Farm Fails and How I Learned To Love Weeds


The only surviving blueberry bush at Half Hill Farm

I know it’s silly, but I’ve anguished over how to write this post for about two years.

What it boils down to is a struggle between my vision for our organic farm and what life had in mind. It literally took me a couple years to believe what was really happening.

About a year into farming, a family battle with cancer focused me on the emerging science and healing power of mushrooms that grew without any effort on our farm. It’s what I could do, so I poured myself into cultivating and perfecting a quality product I needed to work for people I loved. It took a heavy toll on the farm. We stopped going to our local farmers’ market. The hops slowly faded into the hillside. Season after season, the deer were having their way in the orchard, and I started growing way more dandelions than anything I actually planted.

Failure and Success: I felt like a total failure even though something amazing was happening at the same time. Customers began calling me from all over the country because they had heard about our mushroom extracts. Our farm’s creation of a natural remedy from our first forage in our woods was changing people’s lives. I got letters and phone calls from people telling me they felt I had saved their life. I cried many times with people on the phone who called to encourage me to keep doing what I was doing. It took a lot of healing customers to convince me it was really happening, and every one was a timely miracle.

It was a life lesson and one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Here I was trying so hard to bring another pound of produce to market when the land had a much bigger purpose in mind with mushrooms and herbaceous weeds if I would just listen to life and let it be. Eager for a purposeful life, that’s exactly what I did..

Half Hill Herbals: As our extract business grew, Vince came on full time and we moved production into an FDA-registered manufacturing kitchen in Woodbury. We expanded our mushroom extracts, partnered with certified organic growers and added new herbal tinctures, extracts and tonics. As I listened and grew with our customers I could see more clearly the path we were always on and how it unfolded in our products and stories of healing. I fell more in love with our weeds, sometimes spending hours identifying and understanding them. I still have a lot to learn and a lot more to share.

      

It literally took mowing down all but one survivor of our 100 blueberry bushes last month to find the language and finally come to terms with the fact that our farm is not what I envisioned. The farm is actually something bigger and more powerful: a beautiful mess of weeds, fungi and a platform for understanding, connecting with, and sharing the healing power of nature.

There were times I sat and cried on the hillside wondering what I was doing selling cucumbers by the pound from two farmable acres. I’ve learned to listen a lot more and trust what the land has been telling me all along. With smarter stewardship and patience, the land will show you its gifts. Weeds and wild herbs that were once in the way of another small crop row have captured my imagination, my heart and my soul.

As I look five years ahead, I see a lot less struggling with mowing and keeping a tidy garden. I see more mushrooms, clover, yellow dock, elderberries, burdock, nettle, mint, yarrow, bee balm, mullein, plantain and yes, dandelion. I see sanctuary. I see more healing. I see life and sharing our future together in the weeds!

Shop Half Hill Farm online or visit our retail store in the Arts Center of Cannon County.

Fighting your cold and flu with Elderberry Tonic


Half Hill Farm’s Elderberry Tonic

Happy Summer Solstice 2017! To celebrate this longest day of the year, we’d like to introduce you to our new Elderberry Tonic! This is tonic number 2 in a series that started earlier this year with FireRoot. You can now purchase both at our store in Woodbury, TN (click for map) or online.

Elderberries have been used for centuries as a remedy for flu and respiratory infections and is one of the most used medicinal plants worldwide. The reason you can find elderberry formulations among your local drug store’s cold & flu medications is because it’s a natural remedy that works.

Cold & Flu: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Norway, 60 patients aged 18-54 suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 hours or less were given elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for five days. Flu symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier in those receiving elderberry extract. Elderberries have been shown to be effective against influenza A & B as well as herpes simplex. In another study, the flavonoid-rich elderberry was shown to prevent H1N1 flu infection.

Better Health: Elderberries and elder flowers have many other uses. Extracts of elderberries can reduce blood pressure and may help reduce cholesterol. Many studies also demonstrate reductions in oxidative stress that can lead to many diseases including cancer.

