Fomitopsis pinicola

(To heat or cherish,“fovere”, Poultice “fomentum” Inhabiting pine)

Red Belted Polypore


The young mushrooms resemble little white buttons on a tree, often with little bits of “guttation”- the sweating process. I encourage people to lick this dew-like condensation from the pore surface and take note of the fruity flavor.  As the mushroom grows older, the red/orange band begins to show itself, until eventually with old age, the colors disappear and the mushroom may present itself as just a black crust, with just a thin layer of red bordering the edge. These perennial Bracket fungi age much like humans. A new wrinkle with each year lived and all of the experiences hidden within the cells of the organism. These experiences that strengthened the fungi, any suffering that this organism went through, any pathogens it had to fight off, and wisdom it inherited from it’s host tree, are not to be seen with the naked eye, but felt through imbibition of the mushroom medicine. It is through the mushroom tea, that the remembrance in the mushrooms cells, become a part of the animals cells.


Grows on coniferous and deciduous trees, I often find them on Hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla, and Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii. Widely distributed throughout Asia, Europe and America. It seems to be the most common polypore around.

Active Known Constituents

  • ergosterol (D2)
  • trametenolic acid
  • polyporenic acid C
  • lanosterol
  • inotodiol
  • pinicolic acid
  • triterpenes
  • fomitopinic acid A
  • adenosine
  • phenolics

Spore Print – Yellow

Therapeutic Actions

Styptic, emetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, immune-stimulating, anti-histamine, anti-angiogenic, anti-oxidant

Medicinal Use

  • Has been used in folk medicine as anti-inflammatory, styptic, and antimicrobial5
  • Ethanol extract showed greatest activity against cancer cells, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions3,5
  • Water soluble Polysaccharide glucans have immune-modulating activity
  • Use as a tonic to reduce inflammation of the digestive tract3,4,5 Possibly by controlling cytokine inflammatory response
  • In one study8 Fomitopsis pinicola demonstrated very high phenolics concentration and powerful anti-oxidant properties.
  • High in germanium – an anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-mutagenic and oxygen catalyst, enhances oxygen supply to the body’s cell’s providing increased energy production.
  • Blood sugar regulation by normalizing and regulating insulin production due to the hypoglycemic glycans1
  • Liver detoxifier by bitter terpinoids aiding the removal of toxins in the liver and intestines3
  • Increases neutrophil count and other white blood cells1,4
  • Contains natural steroids that can be useful in arthritis and painful auto-immune and inflammatory diseases
  • Concentration of triterpenes (hepato-protective, anti-inflammatory) is highest in the crust, and lower in younger fungi.
  • Contains anti-histamine vegetable sterols4,5
  • Fatty acids exhibit circulatory stimulating properties4,5
  • Selectively inhibits COX-2, in turn inhibiting synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins.¹° Selective COX-2 inhibitors are significant, as NSAIDs like aspirin are also COX-1 inhibitors and use of COX-1 inhibitors increases risk of gastric ulcers.

“Because of their bioactivity against gram-positive bacteria, and their potency as anti-fungal agent, we especially consider F. pinicola to be worth further investigation on a molecular level. This fungus was widely applied in traditional European medicine, but its benefits and utilization have been forgotten after the introduction of synthetic drugs. Due to renaissance of naturopathy and also due to increasing bacterial and fungal resistances, working with traditional medicinal fungi is becoming increasingly interesting and rewarding.”7


Sweet, tonic

Ethnobotanical Use

The blackfoot of alberta put the dried polypore in a buffalo horn along with a live coal from the fire when they would move camp.4 They used a piece of the fungus as a purgative. The name translates to “turn our hair grey”4…maybe a rough translation…makes you wise?

The northern Dene cut it into small chunks and smoke it with tobacco to treat headaches4

Traditionally used for treatment of headache, nausea, liver problems, as a styptic and anti-inflammatory.

During the 1800s eclectic physicians soaked the polypore in whiskey as a remedy for ague

Cree of Eastern Canada powdered the dried fruiting body to treat wounds and stop bleeding. 6

Preparation of Dual Extract

1:20 mushroom:water (1oz mushroom: 560ml Water)

Simmer until liquid is reduced by half (280mL)

Let cool, and poor mushroom and water into sanitized jar

Add 95ml 95% alcohol (you want about 30% ETOH)

Shake daily and let macerate for 3 weeks

Strain out and you have a dual extract!

Works cited

  1. Cheng, Jing-Jy, Cha-Yui Lin, Huu-Sheng Lur, Hsuan-Pei Chen, and Mei-Kuang Lu. “Properties and Biological Functions of Polysaccharides and Ethanolic Extracts Isolated from Medicinal Fungus, Fomitopsis Pinicola.” Process Biochemistry43.8 (2008): 829-34. Web.
  1. Lee, S.I.; Kim, J.S.; Oh, S.H.; Park, K.Y.; Lee, H.G.; Kim, S.D. Antihyperglycemic effect of Fomitopsis pinicola extracts in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J. Med. Food 2008, 11,518–524.
  1. Petrova, A.; Popov, S.; Gjosheva, M.; Bankova, V. A new triterpenic alcohol from Fomitopsis pinicola. Nat. Prod. Res. 2007, 21, 401–405.
  1. Rogers, Robert. “Three underutilized medicinal polypores” Journal of the American Herbalists guild. 12.2 (2014):15-16
  1. Rogers, Robert Dale. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2011. Print.
  1. Grienke, Ulrike, Margit Zoll, and Ursula Pientner. “European Medicinal Polypores – A Modern View on Traditional Uses.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 154.3 (2014): 564-83. Web.
  1. Dresch, Philipp et al. “Fungal Strain Matters: Colony Growth and Bioactivity of the European Medicinal Polypores Fomes Fomentarius, Fomitopsis Pinicolaand Piptoporus Betulinus.” AMB Express5.1 (2015): 4. PMC. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
  2. Reis, Filipa S., Eliana Pereira, Lillian Barros, Maria João Sousa, Anabela Martins, and Isabel C.f.r. Ferreira. “Biomolecule Profiles in Inedible Wild Mushrooms with Antioxidant Value.” Molecules16.6 (2011): 4328-338. Web.
  3. 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.