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Medicinal Mushrooms for an Immune Boost  ęDeborah Barr

There are several mushrooms that I recommend for strengthening immunity and as a treatment strategy.  Some are in supplement form and others can be used as a food. 

Cordyceps PS is a powerful tonic for lung and kidneys.  It is also known as caterpillar fungus and is an ancient Chinese tonic.  Research has shown that extractions of Cordyceps inhibit growth of microorganisms and diseases causing fungi.  It has a marked bronchodilation effect and increases the effects of adrenaline.  Cordyceps PS improves lung function and addresses asthma, wheezing, chronic cough, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  It strengthens resistance to disease, boosts the immune system, and enhances athletic performance.  Click here for ordering information.


CordySeng strengthens immune function, is useful for chronic bronchitis and asthma, improves oxygen utilization and athletic performance.  This formula contains Cordyceps as a main ingredient along with supporting herbs including ganoderma mushroom which has potent immune regulating effects.  Ganoderma is traditionally used to protect the liver from damage, reduce the symptoms of hepatitis, and lower liver enzyme levels.  Cordyseng also includes astragalus and licorice for their anti viral and immune potentiating activity; and American Ginseng and ginger to support digestive functions.  This formula strengthens spleen, stomach, kidney, and lung and helps digestion.   Click here for ordering information. 


Power Mushrooms combines four mushrooms known to have immune system regulating functions.  It combines red ganoderma which is stronger than the common black cultured ganoderma; polyporus, a relative of maitake mushrooms, which is anti-inflammatory and a source of tumor-inhibiting polysaccharides; tremella which moistens the lung, nourishes the stomach, and produces fluids; and poria which is a digestive aid.  The combination of these mushrooms are an effective Qi (chee) tonic.  This is a great energy formula and is useful for those with weak immunity, allergies, asthma, prolonged colds and flu and asthma.  It is also useful for autoimmune disorders, such as MS or lupis.  Click here for ordering information.


Maiitake and shiitake mushrooms are two of the strongest immune tonics and are commonly used as a food rather than a supplement.  The dried varieties are more intense in flavor and nutrients.  They can be hydrated and used like fresh mushrooms in soups, stir-fries, whole grain dishes, sauces, and vegetable dishes.  The more finely they are sliced, the more flavor they will absorb.  Use one ounce of dried mushrooms for each 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms called for in a recipe.

Mushrooms, when eaten, absorb and safely eliminate toxins including fat in the blood, pathogens, and excess mucus in the respiratory system.  They are high in protein, zinc, and vitamin B2.  Mushrooms improve cellular oxygenation and enhance immunity.

Maitake contains Beta 1, 6-Glucan, a potent immunostimulant helping to neutralize tumors and ameliorate cancer, AIDS, chronic fatigue, and obesity.  It lowers blood pressure and benefits diabetes by lowering blood glucose.  This mushroom was historically valued for promoting longevity.

Shiitake are said to be a natural source of interferon, a protein which appears to induce an immune response against cancer and viral diseases.  They strengthen, detoxify, and restore.  They have proven pharmacological effects as immune regulators and antiviral and antitumor agents, and they improve the cardiovascular system.  Shiitake treats diseases involving depressed immune function, including cancer, AIDS, environmental allergies, candida infections, and frequent colds and flu.  They soothe bronchial inflammation and reduce chronic high cholesterol.

Top quality shiitake mushrooms are called donko and are more costly because they are grown outdoors on hardwood.  Most commercial shiitake, especially those found in discount stores, are grown in a few weeks in warm conditions on artificial substrate.  The commercial variety have no therapeutic benefit. Fresh shiitake do not have the same healing benefits as the dried variety.

 ©Deborah Barr, 2000-16.  All rights reserved.

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Deborah Barr, 30-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor/Coach, speaker, and author, helps clients reverse health and weight issues; achieve emotional harmony, radiant health, passion, peaceful living, work-life balance, and a life they love.  In 1985 she founded Whole Health Resources, the premier Holistic Health Center in Pittsburgh.  WHR’s mission is to promote the healing and development of body, mind and spirit, and to teach an understanding of the relationship between diet, attitudes, lifestyle and wellness. She offers free help through her 2 e-newsletters, Holistic Weight Loss, and Whole Health Matters, and free articles.   Subscribe to newsletters

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