African Medicinal Mushrooms: Source of Biopharmaceuticals for the Treatment of Noncommunicable Diseases – A Review

  • Kenneth Anchang Yongabi


African mushrooms remain underexploited for biopharmaceuticals for application in modern medicine. Yet, amidst the rich use of mushrooms in African folk medicine and the high rates of endemic diseases plaguing the continent, the need for a critical exposé of African mushrooms as biopharmaceuticals and phytoceuticals is imperative and hereby presented. Generally, mushrooms are rich sources of many bioactive compounds that are important to our health servicing. They are a good source of proteins that are important to all body functions. Mushroom proteins are of very high quality and are rich in the most important essential amino acids. They are an excellent source of most B vitamins, and the primary natural source of ergosterol or provitamin D, and also essential minerals such as zinc and selenium. Malnutrition and stunting are largely a health problem in rural Africa. Mushrooms are abundant in nutrients that can potentially stamp out nutritional deficiencies in African children. While many people who eat balanced diets receive all the needed minerals, some get more sodium than they need. Mushrooms have the benefits of low sodium, low cholesterol, and higher potassium and iron than most foods. Chitin which is present in many African mushrooms such as Pleurotus tuber-regium, Termitomyces spp., Pleurotus spp., and Agaricus spp. is the primary structural material in mushrooms and has been shown to be of immense value as dietary fiber. It can also be hydrolyzed to glucosamine, which is widely accepted by physicians for treatment of chronic diseases of aging people such as autoimmune disorders and arthritis. Also it is used as a valuable food supplement for the prevention and alleviation of osteoarthritis. β-Glucans widely identified in a number of African mushrooms such as Ganoderma spp., African truffles, and Agaricus spp. are valuable immune regulatory substances that can treat and manage different cancers, diabetes, and other cardiovascular disorders.


β-Glucans Chitosans Chitin Dietary fiber Glucosamine Medicinal mushroom Noncommunicable diseases Osteoarthritis Selenium 



Deoxyribonucleic acid


Food and Drug Administration


High-density lipoprotein


Low-density lipoprotein


Noncommunicable Diseases


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Anchang Yongabi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Phytobiotechnology Research FoundationBamendaCameroon
  2. 2.Ebonyi State UniversityAbakalikiNigeria
  3. 3.Imo State UniversityOwerriNigeria

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