Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. While rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, research has found that several edible mushrooms have medicinal properties that may benefit people with this condition.

Reishi mushrooms, for example, may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, Shiitake mushrooms help reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Maitake mushrooms may also help reduce inflammation and improve joint health in people with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, cordyceps mushrooms have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, and they may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Key Takeaways

While acute inflammation is a normal bodily process, chronic inflammation increases the risk of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases. 

However, functional mushrooms such as Reishi, Lion's mane, Turkey tail, Chaga, Cordyceps, Shiitake, and Maitake can act as a natural remedy for inflammation. To fight the pain, stiffness, swelling, and other symptoms associated with chronic inflammation, add the mushroom powder to water, juice, or your favorite snack. 

However, if this is the first time you are taking mushrooms as a natural remedy to your chronic inflammation, be sure to talk to your doctor first. The doctor will help you determine the ideal dosage for these mushrooms, helping you avoid side effects and enjoy their significant anti-inflammatory effects. 

Have you used mushrooms for inflammation? Which mushroom did you use? Was the mushroom an effective treatment for the symptoms of inflammation? Let us know in the comments. 

We Would Love To Here Your Comments Leave A Comment


  1. Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms: A review, (1)
  2. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion's Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages, (2) 
  3. Low-grade inflammation in type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional study from a Danish diabetes outpatient clinic, (3) 
  4. Extracts from Hericium erinaceus relieve inflammatory bowel disease by regulating immunity and gut microbiota, (4) 
  5. Lion's Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia, (5) 
  6. Safety and tolerability of an antiasthma herbal Formula (ASHMI) in adult subjects with asthma: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation phase I study, (6) 
  7. Anti-inflammatory Effects of Ganoderma lucidum Triterpenoid in Human Crohn's Disease Associated with Downregulation of NF-κB Signaling, (7) 
  8. Useful Treatment of Severe Atopic Dermatitis with Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi): A Multiple-Case study, (8) 
  9. Inonotus obliquus extracts suppress antigen-specific IgE production through the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines in ovalbumin-sensitized mice,  (9)
  10. Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice,  (10)
  11. Inonotus obliquus attenuates histamine-induced microvascular inflammation, (11) 
  12. Anti-inflammatory activities of the chemical constituents isolated from Trametes versicolor, (12) 
  13. The mycelium of the Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail) mushroom and its fermented substrate each show potent and complementary immune activating properties in vitro, (13) 
  14. Effect of Polysaccharide Krestin on MMP3 Expression and Foot Diameter in Rheumatoid Arthritis in Rat, (14) 
  15. The polyadenylation inhibitor cordycepin reduces pain, inflammation and joint pathology in rodent models of osteoarthritis, (15) 
  16. Cordycepin inhibits IL-1β-induced MMP-1 and MMP-3 expression in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts, (16) 
  17. Protective roles of Cordyceps on lung fibrosis in cellular and rat models, (17) 
  18. Cordyceps sinensis inhibits airway remodeling in rats with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (18) 
  19. Influence of thick extract from maitake mushrooms on signs of inflammatory process in experimental toxic hepatitis, (19)
  20. Anti-Inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Effects of the Grifola frondosa Natural Compound o-Orsellinaldehyde on LPS-Challenged Murine Primary Glial Cells. Roles of NF-κβ and MAPK, (20)
  21. Mushroom polysaccharide lentinan for treating different types of cancers: A review of 12 years clinical studies in China, (21)
  22. Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults, (22)

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