Combined with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, local honey, echinacea and the bold flavor of ayurvedic ginger, cardamom and clove, our Elderberry Tonic is the perfect protective remedy.*

How To Use Elderberry Tonic: Before using our tonic for health reasons, please consult your doctor. You can take our tonic by the tablespoon three times a day as needed.

  • You can also create some amazing shrubs by adding 2 teaspoons per 8 oz serving of soda water.
  • Blend two tablespoons with one tablespoon of flax or coconut oil to make a tart vinaigrette for salads.
  • If you have to have a bowl of vanilla ice-cream, drizzling at least a tablespoon on top can help ease your guilt.
  • Add a couple ounces to Bourbon or moonshine for Elderberry Sours

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your physician before using our products. 

Hemp extracted CBD now available in Woodbury

Cannabidiol (CBD) has received a lot of attention through recent efforts to change our nation’s cannabis laws due to a growing body of evidence suggesting many health benefits. Many people use CBD in treating seizures and other neurological disorders, anxiety, depression, cancer and pain.*

CBD is a naturally-occurring constituent of both the industrial hemp plant and marijuana that engages our endocannabinoid system. CBD extracted from both plants are molecularly identical, but extractions of marijuana can contain illegal amounts of the psychoactive constituent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while industrial hemp extracts do not. The distinction is one reason why imported hemp products (fiber, seed, oil) under importation rules of the United States Department of Agriculture and United States Customs and Border Protections are legal in all 50 states. Additionally, there are no interstate commerce restrictions on the sale and consumption of these imported hemp products in the United States.

When the Agricultural Act of 2014 (U.S. Farm Bill) was enacted into law, it established state pilot programs with strict controls on U.S. hemp growers and producers including the varieties that can be grown, required background checks for growers, and coordination with state and federal authorities. The federal law also allowed states to enact statewide rules on products created from domestic hemp crops, including requirements for prescriptions and state commerce restrictions.

Half Hill Farm was Tennessee’s first organic farm to grow hemp under Tennessee’s hemp pilot program with the intent of creating quality CBD extracts for our customers. After the first year’s crop, our farm left the program because of limits on varieties we could grow at that time. Recent changes to Tennessee’s industrial hemp laws are moving in the right direction. One recent change removes hemp from state marijuana criminal codes by defining all products derived from domestic hemp that contain less than .3% of THC as “industrial hemp.” The new law also provides an exemption for possessing “non-viable” industrial hemp by non-license holders as long as the product is from a licensed source. We do look forward to more changes that will allow us to grow and process varieties so we can compete with imported products.

In order to serve our customers the highest quality hemp extracted CBD now without the restrictions associated with domestic crop production, we are proud to partner with Endoca, a leader in quality imported organic and GMP certified CBD & CBDa hemp extracts.

You can now purchase Endoca CBD oil drops and capsules in our retail store at the Arts Center of Cannon County. Each batch is third party lab-tested for concentration and certified organic compliance. Certificates and lab tests are available for review.

DROPS:
  • (3%) 300mg Hemp Extract (300 drops – 1mg CBD per drop – $31)
  • (3%) 300mg Raw Hemp Extract (300 drops – 1mg CBD + CBDa per drop – $31)
  • (15%) 1500mg Hemp Extract (300 drops – 5mg CBD per drop – $150)
  • (15%) 1500mg Raw Hemp Extract (300 drops – 5mg CBD + CBDa per drop – $150)
CAPSULES:
  • (3%) 300mg Hemp Extract capsules (30 capsules – 10mg CBD per capsule – $31)
  • (3%) 300mg Raw Hemp Extract capsules (30 capsules – 10mg CBD + CBDa per capsule – $31)
MORE CBD PRODUCTS
  • 150mg CBD Chewing Gum (10 pieces / 15 mg CBD per gum – $14)
  • 750mg CBD Hemp Salve (30ml – $59)
  • 500mg CBD Suppositories (10 suppositories / 50mg CBD each – $49)
  • 20mg CBD Hemp Lip Balm ($8)

Here is more information on CBD:

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your physician before using new products. Half Hill Farm Inc does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act. All of the cannabinoids in products we offer, including CBD, are natural constituents of industrial hemp and hemp oil.

