Fungi, Antibiotics, and the Immune System

Posted to Subscribers on 9 October 2010


Dear Subscribers,

First, some loose ends. Friends in Santa Fe have allowed me to post pictures of their home food production project.

As you can see, the "box" is aesthetic, simple to make, and though they did not mention this in their emails to me, besides providing year-round vegetables, the cover protects from chemtrails and probably helps a bit to deter insects. I love the design and the simplicity, but look at what they have grown!

If it were here, where all the gardening challenges are completely different, I would probably find it necessary to have some sort of barrier (wire mesh) at the bottom of the box because there are so many moles and voles and perhaps root vegetable foragers. Of course, there are also rabbits chomping away at the leaves and flowers. Santa Fe has a completely different microclimate, much colder winters; but here geothermal heating has immense appeal if the scale of the project warrants the investment, i.e. probably not practical for mom-pop use.

I might mention a few other points. In reading about greenhouse materials, I found a lot of consumer complaints about the propensity for mold to grow on certain materials. So, among my many small scale experiments, I read up on various oils to diffuse inside greenhouses or growing tents. Despite the humidity here, I have not had any problems with mold inside my tiny greenhouse. I made a blend that is plant friendly, mold inhibiting, and disliked by insects, but in contrast to the intense diffusing used therapeutically, the type of diffuser I use in the greenhouse uses only 6-8 drops of oil in water and this lasts for weeks. The diffuser itself is much less expensive and the cost of the oil is negligible given how long a 5 ml. bottle lasts.


Based on the emails I am reading from you, there is still room for more discussion on fungi. A lot of you are completely convinced that I am sensitive and perhaps somewhat unique in my assessment of fungi. So, while some of you are going to yawn and maybe close this email, others might finally connect a few more dots. I tried to think of a new way to explain this subject and had a dream of an immense building, like a beautiful dome but with low ceilings. It was an architectural marvel and contained all the knowledge and wisdom of Earth civilization. There were 16 doors through which one could enter the building, but at each, the guardian of the portal posed a question in the form of a puzzle. The puzzle used bits of information from your existing frame of reference and the answer told the guardian whether or not you were prepared to fine tune your mind set. The questions were disarmingly simple, but the guardian could tell from the answers whether or not opinions were carved in stone or amenable to modification. Curiosity was rewarded with permission to enter and explore. The bottom line is that if satisfied with what you already know or believe, the door did not open but the applicant was commended for his ability to be content with his certainty.

While it is true that only 25% of people are allegedly allergic to fungi, this figure hides a multitude of questions as to why the other 75% of the world's population seem to be in a friendlier relationship to the same fungi. The case of Amanita muscaria is hugely relevant here. First of all, I noticed a couple of bite marks in the specimen growing in my yard. The first web site I found in which the red mushroom was identified stated that it was highly toxic. Because of the bite marks, I doubted this. Another site described it as a hallucinogen, but I am wondering now why we hallucinate? What causes our chemistry to change our perceptions? Then, yet another site discussed how Laplanders use this mushroom to attract reindeer. They are apparently easier to herd when stoned and clearly, they like zoning out. Much to my disappointment, I didn't attract any reindeer with my single specimen, but there are deer who visit now and then and I make a point of being extra hospitable during hunting season. To avoid injury, I would gladly keep them in my backyard or even the garage.

So, while some people can go into anaphylactic shock when a peanut is cracked at a distance of 40 feet, others can enjoy some kind of exotic culinary bliss or dissociate and go safely into altered states of awareness from which they apparently recover. This is however a controversial point but rather than unleash my usual unskilled iconoclasm, let me tiptoe around the peripheral issues.

First, despite my own allergies, severe allergies, I acknowledge that fungi play an important role in decomposing substance. It is nothing less than fascinating to me that fungi are growing on the exterior (and interior) of the Mir Space Station as well as on depleted uranium in our war zones. Frankly, we owe fungi an immense debt of gratitude for these thankless tasks that basically remove our footprints from the Planet. However, if what they said in the mold seminar I took is true, then fungi become toxic in proportion to the substances on which they are found. The example used was with building materials. Untreated woods, ordinary pine or oak or whatever from years ago can become fungal but the fungi are relatively less toxic than the fungi found on treated wood. The toxicity is due to several factors involved in the metabolic processes of the fungi. They secrete mycotoxins and off-gas odors that vary from musty to acrid, and there are acids in the hyphal structures generated by the fungi. All in all, I think it is perfectly impossible to argue that these are safe, but officially — that means outside that gorgeous dome-shaped building, i.e. in the place of consensus over skewed reality — anyone complaining about fungi is wimpy and whinny, oh, and, yes, "sensitive" or perhaps, just perhaps, immune compromised, whatever that means to those in white coats.

"Medicinal" Fungi

Since it seems impossible to avoid my propensity to bash icons, I will try to take a slightly different approach now, different door. Oh, yes, the guardians at several doors were satisfied with my answers! In the annals of medical history there is a track record of fierce resistance to new ideas and then pivotal moments when those same ideas are accepted. When this happens, what was textbook true before becomes archaic and after enough time passes, it becomes superstition. I am sure we are not distanced enough yet from the 20th century to see that it was the era of formalized and footnoted superstition. In terms of "chemistry", I believe there were two significant "moments".

