Neem Blog: “The Village Pharmacy” (Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)


(Image credit in Ref section)

Neem “The Village Pharmacy” (Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)

Part: bark, leaves, seed, seed kernel, fruit, flowers

Taste: astringent, bitter, pungent

Latin name: Azadiracta indica

Western medicine/research: constituents (not an exhaustive list); Nimbidin (extracted from the oil of seed kernels); tetranortriterpenes, including nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidinin, nimbolide and nimbidic acid, gedunin, azadirachtin, mahmoodin, gallic acid*, gallocatechin*, epicatechin* (*extracted from bark) (Biswas, Kausik, et al. 2002)

Actions: Table 1. Some bioactive compounds from neem (Biswas, Kausik, et al. 2002)

Neem Compound Biological activity
Nimbindin (seed oil) Anti-inflammatory, Antiarthritic, Antipyretic, Hypoglycaemic, Anti-gastric ulcer, Spermicidal,  Antifungal, Antibacterial, Diuretic,
Sodium nimbidate Anti-inflammatory
Nimbin (seed oil) Spermicidal
Nimbolide (seed oil) Antibacterial, antimalarial
Gedunin (seed oil) Antifungal, anti-malarial
Azadirachtin (seed) Anti-marlarial
Mahmoodin (seed oil) Antibacterial
Gallic acid, epicatechin and catechin (bark) Anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory
Margolone, margolonone, isomargolonone (bark) Antibacterial
Cyclic trisulphide, cyclic tetrasulphide (leaf) Antifungal
Polysaccharides Anti-inflammatory
Polysaccharides GIa, GIb (bark) Anti-tumor
NB-II peptidoglycan (bark) Immunomodulatory

*Research was not exhaustive, there are many studies on Neem and its medicinal properties/varying formulations/applications

Neem seed research:

“neem seed extract when diluted 1:10 with shampoo … It was shown that a broad range of pests and parasites, such as house dust mites, poultry mites, harvest mites, Ixodes and Rhipicephalus ticks, cat fleas (adults, larvae), bed bugs (all stages), head lice and mallophaga, cockroaches (genera Blatta, Blattella, Gomphadorhina), raptor bugs (Triatoma), and even food-attacking beetle (Tenebrio molitor) might be controlled with this extract” (Schmahl, Günter, et al. 2010)

“neem-based shampoo blocked the aeropyles of the eggs, thus preventing the embryos of both races of lice from accessing oxygen and from releasing carbon dioxide. Thus, this product offers a complete cure from head lice upon a single treatment” (Mehlhorn, Heinz, et al. 2011)

“Nimbidin and nimbolide from seed oil show antifungal, antimalarial and antibacterial activity including inhibition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis” (Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy, 2013)

“The mechanism of action of neem oil appears to be non-hormonal, probably mediated through its spermicidal effect and may have less side effects than steroidal contraceptives” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

*For use on psoriasis-  “It can be concluded that systemic and topical administration required for better management of Psoriasis” (Morya, G. C. K., V. Vinita, and R. Bahadur. 2017)

*For use on psoriasis- “inhibition of prostaglandin synthetase by nimbidin, a secondary metabolite present in A. indica essential oil” (Zuccotti, E., et al. 2018)

*Oil from seed kernels – “From this crude principle some tetranortriterpenes, including nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidinin, nimbolide and nimbidic acid have been isolated. These have been shown to exert antimalarial activity by inhibiting the growth of Plasmodium falciparum. Nimbolide also shows antibacterial activity against S. aureus and S. coagulase.” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

*Oil from seed kernels– “In vivo studies showed that intravaginal application of neem oil prior to coitus can prevent pregnancy. Antifertility effect of neem oil has also been studied and suggested to be a novel method of contraception” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

Neem leaf research:

“In this study, we have shown that the aqueous extracts of neem leaf exhibited highest antimicrobial activity compared with the bark and seed” (Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy, 2013)

