Shiitake Mushrooms

by Dr. Michael Tierra, OMD

The formulas I’m currently recommending include Planetary Formulas’ Bupleurum Liver Cleanse, Shiitake Mushroom Supreme and Liver Defense. In addition to this I recommend two or three portions of steamed greens daily, dandelion root tea, whole grains, vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, a glass or two of freshly squeezed organic carrot juice, and fish. Other foods can be included, but these should be included daily. Avoid exceptional stress as it can activate the latent virus in the body. Also avoid refined foods as much as possible. Other substances to avoid include coffee and drugs including marijuana.

I offer the following information to many of my patients who, after being treated with herbs, with all symptoms of liver disease resolved, are still concerned with an elevated viral load test. What if, despite the fact that they indeed had a sick liver, there never was a hepatitis C virus in the first place? Therefore the viral load question becomes a moot point, measuring something that ultimately has no relevance to their liver disease.

Hepatitis C and the Phantom Virus Theory

In the 1970s, a third type of hepatitis was identified and associated primarily with heroin addicts, alcoholics, and patients who have received blood transfusions. At first these were regarded as either hepatitis A or B until subsequent widespread testing found neither virus in the victims. Presently there are approximately 35,000 Americans who die each year of what is now called Hepatitis C. This so-called virus doesn’t seem to behave as a normal infectious disease. Rather it is confined to a well-defined group of individuals who contract the disease only with blood-to-blood contact, typically through intravenous drug use, transfusions or needle-stick accidents. Despite this fact, virologists continue to hope to identify the specific virus causing the disease.

In 1982, the research laboratory of Chiron corporation located near San Francisco, equipped with the most advanced technology, injected blood from supposed hepatitis C patients into chimpanzees. None of the monkeys contracted the disease. For the next step the scientists probed liver tissue for the virus. Again, none could be found. In desperation, the team hoped to find even the slightest print of a virus. Finally amplifying a small piece of genetic information, encoded in a molecule known as ribonucleic acid (RNA) that did not seem to belong in the host’s genetic code, the researchers assumed this genetic information must related to the as yet and still to the present, undetected virus. This is what is tested and assayed with a viral load test. Interestingly only about half of all hepatitis C patients contain this rare foreign RNA or protein molecule. For those who do test positive only one such RNA molecule is found for every 10 liver cells — considered insufficient evidence for this to be the cause of the disease.

Remember, we are not saying there is no liver disease, only that it is still questionable as to whether there is a Hepatitis C virus causing it. Thus it is difficult to conclude that a patient whose liver enzymes are normal and stable, upon liver biopsy exhibits no active liver destruction, and feels healthy and normal in all other ways — but tests with an elevated hepatitis C viral load — should, based on this single parameter, be considered to have active Hepatitis C and therefore undergo conventional and highly questionable therapies such as interferon therapy.

The Chiron Hepatitis C saga continues. Using newly available technology, the Chiron team was indeed able to reconstruct pieces of the mystery virus. This resulted in a test for antibodies against a hypothetical virus that only a slight majority of hepatitis C patients had any evidence of being in their blood. Koch’s first postulate demands that a truly harmful virus should be found in large quantities in every single patient. The second postulate is that the virus particles are isolated and grown. (This despite the fact that the supposed virus has never been found intact.) The third postulate insists that newly infected animals such as chimpanzees should all get the virus after they are injected with it. This hypothetical microbe fails in all three tests. Despite these sacrosanct principles of virology, Chiron scientists announced in 1987 that they identified the “hepatitis C” virus.

More paradoxes confront the viral hypothesis with the fact that despite huge numbers testing positive for the hypothetical hepatitis C virus, most will never develop any symptoms of the disease, even though according to the tests, the virus is no less active in their bodies than it is in hepatitis patients. A recent large-scale study of people who have been watched for 18 years has revealed that those with who have tested positive live just as long as those who did not.

Despite this evidence, medical researchers are willing to declare a huge segment of the population who test positive for the hypothetical hepatitis C virus as having a ‘latent’ period that can extend over 20 years. The psychological damage alone to these individuals and those with whom they have been intimate can be devastating and affect all aspects of their life.

So wouldn’t it at least be good to know that a healthy diet, lifestyle, some liver herbs that simply promote overall liver health measured by standards of wellness, and normal and stable liver enzyme readings (which in a word mean that the liver is no longer destroying itself) is enough information to lead a normal and fruitful life?

Instead, Chiron and the virus-hunting establishment are happy to reap the rewards from their new virus hypothesis that took five years to evolve. They undertook an active publicity campaign to win powerful allies throughout the medical community. This led to a paper being published in respected magazines such as Science, edited by Dan Koshland, Jr., professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Edward Penhoet, chief executive officer for Chiron, also holds a position as professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley. The NIH-supported virology establishment soon lent the full weight of its credibility to the hepatitis C virus camp. As Chiron’s CEO boasted, “We have a blockbuster product.” A regulatory order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to test the blood supply would reap enormous sales for Chiron.

I continue with a lengthy quote from the article published in New Media Explorer:

“Their big chance presented itself in late 1988 as a special request from Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s doctors. The monarch was dying and constantly needed blood transfusions; could Chiron provide a test to make sure he received no blood tainted with hepatitis C? The biotech company jumped at the opportunity, making for itself such a name in Japan that the Tokyo government gave the product its approval within one year. The emperor died in the meantime, but excitement over Chiron’s test was fueled when the Japanese government placed hepatitis C high on its medical priority list. Chiron’s test kit now earns some $60 million annually in that country alone. By the middle of 1990, the United States followed suit. The FDA not only approved the test, but even recommended the universal testing of donated blood. The American Association of Blood Banks followed suit by mandating the $5 test for all 12 million blood donations made each year in this country – raking in another $60 million annually for Chiron while raising the nation’s medical costs that much more. And all this testing is being done for a virus that has never been isolated.

