Powdered Mushroom Extract

A How To

Why make a powdered mushroom extract?


This preparation makes it possible to get all the benefits of a mushroom dual extract, and doesn’t involve any alcohol.  The initial boiling of the mushroom material breaks down the tough chitin cell wall and extracts the polysaccharides. The water is boiled down until there is a thick mushroom slurry. This slurry contains the polysaccharides, high molecular weight terpenes (still in the mushroom material itself), minerals, and sterols (still in the mushroom material). Since the water is extracting only limited amounts of the triterpene glycosides* and negligible amounts of other hydrophobic compounds, it is essential we consume the entirety of this slurry. Water can extract the polysaccharides and minerals, while the human body is an excellent solvent, and can take care of the rest. After dehydrating this slurry and following up with a grind, there is a powdery extract that is easy to add to oatmeal, coffee, soup, honey, tea, and anything else you desire mushroom extract in. This powdered extract can also be encapsulated.

*Triterpenes are common secondary metabolite compounds in medicinal mushrooms. Research shows that these compounds have cytotoxic effects on many cancer cell lines, they are anti-inflammatory, hepato-protective, anti-allergic, and anti-viral.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Ganoderma applanatum – whole, chopped, and powdered extract

Things to acquire:

  1. A mushroom fruiting body; Turkey Tail, Artist Conk, Reishi, Red Belted Polypore, Willow Bracket, Lion’s Mane, etc.
  2. Sharp knife for chopping
  3. A pot to boil in
  4. High speed blender
  5. Dehydrator or oven



  1. Chop freshly harvested mushroom fruiting body
  2. Further grind fruiting body in blender
  3. Dehydrate over night
  4. Place in pot and cover with water
  5. Boil down until there is a thick mushroom slurry

    IMG_3825 2
    “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell
  6. Place slurry on dehydrator tray (or oven tray)

    Mush Love – AKA mushroom slurry
  7. Dehydrate 12-24 hrs at 110 degrees F (if using oven – use lowest setting possible)
  8. Grind down in high speed blender
  9. If you desire a less fibrous extract, sift further for a finer powder



Work Cited

  1. Bhattarai G, Lee Y-H, Lee N-H, et al. Fomitoside-K from Fomitopsis nigra Induces Apoptosis of Human Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas (YD-10B) via Mitochondrial Signaling Pathway. Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(10):1711-1719. doi:10.1248/bpb.12-00297.
  2. Eo SK, Kim YS, Lee CK, Han SS. Antiviral activities of various water and methanol soluble substances isolated from Ganoderma lucidum. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;68(1-3):129-136. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00067-7.
  3. Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integr Med. 2014;13(1):32-44.
  4. Effects of triterpenes on the immune system. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;128(1):1-14. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.045.
  5. Ren G, Liu XY, Zhu HK, Yang SZ, Fu CX. Evaluation of cytotoxic activities of some medicinal polypore fungi from China. Fitoterapia. 2006;77(5):408-410. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2006.05.004
  6. Wang G, Zhao J, Liu J, Huang Y, Zhong J-J, Tang W. Enhancement of IL-2 and IFN-γ expression and NK cells activity involved in the anti-tumor effect of ganoderic acid Me in vivo. Int Immunopharmacol. 2007;7(6):864-870. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2007.02.006
  7. Yoshikawa K, Inoue M, Matsumoto Y, et al. Lanostane Triterpenoids and Triterpene Glycosides from the Fruit Body of Fomitopsis pinicola and Their Inhibitory Activity against COX-1 and COX-2. 2005:69-73.
  8. Zhu Q, Bang TH, Ohnuki K, Sawai T, Sawai K, Shimizu K. Inhibition of neuraminidase by Ganoderma triterpenoids and implications for neuraminidase inhibitor design. Sci Rep. 2015;5(AUGUST):13194. doi:10.1038/srep13194.


Ergogenic Potential of Medicinal Mushrooms


Medicinal Fungi complement the human system on a complexity of different levels. The awareness of mushrooms for medicinal use is most present in conversations around the immune system, yet there are further dialogues – in more recent research and in deeper exploration of ethno-mycological studies – that mushrooms support just about every system in the human body, not solely the immune system. This post is going to focus on mushrooms and movement. Specifically, how medicinal mushrooms support the human system through different anti-fatigue mechanisms allowing us to move better longer and with reduced risk of injury.

There are several theories of peripheral fatigue, and not surprisingly, many medicinal mushrooms support the bulk of them. Theories range from metabolic depletion; ATP and creatine-phosphate specifically, lactic acid accumulation, oxidative stress with depletion of endogenous anti-oxidant capabilities, muscle and liver glycogen depletion, tissue damage, and central/psychological factors.

Lactic Acid Accumulation

Let’s first focus on lactic acid accumulation. The accumulation of lactic acid during exercise will inhibit energy metabolism and reduce muscular endurance, resulting in fatigue. (The accumulation of lactate can interfere with nerve impulse and therefore muscle contraction) The theory goes, that if lactic acid accumulation can be controlled, then fatigue wont set in as quickly. Medicinal mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane, Hericium erinaceus, Reishi, Ganoderma spp. and Cordyceps spp.


all enhance the rate of lactic acid clearance during exercise or in the case of Cordyceps, can even inhibit production of lactic acid.1,5,7 The polysaccharides in H. erinaceus had a positive effect on the swimming time of mice, significantly increasing their exercise tolerance in a forced swimming model.  Ganoderma spp., Tremella spp. and Cordyceps spp. have been shown to stimulate the enzyme lactic acid dehydrogenase (LDH). The increase in LDH activity helps to increase ATP for exercise under anaerobic conditions as well as accelerate removal of lactic acid. From this information, we can postulate that when we have these mushroom extracts in our systems during exercise, we may benefit from a decrease in lactic acid accumulation, and therefore improve our endurance.

It is no surprise that Cordyceps has been found to improve exercise tolerance. This is of course, how this organism has been used for centuries. The Nepalese people observed live-stock consuming Cordyceps and saw how it increased their sexual vitality and general stamina. They began to consume them as the other animals were, and found that it increased their own vitality as well – increasing stamina, endurance, and treating impotence.15

Oxidative Stress

Intense use of skeletal muscle during exercise leads to oxidative stress. Of course the human system has its own antioxidant system built in, but this system can be weakened through excessive exercise leading to more oxidative stress. Medicinal mushrooms such as Ganoderma lucidum, Tremella spp., Cordyceps spp. and Fomitopsis pinicola all help to mitigate fatigue by supporting the free radical scavenging ability within the human antioxidant system.4,6,11 These mushrooms support superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase, and catalase; all endogenous enzymes involved in innate antioxidant functions. In a human double-blind placebo trial that assessed the oxidative stress biomarkers in athletes supplementing with Cordyceps and Ganoderma, the researchers found that after 3 months of supplementation with 1335mg Cordyceps extract per day and 1170mg Ganoderma  extract per day, the athletes had significantly more free radical scavenging activity after a race than the placebo group.17

Fomitopsis pinicola

One study that explored Ganoderma tsugae, a mushroom very closely related to our local Ganoderma oregonense, found significant liver protection against exhaustive exercise-induced liver injury in rats.10 “The results concluded that G. tsugae could increase the running time to exhaustion in animals, decrease lipid peroxidation and protect against hepatic apoptosis after exhaustive exercise.” Basically, G. tsugae has protective effects on the liver that can improve exercise performance.

Blood Flow

Ganoderma spp. and Cordyceps spp. contain the nucleoside adenosine.17 Adenosine is a regulator of skeletal muscle blood flow. The role of adenosine in exercise is vascular smooth muscle relaxation, contributing to the local vasodilation which accompanies muscle contractions. Adenosine contributes around 14-29% to vasodilation in humans especially during higher frequency contractions, like during exercise. Increased 40% in exercise lasting longer than 5 minutes.2  

Ganoderma applanatum also increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase. This also has a dialing effect on the endothelial smooth muscle in our blood vessels, increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle.14

This is the first post where I have discussed mushrooms that do not necessarily grow here in the PNW. I feel confident that our local Ganoderma species would have analogous interactions with our biochemistry as Ganoderma lucidum. I also think that the west coast Hericium species are analogous with Hericium erinaceus. Cordyceps are more common in the Himalayas and South America and worth investing in for personal stamina experimentation. In my experience, they are extremely powerful. We are however, extremely fortunate to have abundance of Fomitopsis pinicolawhich has a beautiful relationship with our innate free-radical scavenging systems and I would propose more use for this mushroom in relation to physical exercise.


Making medicine to support you through exercise

Beet Juice Matcha Latte

Why Beets and Matcha?

Beetroot juice increases blood flow and increases efficiency of mitochondrial respiration and oxidative phosphorylation9

In a study evaluating the anti-fatigue effects of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a polyphenolic compound in green tea, the researchers concluded that EGCG significantly prolonged exhaustive swimming time of mice.8 In another study done on male sprinters, green tea extract supplementation prevented oxidative stress.12 The polyphenolic compounds in green tea were also found to significantly protect rats from fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage induced by acute exhaustive exercise.13

Matcha Mushroom latte with Collagen 


  • 2tsp Matcha powder
  • 2tsp Beet juice or beet powder
  • ½ tsp Ganoderma spp. extract powder*
  • ½ tsp Hericium spp. extract powder*
  • ½ tsp Cordyceps spp.*
  • 1Tbs Hydrolyzed collagen powder (supports connective tissue)
  • 1 cup of milk of choice – I love hemp ‘milk’ straight from the teet of the hemp
  • ½ C hot water


  • Heat up milk and water
  • blend with all other ingredients (I use an immersion blender – you can poor into any blender, or if you have a frothing device, I imagine that would work too)
  • Add sweetener if necessary
  • Move your body!