“The phytochemical and biological experiments performed during the current study confirm the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of neem leaves” (Pandey, Garima, K. K. Verma, and Munna Singh, 2014)

The aqueous extract of leaf also possesses potent immune-stimulant activity as evidenced by both humoral and cell-mediated responses” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“Aqueous extract of neem leaves significantly decreases blood sugar level and prevents adrenaline as well as glucose-induced hyperglycaemia” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“In HIV/AIDS patients, a 12-week oral administration of acetone water neem leaf extract (IRAB) had a significant influence in vivo on CD4 cells (which HIV reduces) without any adverse effects in the patients” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

*Flower/leaf – “Hot water extract of the flower and leaf is taken orally as an anti-hysteric remedy, and used externally to treat wound.” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

*Flower– “dried flower is taken orally for diabetes” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

Neem bark research:

“Margolone, margolonone and isomargolonone are tri-cyclic diterpenoids isolated from stem bark are shown to exhibit antibacterial activity” (Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy, 2013)

“tannins from the bark contain gallic acid, (+) gallocatechin, (–) epicatechin, (+) catechin and epigallocatechin, of which gallic acid (1), (–) epicatechin (2) and catechin (3) are primarily responsible for inhibiting the generation of chemiluminescence by activated human olymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN)12, indicating that these compounds inhibit oxidative burst of PMN during inflammation.” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“Hot water extract of the bark is taken orally by the adult female as a tonic and emmenagogue” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

Neem fruit research:

“Some active ingredient (Phytosterols) were isolated from the lipophilic fraction of neem fruit, exhibit antiulcer activity in stress induced gastric lesion.52In Ayurveda it is used in piles, intestinal worm, urinary disorder, epistaxis, phegm, diabetes, wound and leprosy.” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“Hot water extract of dried fruit is used for piles and externally for skin disease and ulcers” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

Neem general uses: (not an exhaustive list) Acne/pimples, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, athletes foot, boils/carbuncles, canker sores, cellulitis, corns/calluses, diaper rash, herpes/coldsores, impetigo, ringworm, rosacea, scabies (“NEEM, Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity”, Klaus Ferlow 2015)

Cautions:  oil is not to be orally ingested, “can act as a mild contraceptive” (“NEEM, Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity”, Klaus Ferlow 2015)

Preparation/dosage: (not an exhaustive list)  neem seed oil, neem seed kernel oil, water-extracted leaf formulations, creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, pesticide formulations, ethanol-extracted leaf/bark formulations (*dosage dependant on formulation applied and intended use)

“Neem personal care products derived from seed, oil and leaf include; Skin care – including eczema cream, antiseptic cream, and nail care; hair care – shampoo, and hair oils; oral hygiene – toothpaste and neem twigs; therapeutic – loose Neem leaves – tea, vegetarian capsules, powders; household products – soaps, insect repellent (spray and lotion), and candles.” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)


(Image credit in Ref section)

Ayurvedic Medicine:

Ayurvedic name:  Nimba, “the village pharmacy”

Energy:  Cooling

Tastes:  bitter, astringent, pungent

Effects on Dosha: Decrease Pitta and Kapha (bitter taste), increases Vata

Traditional use:  purification of ama (toxins) especially of the skin, parasites, irritation and skin ailments, vomiting, diabetes, jaundice, arthritis (“The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)

Cautions:  with tissue deficiency and cold temperatures, but is considered safe with mild adverse effects

Preparations/dosage:  Tea, application of crushed leaf on to skin irritations, eye solution, twigs used for toothbrushes  (“The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)




Neem flowers:

Neem seed and leaves: ©2020 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Neem full tree:  © 2018 Asian Journal by SW Media Group

