The medicinal mushroom which is a natural lymphatic

Polyporus, known by its scientific name, Polyporus umbellatus, is considered an important medicinal mushroom due to the presence of bioactive metabolites with many properties of interest for human health. Its study stems from applications in oriental medicine, where it has long been used for lymphatic drainage at different levels.

Although it may have a similar appearance, it should be differentiated from Maitake, another species with which it shares appearance, genus and some applications. P. umbellatus is not as popular as Chaga and, like Chaga, does not have outstanding culinary use. Its use is limited to the scientific field. Common names for this species include ‘Zhu Ling’, ‘Tsuchi-maitake’, ‘Maitake chorei’ and ‘Grifola umbellatus’.

Essential notes on Polyporus

Its medicinal qualities have been recorded in the earliest oriental medical documents. Nutritionally, apart from its protein content, it is notable for its relative abundance of copper and zinc. Other active biomolecules of interest are beta-glucans, terpenes, enzymes and provitamin D. The chemical composition of Polyporus contains substances of interest that are important for the normal development of certain biological functions. This is why it is the subject of further research, highlighting these areas of study:

  • Immunology: studies on its role on immune cells and its impact on defences (immune system).
  • Endocrine-metabolic system: detox function
  • Genitourinary system
  • Respiratory system
  • Integrative support

The fungus has been used as an antibiotic in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1000 years. In oriental medicine, Polyporus is used “against Tang (phlegm in the broadest sense) and the blockage of meridians by stagnant dampness”. In addition, “it is used as a diuretic and to treat conditions of the urogenital tract (heat and dampness in the lower abdominal area) and kidney problems such as stones and colic”.

Properties, applications and uses of Polyporus

The extract is one of the preferred ways of utilising the nutrients of interest contained in Polyporus, which guarantees the high concentration of beta-glucans, terpenes and biomolecules such as ergone, among others. Polyporus extract can be found in Mico-Polypor, a food supplement in capsule form. This is a standardised, pure organic extract. Polyporus powder is also available in a common commercial form (B-Polyporus). In contrast to the extract it has a lower concentration of active nutrients, but as a food supplement it is useful for various applications.

Products with POLYPORUS

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Mico Polypor

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Nutrient highlights

This species possesses nutrients of functional interest for the maintenance of homeostasis. These include:

SOD ENZyMe SOD

B VITAMINS:

(in particular biotin)

Ergosterol

Provitamin D2

MINERALS:

Calcium

Potassium

Iron

Manganese

Zinc

ergone

TERPENeS:

Polyporusterone A

Polyporusterone B

Habitat and distribution

Polyporus is a species that can be found in a mix of forests in all latitudes, being found less frequently in Europe. Central America and East Asia are the areas where most specimens have been found growing wild.

Mycological notes

P. umbellatus belongs to the order Poriales, family Poriaceae and genus Grifola, which it shares with Maitake (Grifola frondosa).

This species is saprophytic, decomposes wood for food and, as it matures, its own flesh turns from white and soft to hard and woody in consistency. It can be found growing wild in the forest, reaching up to 20 kg and occupying a surface area ranging from 10 to 50 cm.

The underground part of the fungus, the sclerotium, is reminiscent of the truffle, which is why in some countries it is also called pork mushroom. Several studies have analysed the composition of the mycelium and concluded that it is rich in bioactive substances.

The cultivation of POLYPORUS

This medicinal fungus feeds on woody substrates, preferably oak and beech. For this reason, the controlled production of Polyporus can be carried out using cultivation bags containing organic substrates of these varieties or their families.

It is important to remember that organic cultivation should be a priority when talking about medicinal mushrooms as they are great natural bioremediators. From an ecological perspective it is interesting to note they can absorb heavy metals from the environment in which they grow.

For therapeutic consumption, it is best to choose organic formulations or species cultivated in bioreactors on organic substrates specially designed for the quantitative and qualitative optimisation of their active biomolecules.