Drink 30 min to 1 hour before working out

*If you don’t have access to powdered extracts, make a strong decoction of these mushrooms and use this as the water portion of the drink.

A good source for medicinal mushroom extracts – Dandelion Botanical co


Work Cited

  1. Geng P, Siu KC, Wang Z, Wu JY. Antifatigue Functions and Mechanisms of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017. doi:10.1155/2017/9648496.
  2. Ballard HJ. Invited Review ATP and adenosine in the regulation of skeletal muscle blood flow during exercise. Sheng Li Xue Bao. 2014;66(1):67-78. doi:10.13294/j.aps.2014.0009.
  3. Mateo DC, Pazzi F, Muñoz FJD, et al. Ganoderma lucidum improves physical fitness in women with fibromyalgia . Nutr Hosp. 2015;32(5):2126-2135. doi:10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9601.
  4. Zhonghui Z, Xiaowei Z, Fang F. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides supplementation attenuates exercise-induced oxidative stress in skeletal muscle of mice. Saudi J Biol Sci. 2014;21(2):119-123. doi:10.1016/j.sjbs.2013.04.004.
  5. Song J, Wang Y, Teng M, et al. Studies on the antifatigue activities of Cordyceps militaris fruit body extract in mouse model. Evidence-based Complement Altern Med. 2015;2015. doi:10.1155/2015/174616.
  6. Hao L, Sheng Z, Lu J, Tao R, Jia S. Characterization and antioxidant activities of extracellular and intracellular polysaccharides from Fomitopsis pinicola. Carbohydr Polym. 2016;141:54-59. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.11.048.
  7. Liu J, Du C, Wang Y, Yu Z. Anti-fatigue activities of polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus. Exp Ther Med. 2015;9(2):483-487. doi:10.3892/etm.2014.2139.
  8. Teng Y, Wu D. Anti-fatigue effect of green tea polyphenols (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG). Pharmacogn Mag. 2017;13(50):326. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.204546.
  9. Domínguez R, Cuenca E, Maté-Muñoz JL, et al. Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on cardiorespiratory endurance in athletes. A systematic review. Nutrients. 2017;9(1):1-18. doi:10.3390/nu9010043.
  10. Huang CC, Huang WC, Yang SC, Chan CC, Lin WT. Ganoderma tsugae hepatoprotection against exhaustive exercise-induced liver injury in rats. Molecules. 2013;18(2):1741-1754. doi:10.3390/molecules18021741.
  11. Reis FS, Pereira E, Barros L, Sousa MJ, Martins A, Ferreira ICFR. Biomolecule profiles in inedible wild mushrooms with antioxidant value. Molecules. 2011;16(6):4328-4338. doi:10.3390/molecules16064328.
  12. Jówko E, Długołęcka B, Makaruk B, Cieśliński I. The effect of green tea extract supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress parameters in male sprinters. Eur J Nutr. 2015;54(5):783-791. doi:10.1007/s00394-014-0757-1.
  13. Liu L, Wu X, Zhang B, et al. Protective effects of tea polyphenols on exhaustive exercise-induced fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage. Food Nutr Res. 2017;61(1):1333390. doi:10.1080/16546628.2017.1333390.
  14. Acharya K, Yonzone P, Rai M, Acharya R. Antioxidant and nitric oxide synthase activation properties of Ganoderma applanatum. Indian J Exp Biol. 2005;43(10):926-929.
  15. Panda A, Swain K. Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011;2(1):9. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.78183.
  16. Singh M, Tulsawani R, Koganti P, Chauhan A, Manickam M, Misra K. Cordyceps sinensis increases hypoxia tolerance by inducing heme oxygenase-1 and metallothionein via Nrf2 activation in human lung epithelial cells. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:1-13. doi:10.1155/2013/569206.
  17. Rossi P, Buonocore D, Altobelli E, et al. Improving training condition assessment in endurance cyclists: Effects of ganoderma lucidum and ophiocordyceps sinensis dietary supplementation. Evidence-based Complement Altern Med. 2014;2014. doi:10.1155/2014/979613.

Fungi and Skin *Healing the ‘Derma’ with Ganoderma and other mushrooms*

Using PNW Mushrooms in Skin Care

Fruiting bodies protrude from their hosts throughout our forests, the Ganodermas are a sight to behold and entirely hard to ignore. Ganoderma in itself means “shiny skin” of course referring to the varnished crust on many of the species in this genus, but how can we not apply this to our own, human skin. Following is research that has been done on Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma tsugae, and Tremella fuciformis and their uses in skin care. I am postulating that we can use out Northwest analogs, Ganoderma applanatum, Ganoderma oregonense, and Tremella mesenterica, the same way.

Sacchachitin and Polysaccharides for Wound healing

There is a product made, called Sacchachitin that is used as a wound dressing. It is made from the pulp of the Ganoderma fruiting body and when used, significantly speeds up the healing process of skin wounds. (Hung 2004) This product of course is not manufacturable by the general public, yet it is easy enough to chop up the Ganoderma into small pieces, place in a blender with a little water and create a pulp that is then simmered for about an hour. The simmering is not necessary for a styptic effect, but you want to extract the polysaccharides to see anti inflammatory, antioxidant and increased healing time effects. Speed of wound healing was also observed when Ganoderma polysaccharides were applied to the wounds of diabetic mice. It was observed that the polysaccharides accelerated the wound healing my inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative stress and improved wound angiogenesis (Tie 2012).

Healing from UVB damage

Tremella fuciformis has been used in skin care in Asia for decades, yet there is little research on our local species of Tremella, Tremella mesenterica. The polysaccharide content is comparable and so I am using the research and traditional uses of Tremella fuciformis as being analogous to the potential uses of Tremella mesenterica. Tremella is known to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory fungus. The Tremella polysaccharide extract was tested on hydrogen peroxide-induced injury of human skin fibroblasts. The polysaccharides from Tremella reduced oxidative stress and cell apoptosis in the treated skin. It also protected the skin fibroblasts from oxidative stress. (Shen, Gusman) Oxidative stress is one main reason our skin becomes wrinkled as we age, so using these polysaccharides topically could be beneficial in protecting our skin from wrinkles. The Polysaccharides, which make up about 90% of this species of mushroom, also assist the skin in its ability to retain moisture, an ability that decreases as we age.  Tremella polysaccharides have also been researched for lightening skin spots in sun damaged skin and have been shown to inhibit melanin formation. Another study explored Ganoderma polysaccharides and determined that these compounds protect against “photo-aging” by eliminating UVB-induced reactive oxygen species. (Zeng 2016). One local Ganoderma to the PNW is Ganoderm oregonense, an analog to the Ganoderma Tsugae of the Eastern states. In one study, lanostane terpenoids extracted from Ganoderma tsugae fruiting bodies protected human keritinocytes from photodamage. (Lin 2013)

Triterpenoids and Polysaccharides for Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction, which means it is an IgE mediated immediate hypersensitivity reaction, like an immediate allergic response. Researches explored a beta-glucan based cream for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. Topical application resulted in significant improvement. In this study, the people with dermatitis put the cream on half their body, and nothing on the other half. The half of their body that the cream was applied to showed significant decline in dermatitis. (Jesenak 2015) This benefit would come from the water soluble constituents of the mushrooms, while another study looked at the lipophilic triterpenes for type 1 hypersensitivity reactions. They found that the triterpene extract inhibited histamine release from rat mast cells induced by IgE. (Rios 2010) This is a great example where a cream made from both the water and oil extract of the mushroom could be extremely beneficial for these skin conditions. Another example of a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is the inflammation and itch that we get in response to mosquito bites. A study looked at the methanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum and the response of mosquito bitten mice. Results proved the mushroom extract to calm the scratching response of the mice. (Andoh 2010).

So Let’s Make a Body Butter and Lather ourselves With Mushroom Medicine!


This body butter is a host and fungi preparation. What this means is that the materials used are derived from both the host tree, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Doug Fir), and the mushrooms found inhabiting this tree, Ganoderma applanatum (Artist Conk) and Tremella mesenterica (Witch’s butter).  The more I delve into mushroom medicine, the more I find it is important to use the tree and mushroom together in formula. So much of the energetic properties and physical properties of the mushrooms are determined by their host tree. These trees have provided oxygen, habitat and strength throughout their lifetimes in the forest and this wisdom flows through the mycelial like veins and into the mushroom fruiting body, that has now come to assist this edifice of the forest in breaking down and returning to the soil.


  • 1/2 C Ganoderma infused oil*
  • Doug Fir Pitch oil**
  • 1Tbs cacao butter
  • 1Tbs Shea butter
  • 1/3oz beeswax
  • 1tsp lanolin
  • 1/4 C Ganoderma applanatum hydrosol or hot water extract
  • 1/4 C Pseudotsuga menziesii hydrosol or hot water extract
  • 1 small piece of fresh or rehydrated Tremella mesenterica
  • 10-20 drops Doug Fir essential oil



  • Using the double boiler method, add Shea butter, Cacao butter, Ganoderma oil, Doug Fir pitch oil, and beeswax to the top bowl an melt together, stirring every so often.


  • In a separate jar mix the hydrosols or water extracts (make sure the extracts are at room temp if recently made. It is a good idea to make them ahead of time and keep refrigerated) IMG_3167
  • Add the Tremella piece to the mixed water solution and blend with an immersion blender until well combined.
  • When all the oils have melted together with the beeswax, add the lanolin (optional) and slowly poor into the jar full of the aqueous material and blend with immersion blender. After well blended, add the essential oils and blend some more. The final product should be very creamy and will become thicker after it cools off.