What customers are saying about our mushroom extracts


Half Hill Farm’s mushroom extracts – available online and our retail store in Woodbury, TN

When it comes to using natural remedies alone, or as adjunct therapies in the treatment of disease, no two people will have the exact same result. Customer feedback from the past three years, however, has shown us patterns of success that are making a difference in their health and well being.

While we are not doctors and cannot make any claims that our products can diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, we are proud to hear a growing number of customers come from doctor recommendations. Our mushroom extraction process was first formulated for a family member to match standardized processes used by scientists and ethnobotanists for the purposes of many clinical trials and studies because we were not happy with the quality available in the market. The recognition of our quality and reports of better health and well being are humbling and give purpose to our work. It’s also as close to an authentic voice our products can have on behalf of what they can do for others.

Patterns of success: The general experience shared by our customers is that doctors are amazed at better than expected results (These customers didn’t experience the hair loss, appetite loss or nausea typically associated with primary care options and often seen in patients around them, and their blood work often surprises doctors showing strong immune response where a dramatic drop was expected). These observations match the results of recent U.S. based clinical trials. Customers with the most success take 2-3 times the daily serving of our extracts during treatment for various cancers followed by regular daily servings as maintenance. Requesting integrative care options early in cancer treatment exposed customers to alternative treatment options that include mushroom extracts. Examples of integrative care programs can be found at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. One of the most common patterns with these customers is a change in diet that adds more juicing and less meats as well as adding turmeric and black pepper seed oil (piperine in the black pepper dramatically increases the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric to reduce inflammation).

Feedback: Below are excerpts of written feedback in letters, cards and emails from some of our verified customers who have agreed to let us share their experiences. We have slightly anonymized the names of customers below, but if you have questions or more testimony to share, add them in comments.

My mother has stage 4 Lung and brain cancer. She was given 6 months to live and we just passed year 2. She is on a maintenance chemo and in addition to her vitamin regiment I think your product is helping save her life. Thank you! ~ S.O. in Minnesota

I purchase your extract for our son who has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. He has had surgery and had 12 rounds of chemo with no avail. He is now on his second round of chemo for eight treatments. He has been taking the turkey tail extract (a friend recommended it and you) for four weeks today and he feels so much better! His appetite is back and his numbers have been “phenomenal”! He will be having a CT Scan the beginning of December and we are hoping it shows his tumors being affected (we are actually hoping for a “miracle” and it be gone). He is surprised at the amount of energy he has now that he is taking your product. He is taking 2 teaspoons in a cup of tea every morning. I pray everyday this is our answer. Our son says he will take it the rest of his life if it works! Thank you for your dedication to the health of your fellow mankind – it truly gives us hope! ~ J.P. in Wisconsin

This isn’t about money. It’s about who does things right and won’t cut corners and that’s why i believe your products are the finest offered anywhere. This product is Awesome. I’m 72 and have more energy than I ever had. ~ H.M. in Florida

Last report was from the radiologist who was excited to see small changes. Couldn’t explain it. This week we saw his oncologist who was very pleased with the progress & admitted there was definitely some changes going on. With that he added, “Don’t stop what you’re doing.” This is huge!! His Dr. encouraged him!! His oncologist really doesn’t want to know about what the “new” changes are that he is doing but his Dr. saw improvement!! Thank you for all of your blood, sweat & tears.  Thank you for taking risks & stepping out and working so hard for a vision that you believe in. You are changing lives & giving hope where there has only been hopelessness. ~ J.D. in Virginia

I just started taking turkey tail liquid over a month ago. I have stage 4 breast cancer and I went for my monthly shots and exams. My tumors are shrinking and my labs have changed for the better tremendously. My Dr. Was shocked and did not start me on another chemo pill that she intended to do that visit. God has blessed me with this. And I will continue to take it. Thank you so much. More time with my children. ~ K.I. in Kentucky

I was diagnosed in May 2016 with a tick-borne disease. (Not Lyme, but a similar type of disease with similar symptoms.) The aftermath of these diseases can last for months if not years! As part of my treatment, I took Turkey Tail Mushrooms. Within 3 weeks of starting to take them, I was completely better. My doctor could not believe it, and said that all the blood work indicated that the disease was gone. The biggest problem with those diseases is inflammation and auto-immune response. I really believe the Turkey Tail was the factor that made the difference! Definitely take it in your coffee, it took a couple days to get used to it, but it kind of tastes like vanilla, so was easy to get used to! ~ K.F. in Tennessee

How are you doing? Are you seeing results you want to share? Are you a Doctor recommending our product? Do you want to ask our customers a question? Let us know!

