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Also known as immunoregulators, these are a class of natural or synthetic substances that help regulate or normalise the immune system. Natural immunomodulators act to strengthen weak immune systems and to moderate immune systems that are overactive. They do not boost the immune system the same way as immune stimulants such as Echinacea, which could potentially aggravate symptoms.

Prescription synthetic immunomodulators include azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil and Imiquimod*. These work more crudely than natural alternatives by suppressing the immune system rather than balancing it.

*See the warning about this drug at the bottom of the page.


Natural immunomodulators

Plant sterols and sterolins are natural immunomodulators found in some raw fruits and vegetables and in the alga, spirulina. Spreads and yoghurt-type foods containing high levels of plant sterols are commonly to be found on sale as ‘cholesterol-reducing’ agents. These compounds are destroyed when vegetables and fruits are cooked. Other natural immunomodulators include ginseng root, chamomile tea, reishi mushroom extract and olive leaf extract. Patent immunomodulator preparations containing naturally-derived ingredients include Immunoferon™, Licopid™, Biobran™, AHCC, Noxylane4™, Leucomeal™ and MGN 3.

Recent research carried out in Russia* has identified extracts of certain Siberian plant species (Aconitum baikalense, Cirsium setosum and Saussurea controversa) as potent natural immunomodulators. The extracts are dissimilar chemically but have similar immune system enhancing effects. They have successfully been used for the treatment of benign and malignant tumors, antibiotic-resistant infections, allergies, polyarthrites, thyroid diseases, psoriasis and other pathologies which can be treated with medicines only with difficulty, if at all.

As usual there appears to be little or no interest in the West in researching these very promising compounds due to their natural (and therefore unpatentable) origin.

*Natural Immuno-Modulators from Siberian Plants, Arkady A. Semenov, Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry, Siberian Division RAS, Irkutsk, 664033, Russia.


WARNING: A powerful synthetic immunomodulator known as Imiquimod (aka Aldara, Zyclara, Beselna) is sometimes prescribed for topical use on warts and similar skin lesions. Not only is this chemical a known carcinogen in animals, but there is an increasing body of evidence that its use may result in severe, even life-threatening, adverse side effects. If you have been prescribed this drug or are considering purchasing it online, please follow this link to read about the dangers. (This page will remain open in the background).



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