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

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!


Including Mushrooms in your Daily Life: Recipe 1

It is easy enough to read and write about the research that has been done on medicinal mushrooms, but what is one supposed to do with this new found knowledge? What if you don’t have time to make a dual extract, or it feels too hot out to drink a hot mushroom tea. There are many ways to include mushrooms into daily life that do not involve imbibing a tea or taking a tincture. As it is now Fall and the weather will start to get colder, people are more susceptible to viruses. A person who uses mushrooms throughout their days will be more resilient during these cooler and darker months, and really, the whole year. The medicinal polypore mushrooms that I usually write about are deemed ‘inedible’ in most ID books. To an extent, this is true, in that you are not going to fry them up and eat them like a Shitake or Matsutake, but there are definitely ways to consume them, and benefit from their medicinal qualities. This is the first recipe I’ll be posting, but stay tuned for more throughout the next few months.

Immune Boosting Oatmeal


Beta-Glucans Galore!

For 1 large Serving


1/2 C Oatsrei

1 C Water or pre-made *Mushroom decoction

1 Tbs Mushroom powder (Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Lion’s Maine) – available at

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp Turmeric

1 Tbs maple syrup, honey, or mushroom infused honey! (made by chopping up polypore mushroom into the smallest pieces possible, filling up a jar half way, pouring raw honey over the mushrooms, and letting sit for 1 month or more)


  1. Place all ingredients accept sweetener in pot over high heat. When boiling begins, turn down heat to a simmer.
  2. let simmer for a few minutes until oats are fully cooked and then drizzle maple syrup or honey.
  3. Add fruit, seeds, nuts, milk, yogurt, whatever you love!
  4. Enjoy and know you are keeping your immune system strong and healthy.

*Mushroom decoction: 1 Handful chopped mushrooms placed in pot or crockpot. Pour 4 cups of water over mushrooms, and simmer until the brew is decocted by half…this means that there will now be 2 cups left. You can test this by using a chopstick – Mark the chopstick where the water begins, and then dip the chopstick in intermittently to see when the brew hits half – Strain out the mushrooms and either drink the decoction as tea, or place in fridge for use in smoothies, oatmeal, broths, porridge, rice, beans, and stews.

A note on beta-glucans and the Immune System

Fungal Cell Wall Components


“Chitin, Chitinase Responses, and Invasive Fungal Infections : Figure 1.”Chitin, Chitinase Responses, and Invasive Fungal Infections : Figure 1. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2015.

Beta Glucans are polysaccharides (carbohydrates) found in the cell walls of Yeast, Fungi, Algae, Lichens, and some plants, such as Oats and Barley. Together, with Chitin, they make up the fungal cell wall. B-glucans are biological response modifiers. This means that they cause no harm and place no additional stress on the body while helping the body to adapt to certain biological and environmental stressors. They support major systems such as the nervous, hormonal and immune system. You may have heard of adaptogens, this is a very similar definition.

Research shows that Beta-glucans have a hypoglycemic, cholesterol lowering, immune-stimulating and immune-modulating, and anti-tumor effect on animals. 1,2,4

Beta-glucans are made up of hemicellulose, which is a soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is water-soluble and forms a viscous water layer in the gut. This viscous layer in the small intestine decreases absorption of sugars and lipids into the blood stream. (hence, the hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effect). Beta glucans from fungi reduced overall level of cholesterol and LDL in blood, as well as decreased the level of free fatty acids, while at the same time increasing HDL cholesterol. The sugars also increase the amount of Leptin – a protein like substance produced by fat cells that plays a role in hunger and satiety, which suggests their use as an agent to help with weight loss.

Beta-glucans are resistant to stomach acid and so they move through the GI, into the small intestines pretty much unchanged. The cells in the lining of the small intestine, the enterocytes, facilitate the transportation of the Beta-glucans into the lymph where the macrophages are waiting with open arms (Dectin-1 receptor sites). Like a key, they unlock the macrophages and activate them to travel back to the lymph nodes to induce immune activations. Once activated, it starts to produce bactericidal compounds such as reactive oxygen radical, N-oxide, and lysozyme. These activated cells also produce cytokines, which then activate phagocytes and leukocytes in specific immunity. B-glucans also play a role in promoting the activity of helper lymphocytes known as Th1 and Th2. Th1 controls immunity against intracellular parasites, while Th2 controls immunity against extracellular pathogens. When there is an imbalance in these lymphocytes, an autoimmune response can occur. Beta glucans help keep this balance.

Antitumor action: The antitumor action happens via activation of the immune response, explained earlier. They do not attack cancer cells directly, but produce their antitumor effects by activating different immune responses in the host. They potentiate the response of precursor T cells and macrophages to cytokines produced by lymphocytes after specific recognition of tumor cells. In summary, the tumor cells are attacked by the immune system, which is activated by macrophages bound with Beta glucans.