  • Biswas, Kausik, et al. “Biological activities and medicinal properties of neem (Azadirachta indica).” CURRENT SCIENCE-BANGALORE- 82.11 (2002): 1336-1345.
  • Schmahl, Günter, et al. “The efficacy of neem seed extracts (Tre-san®, MiteStop®) on a broad spectrum of pests and parasites.” Parasitology research 107.2 (2010): 261-269.
  • Mehlhorn, Heinz, et al. “Ovicidal effects of a neem seed extract preparation on eggs of body and head lice.” Parasitology research 109.5 (2011): 1299-1302.
  • Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy. “Antimicrobial activity of Azadirachta Indica (neem) leaf, bark and seed extracts.” International Journal of Research in Phytochemistry and Pharmacology 3.1 (2013): 1-4.
  • Pandey, Garima, K. K. Verma, and Munna Singh. “Evaluation of phytochemical, antibacterial and free radical scavenging properties of Azadirachta indica (neem) leaves.” Int. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci 6.2 (2014): 444-447.
  • Maithani, Alok, et al. “Azadirachta indica (neem) leaf: A review.” Journal of Pharmacy Research 4.6 (2011): 1824-1827.
  • Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. “Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss)-A nature’s drugstore: an overview.” Int Res J Biol Sci 1.6 (2012): 76-79.
  • Morya, G. C. K., V. Vinita, and R. Bahadur. “Clinical Study on Evaluation of the Effect of Neem, Tulsi and Henna on Psoriasis. Med Aromat Plants (Los Angeles) 6: 304. doi: 10.4172/2167-0412.1000304 Page 2 of 5 Med Aromat Plants (Los Angeles), an open access journal ISSN: 2167-0412 Volume 6• Issue 5• 1000304.” Vishamagni 3.10 (2017): 3.
  • Zuccotti, E., et al. “Nutritional strategies for psoriasis: current scientific evidence in clinical trials.” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 22.23 (2018): 8537-51.
  • “NEEM, Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity”, Klaus Ferlow, Neem Research, Mission BC Canada, p.69-79 2015.
  • “The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, Neem, Lotus Press Twin Lakes WI p.162 2008.

Honey! Western research and Traditional usage



What is honey?  Nectar procured from flowers is then stored in a special ‘stomach’ or ‘crop’, brought back to the hive, and transferred to other bees (through regurgitation).  Whilst in the crop, the nectar mixes with enzymes. When transferred to the honeycomb cells, the nectar/enzyme mix is then fanned by bee wings to evaporate residual water, then encased with beeswax in the honeycomb and stored for future use.

What is honey’s chemical composition?  Honey is made up mainly of carbohydrates, specifically monosaccharides (single-sugar units) and glucose (specific single-sugar which creates energy molecules in the body), disaccharides (double-sugar units), oligosaccharides (multiple sugar units), as well as, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants (specific and unique to honey/bee pollen is pinocembrin), and organic acids

(J, Loveridge 2001).

Western Research: (not an exhaustive list)


“All bacterial species tested were susceptible to different combinations of bactericidal factors in honey, indicating that these bacteria were killed via distinct mechanisms. This clearly demonstrates the importance of the multifactorial nature of honey for its potent, broad-spectrum bactericidal activity.” (Kwakman, Paulus HS, et al. 2010)

“We have demonstrated for the first time that honey contains an antimicrobial peptide, bee defensin-1, and that this peptide substantially contributes to the bactericidal activity.” (Kwakman, Paulus HS, et al. 2010)

“Microbial resistance to honey has never been reported, which makes it a very promising topical antimicrobial agent against the infection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g., MDR S. maltophilia) and in the treatment of chronic wound infections” (Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal, 2011)

“high sugar concentration, hydrogen peroxide, and the low pH are well‐known antibacterial factors in honey and more recently, methylglyoxal and the antimicrobial peptide bee defensin‐1 were identified as important antibacterial compounds in honey.” (Kwakman, Paulus HS, and Sebastian AJ Zaat, 2012)

“When ingested, honey also promotes healing and shows antibacterial action by decreasing prostaglandin levels, elevating nitric oxide levels, and exerting prebiotic effects. These factors play a major role in controlling inflammation and promoting microbial control and healing processes.” (Al-Waili, Noori S., et al. 2011)