*Ganoderma infused oil is made my chopping up any Ganoderma species into the finest pieces possible and covering with oil, I used jojoba oil, but you can use olive oil. This is then let to sit for a few months, or I have been placing it in my dehydrator at 115 degrees F for about a week, the heat will speed up the extraction process.

**Doug Fir pitch oil is made by collecting pitch (sap/resin) from the trees and placing in a sacrificial crockpot, and covering with a small amount of oil until it is just barely covered. Let this warm for many days, strain out and you are left with a beautiful thick resinous oil.

Works Cited

  1. Andoh, Tsugunobu, Qun Zhang, Takumi Yamamoto, Manabu Tayama, Masao Hattori, Ken Tanaka, and Yasushi Kuraishi. “Inhibitory Effects of the Methanol Extract of Ganoderma Lucidum on Mosquito Allergy €“Induced Itch-Associated Responses in Mice.” Journal of Pharmacological Sciences 114.3 (2010): 292-97. Web.
  2. Gusman, Jessica Krisanti, Chien-Yih Lin, and Yang-Chia Shih. “The Optimum Submerged Culture Condition of the Culinary-Medicinal White Jelly Mushroom (Tremellomycetes) and Its Antioxidant Properties.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 16.3 (2014): 293-302. Web.
  3. Hung, Wei-Sheng, et al. “Effect of SACCHACHITIN on Keratinocyte Proliferation and the Expressions of Type I Collagen and Tissue-Transglutaminase during Skin Wound Healing.” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, vol. 70B, no. 1, 2004, pp. 122–129., doi:10.1002/jbm.b.30028.
  4. Hyde, K. D., A. H. Bahkali, and M. A. Moslem. “Fungi: an Unusual Source for Cosmetics.” Fungal Diversity 43.1 (2010): 1-9. Web.
  5. Jesenak, Milos, Slavomir Urbancek, Juraj Majtan, Peter Banovcin, and Jana Hercogova. “β-Glucan-based Cream (containing Pleuran Isolated Frompleurotus Ostreatus) in Supportive Treatment of Mild-to-moderate Atopic Dermatitis.” Journal of Dermatological Treatment 27.4 (2015): 351-54. Web.
  6. Kurtipek, Gulcan Saylam, Arzu Ataseven, Ercan Kurtipek, Ilknur Kucukosmanoglu, and Mustafa Rasid Toksoz. “Resolution of Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Following Topical Application of Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi Mushroom).” Dermatology and Therapy 6.1 (2016): 105-09. Web.
  7. Lin, Kai-Wei, Yen-Ting Chen, Shyh-Chyun Yang, Bai-Luh Wei, Chi-Feng Hung, and Chun-Nan Lin. “Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Lanostanoids from Ganoderma Tsugae.” Fitoterapia 89 (2013): 231-38. Web.
  8. Rios JL. “Effects of triterpenes on the immune system”. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;128(1):1-14
  9. Shen, Tao, Chao Duan, Beidong Chen, Meng Li, Yang Ruan, Danni Xu, Doudou Shi, Dan Yu, Jian Li, and Changtao Wang. “Tremella fuciformis Polysaccharide Suppresses Hydrogen Peroxide-triggered Injury of Human Skin Fibroblasts via Upregulation of SIRT1.” Molecular Medicine Reports (2017): n. pag. Web.
  10. Tie, Lu, Hong-Qin Yang, Yu An, Shao-Qiang Liu, Jing Han, Yan Xu, Min Hu, Wei-Dong Li, Alex F. Chen, Zhi-Bin Lin, and Xue-Jun Li. “Ganoderma Lucidum Polysaccharide Accelerates Refractory Wound Healing by Inhibition of Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress in Type 1 Diabetes.” Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 29.3-4 (2012): 583-94. Web.
  11. Zeng, Qinghai, Fang Zhou, Li Lei, Jing Chen, Jianyun Lu, Jianda Zhou, Ke Cao, Lihua Gao, Fang Xia, Shu Ding, Lihua Huang, Hong Xiang, Jingjing Wang, Yangfan Xiao, Rong Xiao, and Jinhua Huang. “Ganoderma Lucidum Polysaccharides Protect Fibroblasts against UVB-induced Photoaging.” Molecular Medicine Reports 15.1 (2016): 111-16. Web.

Fomitopsis cajanderi (Rhodofomes cajanderi) -healing inquiries –

(Fomitopsis: To heat or cherish “fovere”


poultice “fomentum” Rhodo: Rose-colored)

The Rosy Polypore

Some mushrooms are seen, and it is decided that there is something exclusively unique about them based on their beauty. The striking qualities of the Red Reishi with it’s varnished surface, and the Turkey Tail with its adornment of various alternating colors, have infused passerby’s with an idea that they must behold strong medicine. However, what happens when we go through life only focusing on the seemingly beautiful things, on the brightly colored splendiferous things, and do not take a moment to see the dark and explore the medicine in the seemingly unknown. There is strong medicine in the obscure, in the mushrooms, people and plants that may not show themselves luminous right away. It takes someone who is curious and who is willing to take the time to explore something deeper than surface, and to know that there is magic in everything, there is medicine everywhere, you just need to be inquisitive and unafraid of the unknown. In alchemy, preparations are made in order to extract and isolate the essentials of the organism being worked with, to uncover the ‘mistakes of nature’ and get to the core of the organism This practice teaches that there is more to all organisms than what the eye allows you to see. All things, all beings, are intended to be fully seen, and fully explored. What is seen on the surface does not usually express the crypts of our soul, and instead of looking away, we must look deeper. Same is true for seeing all living organisms, and in this case, Fomitopsis cajanderi is the chosen entity to be explored.


Saprophytic on the dead wood of conifers and sometimes parasitic on living trees, grows most usually with others. Widely found throughout North American conifer forests.

Active known constituents

(none known, but this is what I theorize – HPLC analysis will be done on various extracts in the near future, I will amend info when that happens)

  • Triterpenes
  • Ergosterol
  • Beta-glucans
  • Phenolics

Spore print – off white

KOH – black

Therapeutic actions

cytotoxic to lymphocytic leukemia cells (in vitro), immune-modulating (most-likely), digestive bitter


warming, sweet, tonic

Recent Research

Cytotoxic Effects of Hot Ethanol Extract and Hot Aqueous Extract of Fomitopsis cajanderi on Jurkat Cell Line

Anna Sitkoff, Olivia Froehlich


Acute lymphocytic leukemia has an incidence of about 3.4 cases per 100,000 in the United States, and each year 2,500 to 3,500 new cases of ALL are diagnosed in children. Of these cases, 15% are precursor T Lymphoblastic leukemia. Those with T cell ALL have been shown to have a high rate of remission failure and a poor overall survival as compared to B cell ALL.2,3 The Jurkat cells are a line of T lymphocytic leukemia cells. Of the new ALL cases diagnosed in children, 70-80% of them participate in clinical research trials, indicating the importance of continuing research on this cell line and potential new therapies.5

Polysaccharides and secondary metabolites produced by plants and mushrooms have been found to be a critical role in research conducted on the medicinal value of these organisms. Mushrooms are known to produce triterpene secondary metabolites and polysaccharides as an essential piece of their chitin cell wall structure. Polysaccharides and triterpenes have different, yet well researched actions on the immune system, both in vitro and in vivo. Mushroom polysaccharides, specifically beta-glucans and protein polysaccharide complexes, stimulate production of cytokines IL-12, IFN –y, and IL-2.8 IFN-y and IL-2 are of specific importance in cancer research because they stimulate natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) which have antitumor effects. While polysaccharides stimulate an immune response, triterpenes directly induce cancer cell apoptosis.6 There is not yet research on Fomitopsis cajanderi, a member of the Fomitopsidaceae family, though there is some research on two other mushrooms of the same genus, Fomitopsis pinicola and Fomitopsis nigra. Fomitopside K, a lanostane triterpene glycoside extracted from F. nigra, induced apoptosis via G0/GI phase arrest in oral squamous cell carcinoma.1 F. pinicola has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. F. pinicola ethanol extract has been shown to have an anticancer effect on S180 cells in vitro and in vivo, to induce ROS-dependent apoptosis, and to cause P53 mediated G1 phase arrest in human colorectal cancer cells.7 F. cajanderi is not currently vulnerable to overharvesting. The more mushrooms we know to have similar effects, the less overharvesting we do of individual species. The aim of this study is to see if this, as of yet, un-researched species of Fomitopsis, F. cajanderi, has similar medicinal properties as the other, more researched, mushrooms of this genus. The hypothesis of this particular study is that both the hot water and hot ethanol extracts of the fruiting body of F. cajanderi will show dose dependent cytotoxicity on Jurkat cells, with the hot ethanol extract showing greater cytotoxic effects.


Collection and preparation of Fomitopsis cajanderi     The fresh Fomitopsis cajanderi was collected in January 2017 from St. Edward’s State Park in Kenmore, Washington (latitude ~47.7328° N, longitude ~122.2572° W).  The mushrooms were identified and harvested by Anna Sitkoff.  The mushrooms were then cleaned, chopped, dehydrated, and powdered in Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Lab. The mushrooms were chopped to 1cm2 pieces and weighed 195g. The specimans were placed in an Excaliber dehydrator at 46.1 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. The mushrooms were taken out of the dehydrator and weighed 64g. They were then placed in a Taiwanese grinder until a semi-powdered fibrous material was achieved. The material was stored in two separate Ziploc bags and stored in the Tierney Lab.