Work Cited

  1. Rahar, Sandeep, Gaurav Swami, Navneet Nagpal, Manisha A. Nagpal, and Gagan Shah Singh. “Preparation, Characterization, and Biological Properties of β-glucans.” Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research. Medknow Publications Pvt Ltd, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  1. S., Wasser. “Medicinal Mushrooms as a Source of Antitumor and Immunomodulating Polysaccharides.” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 60.3 (2002): 258-74. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  1. Ferreira, Isabel C.f.r., Josiana A. Vaz, M. Helena Vasconcelos, and Anabela Martins. “Compounds from Wild Mushrooms with Antitumor Potential.” Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry10.5 (2010): 424-36. Web.
  2. Rop, Otakar, Jiri Mlcek, and Tunde Jurikova. “Beta-glucans in Higher Fungi and Their Health Effects.” Nutrition Reviews67.11 (2009): 624-31. Web.

Distillations on Ganoderma Applanatum

Each process of work I engage in with the fungal kingdom continues to remind me of how similar we humans are to our fungal allies. Thus far, on this blog I have brought up research that I have collected on the various mushrooms, and barely touched on the different levels of medicinal preparations that I have been experimenting with. Most recently, I have been experimenting with polypore distillations.

gano pic

This magnificent mushroom was collected early in the day, chopped, and then vitamixed (high speed blended into tiny fibers). After the body of the mushroom was processed into the smallest pieces possible, it was added to a 2L flask.

Steam distillation begins.

considering the limited information on the volatiles of G. applanatum, I was skeptical if there would be any oil collected at the end of this process. There was one paper I found in the journal of Essential Oil Research that tested for the essential oils of G. applanatum. The paper, “Volatile Metabolites from the Wood Inhabiting Fungi Bjerkandera adusta, Ganoderma applanatum, and stereum hirsutum” by Ziegenbein et al. found 22 volatile compounds that could could be identified, with R-(-)-1-octen-3-ol (Octanol) and phenylacetaldehyde being the major constituents of the oil. Other constituents found in amounts between 5-10% are (E)-2-octenal, (E,E) 2,4-decadienal, 2-nonenal and 5 ethyl cyclopentene-1-carbaldehyde. This is the first time that 5 ethyl-cyclopentene-e-carbaldehyde has been found as  a fungal metabolite.

Octanol, also known as mushroom alcohol, is a chemical that attracts biting insects, like mosquitos. It can also be found in human breath and sweat. Maybe this is why the mosquitos love me so much…you could probably make a trap using the volatiles, put a bowl out with the hydrosol or a little oil and the mosquitos will go to that instead of to you. I would suggest not spraying yourself down with the hydrosol before walking through the woods. Octanol is found in many edible mushrooms and also Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis. There is also small mention of it’s use in perfumery. In my experience with smelling the volatiles from this mushroom the scent is reminiscent of spicy, yet sweet decaying earth.( A hard to find smell in the world of perfumery) There is also research being done on using octanol to treat involuntary tremor disorders. 

Phenylacetaldehyde is found abundantly in nature, it is a derivative of the amino acid, phenylalanine. This can be found in chocolate, flowers, and certain insect pheromones. It has also been used to flavor cigarettes and added to fragrances to add a grassy-rose like flavor.

(E) 2-octenal is used as a flavoring agent in food industry, said to have a nutty flavor, and is mostly found in fungi and lamb. Also, one of the major constituents in the stink bug stench!

(E,E) 2,4-decadienal is an aromatic substance found in butter and cooked beef. Said to have a deep fat, brothy flavor and smell. When distilling mushrooms, the entire room usually ends up smelling like cooked steak…

2-nonenal is an important aroma component in aged beer, and according to wikipedia the smell that comes along with the aging of humans.

After about an our of distillations, the fumes filled the air of my house, and my eyelids felt like bricks. complete exhaustion came over me and I napped for most of the time the distillate trickled through. This has been the strongest sedating effect I have felt from any substance I have encountered. It felt painful to stay awake. I suppose there is implication for the hydrosol to be used as a strong sedative. Since then, I have sprayed the hydrosol throughout my home before bed, and the sedating effect is still there. Ganoderma species have a history of use as a sedative, so this was no surprise.

After 2 hours there was a build up of fatty emulsion in the condenser and it slowly fell into the oil separator.

gano distill

Hours went by, and the thick white substance continued to build up in the condenser. After turning the water off, the build up in the condenser fell in to the oil separator. The cold water running through the condenser was keeping it in a more solid form, and when the condenser warmed it softened and fell through. I thought it would potentially liquify at room temperature, but it stayed as a substance the consistency of lard. This smelled extremely aromatic; Decaying forest with coinciding notes of sweet and pungent.

I ended up collecting 20 oz of hydrosol and about a teaspoon of the lard-like substance.

I had a taste of the water left over in the boiling flask, strongly infused with the water soluble components of the mushroom, and it seemed to be the antidote to the sedation. It awoke me in a flash. Mushroom medicine is amphoteric medicine. If your immune system is suppressed the mushroom medicine will stimulate it, if it is overstimulated, the mushrooms will suppress it. This is the same with the energizing and sedating qualities of the Ganoderma sp. This experience is suggestive that I have separated these two qualities.

