The Pleurotus Mushroom

Pleurotus ostreatus

Pleurotus, or the “Oyster mushroom” is an abundant edible mushroom. Its cultivation started in Germany during the First World War, and today it is grown worldwide. The upper side of the mushroom is in a shell form with a diameter of about 5 cm and hence its name the “Oyster mushroom”. The mushroom grows in sub-tropical forested areas of North America, along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Iran and South East Asia. Pleurotus grows on the ground and on trees. The mushroom is nourished on rotted trees but also on small warms called Nematodes (1).

Traditional applications:

Diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, hyper acidity in the stomach, constipation, cancer, hypertension (4-10, 25).

Active ingredients:

100 grams of dry extract contain:

Carbohydrates 54%, protein 16%, lipids 6%, vitamins, minerals (calcium, iron, potassium), amino acids, flavonoids, beta glucan, fluoran, gallic acid, likopan, beta carotene (25).


Pleuran is a branched polysaccharide that belongs to the beta-glucan family and is unique to the Pleurotus mushroom. The Pleuran has an anti-neoplasmic activity and it enhances the body ability to fight infections.

Pleuran has a proven anti-inflamatory activity in the intestinal tissue. In-vivo studies in mice suffering from Colitis demonstrated improvement in the indices of inflammation within 48 hours after the Pleurotus intake was initiated without any apparent weight loss (10).

The Pleuran shows an anti colon cancer cells activity, by increasing SOD and decreasing the GSH-PX (glutathione peroxidase) levels and activating the Catalase in lymphocytes (14,19).

The Pleuran has Pre-Biotic activity (18).

Anti histamine activity; Pleuran increases the TH1 lymphocytes count that protects the host from allergic response. Daily enrichment of Pleuran from a Pleurotus source significantly reduces lung diseases. Recently, the effect of Pleuran on professional athletes was explored. Pleuran administration to athletes, who suffer from shortness of breath or chronic inflammation of the respiratory system, significantly decreased the disease and improved the lung function indices (21).

Pleuran reduces the lipid levels in the blood and liver (1-3).

Chlorogenic acid (CGA)

Organic acid that has an intermediary role. The acid has a hypo-glycemic activity by inhibiting the glucose absorption from the intestine into the blood stream and reduces the liver ability to convert glycogen to glucose by inhibiting the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase.


An acid that shows intracellular anti-oxidant activity, thus protecting the cells from intracellular oxidation damage, especially in diabetes patients. Moreover, the acid has direct cytotoxic activity on damaged cells, but no effect on healthy ones.

Strengthen the walls of blood vessels and in this way protects from varicosities and hemorrhoids (5).

Cleaning poisons, increasing intracellular glutathione levels (SOD) and increasing the level of the enzyme Catalase. 

Monacolin K (mevinolinic acid):

Water soluble acid that is unique to the Pleurotus ostreatus mushroom. The acid inhibits the activity of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase. This activity allows utilizing the mushroom for reducing blood lipids, especially LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The acid inhibits up to 30% of the enzyme activity without affecting the synthesis of the CoEnzyme Q10 or Vitamin D (26).

Medical activity in research:

Hyperlipidemia (1-10), high levels of triglycerides, type 2 diabetes (4), insulin resistance (4), hypertension (4), anti-aging due to the active sulfur carrying anti-oxidants (14-19), anti-cancer, anti-tumors, immunomodulator, hepato-protective (26), HIV, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-enotoxic, anti-allergic, reduces appetite (11).     


1. Effect of mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus and isolated fungal polysaccharide on serum and liver lipids in Syrian hamsters with  hyperlipoproteinemia. Bobek P, Ginter E, Kuniak L, Babala J, Jurcovicova M, Ozdín L, Cerven J. Nutrition. 1991;7(2):105-8.

2. Cholesterol-lowering effect of the mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus in hereditary hypercholesterolemic rats. Bobek P, Ginter E, Jurcovicová M,
Kuniak L. Ann Nutr Metab. 1991;35(4):191-5.

3. Effect of oyster fungus (Pleurotus ostreatus) on serum and liver lipids of Syrian hamsters with a chronic alcohol intake. Bobek P, Ginter E,
Jurcovicová M, Ozdín L, Mekinová D. Physiol Res. 1991;40(3):327-32.

4. Effect of oyster mushroom on glycemia, lipid profile and quality of life in type 2 diabetic patients Agrawal RP, Chopra A, Lavekar GS, Padhi       MM, Srikanth N, Ota S, Jain S Diabetes Care and Research Centre, SP Medical College, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India 334003

5. N. Alam, K. N. Yoon, T. S. Lee, and U. Y. Lee, “Hypolipidemic activities of dietary Pleurotus ostreatus in hypercholesterolemic rats,”       Mycobiology, vol. 39, pp. 45–51, 2011.

