What You Should Know
Phellinus igniarius (syn. Phellinus trivialis) is a fungus of the family Hymenochaetaceae. Like other members of the genus of Phellinus it lives by saprotrophic nutrition, in which the lignin and cellulose of a host tree are degraded and are a cause of white rot.
The fungus forms perennial fruiting bodies that rise as woody-hard, hoof, or disc-shaped brackets from the bark of the infested living tree or dead log. The tree species are often willow but it may be commonly found on birch and alder and other broad-leafed trees. The top is covered with a dark, often cracked crust, a stem is present only in its infancy. Unlike most fungi it has a hard woody consistency and may persist for many years, building a new surface layer each year. It was prized as kindling material.
Other names: Willow Bracket, Fire Sponge.
Phellinus igniarius Mushroom Identification
Upper surface grey on young fruitbodies, turning black and often developing vertical cracks when older; outer margin remaining brown and velvety even on very old fruitbodies; up to 40cm across and as much as 20cm thick; hoof-like and concentrically ridged in annual layers.
The flesh inside these brackets is reddish-brown.
Tubes and Pores
The tubes are brown, 3 to 5mm deep, and spaced at 4 to 6 per mm; they terminate in gray-brown to red-brown pores, sometimes having a purple tinge.
Subspherical, smooth, 5.5-7 x 4.5-6μm; inamyloid. The spore print is white.
Phellinus igniarius Medicinal Uses
Prevented stroke in mice.
Hispolon is an active phenolic compound found inIgnariusand when isolated, had significant anti-tumor activity. A study was done to look at its effect on lung cancer. Hispolon was found to induce cell apoptosis and GO/G1 cell cycle arrest.
Hispolon has also been found to exert anticancer effects on Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
The water extract is effective against influenza virus A and B, including H1N1, H2N3, and the Avian flu. The extract interferes with events in the virus replication cycle including viral attachment to the target cell.
Ethanol extracts inhibited the proliferation of human hepatocarcinomacell lines as well as rat heart vascular endothelial cells. When the extract was given in combination with Chemotherapy there was a synergistic effect in the inhibition of the proliferation of hepatocarcinoma. This study as well as others5suggest hepatoprotective qualities in the ethanol extract.
The biologically active compounds that modulate the immune system have been found to have therapeutic value for slowing multiple sclerosis progression in mice. After three weeks of being injected with theextract every other day, demyelination and immune cell infiltrations in the spinal cord were examined and there was a significant decrease in the daily incidence rate and clinical score of autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
Used as an emmenagogue, invigorates blood circulation.
Fruiting body inhibits neuraminidase from H3N2, H1N1, and H5N1 influenza viruses (neuraminidase in an important glycoprotein in influenza viruses that cleaves sialic acid from the infected cell surface and releases virus progeny allowing it to then infect other cells –and so neuraminidase inhibitors are well sought after in medicine) acid from the infected cell surface and releases virus progeny allowing it to then infect other cells –and so neuraminidase inhibitors are well sought after in medicine).
Phellinus igniarius Health Benefits
Packed full of free-radical destroying properties, this mushroom can help keep oxidation at bay. The benefits of this include; lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke, decreasing the risk of cancer, and aiding in recovery from injury or regular exercise to name a few!
Inflammation can and does lead to so many chronic diseases it would be more difficult to name some it doesn't play a role in. While inflammation is a valuable and mandatory step in the healing process, having it linger around longer than normal is where problems arise. Supplementing with the Willow Bracket mushroom can help decrease this inflammation, allowing your body to heal itself properly.
Protects the Liver from Alcohol Damage
The research here is quite specific, but supplementation with the Willow Bracket mushroom in those who have suffered liver damage due to excessive alcohol intake will have a protective effect on the liver. The liver is an incredible organ with a lot of responsibilities in the body. Keeping it happy and healthy is the key to living an optimal life.
A very impressive action to end on, the Willow Bracket mushroom has a potent anti-diabetic effect on a few levels. It has been shown to improve glucose tolerance, reduce hyperglycemia, and normalize insulin levels. I assure you, this is no small feat. This supplement should at the very least be on every diabetic's radar! although this wood-rotting bracket will also attack other kinds of conifers and, very occasionally, some hardwoods too.
Phellinus igniarius Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1776 Carl Linnaeus described this species, giving it the name Boletus igniarius. It was the French mycologist Lucien Quélet who, in 1886, transferred the Willow Bracket fungus to the genus Phellinus, renaming it as Phellinus igniarius, the scientific name by which it is generally recognised nowadays.
Common synonyms of Phellinus igniarius include Boletus igniarius L., Polyporus igniarius (L.) Fr., Fomes igniarius (L.) Cooke, Fomes trivialis Bres., and Phellinus trivialis (Bres.) Kreisel.
In 1886 the genus Phellinus was circumscribed by French mycologist Lucien Quélet; the generic name comes from phell- meaning cork, while the suffix -inus denotes a superlative. The implication, therefore, is that fungi in the genus Phellinus are the most cork-like (the toughest) of them all. The specific epithet igniarius means of or relating to fire (as in ignited). Hence the Willow Bracket's scientific name tells us that it is a very tough, cork-like fungus that looks as though it has been in a fire. Spot on, particularly for older specimens that look as blackened, cracked, charcoal.
Photo 1 - Author: natureluvr01 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 4 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 5 - Author: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
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