Herbs & Plants

Poria cocos

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Botanical Name: Wolfiporia extensa
Family: Polyporaceae
Genus: Wolfiporia
Species: W. extensa
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Polyporales

Wolfiporia extensa (Peck) Ginns, Mycotaxon 21: 332 (1984) Wolfiporia cocos (F.A. Wolf) Ryvarden & Gilb., Mycotaxon 19: 141 (1984) Macrohyporia extensa (Peck) Ginns & J. Lowe, Can. J. Bot. 61(6): 1673 (1983) Macrohyporia cocos (Schwein.) I. Johans. & Ryvarden, Trans. Br. mycol. Soc. 72: 192 (1979) Poria cocos (F.A. Wolf), J. Elisha Mitchell scient. Soc. 38: 134 (1922) Daedalea extensa (Peck), Ann. Rep. N.Y. St. Mus. 44: 21 (1891) Pachyma cocos (Fr.), Syst. mycol. (Lundae) 2(1): 242 (1822) Sclerotium cocos (Schwein.), Schr. naturf. Ges. Leipzig 1: 56 (1822)

Common names: hoelen, poria, tuckahoe, China root, fu ling , fu shen (or fushen), matsuhodo.

Habitat:Hoelen is very popular in China for making formulas that tonify the spleen and kidney, and in prescriptions that are used to remove excess dampness. In recent years, China reportedly collected 10,000 to 13,000 tons of hoelen annually. The main producing area was AnHui Province

Poria is a type of fungus related to polyporus, which usually grows on pine trees. Although it can range in color from white to pale red, the typical color of poria is light brown, with striations on the outer skin. It is relatively soft to the touch, odorless, and has slightly elastic properties. It is usually gathered from the tree, cut into pieces of various length, and dried in the shade before being used medicinally.
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Poria is very widely used in Chinese herbalism. It is traditionally used as a Qi tonic to benefit the internal organs. It is a solid fungus which grows on the roots of old pine trees. It is mildly diuretic and sedative, and is considered to be highly nourishing. It is a mild Shen tonic. Poria has significant immune enhancing ability, similar to the other mushrooms in the tonic class.

Poria cocos is a very old and widely used herb especially in Chinese medicine. Poria cocos is a solid fungus also known as Fu Ling, Poria, Tuckahoe, Indian bread, or Hoelen, and grows on the roots of old, dead pine trees. Poria cocos has been traditionally used as a tonic to benefit the internal organs. Poria is normally white in color, and also called “white poria”. The variant with light red color is called “red poria”.

Wolfiporia extensa¬† Wolfiporia extensa (Peck) Ginns (formerly known as Poria cocos F.A. Wolf) is a fungus in the Polyporaceae family. It is a wood-decay fungus but has a terrestrial growth habit. It is notable in the development of a large, long-lasting underground sclerotium that resembles a small coconut. This sclerotium (called “Tuckahoe”, or Indian bread) was used by Native Americans¬† as a source of food in times of scarcity. It is also used as a medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine.

Use in Chinese medicineCalled Fu Ling, it is collected between July and September. The poria with reddish inner side of the superficial layer is called red poria and the poria with white inner side of the superficial layer is called white poria. The poria produced in Yunnan Province is famous and therefore the drug is also called Yunnan poria Yunling). After collection, it is dried in shade, sliced, and used unprepared.

The mushroom is sweet and tasteless in flavor, neutral in property, acting on the heart, spleen and kidney channels. The mushroom is used for inducing diuresis, excreting dampness, invigorating the spleen, replenishing the middle-jiao, and tranquilizing the mind.

Uses according to Chinese medicine:
1. For dysuria, edema, phlegm retention and others due to retention of water within the body, it is often used with umbellate pore and water-plantain tuber,as in Powder of Five Drugs Including Poria (Wuling San). Since poria is neutral in property, it can be used for damp-heat and cold-damp syndromes in combination with other drugs. In cases of damp-heat syndrome, it is often used with plantain seed and manshurian aris-tolochia stem; or cold-damp syndrome, it is usually used with lateral root of acon-ite and dried ginger; for dizziness, palpitation, cough, and so on due to retention of phlegm, it is often used with cinnamon twig and white atractylodes, as in Decoction of Poria, Cinnamon Twig, Atractylodes and Licorice (Ling GuiZhu Gan Tang).

2. For lassitude, anorexia and loose stool due to deficiency of the spleen, it is always used with dangshen, white atractylodes and licorice, known as Decoction of Four Noble Drugs (Sijinzi Tang).

3. For fright palpitation and insomnia due to insufficiency of the spleen and heart, it is often used with dangshen,longan aril and wild jujube seed, asin Decoction for invigorating the spleen and nourishing the heart (Guipi Tang). For fright palpitation and insomnia due to phlegm retention in the interior or due to breakdown of the physiological coordination between the heart and kidney, it is often used with grass-leaved sweetflag and polygala root, as in Sedative Bolus(Anshen Dingzhi Wan).

Dosage and administration: 10-15g, decocted in water for an oral dose

You may click to see :Research Update:Poria cocos.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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