Looking for a way to boost long-term immunity for cold and flu season? Mushrooms may be the next big thing in the fight against sickness.
“Mushrooms are used to strengthen the immune system in a deep way over a long time,” says Matthew Becker, herbalist and lead practitioner at our North Boulder store. “They have a slower effect than something like echinacea, but it’s a deeper effect.”
Matthew notes that mushrooms are great for helping boost general health. They can have anti-inflammatory actions, strengthen and detoxify the liver, and open up the alveoli in the lungs to bring more oxygen to the blood. In other words, says Matthew, “They can have a positive impact on all body systems.”
“Reishi mushrooms are considered to be the king of all herbs in China,” says Matthew. “They strengthen immunity, and can be energizing and calming at the same time,” perfect when you’re stressed and more vulnerable to sickness. Matthew likes Mushroom Science Reishi Gano 161.
Cordyceps are another popular immune-boosting mushroom, commonly used in China–and increasingly in the US–to combat the side effects of chemotherapy. Matthew adds that they also are widely used for heart conditions, kidney failure and adrenal fatigue. He recommends Fungi Perfecti Cordyceps. (Learn more about cordyceps many uses.)
For a more full-spectrum approach, try a combination formula such as Fungi Perfecti MyCommunity, a blend of 17 different mushrooms that work together to strengthen immunity. Matthew also likes Five Mushroom Formula by Mushroom Science, a high-quality blend of reishi, maitake, shiitake and others.
Don’t forget about astragalus
For the same ability to strengthen the deepest part of the immune system, Matthew also recommends astragalus. “Regular consumption can have a remarkable effect on your ability to fight off sickness,” he says. “People who begin to take it a few months before the cold and flu season hits will find it much easier to stay healthy.” He recommends Vital Nutrients Astragalus Root capsules, twice a day for a few months.
Bring all of your immunity questions to the pharmacists and practitioners at Pharmaca.