Zhu Ling (Polyporus)

What Is Zhu Ling

Zhu Ling also known as Polyporus is the sclerotium of Polyporus umbellatus, which is a perennial fungus belonging to the family Polyporaceae. It is a commonly used fungus medicine, which initially appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

This fungus is afraid of drought and likes a cool and humid environment. It usually parasitizes the decayed roots of birch, maple, oak, or other types of trees.

It can be found in Shaanxi, Yunnan, Jilin, Hebei, Sichuan, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Guizhou, and other places. At present, the indoor cultivation of Polyporus umbellatus is still in the experimental stage.


In spring and autumn every year, people gather the sclerotium of Polyporus umbellatus, remove their impurities, wash them with water, moisturize them, dry them, cut them into back slices, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Zhu Ling contains water-soluble polysaccharides, alkali-soluble polysaccharides, ergosterol, ergosta‐7,22‐dien‐3‐ol, ergosta‐7,22‐dien‐3‐one, 3‐methoxyl‐ergosta‐7,22‐dien, 15‐methyl‐3‐methoxyl‐ergosta‐7,22‐dien, ergone, ergosta‐7,22‐dien‐3,5,6‐triol, ergosta‐7‐en‐3,5,6‐triol, 5,8‐epidioxy‐ergosta‐6,22‐dien‐3‐ol, 16,22‐epoxy‐3,14,23,25‐tetrahydroxyergost‐7‐en‐6‐one, 3,26‐epoxy‐3,14,21,22‐tetrahydroxyergost‐7‐en‐6‐one, rosasterol acetate, 5,8‐epidioxy‐ergosta‐6‐en‐3‐ol, polyporusterone A, polyporusterone B, polyporusterone C, polyporusterone D, polyporusterone E, polyporusterone F, polyporusterone G, friedelin, 1‐hydroxylfriedelin, emodin, physcion, chrysophanol, adenosine, uridine, uracil, nicotinic acid, ferulic acid, and succinic acid.

Generally, the solid Zhu Ling with the brown-black outer skin and pinkish-white cross-sections is preferred.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Zhu Ling is relatively neutral, with a sweet and bland taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the Kidney and bladder meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Zhu Ling is often used to induce diuresis and relieve edema, excrete dampness, treat difficult urination, stranguria due to heat, painful urination, urethritis, chronic diarrhea, watery diarrhea, leukorrheal diseases, jaundice, chronic hepatitis B, barbiers, intractable headache, acute nephritis, nephrotic syndrome.

There are about 30 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Si Ling San, Zhu Ling Tang, and Wu Ling Pian.


  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging DPPH free radicals, hydroxyl free radicals, and superoxide free radicals.
  • Anti-mutation, reducing the micronucleus rate of bone marrow cells and sperm deformity rate induced by cyclophosphamide in mice.
  • Anti-radiation, increasing the DNA content of bone marrow, restoring hematopoietic function, and increasing spleen index in radiotherapy mice.
  • Enhancing the biological activity of peritoneal macrophages, increasing lymphocyte transformation rate, enhancing T cell immune activity, and promoting non-specific and specific immunity.
  • Inhibiting liver cell damage caused by CCl 4, reducing the activities of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and malondialdehyde in liver cells, and increasing the survival rate of liver cells.
  • Reducing serum cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels, treat alcoholic fatty liver.
  • Inhibiting hepatitis B virus replication, increasing hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B virus e antigen (HBeAg), and hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid (HBV-DNA) conversion rate, anti-HBe positive conversion rate, and treating chronic hepatitis B.
  • Inhibiting the reabsorption of water and electrolytes by the renal tubules, and increasing urine output.
  • Treating edema caused by retention of water and dampness.
  • Treating watery diarrhea caused by cold-dampness in the stomach and intestines.
  • Relieving difficulty and pain in micturition, dribbling urination, and stranguria due to heat.
  • Inhibit the proliferation of human liver cancer cells HepG2, human laryngeal cancer cells Hep-2, human cervical cancer cells Hela, leukemia L-1210 cells, liver cancer cells Hep3B and human gastric cancer cells AGS.
  • Its ethyl acetate infusion can reduce the Ca 2 + content in the urine and renal tissues of rats, inhibit the formation of urinary calcium oxalate stones, reduce the concentration of serum urea nitrogen and creatinine, and protect the kidneys.
  • Studies have confirmed that its extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.


Side Effects

The young tender fruit bodies of Polyporus umbellatus are edible. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that it has no toxic side effects.

Overdose of it may cause skin allergies, tinnitus, thirst, irritability, or excessive urine output.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Zhu Ling should be controlled at 6-12g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, or powders.
  • People who are allergic to Zhu Ling should not take it.
  • People with cold and thin semen should not take it.
  • Patients with no water-dampness should not take it.
  • Patients with renal insufficiency should not take it.
  • Patients with low blood pressure or glaucoma should not take it.
  • Patients with acute bacillary dysentery or acute gastroenteritis should not take it.
  • Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and the elderly should not take it.
  • If you are using drugs containing mannitol or chlorothiazide, please be sure to inform your doctor.