Below is a short list of the extracts we make. Half Hill Farm uses a triple extraction process with distilled water, USDA certified organic and wild crafted mushrooms, and USDA certified organic USP alcohol. Our farm will soon offer more products based on what we continue to learn from published research and our customers who are seeing the best results in their health and well being!

Please consult your doctor before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The health benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom extract


Half Hill Farm’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Dual Extract

Over the past couple years we’ve grown a lot by listening and learning from our customers and following the latest research. After expanding into a new inspected kitchen earlier this year, we added Chaga mushroom and propolis extracts. Today, we are proud to add the power of certified organic Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms to our Nature’s Remedy line of mushroom extracts!

Adding this healing edible and medicinal mushroom to our mushroom extracts gives you another natural alternative approach to better health and well being. Our Lion’s Mane extract can be used with our other mushroom extracts or as an adjunct therapy in consultation with your doctor.

Uses for Lion’s Mane extract: Half Hill Farm’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Dual Extract combines extractions of both water and alcohol soluble compounds using certified organic ingredients in a formulation widely used by ethnobotanists and scientists in lab studies. Recent studies show cyanthane derivative triterpenes hericenones and erinacines from Lion’s Mane are unique classes of Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) that show significant neuroprotective effects, stimulating nerve regeneration and re-myelination of neurons and helping improve memory and brain function.

Lion’s Mane mushrooms have also been used for over 2,000 years in Chinese medicine for digestive diseases. Studies linked below show extracts of Lion’s Mane mushrooms are active against ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Disease, pancreatitis, Crohn’s Disease and gastrointestinal cancers (liver, colon, gastric). Unique compounds of Lion’s Mane mushrooms (palmitic acid, threitol and D-arabinitol) also help reduce blood sugar and regulate lipid levels in blood.

Recent studies on Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms:

Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The health benefits of honey bee propolis extract


Half Hill Farm’s Propolis Extract – available in 1 oz dropper bottles.

A couple years ago, I noticed honey bees actively coming and going from my compost bin. I thought I had unintentionally adopted a swarm. At any given moment there were about 25-50 bees coming and going. When I carefully opened the top, bees were all over the mushrooms we use to make our extracts. I didn’t know what to make of it so I started research that eventually led me to creating a new extract.

After reading about different roles of bees in the hive, I think these bees were tasked with gathering plant and tree resins that are collectively blended with enzymes and wax to form an amazing substance called propolis.

What is propolis: Bees use propolis as a structural glue and as a varnish protecting the hive from fungal, viral, bacterial infection and disease as well as invading small animals or small insects or mites. Propolis is loaded with vitamins and minerals, but propolis also includes polysaccharides that are also present in wood rotting fungi, including Turkey Tail mushrooms. The more I read the more I liked and began formulating a propolis extract for daily use.

Do bees use mushrooms: A few months later, self-taught mycologist Paul Stamets reported noticing bees on the ground sucking mycelium. Stamets believes his patented use of fungus may be a way to save honey bees from mites. But both of our observations might suggest bees are a step ahead of us and already use a broader range of the forest, including mushrooms and fungi, to protect the hive with blends of propolis.

It already happens with other bees. Last year, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation discovered that the Brazilian stingless bee uses fungus in their propolis to protect larvae food stores from spoiling.

He and his team discovered that the fungus is a key part of the hive. It permeates the cerumen, a material made of wax and resin that the bees use as building material. After the bees have deposited regurgitated food for the larvae inside the cells, and laid an egg, the fungus starts growing.

