Can medicinal mushrooms have prophylactic or therapeutic effect against COVID-19 and its pneumonic superinfection and complicating inflammation?
Scand J Immunol. 2020 Jul 13:e12937. Epub 2020 Jul 13. PMID: 32657436
Medicinal mushrooms have documented effects against different diseases, including infections and inflammatory disorders. The related Basidiomycota Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM), Hericium erinaceus (HE), and Grifola frondosa (GF) have been shown to exert antimicrobial activity against viral agents, Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and parasites in vitro and in vivo. Since the mechanism is immunomodulatory and not antibiotical, the mushrooms should be active against multi-drug resistant microbes as well. Moreover, since these Basidiomycota also have anti-inflammatory properties, they may be suited for treatment of the severe lung inflammation that often follows COVID-19 infection. An AbM-based mushroom extract (Andosan™), also containing HE and GF, has been shown to significantly reduce bacteraemia and increase survival in mice with pneumococcal sepsis, and to improve symptoms and quality of life in IBD patients via an anti-inflammatory effect. Hence, such mushroom extracts could have prophylactic or therapeutic effect against the pneumonic superinfection and severe lung inflammation that often complicates COVID-19 infection. Here, we review antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of AbM, HE and GF mushrooms, which could be used for the battle against COVID-19.