The following is part two by guest author Dr. Nicole Apelian. She was among the first women selected for the History Channel’s hit TV show “Alone”. She has B.S and M.S. degrees in Biology from McGill University in Canada and the University of Oregon. She earned her Doctorate through Prescott College.

I use six specific herbs that heal the gut and promote a healthy microbiome: reishi, lion’s mane, and turkey tail medicinal mushrooms, along with plantain, slippery elm, and marshmallow. These botanicals help to calm inflammation, provide important prebiotics, and create a protective coating in the gut that allows it to regenerate and heal. They also have additional benefits, which we will explore below.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
(Link for reishi photo:
Reishi mushroom is an outstanding adaptogenic herb that strengthens the body against the negative effects of stress — such as increased inflammation, hormonal imbalance, high cortisol, and fatigue. This is particularly important if you have MS because stress can cause a flare. Reishi also encourages rejuvenating sleep, promotes adrenal health, and supports a healthy immune response. Moreover, it is neuroprotective, calms allergies, and is antiviral.

Pictured here: Reishi

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) (Link for lion’s mane photo:
Lion’s mane mushroom is another impressive herbal medicine for managing MS as it fortifies the nervous system and addresses gut inflammation. It also helps to encourage Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which is necessary for the repair of the protective, fatty coating surrounding nerve fibers known as the myelin sheath. For those with MS, the myelin sheath is often severely damaged. This protein maintains the neurons that are involved in learning, memory, and focus. Research has
established that lion’s mane also improves cognitive function.

Pictured here: Lion’s Mane

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
(Link for turkey tail photo:
Another anti-inflammatory medicinal mushroom is turkey tail. It also helps to modulate the immune system so that it is not over or under active, making it an excellent herbal remedy for managing autoimmunity. Turkey tail is exceptional for healing leaky gut, chronic fatigue syndrome, and treats a range of bacterial and viral infections as well. What’s more, this impressive mushroom is also an outstanding prebiotic, combats candida, and addresses small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Pictured here: Turkey tail

Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) (Link for cordyceps photo:
Additionally, I use a cordyceps extract everyday to manage my MS. Similar to reishi, cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. It is known to have neuroprotective properties that reduce neuronal cell death — an important consideration for those with MS. This unique mushroom is anti-inflammatory and helps to improve energy. It is also antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiprotozoal, which is helpful for addressing poor gut health. Cordyceps is anti-cancer and regulates blood sugar as well.

Pictured here: Cordyceps

Lastly, plantain, slippery elm, and marshmallow root calm inflammation, soothe mucous membranes, and create a protective layer that helps the gut to regenerate. I have found these botanicals to be essential for healing leaky gut.

If you would like to learn more about natural herbs and remedies, Dr. Nicole Apelian’s book, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine, is available here.
For access to Nicole’s Apothecary at a discounted rate, please use the coupon WELCOME10 at checkout for 10% off your first order. To learn how Nicole manages her MS on a daily basis, please read her detailed blog on this subject. Thank you!

  • Reishi is a vasodilator, so it is contraindicated for those with a bleeding disorder or for use before surgery. **Masé, G. (2012). Medicinal mushrooms: A brief history and overview of principal species. Retrieved on 08/27/2016 from
  • Please note that the contents of this article are for informational purposes only, do not constitute medical advice, and are not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.
    • Nicole Apelian, Ph.D.
  • Dr. Nicole Apelian is an herbalist, a mother, a survival skills instructor, an anthropologist, and a biologist. She has B.S and M.S. degrees in Biology from McGill University in Canada and the University of Oregon. She earned her Doctorate through Prescott
    College while working as an anthropologist and ethnobotanist in Botswana.
    She has spent years living in nature with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, one of the last indigenous peoples who still live as hunter-gatherers. Developing strong relationships within the tribe helped Nicole learn many of the remedies and skills she practices and teaches today and she continues her work with the San through
    her non-profit, “The Origins Project“.
    An unexpected diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2000 led Nicole to apply her research skills towards her own personal wellness. She focused on a healthy living strategy, including deep nature connection and gratitude practices. Through changes in her lifestyle, recognizing profound mind-body linkages, and making and using her own remedies, Nicole went from bedridden to being fully alive and from surviving to thriving.
    She believes that there are many more people suffering who need to find their own remedy. This became her life’s mission and the main reason for writing her book The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine. In it she poured over 28 years of plant knowledge and her first-hand experiences of making her own poultices, tinctures, decoctions, salves, infused oils, and other herbal remedies.
    In 2015 she was among the first women ever selected for the History Channel’s hit TV show “Alone”. Despite having MS, she went on to survive solo for 57 days straight in a remote area of Vancouver Island with little more than her hunting knife and the wild foods and medicines she found there.
    For more about Dr. Nicole Apelian please visit
    • References
  1. Philip, A., & White, N. D. (2022). Gluten, Inflammation, and Neurodegeneration. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 16(1), 32–35.
  2. Esmaeil Amini, M., Shomali, N., Bakhshi, A., Rezaei, S., Hemmatzadeh, M., Hosseinzadeh, R., Eslami, S., Babaie, F., Aslani, S., Torkamandi, S., & Mohammadi, H. (2020). Gut microbiome and multiple sclerosis: New insights and perspective. International immunopharmacology, 88, 107024.
  3. Jangi, S., Gandhi, R., Cox, L. et al. Alterations of the human gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis. Nat Commun 7, 12015 (2016).
  4. Shahi, S. K., Freedman, S. N., Murra, A. C., Zarei, K., Sompallae, R., Gibson-Corley, K. N., Karandikar, N. J., Murray, J. A., & Mangalam, A. K. (2019). Prevotella histicola, A Human Gut Commensal, Is as Potent as COPAXONE® in an Animal Model of Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in immunology, 10, 462.

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