Once the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the fungus, and it turns out this food is absolutely crucial. When the team tried to grow the bees in the lab without the fungus, the survival rate of the larvae dropped dramatically – from 72 per cent to just 8 per cent.

Mindful observation of nature can reveal tested paths toward better health and well-being. Bees and fungi have evolved to withstand thousands of centuries of environmental changes. While they may be no match for the destruction humans can cause to the environment, their survival and centuries of use by humans suggests honey bee propolis is one of those tested paths we must understand and protect.

Purchase propolis extract: Each 1 oz (30 ml) bottle of Half Hill Farm’s Propolis Extract contains roughly a three month supply with daily use and has a dropper for oral or topical application. Take 3-5 drops a day, or apply to minor cuts to create a liquid band-aid.

The health benefits of propolis: There have been many studies of propolis and its known uses dating back to 300 BC. Here is an excellent summary of propolis studies published in 2015 making the case for potential future drug development. Here is another summary of propolis studies from 2013 also pointing to many reasons why we make our propolis extract.

  • Composition: Raw propolis is 50% resins, 30% waxes, 10% essential oils, 5% pollen, and 5% organic compounds. Propolis contains calcium, iodine, potassium, sodium, manganese, magnesium, iron copper and zinc as well as vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, D and E.
  • Antioxident: High concentrations of flavinoids and phenolic acids in propolis reduce oxidative stress to proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and other biomolecules in the body. Oxidative stresses cause cells to die leading to a variety of diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
  • Anti-inflammatory: When reactive oxygen species like hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) are not flushed from cells, inflammation occurs. Unresolved chronic inflammation can lead to many diseases like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, asthma and cancer. Many studies show the flavinoids and cinnamic acid derivatives in propolis reduce inflammatory responses.
  • Antiviral: Studies show flavinoid rich propolis interferes with the RNA synthesis of herpes simplex 1 and 2, influenza, H1N1, HIV and other viruses.
  • Antibacterial, Antimicrobial: Propolis is effective against Gram-positive bacteria like Streptococcus mutans, which causes tooth decay and heart disease, Lactobacilli, and Staphylococcus.
  • Antifungal: Propolis is active against dermatophytes and yeasts, including several Candida strains – some resistant to known antifungal agents.
  • Antiprotozoal: Propolis shows activity against parasites that cause many diseases in humans. Studies show propolis is active against trichomoniasis, toxoplasmosis, giardiasis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, Giardia lamblia, Trichomonas vaginalis, Toxoplasma gondii, Leishmania donovani, Trypanosoma cruzi, and malaria.
  • Antitumor: Propolis acts against cancer cells by blocking oncogene signalling pathways, decreasing cancer proliferation by decreasing cancer stem cell populations and increasing cancer apoptosis. Propolis is active against colorectal, human breast, human tongue squamous cell carcinoma, and human prostate cancer cells. Studies show flavonoids from propolis could play a protective role against the toxicity of the chemotherapeutic agents or radiation therapy.
Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

Nature’s Remedy: Chaga mushroom dual extract


Half Hill Farm’s Chaga Mushroom Dual Extract is available in 100 and 200 ml bottles.

Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) have been used as folk medicine for immune support and gastrointestinal health in Russia for centuries, more recently in treating cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments. Chaga is not an edible mushroom and must be extracted to be consumed. Extracts are made from the sclerotium, a fungal mycelium outgrowth that occurs mostly on Birch trees prior to a rarely seen fruiting body. As the Birch tree mounts a decades long defense against the advancing fungus, the Chaga mycelium creates a host of compounds to fight for its survival, and this is why many call Chaga the “King of the Herbs.”

Uses: Studies show extracts of Chaga mycelium reduce oxidative stresses that lead to many diseases. It has one of the highest antioxident values of any herb and high concentrations of melanin (visible on the sclerotium’s crusted outer surface), ergosterol (vitamin D2) and anti-aging enzymes Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).