Preparation of hot ethanol extraction (FcETOH)     The hot ethanol extraction was done in a fume hood using a reflux apparatus with a cold thumb condenser. 4g of mushroom material was weighed and placed in 250mL boiling flask with 200mL of 95% ethanol. The heating mantle was on the 5 setting to boil and then reduced to 4 with ethanol simmering for 2 hours. Refrigeration for cold water bath used for condenser was set to 12 degrees Celsius. The final extract was poured into a 50mL conical and centrifuged at 3890 RPM for 15 minutes. A .2micron steriflip filter was used to filter the extract.

To concentrate the extract a rotary evaporator machine was used. The water bath was filled half way and set to 80 degrees Celsius. 90mL of FcETOH was placed into a 250mL round bottom flask, and spun hovering over the hot water bath. After 15 minutes, the flask as lowered into the bath and spun for another 15 minutes. The remaining amount of extract measured 9mL. The resulting FcETOH was 9.5% ethanol and a 1:2.25 extract. Extract was stored at 4 degrees Celsius.

Preparation of hot water decoction (FcHWE)     The hot water decoction was made in Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Lab.  The 10g F. cajanderi material was placed in 350mL of distilled water in a sterilized metal sauce pan.  The decoction ran for 2 hours partially covered, 50mL more H2O was added at the beginning of the second hour. The decoction was strained using a sterilized potato-ricer and the marc was composted. The extract was then placed back on heat to reduce to 50mL for a 1:5 extract. The extract was filtered through a .2micron steriflip filter and stored at 4 degrees Celsius.

Cell culture     RPMI-1640 + 10% FBS + 1:100 L-Glu media was made on 01/04/17.  Jurkat cells were labeled E6.1, passage 5, cells in one vial: 5×106 cells/mL and found in Cryotank 2014, quadrant 2, cane 9, box 50, row 6, column A.  They were frozen by M. Sasagawa on 10/02/2001. They were removed from the cryotank for culture on 01/23/17. Cells continued in culture to maintain cells in log growth phase. The concentration of the cells that were used for the XTT assay were 4×105 cells/mL. .1mL of cells were placed into treatment wells on a 96 U-bottom well plate.

XTT assay protocol     On Day 1, a 4×105 cells/mL concentration was brought up in clear media. 100 micoliters of the cell solution was pipetted into 60 wells. 8 serial dilutions in clear media starting at a 20% concentration were made for both the FcETOH and FcHWE as well as their respective controls. The control for the FcETOH was 9.5% ETOH and the control for FcHWE was distilled H20. 0.1mL of extract and control dilutions were added to the 0.1mL cells in triplicates. 0.1mL of 2% solution of 50mmol curcumin/dmp was also added as a positive cytotoxic control in triplicates. 200 microliters of clear media were placed in each of the surrounding wells to act as a evaporation buffer. Plate was placed in the incubator set at 37 degrees Celsius and 5% CO2.

Day 2—continued incubation.

On Day 3, the plate was spun at 750 rpm for 5 minutes.  The media was aspirated off of the 6×11 block of wells using a micropipette tip on glass tube vacuum.  Cells were rinsed by adding 200 microliters of PBS to the 6×11 block of wells and spun at 750 rpm for 5 minutes. PBS was aspirated off and the rinse was repeated once more for a total of two cell rinsings. The 200 microliters of clear media were aspirated from each of the surrounding wells and replaced with 100 microliters of fresh clear media.  The XTT assay solution was made and 100 microliters of it were added to each the wells within the 6×11 block.  The plate incubated for 3 hours.  After this time, the plate was covered with foil to avoid light reaction and placed on an agitator for 15 minutes.  It was then read on a microplate reader using SoftMax Pro.


XTT assay interpretation is based on light absorbency with lower values indicating less live cells present (i.e. greater cytotoxic effects).   Figure 1 shows increasing cytotoxicity from FcHWE2, with FcHWE1 having the greatest cytotoxicity when compared to the control.  Figure 2 shows dose dependent cytotoxicity of the FcETOH when compared to the control.  See conclusion for explanation on absorbency readings of FcETOH1-4.


Positive cell death control of curcumin     Reading of an XTT assay involves measuring light or color absorbency at 492 nm and 650 nm with higher values, or more color present, indicating viable cells.  Curcumin is bright yellow, which poses a problem for a cell death/cell viability assay that relies on light or color absorbency for its values.  The cells were rinsed with PBS and spun twice in an attempt to remove as much of the curcumin as possible and to avoid false readings.  However, Figures 1 and 2 both demonstrate that curcumin had the highest light or color absorbency, which is exactly opposite of what is expected for positive cell death.  It is suspected that there was some sort of cell death by the curcumin, but its residual color produced high values during the analysis of the XTT assay.  This being said, there is essentially a lack of a genuine reading for known positive cell death for this experiment.  In future research involving an XTT assay, a different, colorless positive cell death control should be used.

Absorbency of the FcETOH preparation at increasing concentration     Similar to the issue regarding the positive cell death control of curcumin, the FcETOH extract initially showed lower XTT values starting at the 2nd most dilute preparation (cytotoxicity), but then showed gradually higher XTT values started at FcETOH5 (Figure 2).  While preparing the plates, it was noted that the three highest concentration preparations of FcETOH reacted with the clear media containing the Jurkat cells upon combination, resulting in a cloudy solution.  This was observed in the first XTT assay (not discussed).  In an attempt to prevent this cloudiness from interfering with the light absorbency of the XTT assay, the cells were rinsed with PBS and spun twice.  Figure 2 shows that there was gradual increasing absorbency starting at FcETOH4, a finding that supports the thought that the cloudiness would interfere with the analysis.  During the two cell rinses, the presence of cell pellets were not visible for the three highest FcETOH concentrations as they were for the blanks and the ETOH control wells.  Therefore, it is likely possible that the highest concentrations of FcETOH had continually or completely effective cytotoxicity on the Jurkat cells, but the reaction between the preparation and media prevented the XTT assay from supporting these claims.


There were dose dependent cytotoxic effects of both the FcETOH and FcHWE preparations compared to their respective controls. FcETOH showed higher dose dependent cytotoxicity than FcHWE preparations. This result is concurrent with the hypothesis that the hot ethanol extract would have more direct cytotoxicity because of the triterpene extraction (triterpenes have been found to have a direct cytotoxic effect6,7) typical of most hot ethanol mushroom extracts. Further research needs to be done exploring the direct mechanism of cytotoxicity with this specific mushroom extract. Most of what is known of aqueous extracts involves their extraction of polysaccharides which are typically indirectly cytotoxic by inducing cytokine production. Therefore, further studies need to explore if the FcHWE cytotoxic effect is direct or from stimulating IFN-y and IL-2 production. HPLC analysis should be done on both the FcETOH and FcHWE to explore specific constituents of F. cajanderi and specifically to determine if it contains the cytotoxic lanostane triterpene glycosides as related species do.


Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 11.59.18 AM

Figure 1. Cytotoxic effects of FcHWE on Jurket cells starting at the 2nd most concentrated preparation. Jurkat cells were treated with triplicates of 8 serial dilutions of FcHWE and its distilled water control for 48 hours.  XTT assay solution was added and incubated for 3 hours.  Absorbency was read at 650 nm and 492 nm with higher values indicating cell viability. Numbers displayed correspond to respective absorbency values.

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 11.59.28 AM

Figure 2. Cytotoxic effects of FcETOH on Jurket cells starting at the 2nd most dilute preparation. Jurkat cells were treated with triplicates of 8 serial dilutions of FcETOH and its 9.5% ETOH control for 48 hours.  XTT assay solution was added and incubated for 3 hours.  Absorbency was read at 650 nm and 492 nm with higher values indicating cell viability. Numbers displayed correspond to respective absorbency values.

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 11.59.37 AM

Figure 3. Comparison of cytotoxic effects of FcETOH and FcHWE with FcETOH being having increased cytotoxic effects. Both plates for FcETOH and FcHWE were prepared and read in the same fashion.  The FcETOH showed dramatically decreased absorbency starting at the 2nd most dilute preparation while the FcHWE only started showing decreased absorbency at the 2nd most concentrated preparation. Numbers displayed correspond to respective absorbency values.

Work Cited

  1. Bhattarai G, Lee Y-H, Lee N-H, et al. Fomitoside-K from Fomitopsis nigra Induces Apoptosis of Human Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas (YD-10B) via Mitochondrial Signaling Pathway. Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(10):1711-1719. doi:10.1248/bpb.12-00297.
  2. Coustan-Smith E, Mullighan CG, Onciu M, et al. Early T-cell precursor leukaemia: a subtype of very high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Lancet Oncol. 2009;10(2):147-156. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70314-0.
  3. Inukai T, Kiyokawa N, Campana D, et al. Clinical significance of early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: Results of the Tokyo Children’s Cancer Study Group Study L99-15. Br J Haematol. 2012;156(3):358-365. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08955.x.
  4. Lee IK, Jung JY, Yeom JH, et al. Fomitoside K, a new lanostane triterpene glycoside from the fruiting body of Fomitopsis nigra. Mycobiology. 2012;40(1):76-78. doi:10.5941/MYCO.2012.40.1.076.
  5. Pui C-H, Yang JJ, Hunger SP, et al. Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Progress Through Collaboration. J Clin Oncol. 2015;33(27):JCO.2014.59.1636. doi:10.1200/JCO.2014.59.1636.
  6. Ríos JL. Effects of triterpenes on the immune system. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;128(1):1-14. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.045.
  7. Wang Y, Cheng X, Wang P, et al. Investigating migration inhibition and apoptotic effects of Fomitopsis pinicola chloroform extract on human colorectal cancer SW-480 cells. PLoS One. 2014;9(7):1-13. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101303.
  8. Wasser S. Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2003;60(3):258-274. doi:10.1007/s00253-002-1076-7.

