(from Medicinal Mushrooms - A Clinical Guide by Martin Powell)
Japanese name - Meshimakobu
Chinese name - Sang Huang (Mulberry Yellow)
P. linteus is a basidiomycete fungus, distributed across China, Korea and Japan and reported to work as a 'miracle medicine', prolonging longevity. Identified by Ikekawa as having the highest anti-tumor activity of the Hymenomycetes1 (a fungal grouping containing the major medicinal mushrooms), it has been heavily researched in the last decade, especially in Korea, showing broad immunostimulant activity, strong anti-cancer properties and the ability to enhance the efficacy of existing chemotherapeutic drugs2.
Uniquely among the medicinal mushrooms, the Chinese Pharmacopoeia describes the energy of P. linteus as Cold (see section on Medicinal Mushrooms According to Traditional Chinese Medicine) and ascribes to it an extensive range of indications, including: cancer, diabetes, HIV, angina, leucorrhoea, diarrhoea and accelerated wound healing.
Research on has focussed on P. linteus' polysaccharide and proteoglycan components, although the yellow colour may indicate a high level of flavonoid compounds.
Cancer - Interest in the potential of P. linteus in cancer therapy has been stimulated by recent reports of remarkable effects in a number of cancer patients taking it. One case reported dramatic remission in a case of hormone refractory prostate cancer with rapidly progressive bone metastasis3, while in a second a 65 year old man with a large hepatocellular cancer and metastasis in the skull, sternum and ribs, who declined all treatment except radiation for the painful frontal bone mass in favour of P. linteus, experienced spontaneous regression of the tumours4. In a third case spontaneous regression of hepatocellular cancer with multiple lung metastasis was linked to consumption of P. linteus mycelium (no conventional therapy undertaken)5.
In vitro studies show that low levels of P. linteus polysaccharides induce cell cycle arrest in lung cancer cells6 and exhibit synergistic action with chemotherapeutic drugs such as doxorubicin, inducing apoptosis at a sub therapeutic dose in prostate and lung cancer cells7, while at high doses activating apoptosis in lung cancer cells, hormone sensitive and, to a lesser degree, refractory prostate cancer cells as well as suppressing growth, angiogenesis and invasive behaviour of breast cancer cells8,9. Modes of action identified include inhibition of AKT signalling and caspase induction.
In vitro studies also show significant inhibition of bladder cancer cell growth with enhanced cytotoxic activity in combination with vitamin C10.
In vivo studies show significantly prolonged survival, reduced tumour growth and reduction frequency of lung metastasis in mice transplanted with melanoma cells after administration of polysaccharide extract11,12.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - In a murine rheumatoid arthritis model proteoglycan extract from P. linteus fruiting bodies reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as TNF-α and IFN-γ) and increased expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-10 and TGF-β, resulting in the subsidence of the autoimmune response in the joints of the mice, with similar results seen with proteoglycan from the related species P. rimosus13,14. P. linteus polysaccharides have also been shown to reduce expression of TNF-α and major histocompatability complex II expression in lipopolysaccharide induced septic shock, supporting their use as anti-inflammatory agents15.
Allergies - Several studies show strong effect of P. linteus polysaccharides in suppressing production of Th2 cytkines and promoting secretion of Th1 cytokines, thereby addressing the immune imbalance involved in allergic responses16-18. At the same time it is reported that aqueous extract of P. linteus fruiting body prevented histamine release in response to allergenic stimuli and inhibited mast cell mediated anaphylaxis-like reactions19,20.
Therapeutic Application - Cancer, rheumatoid arthritis
Key Component - Polysaccharides
Dose - The Chinese Pharmacopoeia prescribes a daily dose of 10-30g for the dried mushroom, while for polysaccharide extract 2-5g/day is usual.
1. Antitumor activity of some basidiomycetes, especially Phellinus linteus. Ikekawa et al. Jpn J Cancer Res. 1968;59:155-157
2. A medicinal mushroom: Phellinus linteus. Zhu T, Kim S.H, Chen C.Y. Curr Med Chem. 2008;15(13):1330-5.
3. Dramatic remission of hormone refractory prostate cancer achieved with extract of the mushroom, Phellinus linteus. Shibata Y, Kurita S, Okugi H, Yamanaka H. Urol Int. 2004;73(2):188-90.
4. Spontaneous regression of a large hepatocellular carcinoma with skull metastasis. Nam S.W, Han J.Y, Kim J.I, Park S.H, Cho S.H, Han N.I, Yang J.M, Kim J.K, Choi S.W, Lee Y.S, Chung K.W, Sun H.S. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005;20(3):488-92.