“The accelerative effect of honey in the wound, ulcer and skin burn healing process is related to its physical properties of hygroscopicity, hypertonicity, lower pH, and complex chemical composition” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)


“honey has anticancer effect through its interference with multiple cell-signaling pathways, such as inducing apoptosis, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic pathways. Honey modulates the body immune system.” (Ahmed, Sarfraz, and Nor Hayati Othman, 2013)

“Some simple and polyphenols found in honey, namely, caffeic acid (CA), caffeic acid phenyl esters (CAPE), chrysin (CR), galangin (GA), quercetin (QU), kaempferol (KP), acacetin (AC), pinocembrin (PC), pinobanksin (PB), and apigenin (AP), have evolved as promising pharmacological agents in prevention and treatment of cancer” (Othman, Nor Hayati, 2012)

“Honey has showed antineoplastic activity in experimental bladder cancer treatment” (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)


“Although a possible application of honey and its active compounds as drugs against cancer is still far away from clinical practice, scientific results highlight that they could be used as immune booster for patients undergoing chemotherapy.” (Badolato, Mariateresa, et al, 2017)

“Honey has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune boosting property attributed to the high sugar concentration and the resulting osmotic effect, low PH and acidity, and hydrogen peroxide.” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)

“findings indicated that honey glycoproteins and glycopeptides significantly interfere with molecules of the innate immune system” (Mesaik, M. Ahmed, et al. 2015)

Digestive system

“Honey has prebiotic effects, increasing the population of bacterial microflora important for the health of gastrointestinal tract.” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)

“Oral administration of honey to treat and protect against gastrointestinal infection such as gastritis, duodenitis and gastric ulceration caused by bacteria and rotavirus has been reported” (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)

“honey decreased the duration of diarrhea in cases of bacterial gastroenteritis as compared to group using sugar in replacement fluid.  In rehydration fluid, honey adds potassium and water uptake without increasing sodium uptake. It also helps to repair the damaged intestinal mucosa, stimulates the growth of new tissues and work as an anti-inflammatory agent (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)


“Studies have shown that honey consistently produces a lower glycemic effect when compared to glucose and sucrose in normal volunteers and type I diabetics” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)

“long periods of honey intake seem to reduce fasting glucose levels in humans, suggesting that honey consumption influences plasma glucose regulation, mainly through a normo- or hypoglycemic effect. Therefore, honey may be proposed as a nutritional dietary supplement for healthy individuals and for those suffering from alterations in glycemic regulation” (Cortés, Manuel E., Pilar Vigil, and Gloria Montenegro, 2011)

“it was found that honey stimulates insulin secretion, decrease blood glucose levels, elevates hemoglobin concentration and improves lipid profile” (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)


AR (Allergic Rhinitis) “Honey ingestion at a high dose (1g/kg body weight) improves the overall and individual symptoms of AR, and it could serve as a complementary therapy for AR.” (Asha’ari, Zamzil Amin, et al, 2013)

BPH (Birch Pollen Honey) “The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that BPH could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.” (Saarinen, K., J. Jantunen, and T. Haahtela, 2011)

“The results of this systematic review have demonstrated that honey is effective in alleviating nasal allergy symptoms in numerous mediums including nasal spray as well as oral intake when produced in the geographic area in which the patient population resides.” (Ditzel, Arielle N. 2019)


Traditional Use: (not an exhaustive list)

Ayurvedic: (Madhu = Sanskrit for honey)  for insomnia, weak digestion, cough, eye care (cataracts), gum/teeth care, wound healing, anemia, heart conditions, used for Kapha imbalance (reduces Kapha) and should be avoided by Pitta types (too heating).

Traditional Chinese Medicine: (Feng mi = honey) nourishes the yin (prevent dryness), effecting the Lungs, Spleen, Large intestine, and Stomach Organs, herbs are cooked in honey to increase yin effects, reduce toxicity (used for aconite poisoning), or to stimulate a specific organ system (specific to Spleen/Stomach, tonifying), as well as restore qi.  Also used as a laxative, emollient for the skin, to bind herbal powders in formulations, aid in taste in formulations, and as a demulcent on inflamed mucous membranes like gums.

