Fu Ling (Poria)

What Is Fu Ling

Fu Ling commonly known as Poria is the sclerotium of Wolfiporia cocos, which is a wood-decay fungus belonging to the family Polyporaceae. It is a common edible and medicinal mushroom, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Wolfiporia cocos is also knwon as Wolfiporia extensa or Poria cocos. They are often parasitic on the roots of pine trees. Currently, most of the W. cocos are cultivated artificially. They are suitable for cultivation in cool, dry climates, and sandy soils at altitudes of 700-1,000 meters. They are mainly distributed in subtropical monsoon humid climate regions such as China, Vietnam, and Thailand.

From July to September, people gather the sclerotium of Wolfiporia cocos, remove impurities, stack them in the shade, spread them out to dry, repeatedly until wrinkles appear on their surface, dry them in the shade, or cut fresh sclerotium into pieces, dry them in the shade, make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Fu Ling contains pachymic acid, tumulosic acid, eburicoic acid, pachymic acid methyl ester, O-acetylpachymic acid, pinicolic acid A, trametenolic acid, ganoderic acid, 3-epi-dehydrotumulosic acid, dehydropachymic acid, polyporenic acid C, dehydroeburicoic acid, porilactone A, porilactone B, poricoic acid A-N, poricoic acid GM, poricoic acid AM, 25-hydroxyporicoic acid A-C, β-amyrin acetate, α-amyrin acetate, daedaleanic acid D-F, oleanolic acid, lupeol, ergosta-5,7,22-trien-3β-ol, β-sitosterol, β-daucosterol, stigmasterol, β-pachyman, pachymaran, pachymaran F, polysaccharide H11, amino acids, volatile oils, organic acids, proteins, fats, gums, adenine, choline, and some trace elements.

Generally, Fu Ling with a white and smooth cross-section and slight smell are preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Fu Ling is relatively neutral, with a sweet and bland taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart, lung, spleen and kidney meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to increase secretion of urine and remove dampness, invigorate the spleen, relieve mental stress, and treat dysuria, puerperal urinary retention, edema, chronic gastritis, poor appetite, loose stools, dysphoria, palpitations, insomnia, amnesia, chronic pelvic inflammatory, myoma of uterus, ovarian cyst, hyperplasia of mammary glands, polycystic ovarian syndrome, primary dysmenorrhea, ectopic pregnancy, medical induction, endometriosis, coronary heart disease, alopecia areata, infantile autumn diarrhea, Meniere’s disease, and schizophrenia.

Nearly 15% of traditional Chinese medicine preparations contain it, such as Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, Si Jun Zi Tang, and An Shen Ding Zhi Wan.

Benefits

  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting xylene-induced ear swelling and sterile cotton ball-induced subcutaneous granuloma formation in mice.
  • Increasing superoxide dismutase activity, reducing malondialdehyde content, inhibiting lipid peroxidation, and delaying aging.
  • Enhancing the phagocytic function of mouse macrophages, increasing the antibody level in serum, enhancing humoral immunity and cellular immunity, and promoting the proliferation of spleen lymphocytes.
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.
  • Reducing CCL4 or acetaminophen-induced liver damage and protecting the liver.
  • Inhibiting the formation of formaldehyde-induced serum DNA adducts in mice and having an anti-genetic damage effect.
  • Increasing secretion of urine, and treating dysuria and edema caused by internal retention of water-dampness, yang deficiency of spleen and kidney, or union of water with heat.
  • Removing dampness, and treating dizziness, palpitations, and vomiting caused by phlegm and fluid retention.
  • Invigorating the spleen and strengthening the middle warmer, ascending lucidity and descending turbidity, treating diarrhea caused by excessive dampness due to spleen deficiency.
  • Treating fatigue, loss of appetite and loose stools caused by weakness of the spleen and the stomach.
  • Invigorating the heart and spleen, relieving mental stress, and treating palpitations, insomnia, and forgettery caused by insufficiency of heart and spleen, or insufficiency of qi and blood.
  • Intraperitoneal injection of its decoction in mice can significantly enhance the anesthetic effect of pentobarbital, reduce the spontaneous activity of mice, and inhibit the hyperexcitability of mice caused by caffeine.
  • Inhibiting the growth of sarcoma S180 cells, breast cancer MCF-7 cells, lung cancer A549 cells, liver cancer HepG2 cells, and gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells, and inducing their apoptosis.
  • Studies have found that its ethanolic extract can significantly improve adriamycin-induced nephrotic syndrome in rats and reduce the levels of urine protein and serum total protein, albumin, globulin, total cholesterol, and interleukin-4 [1].

Combinations

  • It can be used in combination with Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis), Zhu Ling (Polyporus), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), and Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi) to treat edema and dysuria caused by internal retention of water-dampness.
  • It can be used in combination with Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata), Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens), Bai Shao (White Peony Root), and Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) to treat edema caused by yang deficiency of spleen and kidney.
  • It can be used in combination with Hua Shi (Talcum), E Jiao (Colla Corii Asini), Zhu Ling (Polyporus), and Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis) to treat edema and dysuria caused by the union of water with heat, or yin deficiency.
  • It can be used in combination with Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) to treat dizziness and palpitations caused by phlegm and fluid retention.
  • It can be used in combination with Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), and Yi Yi Ren (Semen Coicis) to treat diarrhea caused by excessive dampness due to spleen deficiency.
  • It can be used in combination with Huang Qi (Radix Astragali), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), and Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae) to treat palpitations, insomnia, and forgettery caused by insufficiency of heart and spleen, or insufficiency of qi and blood.

Side Effects

At present, there is no literature report that Fu Ling has toxic effects, and no data is showing that taking it at the prescribed dose can cause serious adverse reactions.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Fu Ling should be controlled at 10-15g.
  • It can be made into decoctions or pills.
  • People allergic to Fu Ling should not take it.
  • It should not be taken at the same time as rice vinegar, Bai Lian (Ampelopsis Radix), Xiong Huang (Realgar), Di Yu (Radix Sanguisorbae), Gui Jia (Carapax et Plastrum Testudinis), or Qin Jiao (Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae).
  • Patients with kidney deficiency should not take it.
  • Patients with prolapse due to qi deficiency should not take it.
  • Patients with involuntary emission due to deficiency-cold should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.