Mushrooms have long been used as a medicinal food and as a tea in Chinese herbology. Clinical, animal, and cellular research has shown some mushrooms may be able to up-regulate aspects of the immune system. Notable mushrooms used in Chinese herbology include Reishi and Shiitake.Anticancer activities Lentinan and PSK are mushroom isolates used for anticancer activity in Japan and China. Irofulven and acylfulvene are semi-synthetic anticancer compounds derived from the mushroom isolate illudin S. Bristol-Myers Squibb produces paclitaxel using Penicillium raistrickii and plant cell fermentation (PCF). Endophytic fungi can synthesize the etoposide and teniposide precursor podophyllotoxin, as well as the topotecan and irinotecan precursor camptothecin. Clavariadelphus truncatus creates the farnesyltransferase inhibitor clavaric acid. Agaricus bisporus and Agaricus subrufescens create CLA. Inonotus obliquus creates the betulinic acid precursor betulin. Cholesterol biosynthesis inhibitors Mevastatin, the first known statin, and pravastatin precursor, was originally isolated from Penicillium citrinum. Lovastatin, the first commercial statin, was originally isolated from Aspergillus terreus and later isolated from several Pleurotus species. Monascus purpureus, used for red yeast rice, can synthesize lovastatin, mevastatin, and the simvastatin precursor monacolin. Zaragozic acids
were originally isolated from Sporornieua intermedia, Amauroascus niger, and Leptodontium elatius. Antimicrobial and antiviral activities Fungi secrete antimicrobial and antiviral compounds. Hispidin is a neuraminidase inhibitor isolated from Phellinus linteus. A proteinase inhibitor was isolated from Lentinula edodes. Atromentin is an antibiotic isolated from Hydnellum peckii. Penicillin, cephalosporins, usnic acid, plectasin, fusidic acid, fumagillin, brefeldin A, verrucarin A, fusafungine, and alamethicin, are antibiotics discovered in fungi that do not produce mushrooms. Strobilurin, azoxystrobin, caspofungin, micafungin, griseofulvin, echinocandin, and papulacandin B, are antifungals discovered in fungi that do not produce mushrooms. Aspergillus nidulans creates the anidulafungin precursor echinocandin B. Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms that are used or studied as possible treatments for diseases. Research shows that various species of mushrooms produce antiviral, antimicrobial, anticancer, antihyperglycemic, cardioprotective, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Lentinan and PSK are mushroom extracts which are licensed pharmaceuticals in certain countries. Fungi that do not produce mushrooms, were the original source of penicillin, griseofulvin, mycophenolate, ciclosporin, mizoribine, mycophenolic acid, the first statins, and cephalosporins, and are used to produce paclitaxel.