Studies of Chaga also show antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Chaga’s adaptagenic effects help balance overactive auto-immune responses while naturally triggering needed immune responses. Chaga is often used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis and to normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Compounds from both hot water and alcohol extractions, including polysaccharides and terpenes (betulinic acids, phytosterols), have anti-tumor growth properties making Chaga a candidate as an adjunct therapy. Betulinic acid has been shown to help break down LDL cholesterol.

How to Purchase: Half Hill Farm is pleased to add the healing power of Chaga mushrooms to our Nature’s Remedy line of mushroom dual extracts that include Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) and Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) mushrooms. Our Chaga extract processes responsibly wildcrafted sclerotia (fungal mycelium) of the Chaga mushroom through a lengthy hot water (distilled water) and alcohol (USDA Certified Organic pharmaceutical grade USP) extraction process. Our full spectrum dual extract is manufactured in our FDA registered manufacturing kitchen for our USDA Certified Organic farm and bottled in premium Miron ultra-violet glass for superior preservation (shelf life of 1 year).

Take Chaga daily in morning coffee or evening tea or in combination with any of our mushroom dual extracts. There are no known contraindicators. Below are a few studies of Chaga mushrooms for deeper understanding of this powerful mushroom.

Research on Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushrooms

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes.

Organic farm starts kombucha brewery in Woodbury

(Woodbury, TN)  -  Half Hill Farm is opening a kombucha brewery in the Arts Center of Cannon County. The USDA certified organic farm will sell 16 oz. bottles and fill half gallon growlers of the carbonated beverage on site with both sizes available in local stores and restaurants.

The organic mushroom extract maker will team up with tempeh maker Short Mountain Cultures to work collectively as The Kitchen @ the Arts Center starting January 1. The collaboration will bring locally handcrafted fermented food & beverages to Middle Tennessee.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to share our handcrafted organic kombucha and everything we make together. It’s awesome,” said Half Hill Farm co-owner Vince Oropesa. “And it’s completely solar powered. How cool is that!” Oropesa added pointing to the Arts Center’s 30 KW solar panel system.

Half Hill Farm will also make live kombucha culture food products and barrel-aged kombucha vinegar. The farm will also expand its mushroom extracts to include Chaga, Lion’s Mane and other certified organic mushrooms.

Kombucha is sweet tea fermented with special yeast and probiotics into a carbonated beverage often flavored with fruits, vegetables, roots, or herbs. The craft of brewing and fermenting kombucha with a SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) is thousands of years old.

“Making these craft products at The Kitchen with like-minded partners feels right,” Half Hill Farm co-owner Christian Grantham said. “It’s the right people, the right place and the right time to revive a sustainable food culture that has lasted centuries.”


Apple Ginger Kombucha samples don’t last long on the farm.

Follow us for more information: A grand opening date for The Kitchen has not yet been announced. You can follow Half Hill Farm on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more information.

Photo (left to right): Vince Oropesa, Christian Grantham, Simmer Tidman, John Parker

Brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients show signs of fungal infection

A study published in this month’s Scientific Reports by Spanish scientists has found a strong link between Alzheimer’s disease and fungal infection. The report could lead to early anti-fungal treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and illustrates a growing understanding of how fungal, bacterial and viral infections relate to disease.

The study found that all brain samples identified as belonging to patients with Alzheimer’s disease had signs of fungal infection in their neurons. The study does not answer whether the fungal infections caused the Alzheimer’s disease or whether the disease itself made the patients more susceptible to fungal infections by compromising the blood-brain barrier protecting tissue from pathogens.

The Spanish study may lead to a closer look at recent findings by British researchers who found beta amyloid plaques of tangled neurons in Alzheimer’s disease patients are transmitted through medical procedures. It may be that a fungal cause for beta amyloid is the actual culprit in the studied human transmission. Fingings from a U.C. Davis study published in Cell Host and Microbe found that beta amyloids in Alzhemier’s disease trigger the same inflammatory immune response as amyloids created by bacterial biofilm.

Mushroom supplements: While there are no specific treatments for fungal infections recently discovered in tangled nuerons of Alzheimer’s patients, scientists are finding promise in studies of extracted compounds from the Red Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) that could later be used as compounded medicines or natural supplement treatments of Alzheimer’s and other amyloid related disease.