Concentrated Mushroom Extract

Creating a concentrated tar

– with a dose of just a mL- potent, shelf-stable, alcohol free medicine-

A 5:1 concentrated extract or sometimes called a solid extract simply means there is an equivalent of 5 grams of original substance per 1 mL of final liquid extract

I love these concentrated mushroom extracts, yet it is important to note that these do not replace dual (aqueous and ethanolic) extracts. In the process I will describe below, lipophilic constituents like Triterpenes will likely not occur in the final concentrate.

What will be extracted:

Water soluble constituents that are not destroyed by heat. In the case of mushrooms, specifically Fomitopsis pinicola, Trametes versicolor, and Ganoderma applanatum, which are the mushrooms in this extract, we are extracting; immune-stimulating, immune-modulating, hypoglycemic, and hypocholesterolemic polysaccharides and anti-oxidant phenolic compounds.

What you will need for this preparation:

Mushrooms: at least 300g

Water: enough to cover the mushrooms by a few inches

Crockpot or soup pot

Stove top or hot plate

Beaker to measure mL of liquid

Honey – enough to equal the final amount of liquid in the extract – if starting with 300g of mushrooms, and we are aiming for a 10:1 extract, we need 30mL honey to add, to get a 5:1.


  1. Collect mushrooms or purchase dried mushrooms from your local  herb shop, slice thin and dry over night

2. Get the dry weight of the mushrooms in grams, then place mushrooms in crockpot or large soup pot and cover with water – so water covers by a few inches

3. let Simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, if using a crockpot it is great to simmer overnight

643g polypores simmering

4. Press out mushrooms from decoction – compost mushrooms, or pour 100 proof vodka over them to extract triterpenes. – if you do this let it mushrooms macerate in ETOH for 2 weeks

5. Place aqueous extract (decocted liquid)  in smaller soup pot and let simmer – this is where you want to keep a close eye on the process, stirring somewhere in between occasionally to avoid over simmering and burning

6. Simmer down until there is 30mL of extract (if you started with 300g) – the idea is that you have an equivalent of 10g dried mushroom material for every 1mL liquid. – 10:1

10:1 64mL of concentrate

7. Take off the heat and add an equal amount of honey – if there is 30mL of extract, you will add 30mL of raw honey and mix thoroughly, now you have a 5:1 concentrated syrup.

Raw Honey added, now 5:1

Place in amber jars – Refrigeration is unnecessary-




Trametes versicolor and Beyond

Medicinal Value of Further Trametes spp.

Slogging around the dense northwest forest and in your periphery rests a nearly bare, fallen log. It is nude accept for the adornment of a troop of thin, layered polypore mushrooms. It is hard to tell from where you stand exactly which species this log beholds. At this point, there is that hope that this would be an especially auspicious amble in the woods, and that it would be the fruiting body of the great Turkey Tail mushrooms. With fingers crossed, you traverse the trail and walk towards the fungal bouquet. After stepping through the thick humus and crawling under fallen trees, you arrive at this mysterious cluster of mushrooms. The initial instinct is to look closely at the attractive pileus, and take note if there are alternating striations of colors, and within these striations, if there are alternating hirsute and silken layers. Next, you touch the body of this terrestrial being to take notice of its thickness and rigidity. Is it thick, or thin, bendy or stiff? Finally, you look for the pearly white pore surface on the caudal surface of the mushroom. You look to see if you notice the pores, if they are big enough to see or if they are so tiny that this surface looks entirely smooth. After this thorough inspection, you look at these elegant polypore mushrooms with disappointment. The pileus is a pearly white and seems continuously hirsute, the body feels thicker than you expected, and the pore surface is not as smooth as you wished it to be. Still, you recognize the brilliance, but leave the mushrooms be and continue along with your walk.

This was my story on numerous occasions. Though, the more I studied the mycomedicinals, the more my curiosities grew around the medicinal uses of other species of the Trametes genus. Fortunately, others had this curiosity as well. Here, I hope to give information of the modern research and traditional uses of four species of Trametes fungi that are found here in the Pacific Northwest. I will discuss Trametes hirsuta, Trametes ochracea, Trametes versicolor, and Trametes pubescens. I also added a bit of information on the False Turkey Tail, Stereum ostrea. These mushrooms are all common and widespread in boreal and temperate regions in the northern hemisphere.

Trametes hirsuta (One who is thin, hairy)

trametes hirsuta


Distribution and Natural Habitat

White rot mushroom found on the deadwood of hardwoods, usually found growing in clusters on logs and stumps. Fruiting in Summer and Fall. I usually find these mushrooms on logs by a river or stream.

Cap (pileus)

Semicircular, often kidney shaped. Other caps of adjacent mushrooms are sometimes fused. Hairy throughout, contrasting zones of different shades of grey and white.

Pore Surface

Whitish, tingeing yellow with age.

Spore Print


Active known constituents

Polysaccharides, (Beta Glucans), flavonoids

Therapeutic actions

Immune-modulating, immune-stimulating, styptic, Antioxidant, Genoprotective

Medicinal Properties

  • Aqueous extract Improves macrophage phagocytic activity
  • Immunomodulation activity from enhancing the number of vitality in Natural Killer cells, (NK cells)
  • Polysaccharides from T. hirsuta induced NK cell activation and significantly increased NK cell mediated cytotoxicity. This study1 explained; “NK cells begin to proliferate and secrete cytokines as a means of communication with other components of the immune system, in particular T cells. NK cells are best known for their capacity to kill tumor cells and there is evidence for their role in controlling infection in the earliest phases of body’s immune responses.”
  • Genoprotective activity of mushroom extracts are based on the reduction of oxidative damages of DNA. There is an abundance of free radicals in the environment associated with oxidative stress and as this paper2 explains, is the basis of aging and the initiation and progress of various diseases.
  • The fruiting body extract at the concentration of 20.0 mg mL -1 showed a genotoxic effect and DNA damage in cells was significantly less compared with the control. This was found to be dose dependent, and at lower concentrations, there was no significant genotoxic effect.
  • Antioxidant, free radical scavenging activity of 59% reduction of radicals.

Trametes Ochracea (One who is thin, yellowish-orange color)


Distribution and Natural Habitat

See T. hirsuta. Annual, slow to decay, usually found all year round, I have found they are more rotten around early spring and freshest looking in the Fall an Winter, which is when they release their spores.

Cap (pileus)

Different shades of orange and ochre in concentric zones, often with a stripe of white at the edge. Semicircular, or bell shapes, entire surface is covered with a thin fuzz. Caps are typically 1.5-5cm across and often overlap with other fruiting bodies of the same species.

 Pore Surface

Creamy ochre with roundish pores 1-4mm deep, spaced 3-4 pores per mm. Stains more significantly than other trametes sp. when bruised.

Spore Print


Active known constituents3

Saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, phenols, tannins

Therapeutic actions

Anti-inflammatory, Cytotoxic, Antioxidant, Hypocholesterolemic

Medicinal Properties3,4

  • Methanol extracts showed significant proton donating ability and could serve as free radical inhibitors as a primary antioxidant.
  • Antioxidant activity significantly comparable to major antioxidants; Tocopherol and ascorbic acid.
  • High flavonoid content suggests an important role of stabilizing lipid oxidation
  • One cause of inflammation is the denaturation of proteins. The anti-inflammatory activity of T. ochracea was tested by assessing membrane stabilization using the red blood cell membrane. The methanol extract was effective at inhibitting the heat induced hemolysis. It is thought that this is from the presence of phytochemicals in the extract that inhibit the release of lysosomal content of neutrophils at the site of inflammation.
  • Slightly less effective but comparable to Asiprin in membrane stabilization and proteinase inhibition.
  • Methanol extract exhibited acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity.
  • Methanol extract induced mitotic activity by reducing cell division suggesting further research for possible use as an antitumor therapy.
  • Addition of T. ochracea extract to hyperlipidemic diets was found to significantly decrease the risk of atherosclerosis by decreaseing cholesterol levels.



Trametes pubescens (one who is thin, hairy)


Distribution and Natural Habitat

Same as T. hirsuta

Cap (pileus)

Up to 8 cm across and 5cm deep. Semicircular, irregular bracket shape, sometimes fusing with other caps laterally and caudally. Velvety, though sometimes becoming bald with age. Usually cream and light gray in color. Faint textural zones, no obvious color zoning.

Pore Surface

Creamy, yellowish with age, 3-5 angular pores per mm

Spore Print


Active known constituents

Laccase, Beta glucans, phenolic compounds: gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, apigallocatecin gallate, caffeic acid, rutin hydrate, p-coumeric acid, naringin, resveratrol, kaempferol, and biochanin

Therapeutic actions

Antioxidant, Immune-modulating, immune-stimulating, metal ion chelating, anti-dementia, anti-inflammatory

Medicinal Properties

  • Laccase can oxidize, polymerize and detoxify urushiol (the irritating chemical in poison ivy). Oxidized urushiol is nontoxic, and so laccase can reduce the effect of poison ivy dermatitis.
  • Hydroxy radical is the most reactive oxygen species in attacking biological molecules and can be reduced by regulating gene expression. Laccase can reduce OH radicals.5
  • Hot water extract of .125-2mg/mL had 41.91% to 93.45% free radical scavenging activity, showing high value as an antioxidant.(19)
  • Hot water extract also had 96.85% chelating activity at concentrations of 2mg/mL (19)
  • The phenolic compounds in the fruiting body demonstrated strong, dose dependent anti-acetylcholinesterase activity. (high amounts of acetylcholinesterase can lead to neurological disorders) hence, the possibility of using extracts of this mushroom for preventative treatment of dementia. (19)
  • I could not find very many studies discussing the medicinal value of this mushroom, so I hope that it is further researched. Though, it is very similar genetically to the other Trametes sp. and so I feel comfortable postulating it has therapeutic immune-stimulating and immune-modulating actions due to the beta-glucans being a key component of the fungal cell wall.