6. Hypocholesterolemic activity of the genus Pleurotus (Jacq.: Fr.) P. Kumm. (Agaricales s. I., Basidiomycetes) Nina Gunde-Cimerman et
al, Int J Med Mushr 2001;3(4)

7. Evidence for the anti-hyperlipidaemic activity of the edible fungus Pleurotus ostreatus. Opletal L, Jahodár L, Chobot V, Zdanský P, Lukes J,
Brátová M, Solichová D, Blunden G, Dacke C.G, Patel A.V. Br J Biomed Sci. 1997;54(4):240-3.

8. Dietary mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) ameliorates atherogenic lipid in hypercholesterolaemic rats. Hossain S, Hashimoto M, Choudhury E.K, Alam N, Hussain S, Hasan M, Choudhury S.K, Mahmud I. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2003;30(7):470-5.

9.  Evaluation of antidiabetic potential of oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) in alloxan-induced diabetic mice Posted online on August 7,  2012

10. Effect of pleuran (β-glucan from Pleurotus ostreatus) in diet or drinking fluid on colitis in rats P. Bobek, V. Nosálová2, S. Cerná1 Food /
Nahrung Volume 45, Issue 5, pages 360–363, 1 October 2001

11. A lectin from the edible and medicinal mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus (Jacq.: Fr.) Kumm. as a food intake suppressing substance. Yokoyama S, Nakamura H, Tokuyama S. Int J Med Mush. 2001;3(2-3)

12. Antihyperlipidemic effect of Pleurotus ostreatus in HIV: results of a pilot proof-of-principle clinical trial. Abrams D.I, Couey P, Shade S.B, Kelly M.E, Kamanu-Elias N, Stamets P.E. Int J Med Mushr. 2007;9(3):204

13. Oyster mushroom reduced blood glucose and cholesterol in diabetic subjects. Khatun K, et al Mymensingh Med J. 2007;16(1):94-

14. Effect of oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) on pathological changes in dimethylhydrazine-induced rat colon cancer. Bobek P, Galbavy S,
Ozdin L. Oncol Rep. 1998;5(3):727-30.15. Cytotoxic effect of oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus on human Androgen-independent prostate
cancer PC-3 cell. Gu Y.H, Sivam G. J Med Food. 2006;9(2):196-204

16. Effects of Lentinus edodes, Grifola frondosa and Pleurotus ostreatus administration on cancer outbreak and activities of macrophages and
lymphocytes in mice treated with a carcinogen N-butyl-N-butnolnitrosamine. Kurashige S, Aleusawa Y, Endo F. Immunopharm. Immunodetox. 1997;19:175-183.

17. Antioxidant activity of the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, on CCl(4)-induced liver injury in rats. Jayakumar T, Ramesh E, Geraldine P. Food Chem Toxicol.2006;44(12):1989-96.

18. Glucans from fruit bodies of cultivated mushrooms Pleurotus ostreatus and Pleurotus eryngii: Structure and potential prebiotic activity
Andriy Synytsya, Kateřina Míčkováa, Alla Synytsyab, Ivan Jablonskýa, Carbohydrate Polymers Volume 76, Issue 4, 16 May 2009, Pages 548–556

19. An extract of the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, increases catalase gene expression and reduces protein oxidation during aging in
rats. Thanasekaran J, Aloysius P.T, Mathivanan I, Pitchairaj G.J. Chin Int Med. 2010;8(8):774-780

20. Beta-glucans in higher fungi and their health effects; Otakar Rop1,*, Jiri Mlcek1, yunde Jurikova; Nutrition Reviews Volume 67, Issue
11, pages 624–631, November 2009

21. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSIOLOGY Volume 111, Number 9 (2011), 2033- 2040, DOI: 10.1007/s00421-011-1837-z 22. Effects of  pleuran (beta-glucan isolated from Pleurotus ostreatus) on experimental colitis in rats. Nosál’ová V, Bobek P, Cerná S, Galbavý S, Stvrtina S.  Physiol Res. 2001;50(6):575-81.

23. Effect of pleuran (beta-glucan from Pleurotus ostreatus) on the antioxidant status of the organism and on dimethylhydrazine-induced
precancerous lesions in rat colon. Bobek P, Galbavy S.  Br J Biomed Sci. 2001;58(3):164-8.

24. Effect of oyster mushroom and isolated β-glucan on lipid peroxidation and on the activities of antioxidative enzymes in rats fed the
cholesterol diet  The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry Volume 8, Issue 8, August 1997, Pages 469–471

25. Hypocholesterolemic Effect of the Oyster Mushroom,Pleurotus ostreatus (Jacq.:Fr.) P. Kumm. and Its Isolated Polysaccharides

      International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Vol. 7 (2005)

26. Antihyperlipidemic effects of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms) in HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral therapy

      Donald I Abrams1*, Paul Couey2 Abrams et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011

27. Int J Oncol. 2008December; 33(6): 1307–1313.