Zhu Ling Mushroom Benefits

Zhu Ling Mushroom
Latin Name

Polyporus umbellatus

Also Known As

Lumpy Bracket, Umbrella Polypore

Origin

North America, Europe, Asia

Parts Used

Mycelium and Fruiting Bodies

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

The Zhu Ling Mushroom grows on beech trees and in mixed forests on basic calcareous soil. The fruiting body can be eaten as a mushroom and the sclerotium has a long history of traditional use as a medicinal mushroom. The sclerotium is a densely intertwined solid mycelial mass beneath the earth's surface that can resist cold and drought. In the case of Zhu Ling, the sclerotium is a tuberous structure with a tough corky interior and a wrinkled brownish-black bark.

Zhu Ling has been used in traditional herbal medicine systems for thousands of years. Due to its sweetness and mildness, Zhu Ling is believed to drain dampness and lightly cool heat without damaging yin or qi (life force).

Zhu Ling Mushroom Benefits

Liver Health

The Zhu Ling Mushroom has a long history of traditional use as a liver protective agent. Research has shown promise in the treatment of hepatitis B although more clinical studies are needed. In one particular study, Zhu Ling combined with Red Clover showed more efficacy for hepatitis B than either herb taken alone.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Zhu Ling Mushroom has a long history of traditional use for its hepatoprotective benefits. It is commonly used in cases of liver cirrhosis and other forms of liver damage.

Kidney Health

Zhu Ling promotes fluid balance within the body, keeping sodium and potassium levels under control which in turn can reduce hypertension and prevent kidney disease.

As a powerful diuretic, Zhu Ling removes excess water from parts of the body, thus alleviating pressure on the kidneys. It has also attracted scientific interest for its apparent effectiveness for kidney stones and nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).

Immune System

Like most medicinal mushrooms, Zhu Ling is rich in immune boosting polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system. Zhu Ling polysaccharides enhance the secretion of interferon and interleukin, vital immune system components which incite the manufacture of germ consuming macrophages.

Furthermore, the polysaccharides known as beta-D-glucans are powerful compounds that naturally boost the immune system by optimising its response to disease and infections. Over 150 years of research has found that beta glucans act as immunomodulation agents, meaning they trigger a cascade of events that help to regulate the immune system and make it more efficient.

Specifically, beta glucans stimulate the activity of macrophages - versatile immune cells that ingest and demolish invading pathogens and stimulate other immune cells to attack.  Macrophages also release cytokines, chemicals that when secreted enable the immune cells to communicate with one another.  In addition, beta glucans stimulate lethal white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumours or viruses, and release chemicals to destroy them.

Compounds contained in Zhu Ling also improve and enhance the action of NK (natural killer) cells, a type of white blood cell that protects the body from viruses and bacteria. The efficacy of antibodies which are also used by the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses are further enhanced by this mushroom.

Typical Use

Zhu Ling Mushroom Capsules

Take 1-2 capsules per day, 2-3 times a day or as directed by your healthcare professional.

Folklore and History

The Zhu Ling Mushroom has only been in cultivation since the 1970s. Before that time it could only be found in the wild, with locations carefully guarded and handed down from father to son – but only on his deathbed! To this day, in eastern France, locations of Zhu LIng are still carefully protected and kept secret.

Li Shi Zhen, in his comprehensive materia medica the "Ben Cao Gang Mu" (1578), quotes the earlier Shen Nong Ben Cao with regards to this mushroom's action. It was written that the Zhu Ling Mushroom was capable of "dispersing invading vicious factors and facilitating urination. Long term use makes one feel happy and vigorous and look younger". 

In 1801 Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this massive polypore, giving it the binomial scientific name Boletus umbellatus. In his Systema Mycologicum of 1821, the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries transferred this species to the genus Polyporus, thereby establishing its currently accepted scientific name Polyporus umbellatus.

Zhu Ling Mushroom
Constituents

Zhu Ling Mushroom: polysaccharides, dihydroxybenzaldehyde, acetosyringe and polyporusterone

Precautions

Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

If you are taking prescription mediciations, please consult your healthcare practitioner before consuming Zhu Ling Mushroom.