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Herbs & Botanicals

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Polyporus (zhu ling)

What is polyporus? What is it used for?

Polyporus is a large, golden brown mushroom that grows in wooded areas, especially on and around trees. It is characterized by a large, bracket- or saddle-shaped body, with a white underside and large pores, and has a bland or slightly sweet taste. The body of the mushroom is used medicinally.

As a standalone product, polyporus has both diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been traditionally been used to treat edema, genitouninary infections, urinary retention, diarrhea, and vaginal discharges. It also enhances the capabilities of the immune system. There is anecdotal evidence that polyporus may have antitumor properties, which have caused some people to promote its use in treating some forms of cancer.

Polyporus is often combined with other products to create potent herbal formulas. It is sometimes taken in combination with poria, red atractylodes, corn silk and alisma to promote urinary and reduce inflammation; other herbalists combine polyporus with ganoderma, poria, astragalus, coriolus and shitake to strengthen the immune system.

How much polyporus should I take?

The amount of polyporus to be taken depends on the condition being treated. Many practitioners recommend between 6-15 grams of polyporus daily (less if being used in conjunction with other products). Be sure to consult with a trained, licensed health care professional before taking polyporus or any other herbal remedy.

What forms of polyporus are available?

Dried polyporus is available at many Asian markets and specialty health food stores. It is also sold as a powder.

What can happen if I don't get enough polyporus? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?

Polyporus should not be used by women who are pregnant or lactating. It should also not be taken by patients with an acute illness. There are no known drug interactions with polyporus.

References

  • Han J. Traditional Chinese medicine and the search for new antineoplastic drugs. J Ethnopharmacol 1988 Sep;24(1):1-17.
  • Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. An Exploration of Tradition, Healing & Culture. Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Kombucha, and More. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1986, p. 116.
  • Huang KC. The Pharmacology of Chinese Herbs. CRC Press, 1993, p. 237.
  • Mowrey DB. Herbal Tonic Therapies: Remedies from Nature's Own Pharmacy to Strengthen and Support Each Vital Body System. Keats Publishing, 1993, pp. 342-47, 356-57.
  • Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. The Enlightened Person's Guide to the Wonders of Medicinal Plants. Prima Publishing, 1992, pp. 286-93, 306-13.

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