Medicinal mushrooms have been used since ancient times to prevent and treat infection and disease. Many types of medicinal mushrooms have been studied for their immune-boosting potential.
Over 270 recognized species of medicinal mushrooms are known to have immune-enhancing properties (31).
Cordyceps, reishi, maca, and turkey tail are all types that have been shown to benefit immune health (32).
Some research demonstrates that supplementing with specific types of medicinal mushrooms may enhance immune health in several ways and reduce symptoms of certain conditions, including asthma and lung infections.
For example, a study in mice with tuberculosis, a serious bacterial disease, found that treatment with cordyceps significantly reduced bacterial load in the lungs, enhanced immune response, and reduced inflammation, compared with a placebo group (33).
In a randomized, 8-week study in 79 adults, supplementing with 1.68 grams of cordyceps mycelium culture extract led to a significant 38% increase in the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell that protects against infection (34).
Turkey tail is another medicinal mushroom that has powerful effects on immune health. Research in humans indicates that turkey tail may enhance immune response, especially in people with certain types of cancer (35, 36).
Many other medicinal mushrooms have been studied for their beneficial effects on immune health as well. Medicinal mushroom products can be found in the form of tinctures, teas, and supplements (37, 38, 39, 40).
Many types of medicinal mushrooms, including cordyceps and reishi (ganoderma), may offer immune-enhancing and antibacterial effects.