The poria mushroom, scientific name Wolfiporia extensa, belongs to the Polyporaceae family and is also known as Poria cocos. This edible mushroom has been known and used by traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2000 years and, as often happens, in recent years science has also been interested in its properties, trying to verify and understand them.
Poria mushroom, properties
Nowadays we know that, thanks to the presence of polysaccharides, triterpenoids and fatty acids, the poria fungus is diuretic, shows anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging properties, modulates the action of the immune system, counteracts diabetes and tumors (Xiulian et al, J Cell Mol Med, 2019 - Sun, Int J Biol Macromol, 2014 - Feng et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2013). Therefore, this fungus is used to counteract edema and fluid retention, to stimulate diuresis, it is a tonic in case of tiredness and is able to strengthen the immune system but also can be helpful in case of type 2 diabetes. In fact, scientific studies have observed that the intake of extracts of this fungus has been able to reduce blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity (Tzu-Hsuan et al, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011). Moreover, a study (Park et al, Pharmazie, 2009) also observed that aqueous extracts of poria fungus are protective on the brain, counteracting oxidative stress and tissue damages induced by the aggregation of beta amyloid proteins, the cause of Alzheimer's. This study, still preliminary, paves the way for the use of poria as a possible future treatment for this degenerative disease.
Poria mushroom, where to find and how to take it
The poria mushroom is purchased in herbalist’s or chemist’s shops in the form of supplement. Given its hypoglycemic action, ask your doctor if you are taking blood glucose control drugs to avoid interactions. Alternatively, the poria mushroom is one of the ingredients of the famous mu tea, a mixture of herbs and roots created by the father of macrobiotics, Georges Ohsawa, we have dedicated a post about the topic. Mu tea is found in herbalist’s shops or online and has tonic, digestive and beneficial properties for the immune system.