Mushrooms for the Gallbladder

Abdominal pain is one of the most common complaints in the clinic, and if gallbladder involvement is suspected, there is a fine margin as to what treatment should be given, whether it is medical or surgical. Cholecystitis or gallbladder inflammation, further caused by other pathologies such as gallstones or infection, can be dealt with in a more conservative manner. Through personal recount of a surgeon who had gall stones himself, he had found a more practical way to deal with his gall stones and avoid surgery all in all — and that is to take medicinal mushrooms.

Gallbladder conditions range from inflammation to obstruction, most commonly by gall stones formation. Risk factors include a sedentary lifestyle and a diet rich in refined sugars. In genetically prone individuals, these two factors lead to an abnormal bile composition, altered gut microflora, and hyperinsulinemia, with resulting gallstone formation. These are more commonly found in Western countries, probably associated with higher fat content and refined carbohydrates in their diets resulting in more obese and overweight individuals predisposed to having gall stones in their lifetime. Other risk factors include being a female at the age beyond forty years as they approach the perimenopausal period and who have been pregnant one or more times. Furthermore, caucasians have also been found to have more prevalent episodes of gallstones.

As the gallbladder stores bile for the emulsification of ingested fat, it also contains salts and inorganic elements that it uses to process large fat particles. These salts, however, make it prone to stone formation, which can obstruct the narrow cystic duct and can cause gallbladder inflammation. Gallbladder inflammation primarily results from growing stones within the organ as the deposits of bile sludge increase the saturation of its contents, such as calcium, cholesterol, and glycoproteins. In western countries, the hyper-saturated bile is mostly composed of cholesterol, and is thus known as cholesterol stones. An increase in cholesterol concentration may be influenced by an alteration in liver function, as it is the organ greatly contributory to fat metabolism.

Normally, the presence of stones does not guarantee the presence of any symptom, but if the inflammation is sufficient, it can manifest as upper right quadrant pain, fever, and yellowing of the skin. Ultimately, if the symptoms do not subside even with treatment, this may lead to surgery to remove the obstruction, or even the entire gallbladder itself.

Mycological approach: Pharmacologic and Integrative treatment

In the event of cholecystitis, a combination of pain relievers and antibiotics are administered to manage the pain and the growth of infectious bacteria in the gallbladder. If the patient is unresponsive to the medications, surgical removal of the gallbladder is indicated. But in order to prevent going down this option, integrative treatment with medicinal mushrooms is highly advocated even by doctors themselves, not only based on personal experiences but also based on years of research.

Ganoderma lucidum

Reishi has been known for its benefits in cellular oxidation and anti-inflammatory potential. These activities support its function in the biliary system as it is hepatoprotective.  Reishi contains triterpenoids and polysaccharides that  reduce the oxidative stress in the liver and thus can improve the function of the biliary system. It has also been known to manage jaundice, mostly seen in patients with a pathology in the biliary flow. In addition to these, its function in inflammatory and immune function helps manage pancreatitis, and may improve overall prognosis.

Polyporus umbellatus

Polyporus is considered an excellent natural draining agent, traditionally used to promote urination (diuresis).  Previous studies show that its extract results in an increase in urine production and a promotion of electrolyte excretion.  Nowadays, it is used as an adjuvant in urinary disorders, acute nephritis and gallstones.

Cordyceps sinensis

Cordyceps has long been used to manage fatigue and pain in kidney failure, historically. In a study, it was found to have clinically significant nephrologic function after daily cordyceps intake in chronic renal failure patients.Urinary proteins were also found to be reduced in these patients, with regular intake of Cordyceps.

In addition to these, their immunity was improved. The hematologic indices was also reviewed to improve in chronic renal failure patients presenting with anemia. Furthermore, hypertension in the same individuals was observed to be reduced, thus reducing comorbidities in these chronic renal failure patients. Overall, patients treated with cordyceps were found to have hastened recovery period, compared to those who are not given the mushroom extract.


Cholecystitis is  interrelated with the different pathologies of the gallbladder, from inflammation, gallstone formation, up to infection. Before these clinical symptoms progress to unmanageable manifestations that may lead to surgery, adherence to medical and integrative treatment is a must to avoid invasive treatment all in all. In addition to the supportive treatment of a balanced diet, a decreased intake of fatty and glycemic foods, and an overall weight management, utilizing mycomedicine is a practical way to manage gallbladder disease.