Skip to main content

Back to Topics


Source: thedenverchannel

Mushrooms can help in global COVID-19 fight

April 1, 2022

Vital to life on earth, mushrooms are magical. But not necessarily in the way most people think.

“There are gazillions, and most of them are not psychedelic mushrooms,” said Dr. Gordon Saxe, a preventative medicine physician and epidemiologist at the University of California San Diego and director of the Krupps Center of Integrative Research. “Most have no mind-altering effect whatsoever but may be really helpful for our health.”

While used medicinally for thousands of years, researchers say there’s been a lag in modern science to study their potential today. But a first-of-its-kind study assesses whether medicinal mushrooms and Chinese herbs provide therapeutic benefit in treating acute COVID-19 infection.

“Often, these things would be dismissed as quackery, even though there’s such a long history of their use by folks like Hippocrates and his contemporaries,” said Dr. Saxe. “Some of our best Western medicines are derived from fungi. Think penicillin.”

From fending off viruses to boosting our immune systems, Dr. Saxe is among researchers trying to harness the potential of medicinal mushrooms.

MACH-19 (Mushrooms and Chinese Herbs for COVID-19) — a multi-center study led by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and UCLA — is among the first to evaluate these specific integrative medicine approaches using the gold standard of Western medicine: the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Working with two mushroom species, turkey tail, and agarikon, Dr. Saxe says they’re also studying whether medicinal mushrooms can bolster immune response after vaccination.

To understand science, you must go way back in time.

“We co-developed for over a billion years together. Much of our genetics is very similar to that of fungi and mushrooms,” said Dr. Saxe. “The same things that would prey on us – viruses, bacteria – preyed on fungi. And so a billion or more years, they evolved all kinds of exquisite defenses against those pathogens.” Read more:

Follow Us