Trametes versicolor (One who is thin, of many colors)

Coriolus versicolor

Turkey tail

Cloud Mushroom

Yun Zhi


Distribution and natural Habitat

  • Found throughout North America, and the entire world
  • The most common polypore found on dead hardwoods found on trees that reproduce by flowers, and have broad leaves. Many are deciduous; oak, maple, cherry, birch.

 Totally True Turkey Tail Test- derived from mushroomexpert.com

1) Is the pore surface a real pore surface? Like, can you see actual pores?

Yes: Continue.
No: See Stereum ostrea and other crust fungi.

2) Squint real hard. Would you say there are about 1-3 pores per millimeter (which would make them fairly easy to see), or about 3-8 pores per millimeter (which would make them very tiny)?

3-8 per mm: Continue.
1-3 per mm: See several other species of Trametes.

3) Is the cap conspicuously fuzzy, velvety, or finely hairy (use a magnifying glass or rub it with your thumb)?

Yes: Continue.
No: See several other species of Trametes.

4) Is the fresh cap whitish to grayish?

Yes: See Trametes hirsuta.
No: Continue.

5) Does the cap lack starkly contrasting color zones (are the zones merely textural, or do they represent subtle shades of the same color)?

Yes: See Trametes pubescens.
No: Continue.

6) Is the fresh mushroom rigid and hard, or thin and flexible?

Rigid and hard: See Trametes ochracea.
Thin and flexible: Totally True Turkey Tail.

Spore Print – White

Active Constituents

  • B- glucans
  • PSK (protein bound polysaccharide)
  • PSP (Polysaccharopeptide)
  • Ergosterol (Provitamin D2)

Therapeutic Actions

Styptic, anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulating, immune-modulating, chemo-protective, antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-hypertensive, antigenotoxic, prebiotic, gastrocyte protective


Increases circulation, clears heat and damp, sweet and slightly warming

Medicinal Properties

  • PSP alters the composition of the gut microbial activity. The presence of PSP increased levels of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus sp. in the gut while reducing E. coli, Staphylococcus and Clostridium.7
  • PSK, “Krestin” a protein bound polysaccharide, anti-cancer drug sold in Asia, works as a chemo protective defense to healthy cells, while sensitizing cancer cells. (made them abnormally sensitive to the chemo)14,16
  • People treated with this showed less recurrence in gastric cancer
  • Inhibiting cancer cell growth in combination with enhancing the host’s natural immune response; more killer cells and less cancer.16
  • Significant improvement in breast and cervical cancer survival rates.14
  • Anti microbial activity against E-coli, Listeria, and Candida
  • Use to normalize immune function in patients with chronic rheumatoid arthritis
  • Suppressed blood sugar and increased bone density in diabetic rats.15
  • Ethanolic extracts reduces the growth of hormone responsive prostate cancer cell growth.
  • PSP, polysaccharopeptide, is water soluble polysaccharide, anti-viral agent, shown to inhibit HIV replication, also antitumor properties, immune-modulating response by inhibiting proliferation of leukemia cells, but not affecting growth of leukocytes.
  • Cleared 88% of oral HPV in combination with Ganoderma lucidum.10
  • PSP also have superoxide dismutase, anti-oxidizing actions against free radicals.2
  •  Oxidative damage is a key factor in aging and age related disease DNA can be damaged by oxidative and non oxidative processes. T. versicolor, T.   hirsuta, and T. gibbosa were all shown to be genoprotective when tested on human peripheral white blood cells. T. versicolor had the strongest benefit in maintaining DNA integrity.
  • The polysaccharides instigate both the innate and acquired immunity. Stimulating the macrophages and also the cells that are there to recognize the foreign antigen.
  • When mixed with Astragalus it enhances neutrophil function and speeds recovery in rabbits suffering from burns.13

 Trametes betulina (Lenzites betulina)

“Birch Maze-gill Polypore”


An oxymoron of a mushroom – a gilled polypore

Distribution and natural habitat

Found on deadwood of hardwoods, annual, alone or overlapping on logs – Summer and Fall

Cap (pileus)

Irregular bracket or kidney shaped, concentric zones of texture, zones of white, grey, brown


Pore/gill Surface

Whitish, up to 1cm or more deep, interconnected. KOH negative

Spore Print


Active known Constituents

Benzoquinone compounds: Betulinans A and B (20), p-terphenyl compounds, steroids; ergosterol peroxide and 9(11)-dehydro-ergosterol, L-glutamate, ergosta-7,22-dien-3B-ol, geranicardic acic, sigmasterol, D-allitol

Therapeutic Actions

Antioxidant, anti-atherosclerotic, cytotoxic, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic

Medicinal Properties

  • Fruiting body methanol extract inhibit lipid peroxidation through free radical scavenging activity20,23
  • In-vitro anticancer activity against human breast cancer cells, Hela cells21
  • Antimicrobial against S. aureus and B. subtilis21
  • Antiviral against H5N1 and H3N222
  • Crude exopolysacchardies have a hypoglycemic effect – helping to lower blood sugar.26
  • Water extract has mild anti-tumor activity against Sarcoma 180


In China, this mushroom was traditionally used to treat haunch, femora pain, acropathy, applexy and cold.

 Stereum ostrea (Hard/Stiff, Oyster)

“False Turkey Tail”


Although not part of the Trametes genus or even the polyporaceae family, this mushroom that is often called false turkey tail, should not be overlooked. This too has great medicinal value and further research should be done.

Another point of interest regarding this mushroom is that one of my favorite and often neglected medicinal fungi, Tramella mesenterica, is parasitic on Stereum. Most of the time it is only parasitic on the mycelium, but in some cases, Tremella can be found growing right on the fruiting body.

Distribution and natural habitat

Deadwood of hardwoods, growing densely, but not fusing together as Trametes sp. often do. Found in all seasons throughout the year.

Cap (pileus)

Often fan shaped, or irregularly kidney shaped. Hairy at first, getting smoother with maturity. Concentric zones of red, orange, yellow and brown. Sometimes taken over by greenish shades with age due to algae.

Interesting about this algae: This algae has a commensal relationship with Stereum. The algae do not get nutrients from the fungus, but uses it to gain a better position in the environment for photosynthesis.

Pore Surface

Smooth, no pores, whitish to reddish brown.

Spore Print


Active known Constituents

Stereumone (a sesquiterpene), three aromatic compounds, methyl 2,4-dihydroxy-6-methylbenzoate.

Therapeutic Actions

Antifungal, Antimicrobial

Medicinal Properties6

  • Water and ethanol extract were effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, water extract having a stronger effect.
  • When compared with antibiotics Streptomyocin and tetracycline, Stereum extracts showed more inhibition of E.coli and P. aeruginosa.


Interesting Ethnomycology Tidbits

Of the mushrooms used by the maya, the polypore mushrooms, including Ganoderma and Trametes were mentioned for treating diverse conditions, from stomach aches to mouth sores, and insanity.(17)

In Western and Central Nepal, Trametes versicolor, Ganoderma lucidum and Coriolus hirsutus were found used for ignition of cigarettes in Lumle area. These species are also used to lock the crevices of the wooden pot (Thekaa). They are cut into small pieces, inserted into crevices and left for one whole night in water. Mushrooms after soaking in water completely, blocked the crevices. (18)


I hope that this post is helpful in elucidating that there is a lot of further research that needs to be done on these beloved polypores. Maybe next time you come across one of these thin, woody fruiting bodies that is not a true Turkey Tail, you will realize it’s medicinal value and decoct them with your other medicinal mushrooms in a tea or broth. 

Now that you can ID these mushrooms and you are aware of their medicine, how will you include them in your life?

Things you can do:

Make a Northwest Trametes spp. dual extract

Easy Folk Recipe:

  • Cover bottom of sauce pot with mushrooms
  • Add 4 Cups of water, and boil until water has reduced by half
  • If you have a high speed blender, now would be a good time to put mushrooms and water into the blender to increase surface area for maximal extraction. You can also chop up the mushrooms before doing this entire process, and will be easiest to cut with scissors.
  • pour into jar, and add 95% alcohol so that the jar contains 2/3 mushroom and water extract and 1/3 ethanol.
  • Shake well and let sit for 3 weeks. Shake whenever you remember to!
  • Press extract out and take as you feel needed.

Some folks like to do an alcohol extraction before the water extraction. I have found that heating the mushroom in the water prior to alcohol extraction has superior results.

Make a Trametes Syrup

A recipe:

  • 1 Large handful of various Trametes spp. in a pot.
  • Cover with 4 C water and decoct until the water is reduced to 2C
  • Simmer with Astragalus for extra immunomodulation action!
  • Mix in 2 C of Raw honey and you have a Trametes syrup. This delicious syrup can be used to sweeten tea, put on pancakes, and just take throughout the year to keep you healthy and strong!

When you find these in the forest and want something to chew on, first make sure the mushroom is not rotten, then stick it in your mouth and chew on it like gum.