Other cultures:  wound healing, embalming the dead, gout treatment, for nervous disorders, fevers, oxymels (honey and vinegar combo) for pain, hydromel (water and honey combo) for thirst, baldness, cough, laxative, as a healthy drink, and TB infections.

Some of my herbal-skin products contain honey for its amazing healing properties.  Some products are outlined on my website here, but a full, and seasonal, selection can be found every Wednesday at the Roberts Creek Farm Gate Eco Market, Roberts Creek Sunshine Coast BC, from 130 to 6pm (times subject to change, add RC_Farm_Gate_Eco_Market to Instagram to follow posts on times and vendor info)


  • Joel Loveridge, 2001, “The Chemistry of Bees”, School of Chemistry Bristol UK.
  • Kwakman, Paulus HS, et al. “How honey kills bacteria.” The FASEB Journal 24.7 (2010): 2576-2582.
  • Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal. “Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine 1.2 (2011): 154.
  • Kwakman, Paulus HS, and Sebastian AJ Zaat. “Antibacterial components of honey.” IUBMB life 64.1 (2012): 48-55.
  • Al-Waili, Noori S., et al. “Honey and microbial infections: a review supporting the use of honey for microbial control.” Journal of medicinal food 14.10 (2011): 1079-1096.
  • Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta. “Medicinal uses of honey.” Biology and Medicine 8.2 (2016): 1.
  • Mesaik, M. Ahmed, et al. “Characterization of immunomodulatory activities of honey glycoproteins and glycopeptides.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 63.1 (2015): 177-184.
  • Ahmed, Sarfraz, and Nor Hayati Othman. “Honey as a potential natural anticancer agent: a review of its mechanisms.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
  • Othman, Nor Hayati. “Honey and cancer: sustainable inverse relationship particularly for developing nations—a review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012).
  • Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi. “Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 16.6 (2013): 731.
  • Badolato, Mariateresa, et al. “From the hive: Honey, a novel weapon against cancer.” European journal of medicinal chemistry 142 (2017): 290-299.
  • Cortés, Manuel E., Pilar Vigil, and Gloria Montenegro. “The medicinal value of honey: a review on its benefits to human health, with a special focus on its effects on glycemic regulation.” Ciencia e investigación agraria: revista latinoamericana de ciencias de la agricultura 38.2 (2011): 303-317.
  • Asha’ari, Zamzil Amin, et al. “Ingestion of honey improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis: evidence from a randomized placebo-controlled trial in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.” Annals of Saudi medicine 33.5 (2013): 469-475.
  • Saarinen, K., J. Jantunen, and T. Haahtela. “Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy–a randomized controlled pilot study.” International archives of allergy and immunology 155.2 (2011): 160-166.
  • Ditzel, Arielle N. “Is Honey, as Adjunctive Therapy, Effective in Alleviating Nasal Allergy Symptoms?.” (2019).

2 Medicinal Mushrooms: Western Research and Traditional use with a focus on immunity and anti-cancer properties


*Reishi image credit in ref section


Part: fruiting body, mycelium, spores

Taste: bitter, bland

Energy:  warming

Latin name: Ganodema lucidum

Western medicine/research: constituents (not an exhaustive list); terpenoids, glycoproteins, phenols, nucleotides, steroids, polysaccharides, all the essential amino acids, lysine and leucine, etc.