“Profits from the test kit have generated another all-too-common part of virus hunting. With Chiron’s new income from the hepatitis C test, Penhoet’s company bought out Cetus, another biotech company, founded by Donald Glaser, who, like Penhoet, also holds a position as professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley. And Chiron made an unrestricted donation of about 12 million to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley that generates $100,000 in interest each year.

“Unfortunately for Peter Duesberg, who belongs to the same department, his supervisor is yet another professor who consults for Chiron Corporation – and displays little sympathy for Duesberg for challenging modern virus hunting by restricting his academic duties to undergraduate student teaching and by not appointing him to decision-making committees. Such conflicts of interest have become standard fixtures in university biology departments.

“The modern biomedical research establishment differs radically from any previous scientific program in history. Driven by vast infusions of federal and commercial money, it has grown into an enormous and powerful bureaucracy that greatly amplifies its successes and mistakes all the while stifling dissent. Such a process can no longer be called science, which by definition depends on self-correction by internal challenge and debate.

“Despite their popularity among scientists and their companies, ‘latent,’ ‘slow,’ and ‘defective’ viruses have achieved only little prominence as hypothetical causes of degenerative diseases before the AIDS era. Their hypothetical role in degenerative diseases, which result from the loss of large numbers of cells, remained confined to rare, exclusive illnesses like kuru and hepatitis C.

“However, because latent, slow, and defective viruses cannot kill cells, such “viruses” eventually achieved prominence as hypothetical causes of cancer and thus entered the courts of health care and medical research. The next chapter describes the terms under which these viruses were promoted as causes of cancer and how some of these terms were eventually used to promote latent, slow, and defective viruses as causes of degenerative diseases including, above all, AIDS.”

CASES from the East West Acupuncture Clinic and Herb Center:

“Dear Dr. Tierra,

We had a phone consultation regarding my Hepatitis C about two months ago and you asked me to let you know how I was progressing. As I mentioned to you, I was with a Chinese doctor taking herbs since October. Among other things, I found out she was giving me the Bupleurum you recommended but she increased the dose after you and I spoke. She also added the Dandelion and I took another 2 cups of tea a day. I added the dark green vegetables and voila! Today I had my blood test results and my enzymes are normal!!!! For the first time since I found out I had Hep C, in 2001, they are normal. I’m sooooooo happy!!!

Thanks for your advice. Now, I know you mentioned the viral load is hard to get rid of, and mine is 987,000 and has not moved from the 100,000 range. Anything you have tried that works to get that under control?

Thanks again for your help!



Man age, 55, antibodies tested positive to hepatitis A, B and C. Over the years he periodically followed a strict vegetarian diet, fasted with juices, took a number of different herbs including herbs for cleansing the blood and liver.

Amazingly a subsequent viral load test showed absolutely no trace of virus in his body. The inference is that somehow, despite his being exposed to these pathogens, through careful health regime, diet, herbs, and yoga, he was cured. When managed and treated over a period of time, even chronic viruses such as herpes and hepatitis C virus can by gradually cycled out of the body. In some cases this may take a few years.


Man, age 45, diagnosed with juvenile onset insulin dependent Type One diabetes also with hepatitis C. He presented with symptoms of extreme fatigue, poor digestion, swollen abdomen, weak digestion, poor appetite, jaundiced complexion, etc. At the time of our first encounter he had an extremely high liver enzyme count and high viral load test. He was unable to work and function. Was severely depressed. I prescribed the basic protocol of Planetary formulas, dandelion root tea, high leafy vegetable diet described above, modifying it according to his symptoms and needs. His diabetes was also affected in that it was erratic and he was unable to regulate his daily insulin levels. Within three months his liver enzymes were returned to normal and he was feeling normal in all ways. In addition to other liver herbs, I added two or three cups of huckleberry leaf tea daily. This was so effective that he was able to reduce his daily insulin to half. He said a cup of huckleberry leaf tea taken before going to bed, allowed him to sleep through to morning without the usual high spike of blood sugar that occurs with many diabetics around 4 a.m. or dawn.

His Los Angeles liver specialist was amazed at his recovery and wondered what he had been doing. He was feeling great for the first time in months! Curiously a subsequent viral load test showed a raise in viral load count. I asked that he have a liver biopsy and this returned completely normal. With normalized liver enzyme count and normal liver biopsy, the raised viral load count is somewhat paradoxical. Considering his level of improvement, not even his liver specialist could strongly advocate conventional interferon therapy. I have seen this happen with a number of Hepatitis C cases who continue for years without any symptoms. Conjecture is that either the diet and herbs are neutralizing the effects of the hepatitis C Virus or perhaps as a number of researchers worldwide contend, we are not dealing with a known virus but a strange protein. This is a very controversial idea at present but hundreds of medical researchers worldwide have given it credence.


Email from a Woman living in Homer, Alaska:


I am so aware that HepC is not a virus. Using TCM herbs has helped me and the most amazing thing is that using the Gentiana formula actually chased out numerous Chinese Liver Flukes (into the toilet bowl, which I carefully removed, put in jar and showed to my doctor).

Toxins in our environment and infection with liver flukes are what I truly now believed is the cause of my having HepC. ”


If you would like to schedule a personal consultation with Michael Tierra for the treatment of chronic hepatitis or other diseases, fill out the online consultation form or call the East West Clinic for an appointment (831) 429-8066.

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