Important: Most polypore mushrooms can dry fine on their own. Trametes need to be placed in the dehydrator if you plan on drying them for later use. If you let them air dry you will find that they will eventually turn to dust. (They will be consumed by little mushroom mite type creatures)

Work Cited

  1. R., Shenbhagaraman, Premalatha M.k., Jenefar S., Jagadish L.k., Saravanamurali K., Kaveri K., Karthik S.n., and Kaviyarasan V. “Immunopotentiating Properties of Extracellular Polysaccharide from Trametes Hirsuta Strain VKESR.” Carbohydrate Polymers106 (2014): 299-304. Web.
  2. Knežević, Aleksandar, Lada Živković, Mirjana Stajić, Jelena Vukojević, Ivan Milovanović, and Biljana Spremo-Potparević. “Antigenotoxic Effect Of Trametesspp. Extracts against DNA Damage on Human Peripheral White Blood Cells.” The Scientific World Journal2015 (2015): 1-10. Web.
  3. Mellapa, G., Roshan, A. Nithi, C. et al. “Phytochemical analysis and in vitro antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxicity activities of wood rotting fungi, Trametes ochracea” Pharmacognosy Journal 7(2) (2015): 136-146. Web.
  4. Shamtsyan, M., Antontceva E., Panchecnko A. et al. “Hyperlipidemic and Hypocholesterolic Action os Submerge Cultured Mushrooms” Journal of Hygienic Engineering and Design. Web.
  5. Si, J, Cui, B K “Study of the physiological characteristics of the medicinal mushroom Trametes pubescens (higher Basidiomycetes) during the laccase-producing process.” Int J Med Mushrooms 15 (2) 2013.199-210 Web.
  6. Imtiaj, Ahmed, Jayasinghe, Chandana, Lee, Geon Woo, Lee, Tae Soo “Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Stereum ostrea, an Inedible Wild Mushroom” Mycobiology 35(4) 2007: 210-214
  7. 7.Yu ZT, Liu B, Mukherjee P, Newburg DS “Trametes versicolor extract modifies human      fecal microbiota composition in vitroPlant Foods Hum Nutr – June 1, 2013; 68 (2); 107-12
  8. ui K.P., Sit W.H., and Wan J.M.: Induction of S phase cell arrest and caspase activation by polysaccharide peptide isolated from Coriolus versicolor enhanced the cell cycle dependent activity and apoptotic cell death of doxorubicin and etoposide, but not cytarabine in HL-60 cells. Oncol Rep 2005; 14: pp. 145-155
  9. Wan J.M., Sit W.H., and Louie J.C.: Polysaccharopeptide enhances the anticancer activity of doxorubicin and etoposide on human breast cancer cells ZR-75-30. Int J Oncol 2008; 32: pp. 689-699
  10. Donatini, Bruno “Control of Oral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) by Medicinal Mushrooms, Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum: A Preliminary Clinical Trial” international Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 16 (5) 2014: 497-498
  11. Patel, S. Goyal, A. “Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review” 3 Biotech. 2012 March; 2(1): 1-15
  12. Stamets, Paul, and C. Dusty Wu Yao. Mycomedicinals: An Informational Booklet on Medicinal Mushrooms. Olympia, WA: MycoMedia, 2002. p. 42-44 Print.
  13. Rogers, Robert Dale. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2011. Print.
  14. Standish, Leanna J., Wenner, Cynthia A., Sweet, Erin S., Bridge, Carly, Nelson, Ana, Martzen, Mark, Novack, Jeffrey, Torkelson, Carolyn. “Trametes versicolor mushroom immune therapy in breast cancer” Journal of the society for integrative oncology. 6(3) 2008: 122-128
  15. Chen, C.,Kang, L, Lo Ho. Et al. “polysaccharides of Trametes versicolor improve bone properties in Diabetic Rats” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 63 (42) 2015: 9232-9238
  16. Guggenheim, Alena G, Wright, Kirsten M, Zwickey, Heather L. “Immune Modulation from Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology” Integrative Medicine. 
  17. Shepard, G., Arora, D., Lampman, A. ” The grace of the flood: Classification and use of wild mushrooms among the highland maya of chiapas” Economic Botany. 62 (3) 2008: 437-470.
  18. Adhikari, M., Devkota, S., Tiwari, R. “Ethnomycological Knowledge on Uses of Wild Mushrooms in Western and Central Nepal” Our Nature. 3 2006: 13-19
  19. Im, Kyung, Trung Nguyen, Jaehyuk Choi, and Tae Lee. “In Vitro Antioxidant, Anti-Diabetes, Anti-Dementia, and Inflammation Inhibitory Effect of Trametes Pubescens Fruiting Body Extracts.” Molecules 21.5 (2016): 639. Web.
  20. Lee IK, Yun BS, Cho SM, et al. Betulinans A and B, two benzoquinone compounds from Lenzites betulina. J Nat Prod. 1996;59(11):1090-1092. doi:10.1021/np960253z.
  21. Liu K, Wang J, Zhao L, Wang Q. Anticancer and Antimicrobial Activities and Chemical Composition of the Birch Mazegill Mushroom Lenzites betulina ( Higher Basidiomycetes ). 2014;16(4):327-337. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v16.i4.30.
  22. Teplyakova T V., Psurtseva N V., Kosogova TA, Mazurkova NA, Khanin VA, Vlasenko VA. Antiviral Activity of Polyporoid Mushrooms (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Altai Mountains (Russia). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(1):37-45. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v14.i1.40.
  23. Oyetayo VO, Nieto-Camacho A, Rodriguez BE, Jimenez M. Assessment of Anti-inflammatory, Lipid Peroxidation and Acute Toxicity of Extracts Obtained From Wild Higher Basidiomycetes Mushrooms Collected From Akure (Southwest Nigeria). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(6):575-580. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v14.i6.50.
  24. Ren G, Liu XY, Zhu HK, Yang SZ, Fu CX. Evaluation of cytotoxic activities of some medicinal polypore fungi from China. Fitoterapia. 2006;77(5):408-410. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2006.05.004.
  25. Ríos JL. Effects of triterpenes on the immune system. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;128(1):1-14. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.045.
  26. Jaroszuk-s AJJ, Osin M. Extracellular polysaccharides from Ascomycota and Basidiomycota : production conditions , biochemical characteristics , and biological properties. 2015:1823-1844. doi:10.1007/s11274-015-1937-8.



Fungi, Stress, and Winter

Winter; Traditionally a time of sleeping, eating, and burrowing. Though, we no longer live with the seasons in our society, so consequently, winter has become a time, like all the other times, one of business and stress. This resistance to succumb to the slow, dark pace of winter can result in a manifestation of disease. We are fortunate during this time to have the plants and fungi as our allies.

Love the polypore perennial mushrooms for allowing harvest throughout all seasons.

“Without leaves, without buds, without flowers, yet from fruit; as food, as tonic, as medicine: the entire creation is precious.” – A poem found in an ancient Egyptian temple

Let us neither forget nor ignore this preciousness during this season.

Polypore Mushrooms endure great stress. They are some of the most weathered beings out there. As I sit cozy inside, the Fomitopsis’ the Trametes’ and Ganodermas of the forest stand the wind, the rain, the snow, the cold, the warmth, yet they continue to grow, gaining more resistance as the weathers abound.

I was recently reading about this therapy of ‘Grounding’ – The idea that the electrical currents from the earth can improve our sleep, anxiety, inflammation, and accelerate healing time post injury. As our deep fascial network provides a mycelium like sock over our musculature, electrical currents run through passing information throughout. Each muscle its own knoll, and valleys and ravines lay in between. These waves move in amongst and throughout it all delivering signals around. When there is a blockage in this fascial network, these signals do not move as quickly. A blockage can be formed from events like tight muscles, dehydration, inflammation – knots can form from lack of stretching and water intake, fascia will bind to muscle and skin, making it difficult for information to pass. Electrical pulses stimulate the growth of mycelium, and very well do they hasten our own healing. The electrical pulse of the earth in direct collaboration with our own mycelial-like fascial network can improve our own response to stress and inflammation. Mycelia work as a network of communication for the flora of the forest, as our fascia and neurons do for our own internal terrain. Maybe this connection is the doctrine of signatures that explains a way that mushrooms work as adaptogens – how they help our bodies adapt to stress – or decrease the blockages so information can move through without so many obstacles, in turn increasing our own vitality, or Qi.

       Human Fascia
Mycelial Network

(These pictures look strangely similar to me, I don’t now if everyone will feel that way)

Polypore Mushrooms and the Stress Response

This idea about the fascia and blockage of our information network is just me postulating about the doctrine of signatures relating mycelium to fascia.  There is much information regarding Medicinal Mushrooms being beneficial for what can be debilitating consequences of a prolonged stress response.  This is a good time to grasp this knowledge, seeing that it is the holiday season and many of us have time off from stressful lives at school and work, and then are hit with the stress of the holidays. The response to stress is, like most of our bodily processes, beautiful, perfect, and a negative feedback loop, not meant to be constant. Throughout history of humanity, the stress response is critical to acute stressors, and up until recently in civilization this idea of chronic stress did not exist. The systemic response to stress is the HPA axis. This is the Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. When a stressor occurs, like being chased by a bear, or having to take an exam, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin releasing hormone, signaling the pituitary to release adrenal corticotropin releasing hormone and then the adrenals release catecholamines, and corticosteroids such as cortisol. The cortisol then acts on the hypothalamus in a negative feedback system, turning off the production so that no more cortisol will be released. When this stress turns chronic, the negative feedback system stops working so well – the adrenals become fatigued. This can then lead to fatigue, inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep, immune system suppression, weight gain, low libido, etc.