If anyone has any interest in working with this hydrosol in perfumery let me know, I am happy to provide it, as I know it is not easy to find.

The soul/volatile sulfur of G. applanatum is substantial. It is comforting, strong, balancing and grounding. A supportive and tenacious ally.

To read more about mushrooms and alchemy check out this beautiful website:


Cryptoporus volvatus

(With secret pores, Contains a volva)

Pouch fungus, Cryptic globe fungus, veiled polypore


Between the pore surface and the outer tissue, spores fall into a cavity where they are trapped. With no exposure to the outside world, the spore dispersal is quite different than usual among the polypores. Since the wind cannot take the spores away into the wilds of the forest, it has some beetle allies that help it to spread the ‘seed’ along. When the spores are released, a small space appears in the outer tissue as well as a resinous odor that attracts hungry wood-boring beetles, who are then warmly welcomed inside the mushroom. They go in to this new home made of food and they consume the mushroom’s tubes and so the spores as well. The beetles then carry these spores away with them and bore into a new tree whilst inoculating it with the C. volvatus spores.


Deadwood of conifers, found growing in small groups, but dispersed. Favors trees that have recently fallen, been burned…generally in a state of decay. Said to be found summer and fall, though it is common year round in the Pacific West.

Active Known Constituents

  • B-Glucans,
  • Triterpenes
  • sesquiterpenes
  • Volatile oils
  • Amino acids
  • Cryptoporic acids

Spore Print- Pinkish

Therapeutic Actions

Anti-tumor, Anti-allergy, Anti-viral, Anti-inflammatory, Immunomodulatory

Medicinal Use

  • Documented in the Materia Medica of Yunnan, the fruiting body has been used for asthma and bronchitis dating back to the 15th century AD
  • When given at dose of 5mg/ml, the H1N1 virus was blocked by the aqueous extract. Compared to the control group, there was only 20% virus entry into cells.
  • The aqueous extract also exhibits antiviral activity against Influenza A virus in vitro and in vivo.
  • It has been shown to inhibit both early and late stages in virus replication1
  • Studies have showed strong antioxidant, free radical scavenging activity2
  • Cytotoxic activity was observed against human cervix epithelia carcinoma cell lines (Hela) and human hepatoma cell lines. 3
  • Some traditional uses of this mushroom include use in tracheitis, asthma, hemorrhoids, anti-decrepitude, toothache, and anti-inflammatory 3
  • The polysaccharides in the H20 extract from the fruiting body significantly alleviated symptoms of allergic rhinitis and asthma. 4
  • For soar throat, place five to eight pieces, that have been previously simmered in water, in the mouth without chewing.
  • Cryptoporus polysaccharide treatment down regulates LPS-mediated inflammation in lung epithelial cells. This can be a helpful anti-inflammatory for the treatment of airway inflammatory diseases. 6


Transforms phlegm and stops coughing

  • used in TCM to stop bleeding in the intestines, to treat hemorrhoids, carbuncles, furuncles, and toothache. Traditionally decocted as an anti-inflammatory for asthma and bronchial conditions.

Preparation of Dual Extract

See Fomitopsis pinicola preparation

Works Cited

  1.  Gao L, Sun Y, Si J, Liu J, Sun G, et al. (2014) Cryptoporus volvatusExtract Inhibits Influenza Virus Replication In Vitroand In Vivo. PLoS ONE 9(12)
  2. Lee, Jaejung, Joo-Hyun Hong, Jeong-Do Kim, Byoung Jun Ahn, Beom Seok Kim, Gyu-Hyeok Kim, and Jae-Jin Kim. “The Antioxidant Properties of Solid-culture Extracts of Basidiomycetous Fungi.” J. Gen. Appl. Microbiol. The Journal of General and Applied Microbiology59.4 (2013): 279-85. Web.
  3. G. Ren, X.Y. Liu, H.K. Zhu, S.Z. Yang, C.X. Fu, Evaluation of cytotoxic activities of some medicinal polypore fungi from China, Fitoterapia, Volume 77, Issue 5, July 2006, Pages 408-410, ISSN 0367-326X
  4. Qiang-Min Xie, Jun-Fang Deng, Yang-Mei Deng, Chuan-Sen Shao, Hui Zhang, Chuan-Kui Ke, Effects of cryptoporus polysaccharide on rat allergic rhinitis associated with inhibiting eotaxin mRNA expression, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 107, Issue 3, 11 October 2006, Pages 424-430
  5.  Rogers, Robert Dale. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and   Lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2011. Print.Fungal Pharm.
  6. Zhu, Jian-Ping, Kai Wu, Jin-You Li, Yan Guan, Yan-Hong Sun, Wen-Jiang Ma, and Qiang-Min Xie. “Cryptoporus Volvatus Polysaccharides Attenuate LPS-induced Expression of Pro-inflammatory Factors via the TLR2 Signaling Pathway in Human Alveolar Epithelial Cells.” Pharmaceutical Biology(2015): 1-7. Web.