My views on fungi will appear as personal bias unless one understands those two moments. The first began with Pasteur. As noted in the previous email, Pasteur was a consultant to the beer and wine industries. He was a chemist, not a doctor. Our bodies are not, however, supposed to operate the way yeast and hops do in big vats. Certain bacteria may indeed be pathogenic so in terms of the continuum from superstition to academic consensus, blaming microorganisms instead of bad air or karma for disease was a quantum leap forward, one that for the most part had the secondary consequence of separating the individual from blame for his or her suffering and therefore putting the onus on governmental agencies, from the municipal level on up, to focus on public sanitation. Obviously, individuals are still responsible for healthy hygiene, but there has been a huge transfer of responsibility and power from the individual to the agencies that pretend to oversee health. When this much power moves from one place to another, it is not hard to foresee that some people (and animals and plants) wind up feeling powerless. This is the current state of affairs for billions of people. We call it "progress" because we have taken the mysterious blame out of illness and made society responsible for controlling risk factors.

Realistically, however, we have to ask if what makes good vintage of wine makes for healthy individuals. Thanks to Pasteur, vaccines are ubiquitous. They are also of dubious benefit. In actuality, not one single medical statistic on epidemics, whether of smallpox or influenza or poliomyelitis, bears rigorous scrutiny. All impartial researchers have conclusively proved that whatever improvements have traditionally been attributed to vaccines are actually due to improvements in sanitation and a few additional factors.

Leave this for a moment and go to the second pivotal event. This was Alexander Fleming's observation, following a holiday, that the Staphylococcus aureus in one petri dish had died. Initially, he threw away the dish, but to make a very long and exciting story short, he fished it out of the trash and found a type of penicillium.

It took a team of scientists many years to develop penicillin from the fungi. What is the purpose of all this chatter, especially when Tibetans had already discovered this centuries earlier. In fact, archaeological studies of the Dogons suggest that they were treating diseases with fungi. Based on the fact that some of the evidence consisted of skeletal remains of quite small children, it seems they were not always successful:


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the more dangerous infections for wound victims. It is common in hospitals, including ones treating wounded soldiers. Fleming was working on how to manage the infection and stumbled on penicillium. He was well aware of the potential for abuse and his apprehensions were indeed well founded. If using a viable organism to attack another living organism, we have to choose between the lesser of two evils. Given the methodology of modern day science, the goal might be to eradicate one disease and ignore the complications, in which case antibiotics certainly have a place. My observation however is that fungi themselves are not benign. Moreover, contrary to my expectations, I was so surprised to see that portobello mushrooms seemed to pose problems for people who delight in their consumption that I asked several people who love mushrooms to help me to determine if the first finding was a fluke or, if like countless people before me, I had accidentally encountered a situation that from my perspective gave totally the opposite impression of what Fleming observed. The problem was that completely asymptomatic people who were not being treated for anything at all were having precisely the same responses as cancer patients.

Obviously, the revelation gave new meaning to the word "allergy" but not being satisfied, I was curious about claims made for medicinal mushrooms. Several people had been taking various reishi, shiitake, maitake, agaricus, and cordyceps to manage infections, but the question arose as to whether the means to the end were justifiable or not. I had occasion to ask a few people to suspend the mushrooms for a few days to see what would happen, but we replaced them with herbs. Then, additional experiments were performed in which people who like mushrooms substituted "medicinal" mushrooms for what they had been taking. In my opinion, and certainly, this is only an opinion, the mushrooms work in more or less the same manner as antibiotics so they are a reasonable alternative to antibiotics. However, they seem to have a similar downside. I am not in a position to estimate whether or not a point comes when there is resistance to the mushrooms and they lose their therapeutic usefulness. I am also not able to determine whether there are risks that in the forms ingested viable spores are introduced into the system. What I can say with total certainty is that in terms of the plasma, rasa dhatu, the effects are negative.

Still not satisfied because I know Paul Stamets and believe he has a great deal to offer the world through his understanding of fungi, I talked to my Taoist friend in Shanghai. He said that in the Taoist tradition, masters would never eat mushrooms or consider them as medicine. So, there we have, within China itself, two parallel tracks in which acupuncturists and traditional pharmacists prescribe mushrooms or mushroom compounds but priests stayed clear of them. Ultimately, it comes down to options and choices of protocols. I feel completely comfortable in an apothecary tradition that does not have any mushrooms. This said, countless people have defended their decisions. All I want to say in response to this is that among the various preparations available, there might be countless credible approaches, but anything that kills pathogenic bacteria is likely to have the same effect not only on friendly bacteria but on white blood cells. If someone has been on antibiotics or if someone has so much toxicity from fluoride and mercury and bisphenol-A and other biohazards in the system that the immune system is already collapsed, fungi might be able to checkmate the pathogenic bacteria. However, if people have already adapted to modern risks by removing amalgams, filtering water, detoxifying, etc., there is a very good chance that safer approaches to infection can be used. That is an immense "if" and needs to be understood in the context provided here. However, I do want to underscore that chronic fungal infections are also very dangerous so viable fungi have to be approached with caution.


If you are receiving mail that appears to be from me but obviously involves identity fraud, will you kindly forward a sample so we can try to track down the culprit. A subscriber was hacked and her address book was stolen. My email along with hundreds of others was among those in the subscriber's address book. My technician and I are seeking a remedy. I am sure it will involve a new sending email, but please hang in there and give my technician and me the information needed to halt this.

Many blessings,



Mold Herbs




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