What You Should Know
Polyporus umbellatus is also known as Grifola Umbellata, is a white-to-gray mushroom that is found in deciduous woodlands in China, Europe and North America. Polyporus umbellatus, a choice edible mushroom that is rare in the wild, has numerous bioactive compounds that are of great interest to science.
A close relative of Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Polyporus umbellatus differs from most medicinal mushrooms in that traditionally it has been harvested as sclerotium, an underground 'seed' or 'nugget' which grows in the mycellium. It is reported that long term use makes one feel happy and vigorous and look younger.
Polyporus umbellatus Common Names
Zhuling (or Chuling, depending on the source) (Chinese)
Polypore en ombelle (French)
Polyporus umbellatus Mushroom Identification
Saprobic or parasitic as a butt rot on the roots and wood of hardwoods; causing a white rot; fruiting at the bases of trees; often reappearing in the same place in subsequent years; spring, summer, and fall; rare but fairly widely distributed in northern North America, southwards to Tennessee and Kansas.
10–35 cm across; composed of multiple caps atop discrete stems that fuse into a large stem structure.
2–4 cm across; broadly convex at first, becoming flat or very shallowly depressed; more or less circular in outline; dry; gray to pale grayish brown or whitish; often finely scaly (especially when young) or radially fibrillose; the margin becoming somewhat wavy and often bruising and discoloring yellow.
Running far down the stem; white; with 1–2 angular pores per mm; tubes to 2 mm deep.
Irregular; central to the cap; fusing into one or more larger structures; whitish overall, but rusty brown near the base; base arising from an underground knot of tissue.
Fairly soft; white; unchanging when sliced.
Polyporus umbellatus Health Benefits
As well as its traditional use as a diuretic, polysaccharide extracts of Polyporus umbellatus show promise as an adjuvant (A substance that enhances the body's immune response to an antigen) alongside chemotherapy and is licensed in China for use in cancer therapy.
The Umbrella Polypore is highly anti-viral and has the unusual property of reducing Chlamydia activity in sufferers of this common STI. It has even been use traditionally for fighting Hepatits B, but more research is required to verify this property.
A novel, and unusual, property is for hair regrowth in men. 3 compounds have been isolated which have now been show to stimulate hair regrowth in a Japanee study by Ushida, 1990. These compounds are acetosyringe and polyporusterone A and B.
Polyporus umbellatus Polysaccharide Extract 30% Polysaccharide Extract benefits include:
Reduces chlamydia symptoms
Licensed for cancer treatment in China
General Immune System tonic
Traditionally used to combat Hepatitis B
Contains compounds proven to help stimulate hair growth, or reduce the speed of hair loss
Polyporus umbellatus Taxonomy and Etymology
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.
Synonyms of Polyporus umbellatus include Boletus umbellatus Pers., Sclerotium giganteum Rostr., Grifola umbellata (Pers.) Pilát, and DendroPolyporus umbellatus (Pers.) Jülich
The specific epithet umbellatus may be interpreted as 'having umbrellas', but another slightly different interpretation that more closely matches the shape of the branch tips is 'having a central depression - an umbilicus, like a navel.
Photo 1 - Author: László Németh, Dr. (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Katja Schulz (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Christian Grenier (Public Domain)
Photo 4 - Author: Christian Grenier (Public Domain)
Photo 5 - Author: Christian Grenier (Public Domain)
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