The fruiting bodies of this fungus are called ‘song gen’ in Chinese medicine and ‘meshimakobu’ in Japanese.
The fungus grows as a parasite mostly on living deciduous trees (but occasionally on Pinus spp.) in Japan and Korea but also in other parts of the world (Teng, 1996).
The fungus can now be cultured by log and sawdust technology.
However, extensive studies are underway for mycelium culture in fermentors.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hot water extracts of the inedible fruit bodies have been used for an extensive range of ailments and it is believed to work as a ‘miracle medicine’ that refreshes the human body and prolongs longevity.
Recent studies have compared hot water extracts of Phellinus with the other main anticancer medicinal mushrooms when tested against xenographs.
The Phellinus extract showed the strongest evidence of tumor proliferation suppression.
It has been extensively studied for effects on digestive system cancers, e.g. gastric, duodenal, colon and rectal, and also liver cancer.
Special attention has been given to the beneficial effects of such extracts before and after cancer operations or in the adjuvant setting.
In recent years, using cultured mycelium of selected strains of Phellinus, compounds have been extracted and used in Korea as medicinals – especially for cancer treatment.
This resulted from a national project between laboratories in the National Universities and several Pharmaceutical Companies, and the medicinal products now being manufactured by Korean New Pharmaceutical Co.
There are a large number of Korean patents on the manufacture of such medicinal products.
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