Adaptogens are a class of herbs and fungi which facilitate the body in adapting to this chronic stress. Ideally we would be able to stop the major cause of stress and would not need the adaptogens, but that isn’t always an option. Adaptogens can be both beneficial and detrimental to ones health, depending on the ones we choose. A more stimulating adaptogen like Rhodiola rosea or Panax ginseng can help in the time of stress but then, consequently, leave you feeling even more burnt out.  Medicinal mushrooms are considered to be gentle and safe, and I have yet to hear of someone experiencing burnout from taking them.  Though, they do not tend to work directly with the HPA axis, so some would not even consider them adaptogens. Other than one article¹ reporting positive anxiolytic effects in mice, using Royal Sun medicinal mushroom, Agaricus brasiliensis, I have not been able to find any research regarding medicinal mushrooms and the HPA axis specifically, but rather an abundance of research regarding the mushrooms and the repercussions of chronic stress; this being their immunomodulating, hepatoprotective, antihistamine, weight stabilizing, anxiolytic, aphrodisiac and anti-tumor properties.

The Triterpenes, or secondary metabolites, have been studied the most in this regard. The spores and crust of the polypore mushrooms have the highest triterpene content, and these are best extracted using methanol, ethanol, acetone, or oil (You will see in the recipe below, that there is coconut oil added to the syrup for this reason).  A comprehensive review² of the biological activities of Ganoderma ssp. triterpenes concluded numerous actions that indirectly help the body to adapt to stress. Allergies and viruses are more active when our body is under stress, and the Ganoderma triterpenes have been found to have potent activity against herpes simplex virus and inhibit histamine release. Lanostane triterpenes, (the triterpenes found in Ganoderma spp.) Ganoderic acid B and C both have histamine inhibitory effects.³  In regards to body fat, Ganoderma triterpenes were found to significantly reduce triglyceride accumulation by 72%, as well as inhibiting HMG-COA reductase (the key regulatory enzyme in cholesterol production). Under stress, it also becomes difficult to think clearly and the Ganoderma triterpenes have anti-cholinesterase activity. Less degradation of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine can improve cognitive functioning, and some anticholinesterase drugs are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. (Rosmarinus officinalis and Salvia miltiorrhiza both have anticholinesterase activity as well – I’m sure you have heard of Rosemary enhancing memory. Also, under chronic stress inflammation may be more prevalent. Macrophages are one of the critical immune cells in the regulation of inflammatory responses. Activated macrophages secrete a number of different inflammatory mediators. When there is an excessive production of these mediators, inflammatory disease is exacerbated. Lanostane triterpenes can help prevent and treat inflammatory disease by inhibiting production of inflammatory cytokines.4 Ganoderma applanatum, Ganoderma oregonense and Fomitopsis pinicola all contain these lanostane triterpenes.

Mushrooms, like people, are more than just a bunch of different molecules. They contain their own energy and this is one of strength and endurance. We don’t need to know about the chemicals they contain to know that they are grounding beings of great vigor. Simply observing this, and their way of being throughout the seasons, gives us enough information that they are superb and precious medicine, and a medicine that can be of great importance during times of stress. 



Recipe for the Season – A syrup to help with holiday stress and viral defense

Elderberry and Fungi Syrup

kings-sambucus½ C Elderberries

6  Ganoderma slices

¼ C Chaga mushroom pieces

1 Tbs Licorice root, chopped

1 Tbs Ginger (Dried and chopped is fine, but fresh juice will have stronger antiviral action)

1/3 C coconut oil

2 1/4 C water

Raw Honey



  1. Put all ingredients, except for honey and ginger juice, in a pot and heat until it comes to a boil
  2. Bring down to a simmer
  3. Mash up with potato masher every once in a while
  4. When water has reduced by half (about 45 min), decant liquid from plant and mushroom material
  5. You can let it cool down a bit, put it all in a cheese cloth and squeeze as hard as you can
  6. Mix raw honey with ginger juice and oil-water extract so they are equal parts (Honey:Extract+Ginger juice,  1:1)
  7. With a hand held emulsifier, hand blender or any other kind of blender, emulsify the mixture. The purpose of this is so that there isn’t a layer of oil sitting on top of your syrup. Also, doing this emulsification step creates a creamy delicious consistency.
  8. Store in little glass jar
  9. Put on Oatmeal, Pancakes, Waffles, or just take it by itself!



Work Cited

  1.  Zhang, Chunjing, Xiulan Gao, Yan Sun, Xiaojie Sun, Yanmin Wu, Ying Liu, Haitao Yu, and Guangcheng Cui. “Anxiolytic Effects of Royal Sun Medicinal Mushroom, Agaricus Brasiliensis (Higher Basidiomycetes) on Ischemia-Induced Anxiety in Rats.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms Int J Med Mushrooms 17.1 (2015): 1-10. Web.

  2. Xia, Qing, Huazheng Zhang, Xuefei Sun, Haijuan Zhao, Lingfang Wu, Dan Zhu, Guanghui Yang, Yanyan Shao, Xiaoxue Zhang, Xin Mao, Lanzhen Zhang, and Gaimei She. “A Comprehensive Review of the Structure Elucidation and Biological Activity of Triterpenoids from Ganoderma Spp.” Molecules 19.11 (2014): 17478-7535. Web.
  3. Ríos, José-Luis. “Effects of Triterpenes on the Immune System.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 128.1 (2010): 1-14. Web.
  4. Dudhgaonkar, Shailesh, Anita Thyagarajan, and Daniel Sliva. “Suppression of the Inflammatory Response by Triterpenes Isolated from the Mushroom Ganoderma Lucidum.” International Immunopharmacology 9.11 (2009): 1272-280. Web.

Disclaimer: The information I provide on this blog isn’t intended to treat or diagnose any disease, just information from published research, read by me and written to you. You can decide what to do with it.

Mortality, Mushrooms and a Wholesome Recipe

Mushrooms and Mortality

The 16th century alchemist, Paracelsus, explained,”[Alchemy] is like unto death, which separates the eternal from the mortal, so that it should properly be known as the death of things.” I hadn’t thought much about alchemy and death before reading this quote, but had always thought about mushrooms as the alchemists of nature – assisting in the dying process, breaking down the mortal and transforming the eternal to birth new life – and so with the noticing of the fungi-death connection and mushroom-alchemy connection, it would make sense that “alchemy is like unto death”. I am not talking about turning lead into gold, but a different kind of alchemy. In the alchemy that is of interest to me is assisting in the transformation of plants and mushrooms. This herbal alchemy uncovers secrets in the vegetable and fungi realm through distillations and calcinations, separating the eternal plant soul and spirit, from the mortem or mortal body. There is much to learn from mushrooms about the dying process, and what I have found, through a cocktail of my own experiences and readings about the fungi used in the Chinese Materia Medica, is that mushrooms are strong medicine, physically and spiritually, throughout any process in experiencing loss. I think they can be an important medicine and ally for people during times of grief, pre and post death.2014-07-25 10.59.01

The mushroom-like herb that is most often used throughout the dying process is Indian pipe, Monotropa uniflora. Though, this is neither a mushroom nor a a typical photosynthesizing plant. M. uniflora is a saprophyte, benefiting off of an already established relationship between a plant and fungi. This ghostly plant has a history of use not only as an ‘antipsychotic’ but also used throughout bereavement, both for the person who is themselves dying and for those who are grieving their loss. My love and curiosity about this saprophytic plant has had a part in instigating my wanderings into the realm of fungi and mortality.

This mushroom medicine is of a different kind than what I usually write about. This is the kind of medicine that goes deeper than chemical processes, this mushroom medicine reaches your spirit. It is true, that in times of grief your immune system will be down and2014-08-21 18.48.17 your adrenals will probably need support, and so the mushrooms will be helpful in keeping your body systems strong, but they will also keep your spirit strong. In Chinese medicine the Reishi mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, is known to nourish the Shen,or the Spirit, which resides in the heart.

In fact, the spagyric of the Oregon Reishi, G. oregonense is the most immediately uplifting medicine I have yet to try. I talk about the experience on the specific post titled, “Ganoderma oregonense“. The mushroom medicine can lighten the heavy, grieving heart, and be uplifting in times of bereavement.  It has been my experience that it is not only the Reishi mushrooms that can be an ally when the spirit is vulnerable, but all polypore mushrooms that I have thus far talked about throughout this blog. The mushroom’s mycelial network reminds us too of the importance of community throughout the dying process, the importance of reaching out, and getting permission to receive nourishment through our connections.

Recipe to Nourish the Spirit

This Kichri is nourishing to body and spirit, grounding, sustaining, and easy to make.

Polypore Kitchari

Things that are helpful to have: A crockpot

First, make the broth:

Polypore Broth

  1. Place a handful of polypore mushrooms; Oregon Reishi, Artist’s Conk, Red Belted Polypore, Turkey tail.. (slices or whole) into Crockpot and fill with water (If you do not have a crockpot, simmer on your stove top on low heat)
  2. Add chopped onion and garlic
  3. Put the lid on and place on low
  4. Let simmer for at least 2 hours (it is easiest to throw it in the pot and let simmer over night or throughout the day)
  5. Strain out Mushrooms from the broth (these mushrooms are too woody to eat)
  6. If you are into Bone Broth, bones make a delicious and nutritious addition


41/2 Cups Polypore Broth836_39_60-mung-bean-pod

1 Cup rice (any kind, I prefer brown, but do what you like)

1 Cup Mung Beans, uncooked

1 Sweet potato, chopped

1 C Nettles, dried or fresh

1.5 Tbs Ghee or Coconut oil

1 Tbs Garam Masala


  1. Mix all ingredients in a crockpot or on stovetop
  2. Bring to a boil, and then down to a simmer for about 2 hours. If you use a crockpot, you can have it on low throughout the day and come home to a nice hot meal.
  3. Enjoy!