5. A case of spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma with multiple lung metastases. Kojima H, Tanigawa N, Kariya S, Komemushi A, Shomura Y, Sawada S, Arai E, Yokota Y. Radiat Med. 2006;24(2):139-42.
6. Modulation of lung cancer growth arrest and apoptosis by Phellinus Linteus. Guo J, Zhu T, Collins L, Xiao Z.X, Kim S.H, Chen C.Y. Mol Carcinog. 2007;46(2):144-54.
7. Phellinus linteus sensitises apoptosis induced by doxorubicin in prostate cancer. Collins L, Zhu T, Guo J, Xiao Z.J, Chen C.Y. Br J Cancer. 2006;95(3):282-8.
8. Phellinus linteus activates different pathways to induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Zhu T, Guo J, Collins L, Kelly J, Xiao Z.J, Kim S.H, Chen C.Y. Br J Cancer. 2007;96(4):583-90.
9. Phellinus linteus suppresses growth, angiogenesis and invasive behaviour of breast cancer cells through the inhibition of AKT signalling. Sliva D, Jedinak A, Kawasaki J, Harvey K, Slivova V. Br J Cancer. 2008;98(8):1348-56.
10. Effect of various natural products on growth of bladder cancer cells: two promising mushroom extracts. Konno S, Alt Med Rev. 2007;12(1):63-68
11. Acidic polysaccharide from Phellinus linteus inhibits melanoma cell metastasis by blocking cell adhesion and invasion. Han S.B, Lee C.W, Kang J.S, Yoon Y.D, Lee K.H, Lee K, Park S.K, Kim H.M. Int Immunopharmacol. 2006;6(4):697-702.
12. The inhibitory effect of polysaccharide isolated from Phellinus linteus on tumor growth and metastasis. Han B, Lee C.W, Jeon Y.J, Hong N.D, Yoo I.D, Yang K.H, Kim H.M. Immunopharmacology. 1999;41:157-164
13. Oral administration of proteoglycan isolated from Phellinus linteus in the prevention and treatment of collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Kim G.Y, Kim S.H, Hwang S.Y, Kim H.Y, Park Y.M, Park S.K, Lee M.K, Lee S.H, Lee T.H, Lee J.D. Biol Pharm Bull. 2003;26(6):823-31.
14. Antiarthritic activity of a Polysaccharide-protein complex isolated from Phellinus rimosus (Berk.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae) in Freund's complete adjuvant−induced arthritic rats. Meera C.R, Smina T.P, Nitha B, Mathew J, Janardhanan K.K. Int J Med Mushr. 2009;11(1):21-28
15. Alleviation of experimental septic shock in mice by acidic polysaccharide isolated from the medicinal mushroom Phellinus linteus. Kim G.Y, Roh S.I, Park S.K, Ahn S.C, Oh Y.H, Lee J.D, Park Y.M. Biol Pharm Bull. 2003;26(10):1418-23.
16. Stimulation of humoral and cell mediated immunity by polysaccharide from mushroom Phellinus linteus. Kim H.M, Han S.B, Oh G.T, Kim Y.H, Hong D.H, Hong N.D, Yoo I.D. Int J Immunopharmac. 1996;18(5):295-303
17. Phellinus linteus extract augments the immune response in Mitomycin C-induced immunodeficient mice. Matsuba S, Matsuno H, Sakuma M, Komatsu Y. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008;5(1):85-90.6.
18. Phellinus linteus grown on germinated brown rice suppresses IgE production by the modulation of Th1/Th2 balance in murine mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes. Lim B.O, Jeon T.I, Hwang S.G, Moon J.H, Park D.K. Biotechnol Lett. 2005;27(9):613-7.
19. Inhibition of anaphylaxis-like reaction and mast cell activation by water extract from the fruiting body of Phellinus linteus. Choi Y.H, Yan G.H, Chai O.H, Lim J.M, Sung S.Y, Zhang X, Kim J.H, Choi S.H, Lee M.S, Han E.H, Kim H.T, Song C.H. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006;29(7):1360-5.
20. Inhibitory effects of Agaricus blazei on mast cell-mediated anaphylaxis-like reactions. Choi Y.H, Yan G.H, Chai O.H, Choi Y.H, Zhang X, Lim J.M, Kim J.H, Lee M.S, Han E.H, Kim H.T, Song C.H. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006;29(7):1366-71.
21. Chinese Pharmacopoeia, 2010. Beijing:Chinese Medicine Science and Technology Publishing House