Actions:  immune-boosting, anti-carcinogenic, anti-allergy, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, sedative, tonic

“G. lucidum could be administered as an alternative adjunct to conventional treatment in consideration of its potential of enhancing tumour response and stimulating host immunity.” (Jin, Xingzhong, et al. 2012)

“meta‐analysis results showed that patients who had been given G. lucidum alongside with chemo/radiotherapy were more likely to respond positively compared to chemo/radiotherapy alone” (Jin, Xingzhong, et al. 2012)

“results for host immune function indicators suggested that G. lucidum simultaneously increases the percentage of CD3, CD4 and CD8… In addition, leukocyte, NK‐cell activity and CD4/CD8 ratio were marginally elevated” (Jin, Xingzhong, et al. 2012)

“Based on the evidence to date, using Ganoderma lucidum for cancer treatment may increase the chance of better response to treatment, but this is uncertain. It may improve the body’s immune response, in particular, on T-cells, but the effect on natural killer cells (NK activity) is uncertain.” (Santesso, Nancy, and L. Susan Wieland, 2016)

“effectiveness of Reishi has been attributed to either the polysaccharide fraction, which is responsible for the stimulation of the immune system, or to the triterpenes, which demonstrate cytotoxic activity against a variety of cancer cells” (Suarez-Arroyo, Ivette J., et al. 2013)

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) study, in vivo: “tumor volume was significantly (>50%) reduced (P<0.02) in the Reishi treated mice compared with mice gavaged daily with vehicle treatment” (Suarez-Arroyo, Ivette J., et al. 2013)

Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Chinese name: Ling zhi

Organs:  Heart, Spleen, Liver, Lung, Kidney

Traditional use:  said to be the mushroom of ‘longevity’ & ‘Immortality’, long used in China for insomnia/anxiety related to ‘Calming the Shen’ (Calming the Spirit of the Heart), tonifying properties (increasing functionality of organ/energy systems in order to boost immunity), reduce toxicity (anti-inflammatory, reduction of cancerous cells within the body), and protect the spirit/emotions/body of the user (relax cells and allow for healing, rest boosts immunity)

“Ben Cao Gang Mu by Li Shin-Zhen, which is considered to be the first pharmacopoeia in China (1590 AD; Ming dynasty), the mushroom was attributed with therapeutic properties, such as tonifying effects, enhancing vital energy, strengthening cardiac function, increasing memory, and antiaging effects” (Wachtel-Galor, Sissi, et al. 2011)

Cautions: No toxicity found, some studies outlined some nausea and sleep disturbances

Preparation/dosage: there was a lot of conflicting evidence to say what works and what did not.  No one study/site/book referenced a primary preparation or dosage for cancer support or immunity.  Due to the variety of medicinal constituents within the Reishi mushroom, it is recommended by most platforms to do a dual-extraction method (decoct in water, then tincture in ethanol), this allows the extraction of the highest amounts of ‘medicinal constituents’ which are the polysaccharides (beta-glucans) and triterpenes. From my experience using Reishi 1:4 dual-extracted tincture, effects on insomnia and general well-being after use have been supported, but these effects have been observed when Reishi is combined in a synergistic formula with other herbs.

Picture: Local Sunshine Coast Turkey Tail mushrooms collected by me for dual-extracted tincture 😊

  Turkey Tail

Part: fruiting body, mycelium, spores

Taste: bland, sweet

Energy: neutral

Latin name: Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor

Western medicine/research: constituents (not an exhaustive list); polysaccharides; “beta-glucans, arabinoxylane, glucose, xylose, galactose, mannose, glycoproteins, ergosterols, triterpenoids” (Stamets, Paul, 2012), phenolic & protein components, sterols, triterpene derivatives, hydroquinone-derived aromatic compounds, cerebroside, triglyceride derivative, etc. (Habibi, Emran, et al. 2015)

Actions:  anti-tumor, antioxidant, immune modulating, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective

“results thus indicate that CVPs (water-soluble Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide) can be a potential candidate to ameliorate toxic effects when used in cancer therapy.” (Cai, Xinzhong, et al. 2010)

“T versicolor preparation is safe and tolerable in women with breast cancer who had undergone chemotherapy. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this study was the finding that 6 g of T versicolor appeared to lead to faster immune recovery after radiotherapy” (Stamets, Paul, 2012)

