Mushrooms growing on the bark of a tree.

Top researchers at the University of California, San Diego have initiated a groundbreaking FDA-approved clinical trial to study natural medicine in the fight against COVID-19. Collaborating with researchers from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California, Irvine (UCI), and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, the MACH-19 (Mushrooms and Chinese Herbs for COVID-19) trial will study an immune balancing mycological formula with broad spectrum, anti-viral activity and a Chinese herbal formula known as Qing Fie Pai Du Tang 清肺排毒汤 (Clear the Lungs and Relieve Toxicity Formula) that is widely used in Asia.

Currently researchers are seeking volunteers sick with COVID-19 to participate in the study which involves taking the study formula at home daily for 14 days. To qualify for participation, you will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Positive COVID-19 diagnosis
  • Avoid alcohol, cannabis and dairy during the 14 days of the treatment


For more information, please review the broadcast news clip below and be sure to visit the Krupp Center for Integrative Research website.


Video-Audio Transcript

Scientists have struggled to develop treatments for covid19 but researchers at UC San Diego think one solution is quite literally growing on trees. They just launched the first fda approved clinical trial to see if certain mushrooms can help fight the disease. ABC 10 News anchor Derek Stahl is going in depth to explain how the approach has ancient roots.

There are about 12,000 known species of mushrooms and researchers at UC San Diego have honed on two found in North American forests that might work as an early stage treatment for COVID.

"We think mushrooms may have the ability to reduce the severity of covid and help people, help protect them if they get sick from developing such a severe problem that they need to go to the hospital."

Dr Gordon Saxe leads the Krupp center for Integrative Research at UCSD.

"Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Greek medicine, in Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine. They are really an important medicine from the earth for humans."

The first antibiotic penicillin came from a mushroom. This is one of the most well studied immune supporting mushrooms in the world. With help from mushroom expert Paul Stamets they got their hands on this small mushroom called turkey tail and this big one called agericon

They're not magic mushrooms they have no psychoactive effects. But the scientists suspect they're loaded with a number of anti-viral compounds.

"Agaricon, one of the mushrooms that we're studying, has an effect against a range of viruses, in the test tube, in in the in the petri dish, in the laboratory, against pox viruses, coxsackie viruses."

Also herpes virus and ebola.

In recent years compounds and other mushrooms have been shown to slow replication of poliovirus and fight influenza. Dr Saxe says it's all because viruses and bacteria can affect mushrooms too. So the fungi formed defenses.

"They evolved all kinds of amazing antimicrobial defenses against viruses in particular and we can benefit from. What they have produced, the medicines they contain within us, can get conveyed to us when we ingest them."

And that's not all. Studies have shown mushrooms can boost the immune system particularly helper t cells that affect antibodies.

Dr. Saxe is planning to launch a second FDA authorized study in the next few weeks on whether taking mushrooms can stimulate a stronger response to the COVID19 vaccines. So why aren't more scientists studying this?

"Unlike pharmaceuticals there really isn't as much of a proprietary interest in natural substances. I mean you can't, you know, pharmaceutical companies can't make the same kind of money on selling mushrooms as they can on drugs."

For now, Dr. Sachs is looking for 132 volunteers recently diagnosed with covid for the study on mushrooms as a treatment. They'll take capsules of mushroom powder three times a day for up to two weeks to see if they can keep people out of the hospital.

Derek Stahl, ABC 10 News

This phase one clinical trial is taking part at both UCSD and UCLA. For more on how you can take part go to

###End of Transcript###


About the Author

authorRene M. Rodriguez is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and board licensed acupuncturist with 20 years experience in alternative natural medicine. He's in private practice in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in digestive disorders, skin conditions, infections, environmental illness, and mind-body health and wellness. For more information, please click here.


  1. COVID RESEARCH, MACH-19: Mushrooms and Chinese Herbs for COVID-19. Krupp Center for Integrative Medicine, UC San Diego Center for Integrative Health.


Need Personalized Help?

Learn More

Get Started With Treatment