Cultivation in bioreactors

Highest quality, purity and performance in our production systems

One of the most powerful lines of research at Hifas da Terra focuses on the continuous improvement of the cultivation of different species in bioreactors (Reishi, Lion's Mane, Shiitake and Maitake) using certified organic substrates, as well as the standardisation of the quality of  source ingredients to guarantee excellence in the final product  with each medicinal mushroom.

Hifas Quality System (HQS)

Through our own quality standards, we identify biomolecules and active ingredients with therapeutic actions, selecting the fungal strains that contain the optimum amounts, and use our own specific analytical systems to apply analysis protocols at different stages of productionThanks to this rigorous system, we offer natural products, supplements and nutraceuticals with the Hifas Quality System guarantee, setting us apart from other products in terms of quality, safety and efficacy.  

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Fun facts

  • The famous Otzi, the Ice Man found mummified on a glacier in the Austrian Tyrol, carried two types of polyporus mushrooms. It is suspected that he used them to protect himself from infection.
  • Books Comer para vencer el cáncer (Dr Paula Jiménez Fonseca, medical oncologist and Belén Álvarez Álvarez, nutrition chemist) and Mi Alimentación Anticáncer (Dr Odile Fernández) devote a chapter to medicinal mushrooms.
References
  • Dai H, Han XQ, Gong FY, Dong H, Tu PF, et al. Structure elucidation and immunological function analysis of a novel β-glucan from the fruit bodies of Polyporus umbellatus (Pers) Fries. Glycobiology. 2012 Dec;22(12):1673-83. PubMed PMID: 22717313.
  • Hun Son K, Young Heo M. Inhibitory effects of Korean indigenous plants on tyrosinase and melanogenesis. J Cosmet Sci. 2013 Mar-Apr;64(2):145-58. PubMed PMID: 23578837.
  • Li X, Xu W. TLR4-mediated activation of macrophages by the polysaccharide fraction from Polyporus umbellatus(pers) Fries. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 26;135(1):1-6. PubMed PMID: 20600759.
  • Sun Y, Liang X, Zhao Y, Fan J. A sensitive spectrofluorometric method for determination of ergosta-4,6,8(14),22-tetraen-3-one in rat plasma, feces, and urine for application to pharmacokinetic studies using cerium (III) as a probe. Appl Spectrosc. 2013 Jan;67(1):106-11. PubMed PMID: 23317677.
  • Tan XL, Guo L, Wang GH. Polyporus umbellatus inhibited tumor cell proliferation and promoted tumor cell apoptosis by down-regulating AKT in breast cancer. Biomed Pharmacother. 2016 Oct;83:526-535. PubMed PMID: 27447121.
  • Yoon JJ, Lee YJ, Lee SM, Kang DG, Lee HS. Oryeongsan suppressed high glucose-induced mesangial fibrosis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Feb 22; 15:30. PubMed PMID: 25880429; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4354744.
  • Zhang GW, Qin GF, Han B, Li CX, Yang HG, et al. Efficacy of Zhuling polyporus polysaccharide with BCG to inhibit bladder carcinoma. Carbohydr Polym. 2015 Mar 15; 118:30-5. PubMed PMID: 25542103.
  • Zhao YY. Traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and quality control of Polyporus umbellatus (Pers) Fries: a review. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Aug 26;149(1):35-48. PubMed PMID: 23811047.
  • Zhao YY, Zhang L, Mao JR, Cheng XH, Lin RC, et al. Ergosta-4,6,8(14),22-tetraen-3-one isolated from Polyporus umbellatus prevents early renal injury in aristolochic acid-induced nephropathy rats. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;63(12):1581-6. PubMed PMID: 22060289.
  • Zhao YY, Zhang L, Long FY, Cheng XL, Bai X, et al. UPLC-Q-TOF/HSMS/MS(E)-based metabonomics for adenine-induced changes in metabolic profiles of rat faeces and intervention effects of ergosta-4,6,8(14),22-tetraen-3-one. Chem Biol Interact. 2013 Jan 25;201(1-3):31-8. PubMed PMID: 23246428.

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