“dietary supplement prepared from extracts ofT. versicolor reduces the growth of hormone responsive prostate cancer” (Patel, Seema, and Arun Goyal. 2012)

“polysaccharide of this mushroom has been demonstrated to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, examined on the human hepatoma cancer” (Patel, Seema, and Arun Goyal. 2012)

“The strain is excellent in platelet aggregation inhibitory effect, chemokine gene expression inhibitory effect, antimutagenic effect, antitumor effect, antihypertensive effect, and immunomodulatory effect” (Eguchi, Fumio, Ryo Sumi, and Nobuo Mori, 2010)

Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Chinese name: Yun Zhi or ‘cloud mushroom’

Organs:  Liver, Spleen, and Lung

Traditional use:  used traditionally for tonification of the Spleen (digestion and production of nourishing Blood), increasing energy and vitality (circulation of Blood), also said to reduce ‘Dampness’ (tumors, lumps, cancer) whilst clearing Heat and toxicity (inflammation)

Cautions: studies did not indicate any toxicity, safe to use in conjunction with conventional cancer therapies

Preparation: wide variety of preparations, including; in food/drink, pharmaceutical formulations, dual-extracted tinctures, freeze-dried mycelium capsules, etc.

Dosage: (4-9g) “4 g twice daily… capsules consist of activated, freeze-dried, organic mushroom mycelium, containing polysaccharides”…“up to 9 g/day tolerable in women with breast cancer who had undergone chemotherapy.”  (Stamets, Paul, 2012)


Table 7

Summary of Potential Clinical Applications

Type of Cancer Indicated Mushroom
Nonsmall-cell lung cancer Cordyceps
Lung cancer Reishi
Gastric cancer PSK (turkey tail)
Hepatocellular carcinoma Agaricus, reishi
Leukemia Agaricus, reishi
Lymphoma Cordyceps
Breast cancer Reishi, maitake, turkey tail
Colon cancer Maitake, reishi, turkey tail
Prostate cancer Reishi
Sarcoma Reishi

(Guggenheim, Alena G., Kirsten M. Wright, and Heather L. Zwickey, 2014)

**Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals, or book an appointment with me!

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Image: Reishi mushroom (© 1997-2020 Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, Inc.)

  • Guggenheim, Alena G., Kirsten M. Wright, and Heather L. Zwickey. “Immune modulation from five major mushrooms: application to integrative oncology.” Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 13.1 (2014): 32.
  • Jin, Xingzhong, et al. “Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 6 (2012).
  • Santesso, Nancy, and L. Susan Wieland. “A Summary of a Cochrane Review: Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for the treatment of cancer.” European journal of integrative medicine 8.5 (2016): 619.
  • Suarez-Arroyo, Ivette J., et al. “Anti-tumor effects of Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) in inflammatory breast cancer in in vivo and in vitro models.” PloS one 8.2 (2013).
  • Wachtel-Galor, Sissi, et al. “Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi).” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, 2011.
  • Habibi, Emran, et al. “Mycochemical investigation of the turkey tail medicinal mushroom Trametes versicolor (higher basidiomycetes): A potential application of the isolated compounds in documented pharmacological studies.” International journal of medicinal mushrooms 17.3 (2015).
  • Cai, Xinzhong, et al. “Hepatoma cell growth inhibition by inducing apoptosis with polysaccharide isolated from Turkey tail medicinal mushroom, Trametes versicolor (L.: Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae).” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 12.3 (2010).
  • Stamets, Paul. “Trametes versicolor (turkey tail mushrooms) and the treatment of breast Cancer.” Global advances in health and medicine 1.5 (2012): 20.
  • Patel, Seema, and Arun Goyal. “Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review.” 3 Biotech 2.1 (2012): 1-15.
  • Eguchi, Fumio, Ryo Sumi, and Nobuo Mori. “Strain of turkey tail mushroom, extract from the same, and use of the same.” U.S. Patent No. 7,790,175. 7 Sep. 2010.