Trying to test for mushrooms, Chinese herbs, COVID. can handle


A medical staff mixes the Chinese herbs at a traditional Chinese hospital in Beijing, China, Thursday July 23, 2009. California researchers are conducting three clinical studies to test whether ancient mushrooms and Chinese herbs that have been used for centuries to treat infectious diseases Can be used to help moderate COVID-19 patients from progression to more severe disease.


California researchers are conducting three clinical studies to test whether ancient mushrooms and Chinese herbs, which have been used to treat infectious diseases for centuries, can help prevent moderate COVID-19 patients from becoming more severe.

The studies, led by experts from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles, are among the first to explore medical approaches that differ from traditional Western techniques in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies – the gold standard for understanding the effectiveness of medical interventions.

It is only until recently that some integrative medical techniques have gained popularity and acceptance in the medical community, such as acupuncture, researchers said, although natural therapies have been used to fight epidemics for centuries.

“Like the population as a whole, they are [Food and Drug Administration] has strengthened and shown for integrative, complementary medicine in recent years rather the willingness to find ways to study these approaches,“Said Dr. Gordon Saxe, chief investigator for the Centers for Integrative Health at UC San Diego, the principal investigator of the clinical trials, in a press release. “If we can demonstrate success, it can spark interest in looking at other botanical formulas and approaches.”

The FDA did a drug approved to treat COVID-19 from November 15th. The antiviral drug called Remdesivir was approved on October 22 for hospitalized patients 12 years and older. There are a handful of different monoclonal antibodies that have received emergency approval, but none have been approved as a COVID-19 treatment.

Mushrooms as a COVID-19 Treatment?

One of clinical trials A total of 66 volunteers will take either placebo pills with organic brown rice or experimental tablets with a 50/50 mixture of agaricon and turkey tail mushrooms for two weeks.

The study began in December 2020 and is expected to run through December 2022. Participants should be COVID-19 positive with mild to moderate symptoms. Researchers will study how the mushroom pill affects the severity of the disease.

The specific mushrooms were chosen because of their long history of antiviral and “immune boosting” properties, the researchers said.

In particular, Agarikon has been shown to block the replication of influenza A and herpes viruses. Researchers also point out that the Greek pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides prescribed Agarikon to his patients with lung infections 2,300 years ago.

The name of the Agarikon mushroom is attributed to Dioscurides.Elixir ad longam vitam“, Which translates as the elixir of long life.

“Mushrooms have the advantage that they developed together with us,” says Saxe. “Bacteria, viruses and other fungi hunt fungi just like humans do. And fungi have developed excellent defenses against these pests, and we believe they can transmit them to us if we eat them. “

The same mushrooms are in a separate clinical study with 45 participants who test whether the pill administered at the time of the COVID-19 vaccination can increase antibody levels and other immune reactions. The process began in June and is expected to be completed in June 2022.

“Vaccines lead to the production of antibodies that can destroy the virus in the blood. Fungi can not only increase the number of these antibodies, but also strengthen T-cell immunity against virally infected cells, ”said Saxe in the press release.

“Because fungi also bind to receptors on human immune cells, they can modulate our immunity – strengthen it in one way and calm it down in others. And this property of mushrooms can also reduce vaccine-related side effects, ”he added.

Chinese herbs as a COVID-19 treatment?

Other clinical study, which started in July and is still recruiting volunteers, is testing whether a blend of 21 Chinese herbs in tablet form from Taiwan called “Qing Fei Pai Du Tang” can treat mild to moderate COVID-19 over two weeks.

The formula is already used as a coronavirus agent in China.

Blood tests will be done on the first and last days of treatment to determine the viral load of the coronavirus or the amount of virus in the participants’ blood. The team will also look at how the mixture affects disease severity among the 66 participants in total.

Chinese herbs have been studied as medicinal treatments for stroke, heart disease, mental disorders, and respiratory diseases, but many “were of poor quality“Says the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

This means that “no firm conclusions can be drawn about their effectiveness”.

Still, a survey showed that around 20% of Americans use Chinese herbs for health reasons.

The NCCIH, part of the National Institutes of Health, said Chinese herbal products have historically been contaminated with “undeclared plant or animal material,” drugs like blood thinners, heavy metals like lead and arsenic, and pesticides.

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Katie Camero is a reporter for McClatchy National Real-Time Science. She is a graduate of Boston University and has reported for the Wall Street Journal, Science, and The Boston Globe.

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