The Benefits of Phellinus Linteus

Infusion of dried shiitake mushrooms
Getty Images/Heinz Tschanz-Hofmann

Phellinus linteus is a type of medicinal mushroom that grows on mulberry trees.

What Phellinus Linteus Is Thought to Do

Long used in several systems of alternative medicine (such as traditional Chinese medicine), it's thought to stimulate the immune system and protect against illness. Some alternative medicine proponents suggest that Phellinus linteus also can help fight some forms of cancer, including breast cancer and lung cancer.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Phellinus linteus is often taken in combination with other medicinal mushrooms (such as reishi and maitake). It contains a number of compounds thought to influence health, including ellagic acid and caffeic acid (two types of natural chemicals with antioxidant effects).

Uses for Phellinus Linteus

In alternative medicine, Phellinus linteus is said to help with the following health problems:

In addition, Phellinus linteus is said to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Health Effects of Phellinus Linteus

To date, very few clinical trials have tested the health effects of Phellinus linteus. Still, a number of preliminary studies suggest that this mushroom may offer some benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from those studies.


Phellinus linteus shows promise as an alternative anti-cancer agent, according to a report published in Current Medicinal Chemistry in 2008.

In their analysis of the available research on Phellinus linteus, the report's authors also found that it may help increase the effectiveness of existing anti-tumor drugs used in treatment of cancer.

This research includes a number of preliminary studies showing that extracts from Phellinus linteus might help enhance immune function, curb inflammation, and suppress the growth and spread of cancerous tumors.


Phellinus linteus might help inhibit the development of autoimmune diabetes (a type of diabetes in which the immune system turns against and destroys cells responsible for producing insulin).

In a study published in International Immunopharmacology in 2010, tests on mice demonstrated that polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) extracted from Phellinus linteus may help fend off autoimmune diabetes by regulating the expression of cells involved in the immune response.


A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012 shows that Phellinus linteus might help treat atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema associated with malfunction of the immune system).

For the study, scientists examined the effects of Phellinus linteus extract on human cells and on mice. Results revealed that Phellinus linteus might help fight atopic dermatitis by reducing levels of immune cells that play a key role in eczema-related inflammation.


Although little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of Phellinus linteus, there's some concern that this mushroom can be harmful to people with certain autoimmune disorders.

If you have any type of autoimmune disease, make sure to consult your physician prior to taking Phellinus linteus.

Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

Where to Find It

Dietary supplements containing Phellinus linteus are sold in many natural-foods stores and other stores specializing in natural products. These supplements often contain herbal formulas that combine Phellinus linteus with other medicinal mushrooms.

Using Phellinus Linteus for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend Phellinus linteus as a treatment for any condition.

It's also important to note that self-treating cancer (or any other serious health condition) with Phellinus linteus and avoiding or delaying standard care might have harmful consequences. If you're considering using it for any health purpose, make sure to consult your physician first.


Chang HY, Sheu MJ, Yang CH, Lu TC, Chang YS, Peng WH, Huang SS, Huang GJ. "Analgesic effects and the mechanisms of anti-inflammation of hispolon in mice." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:478246.

Hwang JS, Kwon HK, Kim JE, Rho J, Im SH. "Immunomodulatory effect of water soluble extract separated from mycelium of Phellinus linteus on experimental atopic dermatitis." BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Sep 18;12:159.

Kim HM, Kang JS, Kim JY, Park SK, Kim HS, Lee YJ, Yun J, Hong JT, Kim Y, Han SB. "Evaluation of antidiabetic activity of polysaccharide isolated from Phellinus linteus in non-obese diabetic mouse." Int Immunopharmacol. 2010 Jan;10(1):72-8.

Sliva D, Jedinak A, Kawasaki J, Harvey K, Slivova V. "Phellinus linteus suppresses growth, angiogenesis and invasive behaviour of breast cancer cells through the inhibition of AKT signalling." Br J Cancer. 2008 Apr 22;98(8):1348-56.

Zhu T, Kim SH, Chen CY. "A medicinal mushroom: Phellinus linteus." Curr Med Chem. 2008;15(13):1330-5.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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