A study in Brain Research showed the use of liquid extracts of Red Reishi mushroom may prevent harmful neurodegenerative effects of toxins on the brain’s synaptic density proteins by exterminating toxic beta amyloids. A follow-up study indicates these liquid mushroom extracts could reduce beta amyloid-induced neurotoxicity as a natural supplement treatment. Red Reishi is already shown to alter the balance of gut bacteria that create biofilms and resulting amyloids.

Red Reishi is widely known & studied for its anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects and continues to demonstrate wide uses as a natural anti-aging supplement.

Available now: Half Hill Farm makes a high quality dual liquid extract of the Red Reishi mushroom. We make it with USDA certified organic Red Reishi mushrooms, USDA certified organic pharmaceutical grade alcohol (USP) and distilled water.

UPDATE 03-09-16: Since this report was published, scientists and researchers have joined draw more attention to these findings and published this report in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease just yesterday identifying the viral, bacterial and fungal infections.

We are researchers and clinicians working on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or related topics, and we write to express our concern that one particular aspect of the disease has been neglected, even though treatment based on it might slow or arrest AD progression. We refer to the many studies, mainly on humans, implicating specific microbes in the elderly brain, notably herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), Chlamydia pneumoniae, and several types of spirochaete, in the etiology of AD. Fungal infection of AD brain [5, 6] has also been described, as well as abnormal microbiota in AD patient blood. The first observations of HSV1 in AD brain were reported almost three decades ago]. The ever-increasing number of these studies (now about 100 on HSV1 alone) warrants re-evaluation of the infection and AD concept.

Many studies show a direct anti-viral effect of liquid Red Reishi extract (Ganoderma lucidum) on HSV-1. Several reports show anti-bacterial effects on Chlamydia pneumoniae, a bacertia not only associated with Alzheimer’s, but also thought to be a casal factor in Multiple sclerosis, Asthma, Chronic fatigue, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Fibromyalgia, Interstitial cystitis, and Crohn’s disease.
NOTICE: Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Bees use mushroom fungus to protect colony

Honey bees make a quick pharmacy stop on our farm’s used Turkey Tail mushrooms (March 2015).

Last year, I noticed honey bees coming and going from our compost bin of organic mushrooms we use to make extracts and thought I had a swarm problem. On closer look, I discovered they were nibbling on our used mushrooms and then flying away.

Understanding that bees eat pollen and nectar, I suspected they were up to something entirely different. I suspected they were self-medicating on residual compounds found on Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) and Red Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms left over from our extraction process.

As scientists are now discovering, that may very well be the case. A scientist at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation recently discovered that the Brazilian stingless bee uses fungus to protect larvae food stores from spoiling.

He and his team discovered that the fungus is a key part of the hive. It permeates the cerumen, a material made of wax and resin that the bees use as building material. After the bees have deposited regurgitated food for the larvae inside the cells, and laid an egg, the fungus starts growing.

Once the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the fungus, and it turns out this food is absolutely crucial. When the team tried to grow the bees in the lab without the fungus, the survival rate of the larvae dropped dramatically – from 72 per cent to just 8 per cent.

This Summer, self-taught mycologist Paul Stamets began working with Steve Sheppard, a bee expert at Washington State University, to test various wood decaying mushrooms on honey bees. They are finding promising results that could lead to ways of treating colonies for parasitic mites and other infections at the heart of troubling colony collapse disorder.

As other scientists are now discovering what I also observed, it may be that bees are already doing it themselves. Understanding what they are doing and why could help us understand more about the medicinal value of mushrooms and lead to both a re-evaluation of our use of fungicides and important life-saving discoveries for humans as well as bees.

Available now: You don’t have to be a bee-in-the-know to take advantage of these important mushrooms. Half Hill Farm makes organic mushroom extracts with USDA certified organic mushrooms, USDA certified organic pharmaceutical grade USP alcohol, and distilled water.

Read several studies showing what scientists are discovering about extracts of these mushrooms and what they can do now for your better health & well-being.